Monthly Archives: March 2016

Utendal – Petite nimfe folatre

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Title

Petite nimfe folatre

Composer

Alexander Utendal  (c. 1543-1581)

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, Hofmusik auf Schloss Ambras: Froeliche newe Teutsche vnnd Frantzoesische Lieder, Neue Innsbrucker Hofkapelle)

 

It’s a while since we had a song from outside France, so let’s return to Utendal – the Flemish-Belgian working in Innsbruck, who published a mix of French and German songs in 1574. This is nearer the chordal French style than some of his other settings, but he knows how to make it an attractive piece, with some more adventurous melody & harmony than his French contemporaries, and he varies the flow of the music with rests and particularly with triple-time segments (occasionally very short – bars 60ff of the second part – for specific effects) as well as ‘syncopations’ (dotted rhythms) and occasional melismatic ‘runs’, with imitation from voice to voice. A very accomplished and attractive piece.

And to go with the score, a lovely recording too. This comes from the Neue Innsbrucker Hofkapelle, who recorded the entire Utendal book in a concert at the very castle in Innsbruck where Utendal wrote it. They shape the music – perhaps a shade too much – and consequently perhaps this song goes a little slower than it might; but it’s beautifully-sung. The extract is from the top of page 7 to the bottom of page 8 (bars 36-57 of the second part), which includes some imitative runs and the single triple-time bars showing their effect.

 

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Clereau – Nature ornant

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Title

Nature ornant la dame

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 here)
(listen to the score here)
(recording not available)

 

Completing our sweep through Clereau’s Ronsard settings in book 10 is Nature ornant. This is a rather more straightforward setting than the extensive Comment au departir, almost entirely free of accidentals (and thus not venturing into other keys) and while perhaps unremarkable it is a gentle, pleasant, and well-written example of the mid-sixteenth-century French style. If you compare the Janequin setting, you can see that things have moved on a little from his style.

Perhaps because it is not unusual, there are (so far as I can find) no recordings available.

 

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Clereau – Comment au departir

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Title

Comment au departir

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 here)
(listen to the score here)
(recordings here (by Echomundi) and here (by Cantus Firmus, in Porto Alegre Brazil))

 

Continuing our quick journey through the 10th book of songs, by Clereau, we come to this charming setting. Quite extended (effectively setting a whole sonnet, though the poem is strictly not a sonnet!), and essentially a hompohonic setting to maximise comprehensibility of the words, Clereau none the less has the voices rippling past each other more than singing chordally.

I particularly like the rather recherché ‘madrigalesque’ moment at bars 60ff, when the word ‘douce’ (soft) is repeatedly set to B-flats. Why? Because B-flat is ‘be-mol’ (soft-B) in French and in medieval musical thinking, so the note and the word are intimately linked in the setting.

We are lucky that this is also one of the few songs of Clereau’s that has attracted performers. YouTube carries two performances so I’ve linked them both!

 

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Clereau – Qui voudra voir

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Title

Qui voudra voir dedans une jeunesse

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 here)
(listen to the score here)
(recording not available)

 

Another example of Clereau’s fairly simple yet attractive style. Little to say about this one, though note that this is one of the relatively few settings by a compioser outside the ‘literary circles’ which sets the two quatrains to a repeated opening section, with the remainder of the poem in a second section (also repeating the final line).

No recording to share I’m afraid 😦

 

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Goudimel – Bon jour mon coeur

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Title

Bon jour mon coeur

Composer

Claude Goudimel

Source

Neufiesme Livre de Chansons, Le Roy & Ballard 1559/1564

(text on Lieder.net site here)
(blog entry here)
(listen to the score here)
(recording here, from Bonjour mon coeur, Collegium Vocale Bydgoszcz)

 

The fourth of the five contemporary settings of this text which we will see: the others (so far) are by Lassus, de Monte and Pevernage. Goudimel’s is perhaps the most old-fashioned in style, mostly chordal and in only four voices; but it does have the distinction of being in triple-time, which (as we’ve seen) is only occasionally seen explicitly in these settings. In fact, while others have sections in triple-time, or sections in 4/4 which ought to be sung with a triple-time lilt, this is the only song entirely in triple-time so far (I think!).

Although my source is the two versions of the 9th Book, I ought to admit that the existing copies only preserve three of the four parts. Nevertheless this song is widely-known, and the fourth part readily available. (An admission: I don’t, however, know where it survived!)

The recording is from a lovely CD by a Polish group who are generously making their entire discography available free on YouTube & their website.

 

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Regnard – Las de quels maux

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[I don’t know if ‘translator’s block’ is as real as writer’s block, but that’s what it feels like! So in lieu of posting nothing, I’ll put up some more song transcriptions. Apologies to those who are waiting for the completion of Amours 1, or the addition of other Ronsard works…]

 

Title

Las de quels maux, amour, et de combien

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)
(recording not available)

 

Another beautiful, if melancholy, 5-voice setting by Regnard, this time a very extended setting. Yet still it is not a complete sonnet – in fact Regnard has used the middle section of a sonnet, rather oddly setting an odd number, 7 lines, of poetry!

Like so many of these later 16th-century settings, it’s not yet made it onto record!

 

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