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Puis qu’il convient que le depart se face 3v · Delahaye

Appearance in the five chansonniers:

*Copenhagen ff. 5v-6 »Puis qu'il convient que le depart se face« 3v PDF · Facsimile

*Nivelle ff. 31v-32 »Puis qu'il convient que le depart se face« 3v Delahaye PDF · Facsimile

– Both versions combined in a PDF package

Editions: Jeppesen 1927 no. 6 Copenhagen); Thibault 1927 pp. 15-18 (Copenhagen); Alden 2001 no. 3 (Nivelle).

Text: Rondeau cinquain, full text in both sources, also found in Paris 1722 f. 22 (no. 85):

Puis qu’il convient que le depart se face
de vous et moi, tres gente et plaisant face,
face au seurplus la mort de moi son vueil;
car desormais autre chose ne vueil,
ou je prie Dieu que brefment me defface
.

Il n’est plaisir qui en moi se parface,
courroux transi toute ma joye efface,
a ceste fois pers tout joyeulx acueil.

Puis qu’il convient que le depart se face
de vous et moi, tres gente et plaisant face,
face au seurplus la mort de moi son vueil.

Finant mes jours je fons comme la glace;
plaindre mon mal m’en vois de place en place
fort larmoyant piteusement de l’oeil,
morir ne puis, mais tousjours viz en duel,
en actendant du dieu d’Amours la grace.

Puis qu’il convient que le depart se face
de vous et moi, tres gente et plaisant face,
face au seurplus la mort de moi son vueil;
car desormais autre chose ne vueil,
ou je prie Dieu que brefment me defface.

Since it has to be that the parting is near
of you and me, most noble and fair lady,
let Death finally have his way with me,
as I from now on want nothing else
and pray to God that soon he destroys me.

There is no pleasure which can thrive in me,
crippling sorrow effaces all my joy,
now I lose all joyous welcome.

Since it has to be that the parting is near
of you and me, most noble and fair lady,
let Death finally have his way with me.

My days run out like melting ice;
to complain my misery I go from place to place
with tears pouring piteously from my eyes,
die I cannot, but must always live in grief
waiting for the god Cupid’s grace.

Since it has to be that the parting is near
of you and me, most noble and fair lady,
let Death finally have his way with me,
as I from now on want nothing else
and pray to God that soon he destroys me.

(After Copenhagen; line 13 has “... me voix ...”, corrected in accordance with Nivelle).

Evaluation of the sources:

The two versions of the chanson copied by the Dijon scribe and the Nivelle scribe respectively are quite different. In addition to differences in the spelling of the text, in figuration (S bb. 6.1-2, 14.1-2, 25.3, 32; T bb. 11.2, 14.1-2, 20.3, 32.2-3; C bb. 11.2, 14.2-3, 18.3-19.1, 23.1.2), use of coloration (S bb. 14.1-2, 27.3-28.1, 31.2, 33.3-37.1; T bb. 31.2-3, 32.2-3, 33.2; C bb. 10.1-2, 26.1-2, 33.3), and ligatures (T b. 29.2-3; C bb 14 an 23) they differ in their use of key signatures: Nivelle has signatures of one flat each in superius and tenor and two flats in the contratenor, while Copenhagen only exhibits one flat in the contratenor and none in superius and tenor. For long stretches this really does not make any difference, as the rules for singing polyphony produce most of the flats indicated by the key signatures of Nivelle. In two places, however, it makes an audible difference, namely in bars 15-17 and bars 22-29. Here the sound changes from a preponderance of minor thirds to a sonority of major thirds. It happens just before and after the medial cadence, and thus makes the unfolding of the rondeau form much more varied and exciting.

The Copenhagen version may represent the first idea from the hand of composer. Its contrasts are more clearly drawn up, it has some harsh dissonances (see S-C in bb. 14 and 18), and the shift in sonority also helps to avoid the diminished fifth between tenor and contratenor in bar 27.1. The Nivelle version in comparison seems smooth, more polished – maybe some second thoughts are worked in – but also a little bland. The Copenhagen version is hardly a result of the Dijon scribe’s tendency to revise his repertory, but must reflect his exemplar.

As mentioned in connection with the first chanson in the Copenhagen chansonnier, “Comment suis je de vostre cueur”, the two chansons by Delahaye appear in a series of four attributed chansons by this composer. This endows the Nivelle version with a considerable authority, but the appearance of a possible earlier version, which the Dijon scribe had access to, in addition to the divergent versions of “Comment suis je” raises interesting questions about the relations between the Dijon and Nivelle chansonniers. Maybe they were closer in time than often thought, and apparently the Dijon scribe too had a rather close relationship to the elusive composer Delahaye.

Comments on text and music:

This downcast love complaint is clearly related to Delahaye’s “Comment suis je de vostre cueur” even if it is longer (in accordance with the rondeau cinquain form) and less densely constructed, and in a lower range (transposed Dorian). It has the same use of imitation of short cadential motives in the second line (bb. 8-9; here without disturbance of the triple rhythm), the same introduction of an episode where double time is suggested and the regular meter floats just before the medial cadence (bb. 15 ff), and the same possible change from cantus mollis (with b-flat) to cantus durum (with b-natural) at the start of the second sections, especially in the versions copied by the Dijon scribe. In the Nivelle version we meet the same predicament of having to chose between linear augmented fourths or a diminished fifth between tenor and contratenor (bb. 26-27).

The poem does not offer opportunities for a comparable range of feelings as in “Comment suis je”, therefore the setting may seem a little less involved, but on the other hand also more balanced in its affects.

PWCH February 2009