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Classical Notes

PIeces of Spring No. 17

Posted at 8:05 AM on May 18, 2007 by John Birge

Welcome May, and Classical Minnesota Public Radio's Pieces of Spring.

Every day, we'll play a springtime classic. Visit our online playlist to find each day's spring piece or, in the Twin Cities, listen to 99.5 every morning at 8. Enter the correct title here, and you have another chance to win fresh flowers delivered to your door for a year! Check back here every day to see if you got it right.

Yesterday's piece was "The Return of Spring" (Recevy vinir du printans) by Claude LeJeune. Not much is known about Claude Le Jeune, though he was quite influential in late Renaissance France. Fellow musician Orlando di Lassus mentioned his name in a list of “contemporary composers of excellence,” and was a musician and composer in Henry IV’s court later in his life. He was also one of the most famous composers of secular chansons, including “Recevy vinir du printans,” (“The Return of Spring”) published posthumously in 1603.

Refrain:
Here again comes the Spring
the amorous and fair season.

The currents of water that seek
the canal in summer become clearer;
and the calm sea the waves’
sad anger soothes.
The duck, elated, dives
and washes itself quietly in the water.
and the crane that branches off in flight
recrosses the air and flies away.

The sun shines brightly
with a calmer light.
The shadow of the cloud vanishes
from him who sports and runs and darkens.
Forests and fields and slopes
human labor makes green again,
and the prairie unveils its flowers.

Cupid, the son of Venus
seeding the universe with his arrows,
with his flame will rekindle
animals that fly in the air,
animals that crawl in the fields,
animals that swim in the seas.
Even those that feel not
in love they melt in pleasure.

Let us, too, laugh, and let us seek
the sports and games of Spring:
everything smiles with pleasure;
let us celebrate the merry season.