Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Claude Le Jeune, Ensemble Clement Janequin|
Autant en emporte le vent: Claude Le Jeune - Chansons
Genres: Pop, Classical
Listen to Samples
French Renaissance revelry of great variety and color
Sator | Sydney, Australia | 08/13/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Claude Le Jeune (c.1530 - 1600) was born in in Valenciennes (now in France, but then part of Flanders). He spent his formative years in Flanders before travelling to Venice for a stay with the Flemish composer Adrian Willaert. He moved to Paris in around 1564 where he formed a relationship with the group of poets known as La Pléiade. He became a devoted French Huegenot, but despite this managed to hold a post in the French court organizing its music activities. By 1596 he had been promoted to the position of Royal Chamber Composer.
His music encompassed a remarkable range of influences including long forgotten Medieval contrapuntal practices such as isorhythms, melismatic hockets, and canons - all of which cohabit with the most advanced madrigalian devices, chromaticisms, and polychoral writing. In fact his writing as presented here could be described as being proto-Baroque.
This collection of music entitled "Autant en Emporte le Vent" (Gone with the Wind) here encompasses a wide range of chansons including drinking songs and chansons in a typically madrigalian manner on the subject of love, death, and war.
The Ensemble Clément Janequin are well known exponents of Franco-Flemish music of the Renaissance. They sing beautifully throughout led by the counter-tenor voice of Dominique Visse himself. Some pieces are accompanied on lute, positive organ, and viola da gamba.
Sylvain Gasser on Classicstoday France gave this recording a rave review: "Ici, la fête est totale, fête des sens et de la couleur, contrepoint aussi harmonieux que rigoureux" (here, the celebration is total, a celebration of the senses, of color, and of counterpoint as harmonious as it is rigorous). He added that "le plaisir est extrême" and gave it a 10/10 review (for both performance and recording). This is a recording that certainly does give much pleasure ('plaisir'). However, there is one criticism for which I have deducted a star - the texts are only in French with no translations whatsoever provided into any other language - let alone in English. So unless you are fine with reading 16th century French - the equivalent of the French reading Shakespeare - you may struggle to follow the text. While I agree with the French that we should all become polyglots, this takes it a step too far. Does this mean that from now on Harmonia Mundi will leave out multilingual translations of Renaissance English, French, Flemish, Italian, and German texts too? I have written an email of complaint on this matter to Harmonia Mundi and I encourage others to do the same.
As for the recorded sound quality, it is certainly very good though less than audiophile in quality lacking the ultimate in spaciousness and clarity.
Addit: I have subsequently received a reply from a company spokesman who said that their translators all balked at the text because it was too full of plays on words and so could not find anyone willing to give it a crack"