Pourquoy tournés vous voz yeux
Huitiesme Livre de Chansons, published by Le Roy & Ballard, 1557
By coincidence (I guess!) the two Ronsard texts chosen by Sweelinck are also the only two Ronsard texts in the 1575 edition of the 8th book of songs published by Le Roy and Ballard. This is one of those books which, in its various editions, saw songs come and go: the full listing is on the ‘sources’ page. It’s faintly odd that in the mid-1570s, when volumes devoted (almost) entirely to Ronsard song were very much the fashion, Le Roy and Ballard actually reduced the number of Ronsard songs included in the new edition of their 8th book!
My transcription uses the 1557 S-T-B parts which are on Gallica, and the 1559 Contra (where the word underlay is fractionally different – I’ve standardised it here) which I enjoyed handling in the British Library. The tiny size of the book caught me by surprise – the pages are much smaller than a modern postcard.
Janequin’s setting – nearly 50 years older than Sweelinck’s! – naturally sounds old-fashioned beside it. Long stretches of homophony, relieved by patches of polyphony; a much less consistent (or insistent) use of melodic ‘themes’. But Janequin does play with triple-rhythm at several points, though in a way which is less audible in performance than it is visible in the score… The selection I’ve chosen includes a couple of these triple-time segments.