Death: May 23, 1304 in Paris, France
Genre: Vocal Music
Jehannot de l'Escurel was a poet and composer active in early fourteenth century Paris. Little is known about his life; some authors identify him with a Notre Dame cleric of the same name who was hanged for debauchery in 1304. His only surviving works are a set of 34 compositions contained in a rare manuscript of the "Roman de Fauvel," all of which follow the formes fixes of rondeau, virelai, and ballade. The songs in this collection are monophonic, with the exception of the three-voice rondeau "A vous douce debonnaire." The collection also contains two poems whose strophes conclude with a refrain set to a notated melody. Scholars have observed that the works in this collection appear in alphabetical order and end with the letter "G," indicating that they may only represent a portion of his complete output. l'Escurel's works are significant in that they form the largest body of music from this period in which the rhythmic durations are notated, a practice that would fully develop over subsequent generations, especially in the works of Guillaume de Machaut.
- Robert Adelson (All Music Guide)
Jehan de Lescurel (also Jehannot de l'Escurel) (died May 23, 1304) was a medieval poet and composer.
Nothing is known of his life other than that he was the son of a merchant in Paris, and he probably received his musical training at the Notre Dame cathedral. For many years, it has been presumed he was hanged on May 23, 1304, along with three other young clerics of Notre Dame, including Oudinet Pisdoe, for "debauchery" and "crimes against women" (Hoppin, p. 368). Recent research showed that "Jehan de Lescurel" was a rather common name in early fourteenth-century Paris. And no link is found between Jehan de Lescurel, the composer and some Jehan de Lescurel who was hanged.
He was a transitional figure from the trouvere period to the ars nova. His lyrical style unites him with the composers of the later period, and they clearly thought highly enough of him to include his music in the same manuscript which preserves the Roman de Fauvel.
Most of his works are monophonic songs, in the style of the trouveres; only one of his 34 works was polyphonic, although he wrote other works which have not survived. The songs are virelais, ballades, rondeaux and diz entes; they include word-painting more in the style of the later 14th century composers than those of the 13th century; they are simple, charming, and debauchery is not a prominent theme.