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
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.
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.)