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Published on Sep 25, 2014
Sir Orfeo, lines 153-200 (in Middle English with subtitles)
For the complete video, see the supplemental website for the Norton Anthology of English Literature.
Queen Herodis tells Orfeo: "As I slept under a tree in our orchard, the King of Faerie came to me. He told me I must return to that tree tomorrow and go with him to live forever in Faerie. If I refuse, I will be torn apart." Orfeo is horrified by this news, but no one can help. They return to the tree with a thousand well-armed knights, who vow to protect the queen. Yet, from their very midst, the queen is stolen away. King Orfeo grieves bitterly, but nothing can be done.
This passage is performed with gothic harp. The performance illustrates how a melody can be transformed in response to a text in Middle English. Here the voice indicates when characters speak by a blend of singing and speaking.
Compare this version with the same passage performed with vielle.
Narration: Linda Marie Zaerr Harp: Laura Zaerr Video and audio production: Nathan Snyder, Kim Oswalt, Alex Denneno, Steve Grothaus, Kelsy Jacobs, Bryce Cornwell, and Stefen Bahruth