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MS Florence 2794


Mon cueur et moi d'une alliance 3v · Prioris

Appearance in the group of related chansonniers:

*Copenhagen ff. 23v-24 »Mon cueur et moi d'une alliance« 3v PDF · Facsimile

*Laborde ff. 30v-31 »Mon cueur et moi d'une aliance« 3v PDF · Facsimile

*Wolfenbüttel ff. 22v-24 »Mon cueur et moy d'une aliance« 3v - PDF (see Copenhagen) · Facsimile

Other musical sources:

Florence 2439 ff. 55v-56 »Mon ceur et moy d'une aliance« 3v Prioris

Editions: Jeppesen 1927 no. 18 (Copemhagen); Bush 1940, pp. 73-75 (Laborde); Gutiérrez-Denhoff 1988 no. 19 (Wolfenbüttel - faulty).

Text: Rondeau cinquain, full text in Copenhagen, Laborde and Wolfenbüttel:

Mon cueur et moi d'une alliance
vous retenons, ma souffisance,
nostre mignonne et mieulx amee,
et si serez seule clamee
dame de toute ma plaisance.

Pensez, ma doulce souvenance,
que j'ay mis tout en oubliance
pour vous amer plus qu'aultre nee.

Mon cueur et moi d'une alliance
vous retenons, ma souffisance
nostre mignonne et mieulx amee.

Ne jamais n'aray desplaisance,
m’amour, mon vueil, ma soustenance, (1)
de nulle rien qui vous agree,
mais que vostre gente pensee
ne quiere nulle autre accointance.

Mon cueur et moi d'une alliance
vous retenons, ma souffisance,
nostre mignonne et mieulx amee,
et si serez seule clamee
dame de toute ma plaisance.

My heart and I between us
remember you, my everything,
our darling and most beloved,
and therefore only you can claim to be
the mistress of all my joy.

Remember, my sweet remembrance,
that I have put all in oblivion
to be able to love you more than anybody else.

My heart and I between us
remember you, my everything,
our darling and most beloved,

I shall never be displeased,
my love, my desire, my sustenance,
by anything agreeable to you,
if only your noble mind
does not seek any other acquaintance.

My heart and I between us
remember you, my everything,
our darling and most beloved,
and therefore only you can claim to be
the mistress of all my joy.

1) Laborde has “m’amour, mon deul, ma soutenance”, which must be a misreading of the Laborde scribe’s exemplar, because “deul” does not make any sense in this connection.

The three sources transmit the same version of the poem except for some differences in spelling.

Evaluation of the sources:

The song is found in the three MSS copied by three different scribes, the Dijon scribe (in Copenhagen), the original Laborde scribe (Laborde I), and the Wolfenbüttel scribe (see further the descriptions of the MSS). It is highly interesting that all three copies probably were made using closely related exemplars or – in two instances – the same exemplar.

Copenhagen transmits – as is often the case – a very careful version of the song without any errors. Nothing argues against that the Dijon scribe used exactly the same exemplar as was used in Wolfenbüttel. The Wolfenbüttel scribe decided to spread the rondeau over two openings in order to have more space to work on. This results in more generous text incipits in the tenor and contratenor parts in both sections of the rondeau. Except for some writing errors in the music (T b. 20 and C bb. 18-19, see the remarks in the transcription p. 2) the differences between these versions consist only in such features, which more reflect the scribes’ personal habits in the copying process than the exemplar: The Wolfenbüttel scribe writes a few more dotted rhythms as colored semibreves and minimae than the Dijon scribe (S b. 10, T bb. 54 and 55), and he has notated an implied sharp before f’ in the superius bar 32; in the text the differences only concern spelling conventions as “moy/moi”, “aliance/alliance” and “mys/mis”.

The Laborde Chansonnier most significantly differs by having the full refrain of the rondeau text laid under both the equal high voices, which alternately fill out the superius and tenor functions. This version too is virtually without errors. In the tierce of the text the scribe however must have misread the exemplar’s “mon vueil” and written “mon deul” instead, which does not make any sense here. Laborde also transmits some divisions of breves into semibreves (C b. 36 (probably required for a vocal performance of the part) and S b. 50) and a different rhythm in the tenor in bar 48, all of which changes the declamation of the text a bit.

To sum up we may presume that Laborde transmits a notated version, which best suits a song of this type with texting of both high voices and an almost consistent use of coloration in the dotted figures. Copenhagen and Wolfenbüttel could have been edited using the same exemplar, but it is more probable that a closely related source showing small variants was used for these versions. All three versions agree on the use of a ligature seldom met for the final notes in the contratenor, that is, brevis-longa written like a pes in chant notation. This feature has been normalized in the much later MS in Florence (Biblioteca del Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini, Ms. Basevi 2439, ff. 55v-56), which also abstains from the use of coloration. – Martella Gutiérrez-Denhoff could not read the ligature, therefore her attempt at constructing a stemma for this chanson became rather misleading (cf. Gutiérrez-Denhoff 1988 pp.116-117).

The ascription to “Prioris” in Florence 2439 may seem to be too late to be of relevance. There can be no doubt that this song was created in the same milieu as the three chansonniers by a local composer who was well-known to the three scribes. Works more surely ascribed to Prioris only appear in sources at least a decade or more younger. With the identification of Prioris with Denis Prieur who served the Duke of Orléans and later king Louis XII as chapelmaster since at least 1491, Dumitrescu proposes that Prioris spent his whole career at or around Blois in the Loire Valley (cf. Theodor Dumitrescu, ‘Who Was “Prioris”? A Royal Composer Recovered’, Journal of the American Musicological Society 65 (2012), pp. 5-66). If Prioris/Prieur belonged to the generation of Mureau and Basiron, “Mon cueur” can very well be a work of his youth, written for performances with the boys of a maîtrise. This gets some support from the mention of Prioris in line 18853 of Eloy d’Amerval’s Le Livre de la Déablerie from 1508 along with Compere and Mureau, both born in the middle of the century and active at Tours and Chartres respectively (cf. Paula Higgins, ‘Speaking of the Devil and Discipuli: Eloy d’Amerval, Saint-Martin of Tours, and Music in the Loire Valley, ca. 1465-1505’ (Higgins 2009), p. 179).

Comments on text and music:

The alliance between “the heart” (mon cueur) and “I” (moi) in this – at the same time adoring and insistent – love song is apparently symbolic represented by the intertwined high voices, which constitute one persona distributed on two performers. Their declamation of the words is very clear, most homorhythmic, and followed by long melismas on the last word in most lines. The two-part musical structure of the upper voices (both in the range g-c’’/d’’) is contrapuntally self sufficient with avoidance of fourths and a preponderance of thirds and sixths between them. The contratenor fills out the harmony mostly in long notes, but is able to sing the text. Only in one place does it cross over the tenor, namely in the final long melisma (bb. 56-57).

The setting of the ambitious poem in rich rimes léonines is very varied. The homorhythmic opening is a sort of imitation between Tenor and Superius in disguise, while the second line is in strict canonic imitation with the third line as a extension leading to the imperfect cadence at the end of the first section. Remark the languishing, broken up declamation in parallel thirds (bb. 28-32). In the second section of the rondeau the text is delivered clearly and fast, leaving much room for the extended melismas. The melismas with their sequences of dotted figures account for much of the impact of the chanson, and also the peak of the music (d”) is reached at the start of the forth line’s melisma in parallel sixths (b. 41).

PWCH June 2008, revised November 2017