la douleur exquise
(n.) the heart-wrenching pain of
wanting the affection of someone
In celebration of Mons 2015, European Capital of Culture, this piece for chamber ensemble of nine players honours composer Roland de Lassus, the audacious and perhaps best-known polyphonic composer of the Renaissance, particularly renowned for mixing sacred and profane music with insight and virtuosity.
Whilst La douleur exquise does not cite his music directly the choral-esque instrumental passages have been inspired by Roland de Lassus’ 6-voice motet « Musica, Dei donum optimi » (drawn from the Cantiones sacrae sex vocum - Graz, Widmanstad, 1594).
The above definition of la douleur exquise has been a controlling spirit in the architecture of the piece and in my treatment of the angular material that repeatedly disrupts the essence of Lassus’ Motet. La douleur exquise is dedicated to M.