Arcadelt – Mais dequoy sert




Mais dequoy sert le desirer


Jacques Arcadelt (c.1507-1568)


Neufiesme Livre de Chansons, Le Roy & Ballard 1559/1569

(text on site here)
(blog entry not yet available)
(listen to the score here)
(recorded excerpt here: source, Ronsard et les Néerlandais, Egidius Kwartet)


Arcadelt was the younger contemporary of Janequin, and probably the most significant composer in France (after Janequin) of the first half of the sixteenth century. In fact, if you’d asked his contemporaries, they’d probably have put him at the top of the list: he was an ‘insider’ who got the top jobs, while Janequin was an ‘outsider’ who always seemed to miss out.

This is his only Ronsard song. Like Janequin, Arcadelt was from the generation that in general set poets like Marot, not newfangled classicists like Ronsard. It is no surprise, then, that this setting reflects all the virtues of the French style of the earlier sixteenth century: clarity of word-setting, through a largely homophonic style, and little word-painting or chromaticism. That said, it is a lovely example of its type and far better than the often rather heavy settings in a similar vein by Certon.









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')

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