La terre les eaux va buvant
Musique de Guillaume Costeley, 1570
The very next piece of Ronsard which Costeley takes on, he tackles completely differently and creates a wonderful song! (Can it be that his ‘Je veux aymer’ is a deliberately-plodding old-style homophonic French piece, designed to contrast sharply with this modern, imitative, polyphonic, Italian-sounding piece … ?!) There is homophony here: but it is used for effect, for instance where all the voices bang away on crotchets (often the same notes), all “suivant ceste reigle commune” (following this common rule). As the song develops there are beautiful arching melodies, some increasingly off-beat entries and accents, and the overlapping polyphony begins to give way to a more syllabic, yet never quite homophonic, style. But imitation is what leaps out at you: between voices, in repeated almost fugal entries; more subtly, as one voice picks up a couple of notes from another, or as runs of notes move from voice to voice; and even subtly varied repetition on a large scale, e.g. bars 20ff vs the opening. There are illustrative running figures for ‘drinking’. And the lurch into a slow canter we saw in ‘Je veux’ here becomes a gradual acceleration of the pace of the song from the longer slower notes of the beginning to the crotchets & quavers of the second half, before slowing gently into the finish.
Anyway, if the last song damaged your faith in Costeley, this one will surely restore it!
The recorded extract is roughly the second half of the song – the end of the ‘polyphonic’ section and into the ‘suivant ceste reigle’ section.