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Peter Stenshoel's album of the week: Johannes Ockeghem's Complete Secular Music by the Medieval Ensemble of London



Album of the week Johannes Ockeghem's Complete Secular Music
Album of the week Johannes Ockeghem's Complete Secular Music
Kevin Ferguson/KPCC

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Ockeghem lived from 1410 to 1497. He was considered the best composer of his day. Many of his songs are concerned with melancholy, but chivalry was also celebrated in medieval times. Here, for example, is a song with words to melt your heart. For music, click on the icon on your left:

D'un autre amer

By loving another, my heart would demean itself; one need never think that I might spurn her nor think that, for anything, I might change from this purpose, for my honor would be diminished. 

I love her so much that it never would be possible for me to consent to exchange her.

By loving another...  Death, by God, would undo me, before in my lifetime I would accept an estrangement. 

Let no one think that I would allow that; my strong loyalty would prevent it. By loving another...

Credit for the translation goes to Musica Spei, who presented a special concert on the works of Johannes Ockeghem. Their program includes several more poetic lyrics and a full biography of what is known of this composer from the mists of the middle ages.