Peter Maxwell Davies: Le Jongleur De Notre Dame
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This is the sacred comedy among Manwell Davies' pieces of music-theatre. Brought on by a children's wind band in a 7/8 march, the juggler presents himself at an abbey and is accepted by the abbot, the only singing character. The other monks are the clarinettist, percussionist and flautist, all of whom play 'duets' with the juggler as he is put to mundane tasks; sweeping, preparing food, washing clothes, all done with much horseplay. The same three monks then present their offerings to the Virgin in the form of flamboyant instrumental arias. Left alone, the juggler offers his own skills, to the accompaniments of Renaissance dances for piano with cello (who also provide support and commentary throughout). The other members of the community return and are appalled, but the image of the Virgin suddenly springs to life as a violinist, who plays her own solo acceptance. The abbot acknowledges her judgement, and the juggler is escorted boisterously out by the band.