Bon Voisin and “Laras tu cela michaut”

Very little is known about the composer Bon Voisin except that between 1537 and 1539, Pierre Attaingnant published four of his chansons. “L’espouse la premiere nuict” (on a Marot text) appeared in the Tiers livre[1] of 1537, “Laras tu cela michaut” and “A cent diables” were included in the Quart livre[2] of 1538, and “Encore ung coup” appeared in the Sixiesme livre[3] of 1539. All four pieces are on “earthy” texts. Both “Laras tu cela michaut” and “A cent diables” appear in Attaingnant’s reissue of the Quart livre in 1540, but while the publisher alters the attribution of “A cent diables” to Guillaume Le Heurteur, he retains the attribution of “Laras tu cela michaut” to Bon Voisin in the new edition.

Jacques Moderne also published “Laras” twice, once in 153817 (Parangon tiers, M13) and again in the reprint of the same volume[4] in 1543, both times with an attribution to “Iennequin.” “Laras” is the only attribution to Janequin in the third Parangon, which otherwise contains three chansons each by Claudin, Villiers, and Fresneau (including his “Fricasee” built over the bass line of Janequin’s LM41 “Or vien cela”), two chansons each by Arcadelt, Certon, Coste, Buus, and Layolle and single chansons by Cadeac, Patie, Maillard, and Passereau. The “Laras tu cela michaut” text appears again, but in an entirely different musical setting, signed “Croquillon,” in the tenth book of Moderne’s Parangon series (154314, M38).

Probably basing their decision on Attaingnant’s reliability and Moderne’s lack of same, Lesure and Merritt have chosen to regard “Laras” as the work of Bon Voisin.[5]

  1. RISM 15374 (A79) no. 5, fol. iii-v
  2. RISM 153813 (A83) no. 7, fol. v-v and no. 13, fol. viii-v
  3. RISM 153916 (A86) no. 4, fol. iii-v
  4. RISM 154313 (M37) no. 13, fol. 17
  5. Modern edition in Jane A. Bernstein, ed., Le parangon des chansons: Tiers livre contenant xxvi chansons: Lyons, 1538, and Le parangon des chansons: Quart livre contenant xxii chansons a deux et a troys parties: Lyons, 1539, The Sixteenth-century Chanson, vol. 25 (New York: Garland, 1993), 48.