I don’t always listen to my Spotify “daily mixes,” which are algorithmically-generated playlists covering the constellation around a genre, but on most days at least one of mine is devoted to early music.
I was listening to one such playlist the other night and noticed Claudin de Sermisy’s “Tant que vivray”. I’ve noticed in the past that this piece comes up often in algorithmic playlists — it’s almost always in my early music playlists — and suspect that its popularity on streaming services is due to its place in the Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music.
Since nearly every American who has taken undergraduate music history in the last forty years has studied this piece, it’s not surprising that automated recommendations favor “Tant que vivray,” especially since these students first encountered it at a crucial point in the term: the later French Renaissance is dramatically more accessible to contemporary ears than most of the western art music that preceded it. However, it’s possible to improve on even a great original: Miguel de Fuenllana’s intabulation of “Tant que vivray” for vihuela is a beautiful consequence of Sermisy’s chansons reaching Spain.