Monthly Archives: December 2015

Pevernage – Bon jour mon coeur

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Title

Bon jour mon coeur

Composer

André Pevernage

Source

Livre quatrieme des chansons d’André Pevernage… (published by Christophe Plantin, Antwerp)

(text on Lieder.net site here)
(blog entry here)
(listen to the score here)
(recorded extract not available)

 

Today, the culmination of Pevernage’s brief engagement with Ronsard: in his 4th book, he expands his forces again for the Ronsard poem, and presents an 8-voice setting. The style is – inevitably – different again. The individual voices tend to work in neat segments, often starting mid-bar and ending neatly at the end of a bar. this helps the double-choir effects, but also helps Pevernage keep things under control! But this is not a double-choir piece, nor is it an exercise in monumentality: in fact, if we set aside the half-bars of overlap between one phrase ending in one group, and the next starting in another, there are only a couple of bars of the full 8-voice sonority until right at the end (three-and-a-half bars only, even then!)

Although Pevernage begins with double-choir effects, he quickly starts playing with the format – adding one voice from the first choir to the second choir, but dropping the bass from that second choir; then mixing up 3 voices from each choir; and virtually every other combination of 5, 6, 7 or 8 voices he can manage. It’s cleverly and beautifully done, and confirms the impression gained from his previous pieces of a very capable composer. My only complaint is that the ending is not, in my view, adequately prepared and the final cadence and full stop all comes rather suddenly.

Sadly, modern recording has not yet reached most of Pevernage’s work! So, I am unable to offer more than the midi effects of the score …

(This is of course one of the most popular texts for Ronsard songs: you may wish to compare the very famous setting by Lassus, and the slightly less well-known one by de Monte.)
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Utendal – Las, force m’est

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Title

Las, force m’est qu’en brulant je me taise

Composer

Alexander Utendal

Source

Fröhliche neue Teutsche und Frantzösische Lieder, Dieterich Gerlach (Nuremberg) 1574

(text on Lieder.net site here)
(blog entry here)
(listen to the score here)
(recorded extract here: source, Utendal: Fröliche neue teutsche und frantzösiche Lieder, Kathelijne van Laethem with Romanesque)

 

Another short setting by Utendal, just taking the first quatrain of Ronsard’s sonnet, but using plenty of chromatic notes on the way! Effectively, Utendal is exploring a range of ‘foreign’ keys in a very short time, and it gives the song an attractively rich and complex sound. The rapid movement in crotchets also works well to obscure the essentially homophonic texture.

 

 

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Certon – Las! pour vous trop aymer

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Title

Las! pour vous trop aymer je ne vous puis aymer

Composer

Pierre Certon

Source

Neufiesme Livre de Chansons, Le Roy & Ballard 1559

(text on Lieder.net site here)
(blog entry here)
(listen to the score here)
(recorded extract not available)

 

After Clereau, back to Certon. And you can hear the difference, even though this is Certon on good form! The homophony is more insistent, even though there are plenty of melismatic moments to break it up, and the word-setting is also a little less clever. And Certon seems to gain no inspiration for the opening self-contradiction in the poem – “I love you too much to love you properly” – which, to my mind, really ought to have generated some sort of musical gesture to underline it. (I don’t count a rising melody for the first half, and then a corresponding fall in the second half, as much of a gesture!) That said, Bertrand -the only other contemporary to set this text – also makes little of it …

A point of interest is the repeat at the end: a simple repeat for 3 of the voices, but the bass has an extra written-out half-line which varies his contribution the second time round, off-setting it from the other voices differently and making the return to the repeat sound comnpletely fresh. Here at least Certon shows his mastery of his art!

 

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Clereau – Je ne veux plus

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Title

Je ne veux plus que chanter de tristesse

Composer

Pierre Clereau  (c.1520-c.1567)

Source

Dixiesme Livre de Chansons, Le Roy & Ballard 1559

(text on Lieder.net site here)
(blog entry not yet available)
(listen to the score here)
(recorded extract here, live recording by Ensemble Enthéos, but now available on their disc Le chant des poètes)

 

Here is Clereau’s version of a song set by Lassus and others – though Clereau’s version is nearly 15 years earlier than Lassus’, and not surprisingly somewhat different in style. That said, it is still quite ‘modern’ in its approach, flexing the generally-homophonic word-setting with assorted short melismas in the different voices to create musical interest rather than just shifting chords on each syllable. It sits on the page opposite ‘Mais dequoy sert’, presenting a nice message about Clereau’s flexibility in approaching Ronsard.

One curiosity is Clereau’s use of ‘triplet’ figures as an alternative to a dotted figure: see bar 34 at the bottom of page 2, where the superius has the triplet while two other voices have the dotted figure. I’ve left the parts as marked by Clereau, but in performance I imagine the two would be sung the same.

The recording isfrom YouTube, though now (I think) no longer available since the group produced their CD version. They performed the song twice, once as solo with instruments, once as a four-part choir. I’ve extracted the opening of the solo version, then jumped to the middle of page 3 in the choral version.

 

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Pevernage – Ces deux yeux bruns

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Title

Ces deux yeux bruns, deux flambeaux de ma vie

Composer

André (Andries) Pevernage  (c. 1542-1591)

Source

Livre troisieme des chansons d’André Pevernage, Maistre de la Chapelle de l’Eglise Cathédrale d’Anvers, Christophe Plantin, 1590

(text on Lieder.net site here)
(blog entry here)
(listen to the score here)
(recorded extract here, source: Les Amours de Mai, Julianne Baird & Parthenia viol consort)

 

Following the short setting from book 2, we can see Pevernage approaching this poem with more ambition: a full-length 2-part setting, in a gloriously varied 5-voice setting. There are only 5 whole bars in the first 5 pages where all 5 voices are singing together, with constantly-varying groupings of 3 and 4 voices taking most of the music except for cimaxes which use the full 5 voice complement. (The last 2 pages of the first part add seven more bars in 5 continuous voices, but also still have rests interrupting the full-choir sound.)

Note also the flexibility in the vocal parts – overlapping, repeating or borrowing phrases, or just going their own way: it’s a very good 5-part structure. Again, in Pevernage’s next song, we’ll see a very different approach as he expands his ambition again.

The recorded extract comes from an album by the Parthenia viol consort, here with Julianne Baird. You can readily hear the lines interweaving, though perhaps the effect of Pevernage’s variety is less obvious than with a fully-choral performance? (The extract runs from page 3 to the beginning of page 6.)

 

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Regnard – Ny nuit ne jour

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Title

Ny nuit ne jour je ne fay que songer

Composer

François Regnard

Source

Poésies de P. de Ronsard … , Le Roy & Ballard 1579

(text on Lieder.net site here)
(blog entry here)
(listen to the score here)
(recorded extract here, source: Ensemble Clément Janequin, Chansons sur des Poèmes de Ronsard)

 

An attractive setting from Regnard: though we ought to have some sympathy for the contra. She (or he, in the recording) spends over half the song constrained to a range of a third – most of pages 2-6 – though with a few chromatic notes Regnard does manage to create an interesting part for most of the time!

Regnard once again shows his preference for short texts: a 6-line setting this time, though he gives it quite an extended setting.

Again, we depend on the Ensemble Clément Janequin for a recording. (This song, incidentally, is the one they choose to open their disc with.) The extract runs from the bottom of p3 to the top of page 6, and shows the variety of movement Regnard achieves, together with the ‘illustrative’ tendencies of the style – running notes for ‘rit’ (laugh), longer notes for the pain s of love at the beginning of the extract…

 

 

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Clereau – Mais dequoy sert

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Title

Mais dequoy sert le desirer

Composer

Pierre Clereau (or Cler’eau)  (c.1520-c.1567)

Source

Dixiesme Livre de Chansons, Le Roy & Ballard 1559

(text on Lieder.net site here)
(blog entry not yet available)
(listen to the score here)
(recording not available)

 

Time to meet another composer. Clereau’s first published song also appeared under Pierre Certon’s name, and the two have stylistic similarities as well as that of their name.

Clereau was obviously popular and well-known enough to merit a whole book to himself: Le Roy & Ballard’s 10th book was devoted entirely to his works, in contrast with all the other numbered volumes in the series; and in the same year a book of his 3-part songs also appeared. Nevertheless the information we have today about him is sparse. He was quite a prolific Ronsard-setter too, so will be appearing here frequently!

clereauHis style, while broadly homophonic, is often attractive – more so (in my view) than Certon’s. And this is a nice example of one of his simple yet attractive songs.

Little of Clereau has been recorded – just three of the Ronsard songs as far as I know – and unfortunately this is not one of them… Watch this space, though: there will be some Clereau to listen to soon.

 

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