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Thursday, March 18, 2004
  Chanson: Revecy venir du printans
Claude Le Jeune (1528-1600)
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 3 Tracks 11-19

Le Jeune's riotous rondo-like chanson is built for speed. The groove, familiar to us from Cara's frottola on CD 2 (the one with the really long note) is well used in this springtime romp. It is a rhythm that is able to present text clearly without slowing down. The text is and is not important. The language, of course, is beautiful regardless of how well you know French (I do not). However, with just a few words, like L'amoureuz, Printans, Animaus, and semant, a listener has what they need to know. Beyond that, the impact of the text is the sound of the language.

Moving on, the form carries the listener straight to the end without surprise or climax. As a result, the listener is compelled to hop up and down, clapping hands, cheering, "Again, again!" It is the strophes that create the most momentum. In this performance, we never hear the instrumental support during the strophes. Thus these events have an exciting solo quality. Also, these events become increasingly and predictably more complex as they accumulate voices. In contrast, the refrain serves as a home base for the ensemble and listener. We hear the refrain twice at the beginning (not twice at the end as it is in the score) so that we learn it well. Then, each time we hear it between the strophes, we are able to regroup and face each new challenge with fresh ears.

What I like about this chanson are the melismas that run throughout the tenor part. Because these melismas are so short and fast, they never upstage the tune. They provide an energizing background to an already rousing set. 

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In January 2004 I starting writing an opinion for each selection in the Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music. Now, more than a year later, I am almost finished. Soon, I will have an archive full of opinions on the music we so carelessly call "classical." And no one can stop me.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Director of the Contemporary Performer's Workshop... Music Teacher for St. Aloysius Gonzaga School... Principal 'Cellist of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra... Composer

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