Rondeau: De plus en plus
Gilles Binchois (ca. 1400-1460)
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 2 Tracks 26 and 27
More and more the themes of Binchois' rondeau renew. Sharing the gentle contenance angloise
heard in the preceding Du Fay pieces, Mr. Binchois is kind to his listeners. As these pieces give evidence, the development into the Renaissance was a move away from music with less cooperative parts. Yet, the consideration toward easy listening did not go so far as to make the music predictable. It is the curious harmonic language of this piece that makes the repetitions engaging.
Although curious, the chords do not seem ungrounded or change quickly. In fact, the harmony seems firmly established. Somehow, it simply ends up somewhere other than expected. And, though we hear it often enough in the course of the poem, we are never sure how we end up where we do.
What I like about Mr. Binchois' contribution is his use of register. As the lines develop they have less contour, they flatten out, and move to a low register for this voice. This is effective for a rondeau in that, when we return to the start, our affection for arches is renewed.