Three Eras of Love Songs

To listen to this show, you must first LOG IN. If you have already logged in, but you are still seeing this message, please SUBSCRIBE or UPGRADE your subscriber level today.

Program: #16-07   Air Date: Feb 08, 2016

For the time of Valentine’s, love songs from the middle ages, Renaissance, and the early French Baroque.

NOTE: All of the releases on this program are from the Naxos Distribution family; for more information:

I. ONDAS: Martin Codax & Cantigas de Amigo (Vivabiancaluna Biffi/Pierre Hamon). Arcana/Outhere CD A 390.

Ondas: Martín Codax - Cantigas de Amigo

Galicia, second half of the 13th century: the sadness of a young woman staring at the sea while awaiting the return of her beloved... Beautiful, atmospheric and infinitely delicate, the songs of Martín Codax remain among the finest examples of cantigas de amigo. Influenced by the poetry of the troubadours, infused with Christian, Arab and Celtic symbolism, the songs of Martín Codax nonetheless belong to the Galician- Portuguese world, and totally so. Even today, the desperately sad fado, the Portuguese national song-form, maintains the rhythm of waves and tides and feels like the lament of a woman who looks out to sea and wonders when her beloved will return to her. Singing to the viol, VivaBiancaLuna Biffi gives voice to the human feeling, whilst Pierre Hamon provides evocative interludes on his unparalleled mediaeval flutes, making the waves become sounds, emotions, and words beyond words.

1. Quand’eu vejo las ondas – VivaBiancaLuna Biffi

2. Prelude on the theme of 'Ondas do mar de Vigo' – VivaBiancaLuna Biffi

3. Ondas do mar de Vigo – Martín Codax

4. First reflection on the theme of 'Quand’eu vejo las ondas' – VivaBiancaLuna Biffi

5. Mandad’ei comigo – Martín Codax

6. Mia irmana fremosa, treides comigo – Martín Codax

7. Second reflection on the theme of 'Quand’eu vejo las ondas' – VivaBiancaLuna Biffi

8. Interlude on the theme of 'Quantas sabedes amar amigo' – VivaBiancaLuna Biffi

9. Ai Deus, se sab’ora meu amigo – Martín Codax

10. Interlude on the theme of 'Ondas do mar de Vigo' - VivaBiancaLuna Biffi

11. Quantas sabedes amar amigo – Martín Codax

12. Eno sagrado, en Vigo – VivaBiancaLuna Biffi

13. Third reflection on the theme of 'Quand’eu vejo las ondas' – VivaBiancaLuna Biffi

14. Ai ondas que eu vin veer – Martín Codax

15. Ũa dona que eu quero gram bem – VivaBiancaLuna Biffi

II. Eros & Thanatos (Ken Zukerman/Chant 1450). Christophorus CD CHR 77397.

Eros & Thanatos by Ken Zucerman (2013-05-04)

Eros and Thanatos, the Greek gods of covetous love and gentle death, are symbols of this programme from chant 1450. The ensemble sings the chants of the nocturnal matins from the Gregorian Liturgy of the Hours, reading from a 16th-century manuscript in the Cathedral of Toledo. Unexpected components are integrated into the rigid structure of the liturgy: in place of the long Psalms and readings sung on a single recitation tone, we hear four-part love songs by the Spanish poet and composer Juan del Enzina (1468-1529). Both in their content and polyphonic texture, they provide a counterpoint to the monodic funeral liturgy. In between these songs and sometimes simultaneously with them, Ken Zuckerman improvises on the sarod, a traditional Indian instrument. With its bright sound and the entire weight of the North Indian musical language behind it, the sarod lends the programme a surprising colour. It reveals a close proximity to Gregorian chant with its fundamental structure based on fixed scales, however, harmoniously joining in with the songs, filling gaps and creating smooth transitions. In this way, the love songs and Indian instrumental music respond to the austere Thanatos Gregorian chants with the power of life, allowing Eros to shine.


01. Antiphon. Dirige Domine - Sarod I
02. Antiphon. Convertere Domine - Del ENCINA. Pues que jamás olvidaros
03. Antiphon. Nequando rapiat ut leo - Sarod II
04. ZUCKERMAN. Sarod III. Dansa desiderans
05. Del ENCINA. Mi libertad en sosiego
06. Responsorium. Credo quod redemptor
07. Sarod IV. Qui Lazarum resuscitasti (Prelude)
08. Responsorium. Qui Lazarum resuscitasti
09. Del ENCINA. Los sospiros no sosiegan
10. Responsorium. Domine quando veneris


11. Antiphon. In loco pascuae - Del ENCINA. Non quiero que me consienta
12. Antiphon. Delicta iuventutis - Sarod V
13. Antiphon. Credo videre - Del ENCINA. Mortal tristura me dieron
14. ZUCKERMAN. Sarod VI. Esperanza
15. Del ENCINA. Quedate, carillo, adiós
16. Responsorium. Memento mei Deus
17. Sarod VII. Hei mihi (Prelude)
18. Responsorium. Hei mihi
19. Del ENCINA. Razón que fuerça no quiere
20. Responsorium. Ne recorderis.

III. COEUR—Airs de cour Français de la fin du XVIe siècle (Le Poème harmonique/Vincent Dumestre). Alpha CD 213.

Coeur: Airs de cour français de la fin du XVI e siècle

From Gramophone: The discography of the air de cour, though not huge, is very distinguished, and Le Poème Harmonique have contributed to it more significantly than any other ensemble. A triptych of discs about 10 years ago made a real impact, presenting some of the best-known pieces of the repertory as consort songs, or with a more substantial continuo section than the straight lute accompaniment that had prevailed previously. This winning formula is revisited here, with comparable success for the most part.
Whereas their previous recordings focused on the genre’s well-known exponents, this one features some lesser known figures (though the incomparable Pierre Guédron puts in a few appearances). His Bien qu’un cruel martire is justly one of the recital’s high points but the others come from these minor masters. One such is Gérard de Beaulieu’s Helas que me faut-il faire, which opens the disc; another, Jean Boyer’s brooding Que feray-je?, hints at the darkest tragedy, while Costeley’s J’ayme trop mieux souffrir la mort harks back to the strophic songs of an earlier generation. All these are fully worthy of the ensemble’s preceding recitals. True, two or three of the selections towards the end of the disc aren’t quite on the same level, so that the recital loses a little in intensity as it draws to a conclusion. One could have done, perhaps, with another risqué item like the anonymous Allons vieille imperfaite, or a drinking song (of which there are plenty), for when these singers let their hair down, they bring the house down with it. But that might have worked against the programme’s emotional tenor, which is high seriousness and artifice. The continuo group turn in yet another outstanding performance, and at the risk of repeating myself, Claire Lefilliâtre’s is a voice that one does not tire of hearing.

1 Helas Que Me Faut-il Faire
Composed By – Girard de Beaulieu
2 Passepieds De Bretagne
Composed By – Pierre-Francisque Carroubel*
3 Que Feray-Je?
Composed By – Jean Boyer (3)
4 Allons Vielle Imperfaite
Composed By – Anonymous
5 Bien Qu'un Cruel Martire
Composed By – Pierre Guédron
6 Spagnolette
Composed By – Pierre-Francisque Carroubel*
7 Sus! Mon Lut D'un Accord Pitoyable
Composed By – Didier Le Blanc
8 Les Mariniers Adorent Un Beau Jour
Composed By – Didier Le Blanc
9 Quel Secours Faut-Il Que J'Atende
Composed By – Didier Le Blanc
10 Tant Et Tant Il M'Ennuye Tant
Composed By – Pierre Guédron
11 Mai Voyez Mon Cher Esmoy
Composed By – Fabrice-Marin Caiétain
12 Fantaisie
Composed By – Lorenzini*
13 J'Ayme Trop Mieux Souffrir La Mort
Composed By – Guillaume Costeley
14 Ô Combien Est Heureuse
Composed By – Adrian Le Roy
15 Belle Qui M'Avez Blessé
Composed By – Pierre Guédron

Composer Info

Martin Codax, VivaBiancaLuna Biffi, Ken Zukerman, Juan del Enzina (1468-1529), Girard de Beaulieu, Pierre-Francisque Carroubel, Jean Boyer, Pierre Guédron, Didier Le Blanc, Fabrice-Marin Caiétain, Lorenzini, Guillaume Costeley, Adrian Le Roy.

CD Info

CD A 390, CD CHR 77397, Alpha CD 213.