Je ne veux plus que chanter de tristesse
Orlande de Lassus
Mellange d’Orlande de Lassus, 1570/76
Finishing the selection from Lassus’ Meslanges is this attractive setting. Lots of imitative writing throughout, as well as recurring little melodic & rhythmic features tying the whole piece together. Inevitable melismas on “chanter” (‘sing’) throughout as well. I particularly like the way the texture shrinks to just the high voices at bar 56, then at 63 the two lower voices emphasise “en chant piteux” (‘in piteous song’) by descending stepwise out of time with each other, generating some painful discords on the way. Also unusual is bar 52 in the tenor, with a couple of ‘black’ notes in the original indicating a quick switch into and out of triple-time: I’ve used a triplet rather than writing a 3:2 time-signature for just one bar.
Here are images of the original pages, from the 1576 edition on Gallica. (The tenor’s black notes are towards the middle of his 3rd line.)