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French Airs de Cour

Catherine Bott explores the background to the Air de Cour or French court song, a hugely influential kind of music with a distinctive and individual atmosphere.

Catherine Bott indulges in the delights of the Air de Cour or renaissance French Court Song, a hugely influential kind of music with a distinctive and individual atmosphere. The Airs de Cour developed in the mid 16th century from a madrigalian form of word setting - one featuring several, unaccompanied voices - into a song, more typically for solo voice with lute accompaniment. Unlike the famous lute songs in England, which appeared at about the same time, from the likes of John Dowland and Thomas Campion, the French songs have their own unique musical and poetic quality. They were hugely popular at the French court, even though their model was often drawn from the popular, Parisian street music of the day.

Airs de Cour were prevalent between 1570 and 1650, during which time they fragmented and developed into several different types, reflecting a variety of subjects in their texts. Eventually these songs paved the way for a technique of word setting that put in motion the creation of French opera.

In this programme, which forms part of a weekend of Early Music Show's focusing on music from renaissance France, Catherine Bott looks at the background to the genre, and examines the different emerging types of song, with examples from CD featuring composers such as Pierre Guedron, Etienne Moulinié, Gabriel Bataille, Antoine Boesset and Jacques du Buisson.

1 hour

Music Played

  • Nicolas Vallet

    Prelude III

    Performer: Paolo Cherici (lute)

    • Symphonia.
    • SY 96153.
  • Pierre Guédron

    "Cessés mortels de soupirer"

    Performers: Claudine Ansermet (soprano), Paolo Cherici (lute)

    • Symphonia.
    • SY 96153.
  • Étienne Moulinié

    "Paisible et ténébreuse nuit"

    Performers: Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (countertenor), Eric Bellocq (lute)

    • Glissando.
    • 7790132.
  • Gabriel Bataille

    "Ma bergère non legère"

    Performers: Rene Jacobs (countertenor), Konrad Junghänel (lute)

    • Harmonia Mundi.
    • HMA 1901079.
  • Anon.

    "Mi belle si ton ame"

    Performers: Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (countertenor), Eric Bellocq (lute)

    • Glissando.
    • 7790132.
  • Pierre Guédron

    "A Paris sur petit pont"

    Performers: Le Poeme Harmonique, Vincent Dumestre (director)

    • Alpha.
    • Alpha 019.
  • Pierre Guédron

    "Qu'on ne me parle plus d'amour"

    Performers: Le Poeme Harmonique, Vincent Dumestre (director)

    • Alpha.
    • Alpha 019.
  • Pierre Guédron

    "Quel espoir de guarir"

    Performers: Le Poeme Harmonique, Vincent Dumestre (director)

    • Alpha.
    • Alpha 019.
  • Antoine Boësset

    "Un jour Amarille"

    Performers: Catherine King (soprano), Jacob Heringman (lute)

    • Linn.
    • 214 3790.
  • Michel Lambert

    "Vos mespris"

    Performers: Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (countertenor), Nicolas Mazzoleni (violin), Simon Heyerick (violin), Oliver Baumont (harpsichord), Christine Plubeau (gamba), Eric Bellocq (lute)

    • Glissando.
    • 7790132.
  • Jacques du Buisson

    "Plainte sur la mort de Monsieur Lambert"

    Performers: Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (countertenor), Eric Bellocq (lute)

    • Glissando.
    • 7790132.
  • Georges Brassens

    Marquise

    Performers: Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (countertenor), Eric Bellocq (guitar)

    • Glissando.
    • 7790132.
  • Étienne Moulinié

    "Objet le plus beau"

    Performers: Catherine King (soprano), Charles Daniels (tenor), Jacob Heringman (lute)

    • Linn.
    • 2143790.
  • Pierre Guédron

    "Recit de Alcine – Noire fureurs"

    Performers: Claire Lefilliatre (soprano), Le Poeme Harmonique, Vincent Dumestre (director)

    • Alpha.
    • Alpha 019.

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