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Se la face ay pale

composer
1430s; possibly written for Anne de Lusignan on the occasion of her wedding to Louis, Prince of Piedmont and son of Duke Amédée VIII, in February 1434; ballade; 4vv; an elaboration, probably by Dufay, of his 3vv version
author of text

 
The song Se la face ay pale is brilliant and virtuosic in character rather than lyrically reflective, and belongs to the category of what we might call the ‘public’ (or better, ‘semi-public’) chanson, a type of song that seems designed to make a powerful sonic impact in performance within, say, a ‘representative’ courtly context. It may well have been written for—that is, in honour of—Anne de Lusignan, Louis’s new wife and soon-to-be Duchess. Whether or not it was composed expressly for the wedding, or soon thereafter, it is in any case clearly a work of the 1430s, and a notably advanced one at that. If it did indeed become a kind of musical ‘emblem’ for the House of Savoy, that would make its assumption into a large-scale, celebratory Mass setting all the more fitting.

from notes by Philip Weller © 2009

On pense que Se la face ay pale a très bien pu avoir été écrite à l’intention—en l’honneur, donc—d’Anne de Lusignan, nouvelle femme de Louis et future duchesse. Qu’elle ait été ou non écrite exprès pour ce mariage (ou un peu après), cette chanson est à l’évidence une œuvre des années 1430, et remarquablement aboutie en plus. Que la maison de Savoie en ait ensuite fait une sorte d’«emblème» musical ne ferait que confirmer l’hypothèse selon laquelle elle aurait été incluse dans une messe célébratoire à grande échelle.

extrait des notes rédigées par Philip Weller © 2009
Français: Hypérion

Es wird angenommen, dass Se la face ay pale durchaus für—d. h. zu Ehren von—Anne de Lusignan, Ludwigs neuer Gattin und baldigen Herzogin geschrieben worden sein könnte. Ob ausdrücklich für die Hochzeit oder kurz danach geschrieben, es ist auf jeden Fall eindeutig ein Werk der 1430er Jahre und bemerkenswert fortschrittlich. Wenn es tatsächlich eine Art musikalisches Emblem für das Haus von Savoyen werden sollte, scheint seine Integration in eine großangelegte Messvertonung umso angemessener.

aus dem Begleittext von Philip Weller © 2009
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

Recordings

Dufay: The Court of Savoy
CDA67715

Details

Track 12 on CDA67715 [3'03]

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