Troubadours / Clemencic Consort
compilación 1987 · 1 CD

Harmonia Mundi HMC 90 396 (CD)
compilación 1987

[ HM 396]
1. ANONYME (fin 12e. siècle)
A l'entrada del temps clar  [2:42]
voix mixtes, viéle, chitarra saracenica, tintinnabulum, tambour, tambour à grelots

2. PEIROL (avant1180—après 1222)
Quant Amors trobèt partit  [3:21]
voix, tambour

3. PÈIRE VIDAL (avant 1183—après 1204)  [17:40]
1. Vida et Razos
récitant, luth, flûte de berger, galoubet, cornemuse, tambour, tambourin, crotales
2. Barons de mon dan convit
ténor, luth, tympanon, flûte à bec

4. BERNART DE VENTADORN (avant 1147—après 1170)
Quan vei la lauzeta mover  [10:21]
chant, bûche

5. RAIMBAUT DE VAQUEIRAS (avant 1180—après 1205)  [11:59]
1. Vida
récitant, vièle, rubebe
2. Calenda maia
chant, vièle, rubebe, bûche, tambour-calice

[ HM 397]
6. LA COMTESSA DE DIA (vers 1160)  [14:50]
1. Vida
2. A chantar
soprano, vièle, tympanon, rubebe, tambour

Sources: Biblioteque Nationale, Paris: Fonds frs. 844, 846, 12615, 20050, 22543

René Clemencic

Pilar Figueras, soprano
René Zosso, chant et vielle à roue
Frederick Urrey, ténor
René Clemencic, flûte de berger, galoubet, flûtes à bec
Michael Dittrich, vièles
Andras Kecskés, rubebe, chirarra saracenica
Anne Osnowycz, bûche, tintinnabulum
Frantisek Pok, cornemuse, tambour à grelots
Esmail Vasseghi, tympanon, tambour-calice, tambour

RÉCITANT: Yves Rouquette

Harmonia Mundi, Ⓟ 1977
Enregistrement en juin 1977 en l'Eglise de Palaja
Prise de son et montage: Alberto Paulin
Traduction française des Chansons des Troubadours et
transcription des Vidas en occitan moderne: Yves Rouquette © Harmonia Mundi
Illustration. Jongleurs. Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Ms latin 1118, f. 112
Maquette: Relations

In the second half of the 11th century an important literature of secular vocal music in the vernacular of the South of present-day France came into existence. The language of these lyrics was Provençal, also called “Langue d'Oc” or Occitanian after the word for “yes”: “oc”. A somewhat modified version of this language is still spoken in the regions of the Languedoc, Provence, the Limousin, and the Auvergne.

The poets of this school, who often composed the melodies for their songs, were called Trobadors, or Troubadours: “Finders”, “Inventors” of words andt unes. By the middle of the 13th century the peak of Troubadour art was already past. The tragic political events of the day (Albigensian Wars, Crusades, and the incorporation into France of this autonomous cultural area) had contributed to the decline of the Troubadours. But they had made their influence felt in many parts of Europe where they were imitated and that art adapted. Dante was a fervent admirer and wrote verses of his Canzoni in Provençal and parts of Spain and Italy were inspired by the art of the Troubadours. Versions of it are found in the Northern French Trouvères and the Minnesänger in Germany imitated it in Middle High German.

The main theme of these verses and songs is love, but a form of love which is difficult to define and has little to do with the later Romantic concept. It contains elements of the primeval, of magic, feudalism, mysticism, etc. Physical possession of the beloved and the sanction of marriage play no part in this idea of high love (Fin Amors). And yet, in spite of its apparent strangeness and incomprehensibility, many of its features are still accessibly familiar to us today. “Courtesy” towards a “Lady” (dompna in Provençal), “courtliness”, “honour”, and the “worship” of the beloved are words which have remained current in our languages.

The Troubadour love-song is called the Canso. It is in several stanzas each of which usually has the same rhyme-scheme. In addition to the Canso there are other types of songs dealing with subjects other than love: the Sirventes (literally: vassal-songs) generally “borrow” their melodies from the Canso, but are generally political or moralizining content. The Enueg has affinities with the Sirventes, and is a song of invective, often coarse in character (enueg = discontent, vexation).

The Tenso is a kind of dispute between two parties. The Alba is an aubade (the second Act of “Tristan and Isolde” is an Alba of gigantic proportions), with the word “alba” at the end of each stanza. The Balade and the Dansa are dance-songs with a refrain. The Pastorela is a curious type of narrative song with a stereotype situation: a knight endeavours, usually in vain, to seduce a shrewd farm girl or shepherdess.

The Troubadours came from virtually every social class; we find among them kings, princes, aristocrats of all ranks, middle-class burghers, servants, jongleurs, monks, bishops, etc. The composer of the songs was a Troubadour, while whoever performed them for payment was called a joglar (jongleur = player). The one did not exclude the other, however; there were Troubadours who only composed, and others who had a fine voice or were good players on instruments who also performed songs, just as there were joglars who also composed. It was not an exclusively masculine society either: there were a number of female Troubadours and jongleurs. The most famous Trobadora is the Comtessa de Dia.

The “Vidas” and “Razos” which have survived from the 13th and early 14th centuries were employed by the joglars as introductions to performances of songs. They were sometimes historically accurate, and at others contained legendary features. The performances were usually a part of a lively social occasion. There is a description of such an occasion in an early 13th century Provençal verse Romance (“Flamenca”): after the banquet “the jongleurs came in, and each one of them wanted to be heard... Whoever could play a new tune on the fiddle, or sing a new Chanson, Descort, or Lai, did so as best he could... One played the harp, another the flute, and another the pipe... One told a story, while another accompanied him, yet another played the bagpipe, and another the mandora... Someone caused puppets to dance, and someone else juggled with knives... One recited the verses of Macabru, while another told about Daedalus”.

In the interpretation of the Troubadour solo-song the influence of Spanish-Moorish practices was noticeable. The troupes of jongleurs at Spanish court celebrations consisted almost entirely of Arabs, Jews, and Christians, and the musically important Abbey of St. Martial at Limoges disposed of Moslem slaves. Through the Crusades, too, the Troubadours and jongleurs came into contact with Arab music and instruments.

Dr. René Clemencic