Le Roman de Fauvel is a two-hour long oratorio for six singers, baroque chamber orchestra and percussion.
There is no linear plot. The story is delivered in 48 short allegories grouped in five acts.
The complete Roman de Fauvel will be performed as soon as a suitable venue is found. The cast of musicians has already been recruited, parts of the piece have been rehearsed and the set is being designed.
The barn horse Fauvel—who is in fact the Antichrist—sets out to conquer a depraved world corrupted by pride.
Fauvel attempts to marry Fortune, who rejects him. He ends up marrying Vainglory, a minor vice more suited to a barn animal. His wedding gives rise to the Apocalypse: the world falls prey to the vices and plunges into despair. Men of goodwill resist through righteousness. The virtues come to the rescue. The work ends with a tournament between the vices and the virtues.
Genesis of Piece
The piece is a complete recomposition of the original Roman de Fauvel, a moralizing literary and musical work of early 14th-century France. In the original, the horse Fauvel, an allegory of all vices, tries to take over a world corrupted by pride.
The new version does not update the moral allegory of its 14th-century predecessor because it is still valid: the vices are still trying to take over a world corrupted by pride—and they are succeeding.
The Question of Authorship
The piece is named exactly the same as the original Roman de Fauvel because it is presented as a revision of the original piece, even though the material is substantially different.
Le Roman de Fauvel intentionally confronts the audience with the discrepancy between modern and medieval notions of authorship. It proposes a reflection on the supposed need for originality and individuality in contemporary music and on the place of pride in composition.
Is It Funny?
On one hand, Le Roman de Fauvel is a dour, moralizing piece—ostensibly Calvinist in its emphasis on sin. On the the other hand, it is extravagant and absurd, culminating in the wedding of a horse. The audience can decide whether the piece is ridiculous or terrifyingly serious.