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Doulce m​é​moire

by Mignarda

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1.
Mignonne allons voir si la rose Qui ce matin avoit disclose Sa robe de pourpre au soleil A poinct perdu ceste vesprée Les plis de sa robe pourprée. Et son teinct au votre pareil. Las! Voyez comme en peu d’espace, Mignonne, elle a dessus la place, Helas! ses beautes laissé choir! Ha vrayment marastre est nature. Puis qu’une telle fleur ne dure Que du matin jusques au soir. Donc, si vous me croyez, Mignonne, Tandis que vostre aage fleuronne En sa plus verde nouveauté, Cueillez, cueillez vostre jeunesse: Comme a ceste fleur la vieillesse Fera ternir vostre beauté. Let’s go, my dear, and see whether the rose Which this morning uncovered its purple garment to the sun has now at evening lost any of the folds of that garment, or any of its color that resembles your own. But see, alas, how in so brief a time, My dear, the rose has let fall Its beauties upon the ground. Nature is truly a wicked stepmother If such a flower lasts only From morning till night. So then, my dear, if you believe me: While your time of life is in bloom
In its freshest green, Go and harvest your youth; For as with this flower, old age Will wither your beauty. English translation by Donna Stewart.
2.
Doulce mémoire en plaisir consummée, O siècle heureulx qui cause tel scavoir, La fermeté de nous deux tant aymée, Qui à nos maulx a sceut si bien pourvoir Or maintenant a perdu son pouvoir, Rompant le but de ma seul' espérance Servant d’exemple à tous piteux à veoir Fini le bien, le mal soudain commence. Fini le bien, le mal soudain commence. O cueur heureux, qui mect à nonchaloir La cruauté, malice et inconstance Qu’on voit souvent au féminin vouloir La méprisant ne se pourra douloir : Car la vertu croistra sa renommée, Luy despartant pour si loyal devoir Doulce mémoire en plaisir consommée. Sweet memory, consummated in pleasure, Our happy time of such understanding. The constancy of our two loving souls Which could triumph over all adversity Has now, alas, lost all its former power And all my hopes are completely dashed, A sad, sad case for pitying eyes to see. Good is finished, misfortune has beset us. Good is finished, misfortune has beset us. It is misfortune to see your faults Because Evil, through his power, has returned to us all our pleasurable hopes as much discontent to one who craved variety to love's constancy. It goes well for those who foresee this. Sweet memory in pleasure so consumed. English translation by Donna Stewart.
3.
Mes pas semez & loing allez Par diuers solitaires lieux: Sont de pensers entremellez, Qui rendent humides mes yeux, Et tant plus i'ay ma voix haucée Tant mois ie me sens exaucée. Et si ne sçay quand i'aurai mieux. Ie n'ai tenu mes pas si chers, Ny mon esprit tant endormy, Que par montaignes & rochers Ie n'aye cherché mon amy: L'œil au guet, l'aureille ententiue, La parole prompte & naïue, Mais de luy n'ay mot ne demy. Ton bon sçauoir ny parler prompt Ne m'acquierent aucun plaisir: Car l'absence de l'amy, rompt Tout ce qu'en espere mon desir: Mais puis que c'est ma destinée, Que ie soye amante obstinée, Ie quitte propos & plaisir. Respondant à plusieurs parleurs, Ie n'en ay sceu trouuer aucun, Qui s'aprochast de tes valeurs: Pour cela i'entretiens chacun, C'est en attendant ta presence: Car ie suis en ferme constance, Parler à tous, & n'aimer qu'un. My steps, wandering and scattered Through many lonely places, Are mingled with thoughts that wet my eyes with tears. And the more I’ve called out, The less I’ve felt I was heard. Yet I do not know when I shall have things better. I have never found my steps so precious, Nor my mind so benumbed, as in this searching among mountains and boulders for my beloved. My eyes, watchful, my ears alert, My tongue ready and open – But not a word of him. Your learning, your ready speech Bring me no pleasure; For the absence of my beloved shatters Everything my longing hopes for. But since it’s my destiny to be a stubborn lover, I abandon my discourse and my pleasure. Answering several suitors, I’ve not found any To approach your worth. And so I entertain each of them Only in awaiting your return. For I am constant: Speaking to all and loving only one.
4.
5.
Le Dieu, le fort, l'Eternel parlera, Et hault, et clair la terre appellera, De l'Orient jusques à l'Occident. De vers Syon Dieu clair, et évident Apparoistra, orné de beaulté toute: Nostre grand Dieu viendra, n'en faictes doubte. Ayant ung feu devorant devant luy, D'ung vehement tourbillon circuy. Lors huchera et terre, et ciel luysant, Pour juger là tout son peuple, en disant: Assemblez moy mes sainctz, qui par fiance Sacrifiants ont prins mon alliance. Et vous les cieulx, direz en tout endroit Son jugement, car Dieu est Juge droit Entends mon peuple, et à toy parleray, Ton Dieu je suis, rien ne te celeray: Par moy reprins ne seras des offrandes Qu'en sacrifice ay voulu que me rendes. The mighty, the eternal God has spoken, Clearly and gloriously calling on the earth from the East to the West. God clear and manifest, appearing out of Zion, adorned with all beauty: Our great God will come, do not doubt it. With a devouring fire before him, Encircled in a fierce whirlwind, Then, calling to earth and shining sky, To judge all his people there, saying: Gather together my saints, who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And you, the heavens, declare everywhere His judgment, for God is a righteous Judge Hear, my people, and I will speak to you, I am your God, nothing will hide you: I will not rebuke you for your sacrifices Offerings you have rendered to me. English translation by Donna Stewart.
6.
Quand j’estois libre, ains que l'amour cruelle
 Ne fut esprise en ma tendre moëlle, Je vivois bien-heureux,
 Comme à l’envy les plus accortes filles Se travailloyent par leurs flammes gentilles, De me rendre amoureux. Mais tout ainsi q’un beau poulain farouche
 Qui n’a masché le frein dedans la bouche
 Va seulet escarté,
 N’ayant soucy, sinon d’un pied superbe
 A mille bons fouler le fleurs & l’herbe,
Vivant en liberté . Ainsi j’allois desdaignant les pucelles, Qu’on estimoit en beauté les plus belles,
 Sans respondre à leur vueil : Lors je vivois amoureux de moy-mesme,
 Content et gay, sans porter couleur blesme
 Ny les larmes à l’oeil.
 Mais aussi tost que par mauvais desastre Je vey ton sein blanchissant comme albastre,
 Et tes yeux, deux soleils, Tes beaux cheveux espanchez par ondées, Et les beaux lys de tes lévres bordées
 De cent œillets vermeils : 
 Incontinent j’appris que c’est service. La liberté de mon ame nourrice, S’eschappa loin de moy : Dedans tes rets ma premiere franchise Pour obeïr à ton bel œil, fut prise Esclave sous ta loy. 
 When I was free, and cruel love
 had not been caught in my tender marrow. I lived happily.
 Against the will of the most attractive girls, who worked so hard with their gentle flames to make me fall in love.
 But just as a handsome wild colt which has not chewed the bit in his mouth wanders far and wide by himself, having no care except to trample with a thousand leaps the flowers and grasses with his proud foot, living in liberty. Just so I used to disdain the maids that everyone thought fairest of the fair, unresponsive to their wishes.
 Then, I was in love with myself; happy and joyful, not wearing this pale color nor with tears in my eyes.
 But as soon as through terrible misfortune I saw your breast, white as alabaster And your eyes, twin suns, Your fine hair pouring down in waves, And the fair lilies of your lips bordered With a hundred pink carnations Instantly I learned what it is to be in service, And liberty, the nurse of my soul, Fled far from me. My previous freedom was caught within your nets so that it obeyed your fair eyes, a slave to your law. English translation by Donna Stewart.
7.
Prélude 01:37
8.
Si le parler et le silence Nuit à notre heur également, Parlons donc, ma chère espérance, Du coeur et des yeux seulement; Amour, ce petit dieu volage Nous apprend ce muet langage. Que le regard vole et revole, Messager des nos passions, Et serve au lieu de la parole Pour dire nos intentions. Amour ce petit dieu volage Nous apprend ce muet langage. Mais si quelque âme est offencée De nous voir discourir des yeux, Nous parlérons de la pensée, Comme les anges dans les cieux. Amour ce petit dieu volage Nous apprend ce muet langage. Ainsi par un doux artifice Nous trompérons les courtisans Et nous rirons de la malice De mille fâcheux médisans, Qui n'en sauront pas d'avantage Ignorant, ce muet langage. If the speech and the silence Equally obscure our happiness, Let us speak, my dear hope, Only through heart and eyes; Cupid, this fickle little god Teaches us this wordless language. Stolen looks flying back and forth, Are the messengers of our passion, And serve instead of speech To speak our intentions. Cupid, this fickle little god Teaches us this wordless language. But if some soul takes offense To see us, speaking with our eyes, We will speak of thoughts, Like the angels in heaven. Cupid, this fickle little god Teaches us this wordless language. Thus, through sweet artifice We deceive the courtiers And we will laugh at the malice Of the thousand annoying gossips, Who will be unaware, disadvantaged, Ignorant of this wordless language. Ignoring this silent language. English translation by Donna Stewart.
9.
C'est malheur que de vous aymer Vostr'esprit estant si volage Vous changés enfin que la mer E si changés sans avantage Que me sert il d'aymer un temps C'est le mieux que de vous j'attens Je ne seray jamais la paix Je m'en repens pour tous jamais. Rompons la paille pour tousjours Et que chascun rende son gage: ]e vous vendz voz folles amours, Et vous quitte l'humeur volage: Rendes moy de vostre costé La raison et la liberté Je ne seray jamais la paix Je m'en repens pour tous jamais. Rendés ce cueur qui n’est plus mien, Rendés ce que vous fait si belle Non belle ne me rendes rien, Il suffit que vous soyes telle. Par mes vers aussi mensongers, Que vos beaux yeux furent légers. Je ne seray jamais la paix Je m'en repens pour tous jamais. It is misfortune to be in love with you, your character is so flighty. You change like the sea, and if you change without improving what good will it serve to love but once? It is the most I hope for from you. I shall never be at peace, I shall grieve for ever. Let us sever our links for ever and each return his token: I return to you your mad love, and leave you your flighty temper: Return to me at your expense, my sanity and liberty. I shall never be at peace, I shall grieve for ever. Return this heart, which is no longer mine, return that which makes you so beautiful: No, Beauty, return nothing, it is enough that you are so; that according to my lying verses, your beautiful eyes should be light. I shall never be at peace, I shall grieve for ever. English translation by Donna Stewart.
10.
Helas, Seigneur, ie te pri' sauue moy : Car les eaux m'ont saisi iusques à l'ame, Et au bourbièr tres-profond & infame, Sans fond ne riue enfondré ie me voy. Ainsi plongé l'eau m'emporte, tant las De m'escrier, que i'en ay gorge seche : Et de mon Dieu attendant le soulas, De mes deux yeux la vigueur se desseche. Alas, Lord, I pray you, save me : For the waters are come into my soul, And in the mire of deep disgrace My way is bottomless, shoreless, sinking. Although plunged in water, swept away, So weary of my crying, my throat is dry And as I wait for God's solace My eyes fail. English translation by Donna Stewart.
11.
12.
Paisible et ténébreuse nuit, Sans lune et sans étoiles, Renferme le jour qui me nuit, Dans tes plus sombres voiles. Hâte tes pas, déesse, exauce-moi: J'aime une brune comme toi. J'aime une brune dont les yeux Font dire à tout le monde Que, quand Phébus quitte les cieux, Pour se cacher dans l'onde C'est le regret de se voir surmonté Du doux éclat de leur beauté. Heavy night of shadows, Without moon or stars Close the day that gives me pain In your darkest veil. Make haste, goddess, I beg you: I love a dark lady like you. I love a dark lady whose eyes Make every one say That when Phoebus leaves the sky To hide in the ocean, It is for grief to be outshone By the sweet ray of her beauty.
13.
14.
Quoy? Faut-il donc qu’amourvainquer Soit de nouveau roy de mon coeur, Et me donne encor du martyre? N’ay-je pas assés soupiré, N’ay-je pas assés enduré J’adis sous son cruel empire? Tant de serments que mon devoir Avoyent fait contre son pouvoir Seront ils si peu veritables Qu’ils ne puissent durer qu’un jour, Et pour estre faits contre Amour, En sont ils moins inviolables? Mais il n’en faut plus disputer, Je ne puis ce mal eviter, Car Amaranthe à tant de charmes, Et tant d’appas en ses beaux yeux, Qu’il ne me peut arriver mieux Que mourir de si belle armes. Faut-il encor que ce poison, Troublant mes sens et ma raison Change tout l’estat de ma vie? Et bref qu’une jeune beauté Triomphant de ma liberté, Tienne encor mon ame asservie? Ainsi Cleandre bassement Soupiroit le nouveau tourment De sa flame encore naissante, Qui presageoit qu’à ‘avenir Il n’auroit en son souvenir Que sa belle et chere Amaranthe. What? Must conquering Love Return to rule my heart again, And torture me even more? Haven't I sighed enough, Haven't I endured enough, Before under his cruel reign? So many oaths I took to resist his power. Do they carry so little weight That they last but a day, And because they were sworn against Love, Does that make them any less sacred? But there's no denying I can't avoid this torture Because Amaranthe is so irresistible And has so many charms in her lovely eyes, That the best thing that could happen to me Would be to die in her lovely arms. Must this poison that again upsets my senses and my reason Change my whole way of life? And can a young beauty, Triumphing over my freedom, Still keep my heart enslaved? Thus Cleandre basely yearns for the new torment Of his still nascent passion, Someday, in the future, All he will remember Is his lovely and beloved Amaranthe. English translation by Donna Stewart.
15.
Cessez amants de servir Angélique, Amarillis se peut dire l'unique, A qui la cour doit offrir des voeux. Tous les plus grands appas d'Aminthe, et de Silvie, Ne valent pas un des cheveux De celle qui tient ma vie. Amarillis est un ange visible: Qui ne la sert a le coeur insensible A la douceur des plaisirs d'amour Les divines clairtez que sa beauté nous montre, Font que le grand flambeau du jour Est honteux de leur rencontre. Cease, lovers, from serving Angélique. Amaryllis is the only one To whom the court must offer its vows. All the great charms of Amintas and Sylvia Do not equal one strand of hair Of she who possesses my life. Amarillis is an angel on earth. He who does not serve her Has a heart insensitive to The sweetness and pleasure of love. The divine radiances her beauty reveals to us, Puts the great torch of day to shame.
16.
Courante 02:34
17.
N'espérez plus mes yeux, De revoir en ces lieux la beauté que j'adore: Le Ciel, jaloux de mon bonheur
 A ravy ma naissante aurore
 par sa rigueur. Les pleurs n'ont plus de lieux
 Dans le cœur de ce dieu dont le feu me dévore. Le Ciel... C'est en vain soupirer, 
C'est en vain espérer le secours que j'implore.
 Le Ciel.... Hope no more, my eyes To see here again that beauty I adore: The heavens, jealous of my happiness
 Have ravished my nascent dawn
 By their harshness. 

Tears have no place
In the heart of that god whose fire devours me. The heavens… It is vain to sigh. It is vain to hope for the aid I beseech. The heavens…
18.
19.
O que c'est chose belle
 De te loüer, Seigneur,
 Et du Tres-haut l'honneur
 Chanter d'vn coeur fidele, Preschant à la venuë
 Du matin ta bonté,
 Et ta fidelité Quand la nuict est venuë. Sur la douce musique Du Manichordion, Luc & Psalterion, Et Harpe magnifique. Ioye au coeur m'ont liuree, Tes ouurages tressainctes, Dont és faicts de tes mains Il faut que me recree. O, it is something beautiful to praise thee, Lord,
 And a very high honor
 to sing with a faithful heart, 
Preaching your goodness 
at the approach of morning 
And your faithfulness when the night comes. On the sweet music From Manichordion, Lute & Psalterion, And a magnificent harp. Ye to the heart have bound me, Your good works, Which are made with your hands I must recreate me.

about

Expanded program notes with texts and translations may be downloaded at mignarda.com/cds/notes/DoulceMemoire.pdf
_____________________________________________________

Our very first full-length CD, Divine Amarillis, featured a collection of French airs de cour, and over the years we have occasionally revisited and expanded upon our catalogue of this wonderful repertory. Those familiar with early music apply the term air de cour to the ample series published between 1608 and 1632; fifteen volumes of Airs de différents autheurs avec la tablature de luth that presented popular airs extracted from courtly entertainments arranged for solo voice accompanied by the lute. But the term first appeared much earlier in a publication by Adrian Le Roy, Airs de cour miz sur le luth, published in 1571.

Le Roy (c.1520 – 1598) was well-connected at court and had familiar conference with preeminent poets like Ronsard and celebrated composers including Lassus. Using his connections to good advantage, Le Roy procured a royal patent to publish music beginning in 1551, in partnership with his cousin Robert Ballard (c.1527 – 1588), producing a large output of high quality music editions over the span of fifty years. At court, Le Roy was in a position to have an unusually influential role in promoting music and determining popular taste: performing certain music for Charles IX at times resulted in a royal command to publish what delighted the ears of the king.

Le Roy’s music for solo lute demonstrates the direct influence of Albert de Rippe (c. 1500 – 1551), displaying much rhythmic vitality and ample use of arpeggiation technique applied in a manner that implies a polyphonic interpretation. What eventually became a characteristic French style of lute-playing employed a subtle interpretive technique that highlights and accentuates the strands of polyphony in a way particular to the character and resources of the lute. This arpeggiated style was later called style brisé, a term concocted by 20th-century musicologists to describe broken chordal technique, but the term has no historical precedent.

Le Roy’s important role in establishing what was to become an immensely popular musical form is little acknowledged today, and most modern recordings of this repertory present the later series of airs published by the descendants of Le Roy and Ballard. Doulce Mémoire probes the earlier examples of airs de cour by Le Roy, moving chronologically to the more familiar style with airs by composers Boësset, Guédron, and Moulinié.

You might well ask: what relevance does a chanson first published in 1537 have in a program of proto-baroque airs de cour? The lasting popularity of “Doulce Mémoire” is demonstrated by the appearance of an instrumental arrangement of the piece found nearly a century after its earliest mention, in an English manuscript collection of music for viols written in the hand of William Lawes (1602 – 1645).

Doulce Mémoire, the title track of this album, opens the gate to a sampling of early airs de cour by Adrian Le Roy and moves forward chronologically and stylistically to music of a few decades later—to what is essentially music of the early baroque. The recording is aptly named to celebrate the sweet memories of 18 years as a duo dedicated to music for voice and lute, and we share the results of our work with this album and others that are still in preparation.

Interpretation

In performing 16th-century French music it is difficult to overlook the degree to which dance forms combine so perfectly with poetry to form the backbone of this appealing repertory. The dominance of dance forms should be no surprise to the cognoscenti who understand that the magic in much of historical music arises from shapely phrasing, a firm bass, and a steady pulse.

In many of the airs on our recording, the essential pulse and intricate dance rhythms must support poetry that describes anxiety and despair, and so must be interpreted without crossing the line and cancelling the emotional content of the piece. If the pulse is overly languid, the essential energy of speech rhythm is lost. If the pulse is overly quick, it trivializes the meaning of the words. In any song based upon a dance tune, rhythmic vitality is an essential underpinning and the expected steady pulse only adds substance to the emotional depth of the poetry.

We have taken particular care in presenting the music in an intimate atmosphere that honors original domestic performance parameters of our chosen repertory. We have produced four CDs of mostly sacred repertory that were recorded live in spacious churches, and that music seems appropriate in its proper context. But historical repertory that was always sung in intimate spaces deserves a more intimate sound. In the studio, we are able to record with a close microphone placement for both voice and lute, conveying the warmth of texts and music, but close microphone placement is an act of bravery that exposes each breath and every movement of the fingers.

There is a very good reason most early music recordings involving voice and lute have an overly-spacious “cathedral” sound despite the character and intent of the music—it is mostly to insulate the performers from the inevitable exposure of their human imperfections when magnified under what amounts to an aural microscope. But despite the hazards we feel that close microphone placement conveys the warmth of sound heard in a small chamber, bringing the listener closer to the original historical experience of the music. How often does a listener get to feel the resonance of a lute as though it were in his or her lap?

While we respect as one approach interpretations by our peers following the modern conventions of today’s early music aesthetic, after studying the sources and absorbing the context of the original music, we are secure in the understanding that our interpretations are historically appropriate. It is a well-established fact that the vocal quality of singers circa 1600 was nothing like that of our modern singers indulging in bel canto style, affecting what is actually a post-Victorian approach to vocal projection and diction. The historical sources are very clear on the matter: outside of the cathedral or the theater, a natural voice was preferred by and expected from singers circa 1600, and the flexibility of a natural voice facilitates examples of historical ornamentation, as demonstrated in our recording of “N'espérez plus mes yeux” (Track 17).


credits

released September 3, 2021

Donna Stewart, voice & Ron Andrico, lute

Recorded at The Lava Room, Beachwood, OH
Engineer, Chris Ebbert

Lutes by Richard Fletcher (1, 4-8); Nico van der Waals (10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19); Robert Lundberg (3, 11, 13, 16, 18); and Sandi Harris & Stephen Barber (9).

Performing editions & recordings ©2005-2021, Ron Andrico & Donna Stewart, Mignarda Editions

Special thanks to Susan Sandman, Jean Toombs and Glen Yasharian for their generous loan of lutes.

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Mignarda Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Mignarda specializes in thoughtful programming illuminating the vibrant mingling of renaissance music & poetry. Noted for awakening modern audiences to an appreciation for historical music, their work encompasses concertizing, teaching & recording, with 17 critically-acclaimed CDs, a series of 16 music editions, scholarly articles, reviews and the internationally-popular blog, Unquiet Thoughts. ... more

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