Lassus – Bon jour, mon coeur


Time for another song. This is perhaps the most famous of all, simply becasue it is by the most mainstream composer – le plus que divin Orlande, as Ronsard called him when singling him out from contemporary composers for praise.

Lassus did not particularly favour Ronsard’s poetry, but was alert to current tastes throughout Europe – he wrote Italian, French and German songs as well as the ubiquitous Latin church music, all in the best local styles and all with varied local tastes in mind.

There appear to be two variants of Lassus’ setting – so I shall have to dig around a bit more to find you the other one… 🙂


Bon jour, mon coeur


Roland de Lassus (1530-1594)


Meslanges d’Orlande de Lassus, contenant plusieurs chansons…, 1570

(text on site here)
(blog entry here)
(listen to the score here)
(recorded extract here – source: “Ronsard et les néerlandais“, Egidius Kwartet)


Lassus sets this fragment of Ronsard almost entirely homophonically, so the words are easily heard. Ronsard would be pleased! Note that this is the only one of the ‘several songs’ in the collection to a text by Ronsard, though there are a small handful of other settings elsewhere in Lassus’ vast output. My version comes from Henry Expert’s La fleur des musiciens de P. de Ronsard.

The recorded extract is of the ending – the last 20 or so bars in the trasnscription – to show that even when he overlaps the voices the clarity of the words remains Lassus’s priority.

Bon jour mon coeur_0001
Bon jour mon coeur_0002
Bon jour mon coeur_0003
Bon jour mon coeur_0004
Bon jour mon coeur_0005

Here is the song as printed in the 1576 edition of his Meslanges by Le Roy and Ballard – the four part-books are available on the fantastic Gallica website, and I have extracted the relevant page from each to save you hunting through!  This format was a far more common way of publishing than ‘full score’ as in the Supplement to the Amours, designed for performance rather than scholarly reading! (The final line on each page is the beginning of the next piece in the books.)




About fattoxxon

Who am I? Lover of all sorts of music - classical, medieval, world (anything from Africa), world-classical (Uzbek & Iraqi magam for instance), and virtually anything that won't be on the music charts... Lover of Ronsard's poetry (obviously) and of sonnets in general. Reader of English, French, Latin & other literature. And who is Fattoxxon? An allusion to an Uzbek singer - pronounce it Patahan, with a very plosive 'P' and a throaty 'h', as in 'khan')

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