“Peine et travail”

A 3-voice chanson entitled “Peine et travail” appears in the fifth book of Susato’s La fleur des chansons series (RISM 1552-10) with an attribution to Janequin. Lesure and Merritt were clearly aware of “Peine et travail” during the preparation of Clément Janequin: chansons polyphoniques, since Lesure mentions it in a 1959 article on 3-part chansons, even thanking Professor Nowak for bringing the piece to his attention.[1] At some point, however, “Peine et travail” fell by the wayside and does not appear in the LM edition. This may have been because the attribution to Janequin in the surviving tenor book in the Österreichische Nationalbibliotek in Vienna was for a time obscured by a library paste-over.[2] It may also have been because the editors were focused on pairing the chansons (LM220 and LM221) that precede and follow “Peine et travail” in Susato’s print, both of which are built on a cantus firmus from an earlier chanson (“A mon resveil”). Or again, the exclusion of “Peine et travail” may have resulted from confusion with a different setting of the same text which appears in the sixth volume of Susato’s Fleur series without attribution to Janequin.[3] Whatever the case, a consistent processing of the contents of Susato’s fifth book by Lesure and Merritt would have given the following presentation of the three-part chansons:

LM220 Je demande (1552-10, nr 15)

LM221 Peine et travail (1552-10, nr 16)

LM222 M’en allé veoir (1552-10, nr 17)

LM223 J’ay trop soudain (1552-10, nr 18)

LM224 Quand te ne voy (1552-10, nr 19 ) etc.

and not

LM220 Je demande (1552-10, nr 15)

LM221 M’en allé veoir (1552-10, nr 17)

LM222 J’ay trop soudain (1552-10, nr 18)

LM223 Quand te ne voy (1552-10, nr 19)

LM224 Toy cupide (1552-10, nr 20) etc.

Since I have recommended (in the section on “Challenged attributions”) that all the entries in Susato’s 5th and 6th Fleur series (LM220-LM226) be removed from the Janequin canon, this omission is largely academic. Nevertheless, the fact that “Peine et travail” is almost certainly an arrangement by Susato or one of his editors does not alter the possibility that there may have been a now lost earlier setting by Janequin on which the 1552 version was based.[4]

  1. François Lesure. “Les chansons a trois voix de Clément Janequin” Revue de Musicologie XLIV (1959) p.198, note 1.
  2. Courtney Adams pointed out the lacuna in 1974 and again in 1979, but the second edition (1983) of Chansons polyphiques does not address the omission.
  3. “Paine et travaille” (anon) Susato La fleur des chansons (6eme) (RISM1552-11) nr. 14. Only the bass partbook of this edition (in GB:Bl) is known.
  4. A transcription of “Peine et travail” (a3) is found in Adams1974:586-587.