What I Like About...
Thursday, March 18, 2004
  Chanson: Tant que vivray
Claudin de Sermisy (ca. 1490-1562)

None of Claudin's repeats are regrettable. One must balance a diet of madrigals with an occasional chanson. This simple tune, appropriate for the text, makes no attempt to move the listener's emotions. You can take it or not. It appears the purpose of the chanson is to give the listener a tune to remember. After hearing this easy melody several times, the listener walks away armed against the weighty darkness of life with the lightness of Sermisy's chanson.

Without difficult music, the text has a chance to shine. In fact, hearing the French in the performance is worth the effort of playing the CD. I am not sure that it is Marot's poem that I am responding to or simply the beauty of the French language. But the poem is enjoyable. Even without understanding French too well, the rhythms of the poem are memorable. The charm of the poem is the contrast between long and short lines.

What I like about this piece is the way Sermisy has taken advantage of that contrast. For example, the way he starts the B section with the same rhythm that starts the A section, only twice as fast. It is because the contrast is so enjoyable that we are eager to hear the repeats. 

<< Home
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

Read Also...
Music Reference Links
Links to Composers and Collaborations
Miscellaneous Links
What I Said About...