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.