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O rosa bella (1) 3v · Bedyngham / Dunstable

Appearance in the group of related chansonniers:

*Wolfenbüttel ff. 34v-36 »O rosa bella« 3v PDF · Facsimile

Other musical sources:

Berlin 78.C.28 ff. 40v-42 »O [rosa bella]« 3v
Escorial IV.a.24 ff. 35v-37 »O rosa bella« 3v
Escorial IV.a.24 ff. 35v-37 »O rosa bella« 3v
Leipzig 1084 f. 228 »[O] quam suavis est« 3v
Montecassino 871 p. 341 »O rosa bella« 1v [3v] (C only)
Paris 15123 ff. 90v-92 »O rosa bella« 3v Facsimile
Paris 2973 ff. 8v-10 »O rosa bella« 3v · Facsimile
Paris 4379 f. 30v + Sevilla 5-1-43 f. 50 »O rosa bella« 3v
Pavia 362 ff. 41v-43 »[O] rosa belle« 3v
Porto 714 ff. 54v-56 »O rosa bella« 3v Joh Bedyngham
Rome 1411 ff. 22v-23 »O rosa bella« 3v Domstaple
Trento 89 ff. 119v-120 »O rosa bella« 3v + 6v (3 optional extra voices) Bedyngham
Trento 90 ff. 361v-362 »O rosa bella o tu mi Maria« 4v (+ CII)
Trento 93 f. 371 »[O rosa bella]« 1v [3v] (C only)

Reworkings, citation, and use of material, see Meconi 1994, pp. 35-36, and Fallows 1999, pp. 545-546.

Edition: Gutiérrez-Denhoff 1988 no. 27 (Wolfenbüttel – faulty)

Text: One stanza of an Italian strophic poem, adapted from a ballata by Leonardo Giustiniani (1385-1446) and corrupted by francophone copyists; full text in Paris 2973 and Pavia 362.

O rosa bella, o dulce amica mya,
non my laissar morire in cortaisia.
A las me dolente de gio finire
par bien servire et loyaulment amare.

O beautiful rose, o my sweet friend,
do not let me die, please.
Alas, must I end in grief
for serving well and loving loyally?

Further on the text, sources and editions, see Fallows 1999 p. 545.

Evaluation of the source:

Except for a few writing errors, which are easily discovered, Wolfenbüttel Chansonnier offers a good performing version of the famous song. It does not show any of the accidentals found in several other sources. For a comparison of sources (incomplete) and a attempt at a stemma, in which Wolfenbüttel stands a little at its own, see Gutiérrez-Denhoff 1988, pp. 125-127.

Concerning the double ascription, David Fallows has argued convincingly for John Bedyngham’s authorship (Fallows 1994).

Comments on text and music:

After the “O” introduction the superius and tenor are composed very close to the articulation of the text – and many sources have written out repeats of words (as in Wolfenbüttel: “in cortaisia” and “A las me”). It is easy also to fit the text to the contratenor, which is in the same range as the tenor and often crosses its lines; it participates in the introductory imitation on »O rosa bella«.

An arrangement of superius and tenor of this song is found in Dijon ff. 93v-95 (no. 78), and the French chanson »O infame desleauté« (Dijon ff. 151v-152, no. 126, and Wolfenbüttel ff. 51v-52, no. 42) builds on material from »O rosa bella”.

PWCH May 2008