Comment au departir
Pierre Clereau (or Cler’eau) (c.1520-c.1567)
Dixiesme Livre de Chansons, Le Roy & Ballard 1559
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!