Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Greyfriars Dig, News

We all often feel that music can make a boring or unpleasant task easier.  An impression that the University of Leicester shares.  To make the wait for the results of tests being carried out on the male remains found during the Greyfriars dig easier, a concert of medieval music “which will tell the story of King Richard III’s life” has been announced.

The idea is to bring together a collection of music from the times and places Richard would have known.   The music is to be performed by a recorder trio, TritonE, led by Janet Forbes.  She has been researching the kind of music which would have been around in England during Richard’s youth, but also music he would have encountered during his time in Burgundy.

Here he might have heard music from the Glogauer Liederbuch, a collection of 3-part instrumental arrangements of popular songs.  These are not songs which would have been used in a liturgical, ceremonial, or political context, but rather is full of tunes to be played for fun by anyone.   The book has been regarded as the first documented intersection of music and the market. [Wallmark]

In addition to songs from the Glogauer Liederbuch there will also be other music from the Franco-Flemish area.  As Janet Forbes said:  “We are trying to pick music from places he visited and pieces written about things he was doing.”

The concert is organized by the archaeological team behind the Leicester dig.  Prof Lin Foxhall, Head of the School of Archaeology & Ancient History at the University of Leicester, said that the concert would offer another perspective of Richard and his times through the sounds he would have heard.  We know that Richard appreciated good music, because his visitor Nicholas von Popplau listened at his court to “the sweetest music he had ever heard”. [Visser-Fuchs]

The concert will take place on 11 January from 18h30 to 19h30.  Tickets are £5 for the general public, however, for most of us in New South Wales the airfare would have to be added to this, making it perhaps a tad pricey to attend.  For our readers, who are in the Leicester area, this should be a great way to spend the time waiting for the results, expected for early next year.

For all of us who cannot attend the concert but may appreciate some music to make the wait easier, here is a song from the Glogauer Liederbuch on YouTube.  It is called ‘Die Katzenpfote’ (The Cat’s Paw).


‘Concert to tell story of King Richard III’s life through medieval music’, University of Leicester Press Office (14 Dec 2012).  URL:  http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/press-releases/2012/december/concert-to-tell-story-of-king-richard-iii2019s-life-through-medieval-music Date accessed:  15 Dec 2012

Dr Livia Visser-Fuchs, ‘Richard III’s personal interests’, Richard III Society.  URL: http://www.richardiii.net Date accessed:  9 Aug 2010

Zach Wallmark, ‚Glogauer Liederbuch‘, The Taruskin Challenge (22 Nov 2009).  URL:  http://taruskinchallenge.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/glogauer-liederbuch/ Date accessed:  15 Dec 2012

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