del Mel – Mignonne allons veoir si la rose


In 1598 Phalèse published a large collection of songs, the Rossignol Musical. There are several Ronsard settings among them, including this one.  Rinaldo del Mel (or del Melle) made his name in Italy, where he published many madrigals (including madrigal cycles) and motets. But he wasn’t Italian. Instead, he was one of a 150-year-long line of Franco-Flemish composers who had headed south to find work in the courts of Italy. Like others in the late 16th century, he took an Italian name: Orlando di Lasso, ‘the divine Orlando’, was really a Flamand called Roland de Lassus; and Rinaldo del Melle was originally René de Mel.


Mignonne allons veoir si la rose


Rinaldo del Mel (1554-c1598)


Le Rossignol Musical des Chansons de diverses et excellens autheurs de nostre temps, published by Phalèse 1597

(text on site here)
(blog entry here)
(listen to the score here)
(recorded extract not available – this song doesn’t appear to have been recorded)

This setting is marked by several features not seen in the earlier French settings: not least that there are 5 voice-parts.  There’s frequent imitation (the repeated ‘Mignonne’ all the way through; the rhythm of ‘O vrayement marastre nature’ which repeats in all voices in part 2; the distinctive “Comme a ceste fleur” in part 3 where the dotted minim extends across the barline nearly every time, until everyone sings it all together homophonically; and the rhythmic figure which bounces around the choir in part 3 on ‘fera tenir’); and the runs  on ‘cueillez’ in the third part, and similar figures elsewhere – both imitative and melismatic at the same time! – are much more prevalent than in the French settings I’ve posted.

There are a few lapses in prosody (word setting) which strike me as odd from a Franco-Flemish composer:  there’s one place in the superius where ‘vray-e-ment’ with a short ‘e’ becomes ‘vray-ehhhhh-ment’ with a long middle syllable, for instance; and I wonder what Ronsard would have made of the way del Mel runs together the lines at “…laisse cheoir / O vrayement …” so that the line-break comes after the ‘O’ – “laisse cheoir O – – – vrayement”?! But these are minor niggles.

[Edit: there’s a fairly horrible clash between an F-A-C in the top three voices and a G in the bass at bottom of p3. No amount of ‘ficta’ (accidentals) will resolve that, so it’s either a misprint or deliberate. I’ve left it as printed, though you should probably lower the F to an E in the Contra part.]

Part 1MigDelMel_0001 MigDelMel_0002 MigDelMel_0003 MigDelMel_0004 MigDelMel_0005

Part 2MigDelMel_0006 MigDelMel_0007MigDelMel_0008 MigDelMel_0009 MigDelMel_0010 MigDelMel_0011

part 3MigDelMel_0012 MigDelMel_0013 MigDelMel_0014 MigDelMel_0015 MigDelMel_0016 MigDelMel_0017

My copy of the Rossignol musical came from the wonderful Gallica website; here are the relevant pages extracted from the 1598 second edition. You can see immediately how some parts (tenor and bassus in part 1 for instance) have less repetition – and so less words – than others.

superiusRDMMig-S1 RDMMig-S1 RDMMig-S3 contraRDMMig-C1 RDMMig-C2 RDMMig-C3 tenorRDMMig-T1 RDMMig-T2 RDMMig-T3 quintaRDMMig-Q1 RDMMig-Q2 RDMMig-Q3 bassusRDMMig-B1 RDMMig-B2 RDMMig-B3


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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