“On parole/A Paris/Frese nouvele” [Review Update]

This is the exquisitely frolicsome motet referenced in the Week 5 review (although not the highest quality video clip). I’ll let Taruskin set the scene:

By now the fun and games aspect of discordia concors has so burgeoned as to invite free choice of found objects in all parts including the tenor, and the more extravagant the better. The motet [here] is one of those racy things Grocheio particularly recommends for his “feasts of the learned.” Semibreves permeate all parts. The triplum and motetus texts are descriptions of just such medieval fraternity parties as Grocheio describes, at which young literati gathered to gorge on capons and guzzle wine and nuzzle girls and despise manual labor, and particularly to praise Paris, the fount of the good life for budding intellectuals. And the tenor? It consists of a fourfold repetition, prescribed by an early use of ditto or repeat marks in the notation, of a fruitseller’s cry – “Fresh strawberries, ripe blackberries!” – possibly drawn directly “from life” as lived on the Parisian streets. (I, 236)

The spirit of this playful piece is best summed up in the last line of the triplum’s text: “… And all of this is to be had in Paris.”

[Week 5 in Review Update]: Those who checked the blog this morning will have noticed a review post for week 5 that is currently missing. (Although comments to this post pertain to the review.) I am realizing now that I must have accidentally deleted the content of the review and filled it up with this post instead. My apologies! If you have any suggestions for how to retrieve old posts, please let me know. I’m resolutely not in the mood to rewrite the review at this time, but we might get around to it next weekend, perhaps with a “Weeks 5-6 in Review” post. That should be enough time to defuse the frustration that always goes along with losing work into the electronic maw.


  1. Nathan Baker says:

    Congrats Mark! I’ve been busy with first the NASM accreditation visit, then playing the Gershwin musical, and now writing and giving midterms. Hopefully I’ll get to post some thoughts soon though!

  2. Nathan Baker says:

    I HAVE stayed current with reading, at least! =)

  3. ben says:

    this is a GREAT idea! I’ve started Vol. 1 in preparation for DMA entrance exams this Winter – we’ll see how far I get. Taruskin is an amazing writer – I had no idea.

  4. Zach Wallmark says:

    I’ve been pretty amazed at the dexterity, fluidity, and sheer readability of Taruskin’s prose as well. If everyone knew what a gifted writer he is perhaps more people would be willing to take up the challenge, and with relish. Please, Nathan and Ben, as fellow travelers – let us know about your engagement with the text, either as comments or as posts. Email me anything you’d like to put up and I’d be happy to do so (zwallmark@gmail.com). Until then, happy reading!

  5. Mark Samples says:

    For what it’s worth, I’m going to try to remember to write my posts in a word processing program, then paste in. That way we’ll always have an offline copy!

  6. Mark Samples says:

    A couple hundred years later, Clement Janequin also used street criers’ tunes as polyphonic fodder, in a “Parisian” chanson called “Les cris de Paris.” It’s a great listen, and MUST be done so with a translation close at hand.

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