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Riant regard, acompli en doulceur 3v · Anonymous

Appearance in the five chansonniers:

*Copenhagen ff. 13v-14 »Riant regard, acompli en doulceur« 3v PDF - Facsimile

Editions: Jeppesen 1927 no. 11 (Copenhagen); Thibault 1927 pp. 19-23 (Copenhagen).

Text: Rondeau cinquain, full text:

Riant regard, acompli en doulceur,
choisi a part pour pris de tout honneur,
en vous appert noblesse et demourance,
et d’autre part avez celle puissance
qu’en celle part ay du tout mis mon cueur.

Vueillez esgart avoir a la douleur
que au depart a eu le serviteur
qui tost et tart vous a en remenbrance,

riant regard, acompli en doulceur,
choisi a part pour pris de tout honneur,
en vous appert noblesse et demourance.

Ennuy me part par gemir et par pleur
et me depart trop d’angoisse et douleur,
mon cueur m’y part; ayez en souvenance:
Faictes depart d’aucun peu d’allegence
qui mon cueur gart d’ainsi vivre en langueur.

Riant regard, acompli en doulceur,
choisi a part pour pris de tout honneur,
en vous appert noblesse et demourance,
et d’autre part avez celle puissance
qu’en celle part ay du tout mis mon cueur.

Laughing glance, perfect in sweetness,
chosen especially as the sum of everything honourable,
in you appear nobleness and fidelity
and furthermore you have such a power
that I in you have entrusted entirely my heart.

Please bear in mind the torment
at the departure, which your servant felt,
who early and late holds you in remembrance,

laughing glance, perfect in sweetness,
chosen especially as the sum of everything honourable,
in you appear nobleness and fidelity.

Agony crushes me in sighing and crying
and gives me so much anguish and pain
that my heart shatters; please remember,
grant me some alleviation,
which can guard my heart against such languishing.

Laughing glance, perfect in sweetness,
chosen especially as the sum of everything honourable,
in you appear nobleness and fidelity
and furthermore you have such a power
that I in you have entrusted entirely my heart.

Line 6, “… a la doulceur”

Evaluation of the source:

The scribe made a careful copy of this chanson – and his copy became the only source for it to survive. The only problem he met during the work was created by the great range of the parts, which made it difficult to squeeze in the text where in a staff low notes were placed directly above high notes in the staff below (cf. Superius bb. 19 ff and the facsimile). In the tenor part he only wrote the key signature of one flat into the first staff (bb. 1-18). In the transcription it has been interpreted as relating to the low b in b. 3 only, but also as giving a priority to the flattening of the Bs in the remainder of the part.

Comments on text and music:

In this unique rondeau a passionate courtly poem is interpreted in music of the highest quality. It is a long and difficult setting, which is composed for two nearly equal high voices and a low “Concordans” even if it begins as a normal superius-tenor-low contratenor chanson with imitation of the opening motive in octaves. The superius lies in a high tessitura (d’-g’’) while the tenor has an unusually extended high range of an octave and a sixth (a-f’’), and thus ends up having a top note only a tone lower than the superius. They form a self-sufficient duet and exchange their functions as tenor and superius in the contrapuntal structure, the tenor raising an octave above the superius in the second line (bb. 17-20), and in bar 39 the tenor also takes on a contratenor’s role of bridging the phrases. This duet is supplemented by the low voice that agrees (concords) with both upper voices, and which takes part in the imitations at the beginning of both the rondeau’s sections. Except for that it is not involved in the motivic interplay of the upper parts but runs its own course and greatly intensifies the music’s expressive qualities.

The melodic lines are long and reach the carefully prepared climaxes through varied developments often involving complementary dotted figures and sequences. In spite of this the musical setting appears to be composed in close observance of the words. See for example how effectively the Concordans just before the middle cadence inserts a syncopated declamation of four syllables, which exactly fits the last words of the three lines which have to be sung to this music: “demourance / remembrance / souvenance”. The flow of the melodic lines often results in concords in which diminished fifths sound in passing or longer; this seems to be quite in accordance with style characteristics of the most important contemporary chanson composer, Antoine Busnoys.

»Riant regard, acompli en doulceur« is as regards theme and style clearly related to Busnoys’ »Joie me fuit et douleur queurt seure« and the anonymous »Videz dehors car vous estes trop chaut«, both in the Dijon chansonnier (ff. 29v-30 and 77v-78). However, a more definite placement of this chanson must await a coming investigation of all compositions for equal voices and a concordans/contratenor in this repertory.

PWCH June 2009