Ces deux yeux bruns, deux flambeaux de ma vie
André (Andries) Pevernage (c. 1542-1591)
Livre troisieme des chansons d’André Pevernage, Maistre de la Chapelle de l’Eglise Cathédrale d’Anvers, Christophe Plantin, 1590
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.)