Certon – Je suis un demi-dieu




Je suis un demi dieu


Pierre Certon


Huitiesme Livre de Chansons, published by Le Roy & Ballard, 1557


(text on Lieder.net site here)
(blog entry not yet available)
(listen to the score here)
(recording here – source: Mary’s Music: Songs & Dances from the time of Mary Queen of Scots, Scottish Early Music Consort)


It’s a bit of a shock moving back from Lassus to the very French style of Pierre Certon. It seems hardly possible that there are only 14 years, and a stylistic (French-Italian) boundary between them. Indeed, the middle section of this setting sounds like a (not very good) psalm setting suitable for church use, in completely homophonic style with each line moving inevitably to an ‘open’ cadence at its halfway point, then back to a ‘closed’ one. It doesn’t help that this section, with the succeeding more freely composed and attractive conclusion, is then repeated with some minor variations!

But that would be to ignore the attractively polyphonic opening, and the sections which succeed those very dully-homophonic ones, which make a much better impression. The recording (dating from the mid-80s) succeeds in making the music live and breathe appealingly, showing it very definitely in the best possible light!




About fattoxxon

Who am I? Lover of all sorts of music - classical, medieval, world (anything from Africa), world-classical (Uzbek & Iraqi magam for instance), and virtually anything that won't be on the music charts... Lover of Ronsard's poetry (obviously) and of sonnets in general. Reader of English, French, Latin & other literature. And who is Fattoxxon? An allusion to an Uzbek singer - pronounce it Patahan, with a very plosive 'P' and a throaty 'h', as in 'khan')

2 responses »

  1. Mr. (or Ms. ?) Fattoxon. Your blog is spectacular, and, as a fervent explorer of the Web, I have just discovered it. New and fertile land indeed!!. As a French Renaissance scholar fishing for novel ways to organize a credible approach to eco-critism, I will doubtlessly mine it for precious text which I had only glances at before.

    Thank you so much, and best regards.

    Marc Andre Wiesmann

    Skidmore College USa

    • Thanks for your thank you, Marc Andre! I’m astonished that no-one has yet come up with a decent product for displaying multiple versions (side by side, or with HTML links to alternative lines) of poems & texts like this. If you come across one do let me know! Best wishes, “(Mr) F” = David

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