A 14th​-​Century Salmagundi

by Blue Heron

TRIPLUM Aucun ont trouvé chant par usage, Mes a moi en doune ochoison Amours, qui resbaudist mon courage, Si que m’estuet faire chançon, Car amer me fait dame bele et sage et de bon renon. Et je, qui li ai fait houmage Pour li servir tout mon aage De loial cuer sans penser trahison, Chanterai, car de li tieng un si douz heritage, Que joie n’ai se de ce non: C’est la pensée, que mon douz mal m’asouage, Et fait esperer garison, Ne pour quant suer moi puet clamer hausage Amours et moi tout mon vivant tenir en sa prison. Ne ja pour ce ne penserai vers li mesprison; Tant set soutilment assallir, K’encontre li defendre ne s’en puet on. Force de cors ne plenté de lignage Ne vaut un bouton, Et si li plaist de raençon Rendre a son gré, sui pris et l’en fais gage Mon cuer, que je met du tout en abandon. Si proi merci, car autre avantage N’ai je ne pour moi nule autre raison. MOTETUS Lonc tans me sui tenu de chanter, Mes or ai raison de joie mener, Car boune amour me fait désirer La miex ensegnie k’on puist en tout le mont trouver; A li ne doit on nule autre comparer, Et quant j’aim dame si proisie Que grant deduit ai du penser, Je puis bien prouver que mout a savoureuse vie, Quoi que nus die, en bien amer. TENOR Annun[tiantes] Translation: Some have invented songs out of habit, but I am given incentive by Love, who so fills my heart with joy that I must make a song, for he makes me love a lady fair and wise and of good name. And I, who have sworn to serve her all my life with a loyal heart, without thought of betrayal, will sing, for from her I receive so sweet a gift that I have no joy save for one: this is the thought that soothes my sweet pain and gives hope for a cure. Nevertheless, Love may claim supremacy over me and hold me in his prison all my life long, nor indeed shall I ever think ill of him for this. He knows how to attack so subtly that no one can defend himself against him: neither bodily strength nor noble lineage is worth a button, and if it pleases him to grant ransom on his terms, I am taken and pledge my heart, which I wholly abandon. Thus I pray for mercy, for I have no other resource, nor any other reason in my favor. For a long time I refrained from singing, but now I have reason to be joyous, for true love makes me desire the best bred lady whom one can find in the whole world: none other can be compared with her. And since I love so highly-prized a lady that I get great pleasure from the thought. I can indeed prove that he who loves well leads a most delicious life, whatever anyone may say. Translations by Scott Metcalfe, Thomas Forrest Kelly, and Lawrence Rosenwald.
TRIPLUM Garrit gallus flendo dolorose, luget quippe gallorum concio, que satrape traditur dolose, excubitus sedens officio. Atque vulpes, tamquam vispilio in Belial vigens astucia, de leonis consensu proprio monarchisat, atat angaria. Rursus, ecce, Jacob familia Pharaone altero fugatur; non ut olim Iude vestigia subintrare potens, lacrimatur. In deserto fame flagellatur, adiutoris carens armatura, quamquam clamat, tamen spoliatur, continuo fordan moritura, miserorum exulum vox dura! O Gallorum garritus doloris, cum leonis cecitas obscura fraudi paret vulpis proditoris eius fastus sustinens erroris insurgito: alias labitur et labetur quod habes honoris, quod mox in facinus tardis ultoribus itur. MOTETUS In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas: draco nequam quem olim penitus mirabili crucis potencia debellabit Michael inclitus, mox Absalon munitus gracia, mox Ulixis gaudens facundia, mox lupinis dentibus armatus, sub Tersitis miles milicia, rursus vivit in vulpem mutatus, fraudi cuius lumine privatus leo vulpe imperante paret. Oves suggit pullis saciatus. Heu! suggere non cessat et aret ad nupcias carnibus non caret. Ve pullis mox, ve ceco leoni! coram Christo tandem ve draconi. Translation: The rooster cries, lamenting sadly, indeed the whole assembly of roosters laments, for they have been betrayed by the crafty satrap who was supposed to guard them. And the fox, like a thief in the night, vigorous with the cunning of Belial, reigns with the full consent of the lion himself. Behold how the family of Jacob once again flees another Pharaoh: no longer able to follow the path of the Jews as before, it weeps. In the desert it is tortured by hunger, with no armor to help. though they cry out yet they are robbed; soon perhaps to die, harsh is the voice of the wretched exiles, O painful cries of the roosters! Since the dark blindness of the lion is subject to the deceit of the treacherous fox, supporting his arrogance by encouraging sin, rise up! otherwise what is left of your honor slips away and will continue to slip away. With only slow avengers it will soon turn to villainy. My mind is bent to tell of forms changed into new things: that evil dragon, whom glorious Michael once utterly defeated by the miraculous power of the cross, now armed thanks to Absalom, now gloating with the eloquence of Ulysses, now armed with the teeth of a wolf, a soldier in the army of Thersites— he lives again, changed into a fox. Deprived of sight by the fox’s tail the lion, ruled by the fox, obeys. He sucks the blood of lambs, sated with chickens. Alas! he never stops sucking and thirsts for a marriage, he does not lack for meat. Now woe to the chickens, woe to the blind lion! and finally, before the face of Christ, woe to the dragon. Translations by Scott Metcalfe, Thomas Forrest Kelly, and Lawrence Rosenwald.
Biauté qui toutes autres pere, Envers moy diverse et estrange, Doucour fine a mon goust amere, Corps digne de toute loange, Simple vis a cuer d’ayment, Regart pour tuer un amant, Semblant de joie et response d’esmay M’ont a ce mis que pour amer mourray. Detri d’otri que moult compere, Bel Acuel qui de moy se vange, Amour marrastre et non pas mere, Espoir qui de joie m’estrange, Povre secours, desir ardant, Triste penser, cuer souspirant, Durté, Desdaing, Dangier et Refus qu’ay M’ont a ce mis que pour amer mourray. Si vueil bien qu’a ma dame appere Qu’elle ma joie en doulour change Et que sa belle face clere Me destruit, tant de meschief san ge, Et que je n’ay revel ne chant N’ainsi com je sueil plus ne chant Pour ce qu’Amours, mi oeil et son corps gay M’ont a ce mis que pour amer mourray. Translation: Beauty which is peer of all others, towards me inconstant and distant, exquisite sweetness, bitter to my taste, body worthy of all praise, innocent countenance with heart of steel, a glance to kill a lover, joyful appearance and distressing reply have brought me to this, that for love I shall die. Delay in requiting, which costs dearly, Fair Welcome who takes revenge on me, Cruel Love, an unnatural mother, Hope which deprives me of joy, poor help, burning desire, sad thoughts, sighing heart, Harshness, Disdain, Rebuff, and Refusal have brought me to this, that for love I shall die. So I wish that it be made known to my lady that she changes my joy to grief, and that her fair radiant face destroys me, such misfortune do I feel, and that I have neither pleasure nor song, nor do I sing as I used to, for Love, my eyes, and her genteel person have brought me to this, that for love I shall die. Translations by Scott Metcalfe, Thomas Forrest Kelly, and Lawrence Rosenwald.
En attendant, Esperance conforte L’omme qui vuolt avoir perfeccion: En attendant se deduc et deporte, En attendant li proumet guerredon, En attendant passe temps et sayson, En attendant met en li sa fiance: De toulz ces mets est servis a fayson Cilz qui ne sceit vivre sans Esperance. Esperance tient overte la porte Adont chascuns puet avoir guarison. Esperance est de si noble sorte Que cilz ne doit prendre confusion Qui l’a o soy, et sanz li ne puet on Avoir loing temps de playsir habundance: Dont prendre assés puet consolacion Cilz qui ne sceit vivre sans Esperance. Pour ce conoy et voy qu’elle m’ennorte A li tenir, et j’ay cause et rayson, Quar ja schay bien que s’elle estoit morte Pou y veroit le mien entencion. Dont je vos pris en ma conclusion Que Bel Acueil priés pour m’alagance: En attendant suy [sanz] presoncion Cilz qui ne sceit vivre sans Esperance. Translation: While waiting, Hope comforts the man who seeks perfection: while waiting, he amuses and entertains himself, while waiting, she promises him reward, while waiting, time and seasons pass, while waiting, he places his trust in her. From all these dishes is amply served the man who cannot live without Hope. Hope holds open the door through which each may find healing. Hope is of such noble make that he who has her with him should never come to harm, and without her one cannot long enjoy pleasure’s abundance: from which he can take some consolation, the man who cannot live without Hope. Therefore I acknowledge and see that she exhorts me to hold to her, and I have cause and reason, for I know well that if she were dead my intent would come to little. Thus, in conclusion, I beg you to pray to Fair Welcome for my relief: while waiting I am, without presumption, the man who cannot live without Hope. Translations by Scott Metcalfe, Thomas Forrest Kelly, and Lawrence Rosenwald.
Io son un pellegrin che vo cercando Limosina, per Dio merce chiamando. Et vo cantando con la voce bella, Con dolce aspetto et colla treça bionda. Nonnò se non bordone et la scarsella, Et chiamo, et nonnè chi mi risponda. Et quando credo andare alla seconda, Vento contrario mi vien tempestando. Io son un pellegrin che vo cercando Limosina, per Dio merce chiamando. Translation: I am a pilgrim who goes seeking alms, calling for mercy in God’s name. And I go singing with a lovely voice, with sweet countenance and golden tresses. Nothing have I save staff and satchel, and I call, and there is no one who answers me. And just when I think I’m on a steady course, a contrary wind comes and blows up a storm against me. I am a pilgrim who goes seeking alms, calling for mercy in God’s name. Translations by Scott Metcalfe, Thomas Forrest Kelly, and Lawrence Rosenwald.
Osellecto selvaggio per stagione Dolci versetti canta con bel modo, Tale che grida forte chi non lodo. Per gridar forte non si canta bene Ma con soav’e dolce melodia Si fa bel canto e ci vuol maestria. Pochi l’hanno e tutti si fan maestri, Fan ballate, madriali et motetti, Tutti enfioran Filipi e Marchetti. Sì si è piena la terra di magistroli Che loco più non trovano discepoli. -9 i.e. Philippe de Vitry and Marchetto of Padua Translation: A wild little bird during the season sings sweet little verses in a beautiful style, whereas those I do not praise shout loudly. Loud shouting does not make for good singing, but with smooth and sweet melody one produces good singing, and this requires skill. Few have it, yet all make themselves out to be masters: they compose ballatas, madrigals and motets, all puff themselves up as Philippes and Marchettos. Thus the land is so full of little masters that there is no room left for disciples. Translations by Scott Metcalfe, Thomas Forrest Kelly, and Lawrence Rosenwald.
Musica son che mi dolgo piangendo Veder gli effecti mie dolce perfecti Lasciar per frottol i vagh’intellecti. Perche ingnorança e viçi’ogn’uom costuma, Lasciasi ’l buon e pigliasi la schiuma. Già furon le dolceçe mie pregiate Da chavalier, baroni et gran singnori, Or sono’n bastarditi e genti cori. Ma io musica sol non mi lamento Ch’ancor l’altre virtù lasciare sento. Ciascun vuole narrar musical note Et compor madrial, caccie, ballate, Tenend’ognum le sue autenticate. Chi vuol d’una virtù venire in loda Conviengli prima giugner alla proda. Translation: Music am I, who, weeping, grieve to see my sweet, perfect workings abandoned in favor of country songs by amorous minds. Because ignorance is a vice common to all men, the good is cast aside and froth seized upon. Heretofore were my sweet effects esteemed by knights, barons, and great lords; now they are bastardized and sung by crowds. But I, Music, do not lament alone, because I perceive that the other virtues are also abandoned. Everyone wants to dictate musical notes and compose madrigals, caccias, and ballatas, each sticking to his own rules. He who wishes to be praised for a virtue ought first to step up into the prow. Translations by Scott Metcalfe, Thomas Forrest Kelly, and Lawrence Rosenwald.


Salmagundi: a savory dish composed of chopped meats, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and condiments; a mixture or hodgepodge; an assemblage of miscellaneous components.

Blue Heron’s Salmagundi is a pleasing miscellany of music composed c. 1300-1400, a delightful salad of ingredients gathered from our storehouse of French and Italian songs, including virtuosic music by Guillaume de Machaut, Francesco Landini, and Jacob Senleches. Seven vocal soloists are featured along with medieval fiddles, harp, and lute.

1 Petrus de Cruce (fl. c. 1290): Aucun ont trouvé/Lonc tans me sui tenu/Annuntiantes
2 Attr. to Philippe de Vitry (1291-1361): Garrit gallus/In nova fert animus
3 Guillaume de Machaut (c. 1300-1377): En mon cuer a un descort
4 Machaut: Biauté qui toutes autres pere
5 Jacob Senleches (fl. 1380s): En attendant, Esperance conforte
6 Anonymous: Io son un pellegrin
7 Jacopo da Bologna (fl. 1340–?1386): Osellecto selvaggio
8 Francesco Landini (c. 1325-1397): Musica son/Già furon/Ciascun vuole

Total time: 40:04

Michael Barrett, Ian Howell, Owen McIntosh, Jason McStoots, Martin Near, Aaron Sheehan, Sumner Thompson, voices
Laura Jeppesen, fiddle
Charles Weaver, lute
Scott Metcalfe, fiddle, harp, director


released September 4, 2020

Joel Gordon, engineering & mastering
Scott Metcalfe & Eric Milnes, producers
Eric Milnes & Joel Gordon, editing
Recorded at the Church of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, in 2010 & 2014.

Tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 & 8 were commissioned for the CD accompanying Capturing Music: The Story of Notation by Thomas Forrest Kelly (W. W. Norton: New York & London, 2015): used by permission from W. W. Norton.
Tracks 3 & 7 were commissioned for the Oxford Anthology of Western Music, ed. David J. Rothenberg & Robert R. Holzer (Oxford University Press: New York and Oxford, 2013): used by permission from Oxford University Press.


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Blue Heron Boston, Massachusetts

Winner of the 2018 Gramophone Classical Music Award for Early Music (the first non-European group to win the award), Blue Heron (Scott Metcalfe, dir.) has been acclaimed by The Boston Globe as “one of the Boston music community’s indispensables” and hailed by Alex Ross in The New Yorker for the “expressive intensity” of its interpretations. ... more

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