The Sacred and Profane Love Machine

Sunday, Mar 1st 2020 - 8:00pm
Price: 50,- DKK
Arranged by: Holtug Kirke

In the Galleria Borghese in Rome we can view one of Titian’s most famous and yet mysterious paintings, Amor Sacro e Amor Profano. It shows us two ladies, one clothed, one naked, who might even be versions of the same woman, seated upon a waterfilled sarcophagus, while in between them a cupid stirs the waters. In the distance on one side is a church, in the other a castle.

In 1974 this painting inspired Iris Murdoch to write her novel, The Sacred and Profane Love Machine, about a man with both a wife and a mistress. In the same year (quite possibly unconnected) a Motown group called The Miracles recorded Love Machine which became a huge hit: “I’m just a love machine, A huggin’ kissin’ fiend”.

We have borrowed the Murdoch title for this program to explore a range of human love machines, from the medieval cantiga about how Holy Mary protected a pregnant abbess, over Claude Debussy's moving songs to texts by Charles d'Orleons, to David Lang’s short lyrics of love and failure. At the centre of the program stands Benjamin Britten’s Sacred and Profane—also composed in 1974-5 — a song-cycle of medieval lyrics about different kinds of love, both sacred and profane, but also about suffering and mortality.


Claude Debussy (1862-1918) Trois Chansons de Charles d’Orléans
1. Dieu! qu’il la fait bon regarder!
2. Quant j’ai ouy le tabourin
3. Yver, vous n’estes qu’un villain
David Lang (b. 1957) from love fail:
he was and she was
Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377) De toutes flours (ballade)
St. Godric (d.1170)
Anon. C13
Anon. C13 
Seinte Marie Viergene
Fuweles in the frith
Miri it is
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) Sacred and Profane
Magister Piero (approx. 1300-1350) Segugi a corta (caccia)
David Lang from love fail: 
head, heart
Wayne Siegel (b. 1953) Three Lorca songs from Seis caprichos
1. Adivinanza de la guitarra
2. Candil
3. Crótalo