Plus tu cognois que je brusle pour toy
Nicolas Millot (c 1535-1590)
Huitiesme Livre de Chansons, published by Le Roy & Ballard, 1557
When we had the Sweelinck settings, I mentioned that both texts were used in Le Roy & Ballard’s 8th book: Janequin set Pourquoy tournez-vous, and this is the other setting. Nicolas Millot is a minor character who nevertheless produced quite a number of songs – around 30 survive – including several Ronsard texts. So we will meet him again.
Here is how Frank Dobbins sums him up (my own translation):
Millot’s style is rather old-fashioned, reminiscent of the courtly songs of Janequin and Arcadelt. His four-voice songs are generally homophonic with the melody in the tenor [out of fashion well before 1550] or higher voices and, occasionally, imitative passages in the other voices. Three songs present the more modern motivic imitation and compositional techniques of his great contemporary Lassus, who set the same texts. [One of them is by Ronsard – Rendz moy mon coeur.] The later songs of Millot resemble those of the most important [French] composer of the period, Guillaume Costeley [ … ] With these two composers we find for example the occasional omission of the bassus, a technique designed to lighten the vocal texture.
After that introduction it comes as a slight surprise that this song is quite charming, with light textures and much less frequent homophony than many of his French contemporaries! Nevertheless, as with some of my other judgements on these songs, this view seems not to be widely shared; and I can (again) find no recording of this song.
I have two copies of the 8th book: the 1557 and the 1559 editions, made available respectively by the Bibilotheque nationale de France on Gallica, and by the British Library on Royal Holloway’s digital repository: In each case only three parts have been digitised; the Contratenor is taken from the 1559 print, in a useful little book in the British Library.