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MS Florence 2794


Ha, cueur perdu et desole 3v · Anonymus

Appearance in the group of related chansonniers:

*Leuven ff. 59v-61 »Ha cueur perdu et desole« 3v · Edition · Facsimile

Other musical source:

Florence 2794 ff. 13v-14 »[Ha] cueur perdu et desolle« 3v

This page with editions as a PDF

Citation by Obrecht, see Fallows 1999, p. 174.

Text: Bergerette; full text in Leuven, also found in Berlin 78.B.17 ff. 129v-130, ed.: Löpelmann 1923, p. 231, and Jardin f. 86v.

After Leuven:

Ha, cueur perdu et desole,
de tristesse plus que soulle,
mis en exil tresangoisseux,
mes a quoy faire te fist dieux?
Pour te veoir ainsi afolle?

Va t'en apart pour guermentez
et ne cesse de regretter,
las, de nous deux la departie. 1)

Source de plours pour lamentez
doiz incessament souhaitez
aussi la mort de ta partie.

Menuz pensers t’ont adole,
et rigeur si tresfort foule
que ton pareil n’a soubz les cieulx;
laisse le monde pour le mieulx,
car trop ta plaisir acolle.

Ha, cueur perdu et desole,
de tristesse plus que soulle,
mis en exil tresangoisseux,
mes a quoy faire te fist dieux?
Pour te veoir ainsi afolle?

Ah, lost and forsaken heart,
more than filled up by sorrow,
sent in a most painful exile,
what on earth has God made you for?
To see you so disturbed?

Go by yourself to bemoan,
and do not stop regretting,
alas, that the two of us parted.

Source of sorrowful tears
must incessantly wish
then for death because you left.

Bad thoughts have haunted you
and severity crushed you so much
that your equal is not found anywhere;
leave this world for a better one,
for your pleasure has embraced too much.

Ah, lost and forsaken heart,
more than filled up by sorrow,
sent in a most painful exile,
what on earth has God made you for?
To see you so disturbed?

1) Line 8, “de nous deux ...” is one syllable short (error)

In Florence 2794 tenor and contratenor have text incipits in the couplets (lines 6-11) indicating that the Leuven version of the poem was to be sung, “Va t’en a part / Source de plours”. However, the upper voice has a quite corrupt text and the tierce is missing entirely:

Et ne cesse de regrecter,
las, ne cesse de regrecter,
las, de vostre douple partir,

Va t’en a part pour gementer
doy incessamment sohante
ausi la mort de capite.

Evaluation of the sources:

The bergerette was carefully copied into the Leuven chansonnier by the manuscript’s main scribe. There are very few errors and a complete poem. The song also appears in the French chansonnier, which may be a few years younger than Leuven and is now in the Biblioteca Riccardiana in Florence as ms. 2794. The second scribe of this manuscript, hand B, included it in a series of chansons copied on pages left empty by the main scribe. Musically it is identical to the song in Leuven with the usual differences in the use of ligatures.

In all his other contributions to Florence 2794, scribe B has been very careful to provide complete texts to the songs, but here something has gone wrong in the couplets. In the lower voices, text incipits clearly indicate that words similar to the couplets in Leuven (lines 6-11) were to be sung, but the text in the upper voice is obviously corrupt with a meaningless repetition of a line (see above). Probably his exemplar was at fault and also missed the tierce – or the scribe simply refrained from finishing it.

In Florence 2794 the only two B-flats needed are notated as accidentals (bb. 39 and 57). The second flat is in Leuven marked with a one-flat signature in the contratenor at the start of the couplets.

Comments on text and music:

The desperately depressed song in rich rimes léonines addressed to the lover’s heart is fittingly set for low voices (S, g-a’; T, G-a; C, G-b). The highest voice and the very low tenor are placed an octave apart, and they open the song in strict octave canon. The octave imitation returns in the refrain’s last line. Otherwise, the core voices mostly move in parallel sixths. The contratenor is placed in the same range as the tenor, often sounding above it, and it takes the fifth at cadences and may approach them in a fauxbourdon-like manner (bb. 37-40 and 62-65).

In the setting of the words most attention has been spent on the upper voice, where we find a curious stereotyped pattern. It starts conventionally with a brevis value followed by semibreves, and this reappears several times. However, at several cadences the final note becomes shortened to a semibrevis and the nest words are set in semibreves including tone repetitions (d’-d’-e’-e’ in bb. 21-22; c’-c’-d’-d’ in bb. 34-35 and 65-66), in the first and last cases running lines together, and in the second case in the middle of a line. Very long notes, including maximae, appear in the lower voices. In a vocal performance, they must be be broken up in note repetitions, og some words may have been omitted.

The song has a certain low-key intensity, and it exhibits the same formal scheme as Busnoys used in for example »M’a vostre cueur mis en oubli« or »Soudainement mon cueur a pris«, which both can be found in the Copenhagen and Dijon chansonniers. In these songs there are no tempo contrasts between the refrain and the couplets; both are in tempus imperfectum diminutum. Like “M’a vostre cueur” the Leuven song has a middle cadence in the refrain marked by fermatas or signa. The similarities extend to the Dorian mode, and the heart takes a prominent position in all the artful poems. However, the narrow and short-breathed lines of melody and the clumsy, old-fashioned polyphony displayed by the anonymous bergerette show the distance separating the common musician and the mastery of Busnoys.

PWCH Novenber 2023