In mijnen sin

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These are program notes from our May 28, 2017 concert.

Busnois’ In mijnen sin

Antoine Busnois was an early Renaissance composer.  At that time, the only way for a musician to feed his family was to find a wealthy employer—often the Catholic church. Here talented musicians would compose music for the three M’s: masses, motets and magnificats.

But Antoine found a different patron in Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. As a member of this court, he satisfied his love not only of music but of combat. He even accompanied his patron into battle—Charles was killed but Antoine survived.

By then, he had developed a reputation far and wide as a court musician and composer–not only of sacred music but also of secular songs. These last were often based on popular tunes of the day, for which he himself often wrote the words.

In mijnen sin, could be translated as “In my mind”; but the mind here is anguished, even tortured. It is the eternal complaint of young men in every age who despair of the love they cannot have. The passion dissolves into self-pity, the words drip with tears, the singer moans in pain. The lady who is the object of the singer’s affections does not even know he exists.  Each verse ends with this refrain: “O if only she could know how I love her. If only she knew my pain I should be glad, but now I am in deep distress.” In this version recorders are reflecting just this kind of passion.

Written by Barb Jepson

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