Play of Daniel
Two medieval plays of Daniel survive. The first is one of the plays in the Fleury Playbook, a 13th-century manuscript containing ten liturgical dramas; the text is by Hilarius, and no music accompanies it. The play itself dates from c. 1140. The second is a 13th-century drama with monophonic music, written by students at the school of Beauvais Cathedral, located in northern France. Both plays were completed about 1227 to 1234. A large portion of the text is poetic rather than strictly liturgical in origin; it closely follows the narrative of the biblical story of Daniel at the court of Belshazzar.
The latter play was revived in the 1950s by Noah Greenberg, director of the New York Pro Musica; a commentary in English, written and performed by W. H. Auden, was used in some of their performances. A recorded 1958 performance by the group at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and featuring boy choristers of the Church of the Transfiguration as satraps and soldiers, was released by Decca, with sleeve notes by Paul Henry Lang and Dom Rembert Weakland, O.S.B., who had discovered the text at the British Library. Since the New York Pro Musica production it has enjoyed many performances among early music troupes. Also important in the history of modern revivals of the Beauvais Cathedral version, Daniel was the 1985 production of the Boston Camerata, staged by Andrea von Ramm, with musical direction by Joel Cohen. In 2008, The Dufay Collective and William Lyons released their CD, "The Play of Daniel" on the Harmonia Mundi usa label. A new production of The Play of Daniel by The Boston Camerata, this time under the direction of French-born medievalist Anne Azéma, was presented in Boston in November, 2014. Daniel was played by tenor, Jordan Weatherston Pitts.
- Belshazzar's Prince
- Two Wise Men
- Three Envious Counselors
- Belshazzar's Queen
- Darius the Mede
- Two Advisors
- An angel
- Herald Angel
- Satraps and soldiers
- Eugene, Enrico. "The Play of Daniel: European Music Series". Oklahoma: The University of Oklahoma. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
- Joseph Kerman, Contemplating Music. Harvard, 1985, p. 195.
- "Play of Daniel: Songs of Peace". Songs of Peace Online. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
- The Dufay Collective: The Play of Daniel. harmonia mundi usa, 2008
- Richard H. Hoppin, Medieval Music. New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1978.
- Stevens, John. "Medieval Drama, II", in Grove Music Online (Accessed October 11, 2006), (subscription access)