Que me servent mes vers et les sons de ma lyre
Philippe de Monte (1521-1603)
Le Rossignol Musical … , Phalèse 1597
Here’s an interesting setting by de Monte: effectively, moving quickly towards the baroque future with a melody, a bass, and three middle parts providing harmonic support. Well, it’s written as polyphony, but the vocal ranges are effectively 1 lady, 3 tenors & a bass even if they are still labelled ‘contra’, ‘tenor’ and ‘quinta’.The recording brings this out more obviously still by opening with the top (melody) line alone.
Once again de Monte begins with a solo soprano line, but (after a brief homophonic opening) the lower voices function either chordally in twos and threes, or as overlapping lines, rather than in French-style homophony. It’s an attractive and pensive setting.
This too originally appeared in de Monte’s own book of Ronsard settings in 1575, where it was placed first – its unusual features making it indeed a gripping opening to the set.