Le jeu de Daniel : Ludus Danielis: édition générale pratique [for chorus, actors, and ensemble]
by Ralph Middenway (2012)
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Ludus Danielis (The Play of Daniel) was written by Juvenes (the Young Men) of Le Cathédrale de Sainte-Pierre in Beauvais in about 1230, perhaps using an earlier model by the celebrated Benedictine Hilarius. No-one knows how it would have looked or sounded, but there are a good many clues in the text suggesting it called for a good many instruments to accompany the voices, plus some dancing, and perhaps even a young virgin riding on an ass. It was evidently written for the Feast of Fools, and/or the Festival of the Ass, all part of the jocular midwinter celebration of the Twelve Days of Christmas, its origins in the Classical Greek Chronia, and the comparable Saturnalia of pre-Christian Rome. It has something of the mood of a modern-day, squeaky clean revue in a small, private, Catholic university-simultaneously entertaining and devout.
The style is derived from secular and sacred music of the period, with the sort of of freedom one might expect from a bunch of young men off the chain for the wildest season of the year. There are echoes of popular songs and dances of the day, of the less formal kinds of church music in provincial France, of the complexities of the new School of Notre Dame in Paris, and of the new-fangled hocket and hemiola.
The edition allows for the use of modern and/or early instruments. The scoring is arranged in such a way that any modern instruments used will not sound obtrusively so. The edition is suitable for use in a cathedral or large church with several aisles, and could be adapted for use in a variety of other venues. (See also companion paper, 'Ludus Danielis in Performance' in Volume 2, International Journal of Musicology, 2016.)
Care is needed to ensure that the bulk of the action is visible to audiences, in the case of performance in a flat-floored church, perhaps by means of a substantial ziggurat in the chancel.
Instrumentation: SSTTBB + SSSAAATTTBBB chorus (with soloists), actors, piccolo/flute, oboe/cor anglais, trumpet, percussion (1 player), harp, double bass (or cello), organ.
Duration: 75 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Pour des renseignements supplémentaires sur cette éditionet la première saison à Hobart, veuillez consulter l’article:Ralph Middenway, ‘Ludus Danielisin Performance’, l’International Journal of Musicology, vol 2, 2016.
There is also a version of this edition for francophone performers and audiences, Le Jeu de Daniel. The French text copyright held by Rosemary Lloyd.
Le Jeu de Daniel fut achevé par de jeunes érudits dans la Cathédrale de Saint-Pierre, Beauvais, en 1230. Bien qu’il se termine avec un Te Deum Laudamus, il n’est pas liturgique.
Il paraît que Le Jeu fut écrit pour la Fête des fous, un élément des douze jours de Noël, où le rôle de l’évêque fut joué par un jeune étudiant, le Prince des Fous. L’analogie la plus proche aujourd’hui serait peut-être une semaine du carnaval étudiant, et quelques aspects du Jeu rappelleraient peut-être une revue universitaire blanche comme la neige. Et afin de raccorder cette histoire pour un public moderne,
l’éditeur a introduit ce Prince des Fous, jeune diacre bravache, en tant que Maître de Cérémonie, qui raconte l’histoire, petit à petit, en vers.
Latin-French version of The Play of Daniel.
Performances of this work
22 Mar 12: St David's Anglican Cathedral, Hobart
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