for Viola and Guitar
Duration 5'50"

Music player

A tombeau is a musical memorial, a work written by one composer in honor of another.  In the case of the late Medieval composer Solage, we know very little about him, not even his first name.  We presume that he flourished in the last decades of the 14th century and was among the most prolific composers of his generation, even though only ten pieces have survived bearing his name.  Before the invention of printing, the copying of manuscripts was of paramount importance for the preservation of music.  Solage was likely associated with the luxurious court of the Duc of Berry, whose patronage of the arts included not only the sumptuous Book of Hours which bears his name, but also the musical manuscript known as the Chantilly Codex, which contains all of Solage’s known works and is an importance source for music of this period.
 The music from the period between the death of Machaut in 1377 and the rise of the Renaissance style 50 years later was described as the “ars subtilior” or “more subtle art” for its complexities of harmony and rhythm.  Tombeau de Solage captures the spirit of the ars subtilior in the guitar part, while the viola plays fragments and variations of a melody by Solage, “Fumeux Fume par Fumée.”  The song’s text contains elaborate punning on the similarities (in French) between the words for smoking and madness, and may have been written for the Ordre des Fumeux (club of smokers).