Book of Laude

In March 2002 I wrote a Lauda to be used for the opening of the dance piece by Carolyn Carlson Writings on Water to be given at the Teatro Malibran, Venezia. This solo voice form has its origins in the world of early music, being based in spirit and feeling on the unaccompanied │laude▓ of the 14th century. The people who originally sang such things - the îlaudesi╣ - banded together in confraternities (not unlike the Franciscans) but were not usually associated with any particular church. These vocal outpourings were presumably followed by periods of quiet reflection. Following this first Lauda, the original version of which appears on the Trio Mediaeval╣s first recording for ECM, I then made my own versions of the other two from this album. Later I was commissioned by CBC Radio to write a piece for their September 11th anniversary broadcast and for this I wrote a Lauda │Oi me lasso▓ in which the solo soprano voice is joined by a second voice, a tenor, initially as a drone, but eventually forming a duet.

The solo Laude are for Anna Maria Friman, and the duo was for Anna and John Potter. They then let me have a collection of Laude from 14th century Cortona and I have now embarked on setting many of these to give a total of 41 vocal pieces. Of these 21 are for solo soprano, 4 are for three sopranos in unison, 4 for three sopranos divisi, and 12 for two voices - soprano and tenor.

Gavin Bryars.