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La pourveance de mon cueur 3v · Anonymous

Appearance in the five chansonniers:

*Laborde ff. 94v-95 »La pourveance de mon cueur« 3v PDF · Facsimile

Edition: Goldberg 1997, pp. 491-493 (incomplete, parts of contratenor not edited).

Text: Rondeau cinquain; full text (incomplete):

La pourveance de mon cueur,
la seule vertu de mon heur,
le ressort de ma seule joye,
quant vous plaira il que je soye
[…] (1)

Si pitie s’enrinonce rigueur
en vous des eslictes la fleur,
sans nul doubte avoir je porroye, (2)

La pourveance de mon cueur,
la seule vertu de mon heur,
le ressort de ma seule joye

Mais si par force de sueur,
ennemie de tout honneur,
vostre franchise se forvoye,
esperance n’est que je y voie
ne d’avoir [...] ne scay ja seur. (3)

La pourveance de mon cueur,
la seule vertu de mon heur,
le ressort de ma seule joye,
quant vous plaira il que je soye

My heart’s defence,
my hour’s only virtue,
my sole joy’s resort,
when it will please you that I might be

If pity would renounce on strictness
in you, the flower of all women,
I could have, without any doubt,

my heart’s defence,
my hour’s only virtue,
my sole joy’s resort.

But if by the strength of effort,
all honour’s enemy,
your sincerity loses its way,
there is no hope that there I will see,
nor have ..., nor know for sure.

My heart’s defence,
my hour’s only virtue,
my sole joy’s resort,
when it will please you that I might

1) Line 5 is missing.
2) line 8, “... ne pourroye,”
3) The last line is missing a syllable

Evaluation of the source:

The unique and anonymous rondeau cinquain was copied by the Dijon scribe into the Laborde Chansonnier where he placed it on folios 94v-95 between such well-known songs as »Amours, amours trop me fiers de tes dars« (ff. 93v-94) and »M’a vostre cueur mis en oubli« ((ff. 95v-97), which in other sources are ascribed to Hayne van Ghizeghem and Antoine Busnoys. The result of his work on this chanson looks very nice and tidy, but is in fact inaccurate with many errors and omissions (see the comments in the edition). Most of the errors in the musical text are easy to identify and correct owing to the setting’s pervasive reliance on canonic imitation, but it is hardly possible to restore the poetic text ahead of discovery of concordances.

It is conceivable that the scribe stopped the underlay of the refrain text below the superius when he noticed that he accidentally had written the fourth line of the poem below the phrase, which leads to the medial cadence en bars 33-35, in stead of below the next musical phrase – the two phrases start with similar notes and may easily be confused (b’-c”-e”, see bb. 29-30 and 36-37). Instead of erasing the words and entering lines 4-5 in their correct position, he just went on and entered couplet and tierce on the lower half of the page. He forgot to or never had the opportunity to come back and make the necessary corrections to the text and music.

The song is clearly inspired (see below) by Busnoys’ »Ja que lui ne s’i attende«, which the main scribe of Laborde had copied into his collection on folios 52v-53. The Dijon scribe notated it without key signatures in superius and tenor, but with a signature of two flats in the contratenor. It is obvious that the Dijon scribe had studied the Laborde scribe’s redaction of “Ja que lui ne” carefully, since his second version of the bergerette in the Copenhagen chansonnier became heavily influenced by this. It may have been the Dijon scribe’s original intention to copy Busnoys’ song into the Laborde chansonnier too, but when he recognized that it was already present, he chose to enter in its place a new piece related to “Ja que lui ne”.

The numerous errors and omissions in music and text support that the exemplar from which he worked must have been quite sketchy and not far removed from the composer. It might very well have been a sort of composition draft, either made by the scribe himself or by someone among his nearest acquaintances. In this way the song’s key signatures probably were influenced by the Laborde version of “Ja que lui ne” and the Dijon scribe’s copy represents the composer’s intention, even if the e-flat in the contratenor has to be naturalized during the first 15 bars. On the other hand, it is not unthinkable that the Dijon scribe did edit a song, which originally was without any key signatures, inspired by what he saw in the Laborde chansonnier, just like he did with the Copenhagen version of “Ja que lui ne”. Therefore the modern edition includes also an alternative reading of the rondeau. Flattening of Bs will still be necessary in performance of the rondeau, but not to the same extent as when the contratenor is ruled by a two-flat signature.

Comments on text and music:

The poem does not exhibit much poetic competence or is corrupted beyond repair. It may be a sort of reponce to Busnoys’ famous bergerette »Ja que lui ne s’i attende«. In Busnoys’ song the woman declares her love for a man who does not expect it in quite ambiguous words. In the rondeau the man seems to hope that pity might soften the lady’s strictness, and then he could have every sort of happiness.

The composer perceived that the main motive of Busnoys’ “Ja que lui ne” was indeed the four repeated brevis notes on c in the contratenor and quoted it in his tenor an octave higher (on the uniqueness of this beginning, see the comments on “Ja que lui ne”). The superius begins with a countervoice pattern of 1-3-5-6-5 similar to the superius of “Ja que lui ne”, and the contratenor presents just like in Busnoys’ chanson the natural C hexachord for the first 15 bars. Following the principles of his model the composer accordingly restricted the tenor to the notes of the hard G hexachord in these bars. However, after the first line he made things a bit difficult for himself as the upper voices from now on progress in more or less strict canon at the octave and unison. This procedure may be inspired by “Ja que lui ne”, but passages like for example bars 23-29 remind more of the unique rondeau »Puisque honneste vie la pare«, which the Dijon scribe selected for the Copenhagen chansonnier (no. 16) along with “Ja que lui ne”.

After the first 15 bars the song turns away from the combined C and G hexachords by introducing at first the soft F hexachord and soon after fictive hexachords on B-flat. Moving back and forth between passages dominated by alternatively the naturals of the upper voices and the flats of the contratenor creates a shimmering sound, which accords well with the Laborde version of “Ja que lui ne”. Also the touches of ostinato displayed by the contratenor as well as by the canon passages refer to Busnoys, but the totality of the composer’s efforts is no match for Busnoys’ mastery. The song soon soon loses direction and is probably quite corrupt in the Dijon scribe’s inaccurate presentation.

PWCH December 2009