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Peirol D'auvernha - Bonhoure, La Camera Delle Lacrime, Et Al


Release Date: 11/10/2009 
Label:  Zig Zag   Catalog #: 90903   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Peirol
Performer:  Bruno Bonhoure
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Camera delle Lacrime
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Fascinating and evocative … well worth searching out.

You must take yourself to Aquitaine in South-Western France. Perhaps you have seen some of the extraordinary Romanesque carving found in the churches, especially Poitiers. Perhaps you have stood in Clermont where the first crusade was preached in 1095. However to quote the introduction to the booklet notes by singer Bruno Bonheure “Peirol d’Auvergne inhabits a theatre of the imagination somewhere between the epic and the everyday”. This little known troubadour did actually exist and we know a good deal about him. He lived at the time of the third, fourth and fifth crusades. He served the Dauphin Count of Auvergne, himself a troubadour, at Montefferand near Clermont.
Read more Amid the life of a prestigious court Peirol produced his thirty four known songs, seventeen of which survive with melodies. So what is the approach of La Camera delle Lacrime?

You may think that establishing a chronology for such an early composer would be a hopeless case. However in the instance of Peirol it is possible, as we know some of his biography. It seems that when in the employ of the Dauphin, Peirol in love with the niece of the count, one Sail-de-Claustra. One reads in the opening songs of the CD that his love although successful at first was certainly not requited; eventually it was probably disdained. Yet he writes “for the sickness that love brings me/I will never cease/to sing and be joyful”.

In the longer but succinct and very useful booklet essay by Didier Perre the life-story is developed in the light of these recorded songs and of others which no longer have their melodies extant. They tell a quite romantic tale. Peirol then it seems moved on to serve Dauphiné and the court of Vienne. There he fell head over heels for Marqueza, probably Sail’s sister and the wife of Héracle III. The song in track 7 tells us that now his lady “does not call for me any more than she does with other people”. So Peirol moved on again. We have the date 1202 when like a vagabond Peirol sojourned in various French courts and got to know other troubadours. He was a performer (jongleur) now as well as, or instead of being, a composer and was, he tells us “a martyr to love”.

Then he went off to the crusades and to the Holy Land. We seem to hear of this in the dialogue song “Quant amors trobet partit” in which the evocative and wonderfully flexible voice of Bruno Bonheure is joined by that of Judith Kan. Peirol died after his travels home having spent several years it seems in the middle-east and after the failure of his long quest for the love of Sail-de-Claustra. He abandoned courtly love and I presume ‘amor courtoise’ in the musical sense.

A good example of the attractiveness of these performances and the melodies is ‘ Camjat ai mon consirier’ (I have changed my thoughts/For I have changed to a new beloved). The verses are sung solo with the last line repeated by a chorus. The memorable melody is begun by a simple accompaniment from a tanbur (I think). Then a drum enters for verse 2. A vielle is introduced for verse 3 with, I suspect, an improvised counterpoint. For the next verse a harp doubles the tune which now becomes a little syncopated. Another vielle or string instrument joins in next so the texture is built up. For a short while before the last stanza the instruments are left alone. The song ends like most of the others with an ‘envoie’ with which it is sent off to its audience “Go song, straight to the fair one, wherever she may be”. An earlier song had signed off with “Dauphin if I dared reveal my desire to someone/I so love your nobility/that you would know the truth.”

Four instrumental ‘songs’ are given for which text does not survive. Their melodies, at least as they are performed here, have a real middle-eastern quality to them. Examples include “D’un bons vers vau pensan’; also ‘Tot mon engeing e mon saber’ which introduces a flute half way through evocatively doubling the tune a fourth lower in a sort of parallel organum. This song ends “The poem is only to be uttered by one who knows how to speak properly”.

La Camera delle Lacrime consists of Bonheure and four other instrumentalists who play on a variety of eastern instruments some of which may well be unknown to you. There’s a Kanun - a sort of Turkish zither, a Tanball which is the principal percussion instrument of Persia and a Tanbur - a long-necked lute. Troubadours, as they passed through the Holy Land bartered instruments and brought back such items to western Europe. Their inclusion here makes a good deal of sense. In addition to these players the group is supplemented by a female and three further male singers as indicated above.

All texts are given, translated from the original Occitan into both French and English; I am not sure however about the curious black and white photographs which adorn the booklet.

So, a fascinating and evocative disc, with a slightly new bias on the performance of troubadour music and one which is well worth searching out. 

-- Gary Higginson, MusicWeb International


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This is an astonishing addition to the troubadour repertoire on records, since only a few of the occitan composers have been recorded as thoroughly as Peirol is. The troubadours best represented on disc are Gaucelm Faidit (10:2; CD in 10:3) and Peire Vidal (11:1), while the incomplete collection of Bernart de Ventadorn (10:6; CD in 11:2) is largely filled out on other discs. Notice how long it has been since all those discs appeared. Of the 17 songs recorded here, the entire list edited by Hendrik van der Werf in The Extant Troubadour Melodies, only five have been recorded before. (Another song by the similarly named Peire d’Auvernhe was recorded by Sequentia, but Pillet and Carstens list him as a different troubadour.) Quant Amors trobet partit, his best-known work, is included in René Clemencic’s large collection (3:6; CD in 18:5) and in a program by Estampie (19:6), while Mainta gens mi malrazona has been recorded twice by Gérard Zuchetto (15:6 for the earlier one). Per dan que d’amor is on Zuchetto’s new disc with the remake of the other song, while Atressi co.l signes fai is in still another Zuchetto collection, neither of these received here. D’eissa la razon was done instrumentally by I Ciarlatani, one of four selections that are heard only instrumentally on the new disc as well.

Peirol was probably born around 1160, since he was active by 1185, first in the service of the Count of Auvergne until 1202, then in other southern French courts and in Italy. After 1221 he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, staying for over a year, then returned, married, and settled down, dying around 1225. In addition to these 17 songs, another 17 poems are preserved without melodies in 31 manuscripts, an indication of his stature.

The principal singer is Bruno Bonhoure, who directs the ensemble, with the assistance of Judith Kan. The instrumentalists are fairly discreet and not too numerous. The origin of this project in central Asia raised initial wonderment, and the artistic collaboration of Khai-dong Luong goes unexplained, but the recording was made in Paris in a thoroughly idiomatic vein. In only five years, La Camera delle Lacrime has made four CDs, though this is the first one on this label. This is an automatic choice for lovers of troubadour (and trouvère) music, worthy of a place next to the finest examples of the genre.

FANFARE: J. F. Weber Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Coras quem fezes dole by Peirol
Performer:  Bruno Bonhoure (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Camera delle Lacrime
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
2.
Per dan que d'amor m'aveigna by Peirol
Performer:  Bruno Bonhoure (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Camera delle Lacrime
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
3.
Atressi col signes fai by Peirol
Performer:  Bruno Bonhoure (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Camera delle Lacrime
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
4.
Del sieu tort farai esmenda by Peirol
Performer:  Bruno Bonhoure (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Camera delle Lacrime
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
5.
En joi quem demora by Peirol
Performer:  Bruno Bonhoure (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Camera delle Lacrime
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
6.
Quant amors trobet partit by Peirol
Performer:  Bruno Bonhoure (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Camera delle Lacrime
Period: Medieval 
Written: 1188; France 
7.
Mainta gens mi malrazona by Peirol
Performer:  Bruno Bonhoure (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Camera delle Lacrime
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
8.
Camjat ai mon consirier by Peirol
Performer:  Bruno Bonhoure (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Camera delle Lacrime
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
9.
D'un bon vers vau pensan com lo fezes by Peirol
Performer:  Bruno Bonhoure (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Camera delle Lacrime
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
10.
Tot mon engeing e mon saber by Peirol
Performer:  Bruno Bonhoure (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Camera delle Lacrime
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
11.
Si bem sui loing et entre gent estraigna by Peirol
Performer:  Bruno Bonhoure (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Camera delle Lacrime
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
12.
Ben dei chantar puois amors m'o enseigna by Peirol
Performer:  Bruno Bonhoure (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Camera delle Lacrime
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
13.
Mout m'entremis de chantar voluntiers by Peirol
Performer:  Bruno Bonhoure (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Camera delle Lacrime
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
14.
M'entencion ai tot' en un vers mesa by Peirol
Performer:  Bruno Bonhoure (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Camera delle Lacrime
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
15.
D'un sonet vau pensan by Peirol
Performer:  Bruno Bonhoure (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Camera delle Lacrime
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
16.
Nuills hom no s'auci tan gen by Peirol
Performer:  Bruno Bonhoure (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Camera delle Lacrime
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
17.
D'eissa la razon qu'ieu suoill by Peirol
Performer:  Bruno Bonhoure (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Camera delle Lacrime
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 

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