Renaissance Love Songs (Study Guide)

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Renaissance Love Songs Study Guide Whereas the music of the Middle Ages is predominantly sacred, there is a great flourishing of songs dedicated to secular topics, predominatly love, in the 15th through the early 17th centuries. With the invention of music printing, the spread of literacy and improved travel musical and poetic ideas travelled rapidly around Europe, creating a distinctive set of ideas which elaborated themes inherited from the troubadours and their descendents. The notion of courtly love was now hardly taken seriously, but its imagery was still powerful. Gilles Binchois: Dueil angoisseux (text by Christine de Pisan), from The Castle of Fair Welcome, Hyperion CDA66194, track 6. Christine de Pisan (or Pizan) was a 14th-century French writer who was wed at 15 and widowed at 25, and dedicated her output of love-lyrics to the memory of her late husband to whom she was utterly devoted. Despite the wish for death expressed in the envoi to this poem, she lived on to compose many other works, often defending women`s rights and praising their accomplishments. Not only is this an unusual work in expressing wifely devotion, but it is also highly original in the way it piles sorrow on sorrow in a torrent of anguished verse. Although Christine is counted as a Medieval poet her poem was set by Gilles Binchois, a Renaissance composer, reminding us that no sharp boundary separated these periods and that he could respond directly and immediately to her emotion with powerfully ...

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