Je suis tellement amoureux
André (Andries) Pevernage (c. 1542-1591)
Livre seconde des chansons d’André Pevernage, Maistre de la Chapelle de l’Eglise Cathédrale d’Anvers, Christophe Plantin, 1590
Another new composer to this site – and, like Utendal, of Flemish origin. Unlike Utendal, he didn’t travel across Europe but stayed in Antwerp (at the cathedral) throughout the religious troubles that affected western Europe during this period of Reformation and Counter-Reformation. This song is, in some ways, a perfect reflection of it: the opening is beautifully managed in the full-on polyphonic (‘Catholic’) style – you can readily detect ‘section 1’ taking the fist line for 18 bars, the ‘section 2’ developing new thematic material for the next line over the next 14 bars; and then the style becomes increasingly homophonic (‘French’ or ‘protestant’) in the remainder of the song! But that is in truth more a reflection of the approach current in the late sixteenth-century, than on this particular piece.
And what a remarkably beautiful opening it is; Pevernage was very prolific, it’s a pity he did so few Ronsard songs! And, despite the endless repetitions of phrase-fragments in the homophonic sections, Pevernage keeps playing variations to keep his music interesting. It’s a very short setting; in his next book Pevernage took a more extended approach to another Ronsard poem, as we will see another time.
Incidentally, this is the first time we’ve had anything printed by the famous house of Plantin in Antwerp; and also the first music printed ‘portrait’ rather than ‘landscape’. Here’s the title page:
The musical extract is another of the beautiful recordings by the Egidius Kwartet: I’ve selected the polyphonic ‘section 2’ and the transition into the homophonic material.