Pierre Passereau (1509-1547) was a Renaissance composer from France who specialized in light- hearted chansons. One of his favorite techniques was using nonsense language to imitate animals, which is vividly shown in this piece, Il est bel et bon, featuring a delightful staccato quasi-round that emulates clucking chickens. The frivolous text refers to two gossiping women extolling their husbands’ diligence in doing the chores and, yes, feeding the chickens.
Originally written for four vocal parts, my new arrangement now makes the enjoyable classic accessible to three-part choirs for the first time. Opportunities abound for heightened dynamic contrasts as well as sudden dramatic switches between staccato and legato. The almost comedic text offers the chance to tell the story in vivid musical colors. Keep the tempo fast and bouncy without sacrificing accuracy and clarity, and choirs will fall in love with this piece all over again.
This arrangement, which is a part of the Rollo Dilworth Choral Series, can be purchased at Hal Leonard or any of its distributors.