Monthly Archives: May 2015

Lassus – Rendz moy mon coeur

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Title

Rendz moy mon coeur

Composer

Orlande de Lassus

Source

Les Meslanges d’Orlande de Lassus, 1576

 

(text on Lieder.net site here)
(blog entry here)
(listen to the score here)
(recorded extract here – source:  Lassus – French chansons etc, Cantus Cölln)

 

A quite precise structural approach from Lassus here: slow, measured opening, then more running figures in the middle section, then more syncopated/off-beat action towards the end. There are some grand madrigalist gestures too: “ou la mort retarde” (‘or hold back death’) in the middle has all the voices (except the top one) suddenly slow to long-held chords; and just afterwards “au cours” (‘in the course of’ – but “cours” also means ‘running’) generates little running figures everywhere! As usual Lassus sets his words with close attention to their natural emphasis: a feature which sets him apart from many of his French conmtemporaries who seem to have been unable to match his ear while also delivering the music.

 

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Rendz moy mon coeur_0008
Rendz moy mon coeur_0009

 

And here are the pages from the 1576 edition.

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Costeley – Las! je n’eusse

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Title

Las! je n’eusse jamais pensé

Composer

Guillaume Costeley

Source

Musique de Guillaume Costeley, 1570

 

(text on Lieder.net site here)
(blog entry here)
(listen to the score here)
(recorded extract here – source:  Mignonne allons voir si la Rose, Ludus Modalis)

 

Costeley’s setting opens in a solidly homophonic style, but then loosens up with overlapping ripples of text. For a change, the alto gets a quite interesting part with the longest melisma in the piece!

The recording is a straightforward harpsichord transcription of the piece – a more elaborate version follows on the CD!

 

Las je n'eusse_0001
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Goudimel – Quand j’apperçoy

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Title

Quand j’apperçoy ton beau chef jaunissant

Composer

Claude Goudimel

Source

Supplement musical to the 1552 edition of Les amours de P de Ronsard Vandomoys, ensemble le cinquiesme de ses Odes, 1552

 

(text not yet on Lieder.net site)
(blog entry here)
(listen to the score here)
(recorded extract here – source:  La fleur des musiciens de Pierre de Ronsard, Ensemble Vocal de Radio-Canada)

 

Another of the early pieces from the 1552 edition of the Amours. Like others, a largely homophonic style loosening up a bit at the end: it works well with the larger choir used in the recording, which is of the opening stanza only. There are some nice touches but a distinctly looser marriage of text and music than in the later madrigalistic style of Lassus.

 

Quand j'appercoy_0001
Quand j'appercoy_0002Quand j'appercoy_0003
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Lassus – La terre les eaux

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Title

La terre les eaux va beuvant

Composer

Orlande de Lassus

Source

Les Meslanges d’Orlande de Lassus, 1576

 

(text on Lieder.net site here)
(blog entry here)
(listen to the score here)
(recorded extract here – source:  Lassus – French chansons etc, Cantus Cölln)

 

A typically flamboyant setting from Lassus! There are obvious but well-deployed madrigalian touches – “en haut ou en bas” (‘high or low’) naturally has most voices rising to high then sinking to low points, though some of the lows are extraordinarily low (a low E for the bass); and the reference to tree roots (“racines”) has some of the voices running around ‘underground’ low in their range. But overall the setting uses a remarkably low range of voices: the superius is almost in the alto range, the alto and quinta are virtually tenors, and the tenor a baritone.

I’ve transcribed this from the 1576 edition, though it appeared first in the 1570 edition of the Meslanges. My source was the Gallica copy, with the Quinta (missing in the Gallica copy) coming from the Tours Bibliothèques Virtuelles Humanistes.

You can compare Costeley’s setting in a slightly less flamboyant, and more French, style here. Both composers use imitation (especially at the beginning) but Lassus never lets that become overpowering; nor is he fond of homophonic, French-style, declamation!

 

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Amours 1.191

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Bien que les champs, les fleuves et les lieux,
Les monts, les bois, que j’ay laissez derriere,
Me tiennent loin de ma douce guerriere,
Astre fatal d’où s’escoule mon mieux :
 
Quelque Démon par le congé des Cieux,
Qui presidoit à mon ardeur premiere,
Conduit tousjours d’une aisle coustumiere
Sa belle image au sejour de mes yeux.
 
Toutes les nuicts impatient de haste,
Entre mes bras je rembrasse et retaste
Son vain portrait en cent formes trompeur :
 
Mais quand il voit que content je sommeille,
Rompant mon bien s’envole, et me resveille
Seul en mon lict plein de honte et de peur.
 
 
 
                                                                            Although the fields, rivers and places,
                                                                            Hills and woods that I have left behind
                                                                            Keep me far from my sweet warrior,
                                                                            The deadly star from whom all that’s best for me flows;
 
                                                                            By heaven’s leave some demon
                                                                            Who presided over my initial ardour
                                                                            Still leads with his accustomed wing
                                                                            Her fair image to its lodging in my eyes.
 
                                                                            Every night, impatient with eagerness,
                                                                            Within my arms I embrace again, touch again,
                                                                            Her empty image in a hundred deceptive forms;
 
                                                                            But when he sees that I sleep contentedly,
                                                                            Shattering my happiness he flies off, and I wake
                                                                            Alone in my bed, full of shame and fear.
 
 
 
A lovely poem; the final line, though, just raises a little question mark in my mind. Fear of what? And what is it that Ronsard is ‘ashamed’ of in his contented dreams? With a modern sensibility it’s easy to think of physical reactions to his dreams which might embarrass him, even make him afraid of his own ardour. But is sixteenth-century Ronsard saying that, or just being embarrassed/fearful at falling for the dream’s deception?
 
In the earlier version Blanchemain prints, the final tercet adds (much more conventional) ‘regret’ to his feelings but clarifies nothing:
 
Mais quand il void que content je sommeille,
Moquant mes bras, il s’enfuit et m’eveille,
Plein de regret, de vergogne et de peur. 
 
                                                                            But when he sees that I sleep contentedly,
                                                                            Mocking my arms he flees and awakens me
                                                                            Filled with regret, shame and fear.
 
 
 
 
(And so we complete the first 200 sonnets of Amours 1: an updated complete text so far will be available shortly.)