Solage: Pluseurs gens voy

By: | Post date: March 8, 2010 | Comments: No Comments
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With Pluseurs gens voy, we’re backing away from the crazy of Ars Subtilior, going back to what the Ars Subtilior was a mutant offshoot of: the Ars Nova of Machaut. Accordingly, there is less weirdness about the notation in this ballade; the one exception is in the middle section, where the Cantus, and possibly the Tenor, are half a bar off from the Triplum and Countertenor, which in turn are half a bar off from the first section of the piece. This is noticeable, because it is punctuated by rests in the Cantus; but having the first beat of a bar as a rest does not presuppose metrical shift. So it doesn’t sound implausible the way the Ars Subtilior shifts do.

Because Pluseurs gens voy is more musically conservative, it isn’t as attention-grabbing as the preceding pieces. I don’t even remember hearing it in the Gothic Voices recording—it sounded like the Machaut pieces they alternated with Solage’s. But apart from what looks to be one complete blunder, it is a tight, smooth block of part-writing, the four voices interweaving at close range, without drawing undue attention to themselves—and not marking time between syncopations as obviously as in the Subtilior balldes. Now that the Cantus has a descant, and there is less rhythmic complexity to deal with, the two top voices are freed up to imitate each other.

(You’ll hear the blunder btw: bar 18, the Cantus is c♯, the Countertenor is d. At least that’s what my source transcription has.)

In all, it’s a serious-sounding, earnest piece—though the lyrics are playful: “I see many people who clothe their thoughts in nice dress; one wears an embroidered cote, the other a villain lined in gray, they wear coats great and small—to each their own: a Jaquette is good enough for me.” Where Jaquette was some member of the nobility or other.

Herewith then:

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