Le Chansonnier de Bayeux   /  Brigitte Lesne & Pierre Boragno
French Songs from the Early Renaissance


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Paraty 220 190

Recording: October 2019
Release: 2021

1. Ne l'oseray je dire se j'ayme par amours  [1:22]
2. Celle qui m'a demandé argent pour estre m'amye  [3:04]  Mathieu GASCONGNE
3. Hellas mon cueur n'est pas a moy  [1:58]
4. Bevons ma commere, nous ne bevons point  [2:23]
5. Adieu mes amours, a Dieu vous commant  [0:46]

6. Adieu mes amors  [2:32]  Heinrich ISAAC
7. J'ay veu la beaulté m'amye  [2:35]
8. J'ay veu la beauté m'amye  [1:58]
9. On doibt bien aymer l'oysellet qui chante par nature / Il fait bon aimer l'oiselet  [2:17]  Antoine de FÉVIN
10. On a mal dict de mon amy  [2:37]  anon., arr. Lesne

11. On a mal dit de mon ami  [1:29]  Antoine de FÉVIN
12. La Belle se siet au pié de la tour  [2:42]
13. La Belle se siet  [1:46]  Guillaume DUFAY
14. My my, my my, mon doulx enfant  [2:33]
15. Royne des fleurs que je desire tant  [2:21]  Alexander AGRICOLA

16. Dessoubz la branche d'un vert boys  [1:45]
17. Le roy engloys se faisoit appeller le roy de France  [2:33]
18. Je le lesray puisqu'il m'y bat  [1:16]  Jean MOUTON
19. Je le lesray puisqu'il m'y bat  [1:11]  Antoine de FÉVIN
20. Or sus, par dessus tous les aultres, begny soit le coqu  [0:46]

21. Or sus, par dessus tous lez autres  [1:49]
22. Hellas Ollivier Vasselin, n'orrons point de vos nouvellez  [3:22]
23. Belle tres doulce mere Dieu, tenez ces folz en joye  [2:22]
24. Le bon espoir que mon cueur a  [2:40]
25. Le bon espoir que mon cueur a  [1:37]




medieval.org Remarks

18 June 2021
Todd M. McComb


I only just noticed that Alla Francesca has apparently moved to the Paraty label, the move coming together with Harmonia Mundi distribution disappearing, and so the label not appearing in North America.... (I've also heard that Harmonia Mundi could be available again soon....) I guess I'll suppress my too-frequent whinging around this general state of affairs, as I did eventually notice....

Also, it appears that Alla Francesca is increasingly Brigitte Lesne's group, as Pierre Hamon didn't appear on their landmark Thibaut de Champagne album, nor did he on last year's Variations amoureuses — but he does appear, in a supplementary role, on the latest, Le Chansonnier de Bayeux. That album is portrayed mainly as a duo between Lesne & Pierre Boragno on winds, and so not really as an Alla Francesca album.

But it does also involve "transposing" their approach to the trouvère repertory, namely the involvement of polyphonic & improvisatory elaborations, as well as chasing melodies across genres. Such an approach is welcome in this c.1500 material, which is likewise all monophonic in the manuscript — whether as tunes extracted from contemporary art song settings or as prompting them, apparently in a rich interaction back & forth — & could perhaps be analogized to a book of "jazz" standards. Lesne & Boragno thus provide another, welcome perspective on this later repertory (albeit mostly with recorders, in terms of the sonorities).

I also want to note Variations amoureuses more specifically, though, as I failed to notice it last year: Like the Thibaut album, there's a degree of theatricality to the presentation, and an urge to variety overall. There's a high degree of mastery as well, and that stands out, but if I'm to criticize, it's that these renditions become almost "too lively" for repeated auditions.... Nonetheless, Variations amoureuses is another landmark album interrogating cross-genre variations, and was added to my personal list. (Indeed, one might note that e.g. their Gautier de Coincy had already exemplified such sacred-secular hybridity back in 1995, so this is very much a long term development for Alla Francesca.) In this, it continues to reflect a generally increasing facility with music of this broad era....


Variations amoureuses
French love Songs from the 13th Century
Alla Francesca - Brigitte Lesne

Seeming to build directly on the approach in their Thibaut de Champagne album, itself now several years in the past, this later offering from Alla Francesca (again arrayed around Brigitte Lesne) mines "love songs" across period genres, once again mixing in some polyphony, improvisation etc., but still (mostly) centered on monophonic repertory, i.e. that of the trouvères. The French repertory, though, is bolstered by various correspondences & cross-borrowings with the Latin repertory of the time, and this sense of "variation" is then the focus here.

Once again, there's a degree of theatricality that can be both a blessing & something that weighs on subsequent hearings of the same performance, but otherwise the renditions are superb, from singing to instrumentalists, and across a variety of period genres.

Although the specific program choices end up being rather arbitrary, this is still an intriguing survey of material from the era, performed with great experience & attention to detail. Alla Francesca has forged a very appealing style over these many years (& indeed so many prior albums devoted to overlapping repertory...).

Todd M. McComb