"Meister Rumelant - Minnesinger at the Danehof Court"
Chivalrous entertainment from the time of king Erik Menved.
Ä¢It happened in Jutland, up in the north ... Faithful Danes, seek revenge for your king, praise and honour will you recieve in return.Ä£ The King is Erik Klipping, who was brutally murdered on the night of November 22, 1286 in the small village Finnerup in Jutland, and the words are from one of the ten songs which have come down to us from the work of the German minnesinger Rumelant. Three of these songs describe these dramatic events, and they were most probably sung at the Danish court in Nyborg Castle in 1287. Thus, they are a remarkable example of words and music which had sounded in the Denmark of the Middle Ages. The language is German, which is not surprising considering the rich cross-cultural exchange between the Danish court and noblemen and their German counterparts, much like in the rest of Europe at the time.
But who was this Rumelant? He was not a nobleman like many of his singing colleagues, but is called Meister, i.e. a professional musician. Rumeland's artist name, meaning Ä¢escapee of the landÄ£, refers to his status as a travelling singer, and the texts indirectly refer to where his travels had taken him: Frankfurt am Main, Schwerin, Braunschweig, Mecklenburg, Pommern and - Nyborg. We know nothing more of his life. However, in a manuscript from around 1300 (Manesse codex) there is a portrait. Here he is depicted, about to mount his horse saying goodbye to a nobleman. The picture above it gives a glimpse of Rumeland's everyday life. A woman and two men hold hands while performing a courtly dance, being accompanied by a flute and a fiddle. Together with the serious songs, there could be no better illustration of how the travelling musician filled many functions, and the kind of versatility expected of them during festivities at Nyborg Castle - from complicated declarations of love to the woman and praising of his lord, to moralizing and propagandist songs, instrumental virtuosities, common and unrestrained dancing.