Love, I Know Beyond A Doubt (1997, 2007)

Motet including text and melodies from traditional & Occitans chants and a monophonic chanson roial from the Rémède de Fortune by Guillaume de Machaut (c. 1300-1365), in memory of Professor Peter Gram Swing (1923-1996).

Revised for Essentially Choral 2007, choral composition contest funded by Jerome Foundation and administered by American Composers Forum. Winner of reading by VocalEssence, director Philip Brunelle, Minneapolis, May 2007.


Recorded May 2007, Plymouth Congregational Chruch, Minneapolis, MN

  • VocalEssence Ensemble Singers
  • Philip Brunelle, director
  • Charles Kemper, piano
  • Kathy Jensen, baritone saxophone
  • Greg Hippen, bass
  • Joseph Pulice, drums


The text and melody sung by the rest of the choir and soloist 2 are from the Marian plainchant Ave maris stella:

Ave maris stella
Dei Mater alma,
Atque semper Virgo
Felix caeli porta.

Hail star of the sea
Gentle Mother of God
Forever the Virgin and
The fertile gate of heaven.
The text and melody sung by the alto and tenor duo are from an 11th c. Provençal monks' hymn which was based on the popular Ave maris stella:
O Maria Deu Maire
Deu, t'es e fils e paire
Domna preia per nos
To fil lo glorio
O Mary Mother of God
God to thee is son and father
Lady pray for us
For the glory of thy son.


The text and melody (sung by the sopranos, soloist 1 and later, the group) are from a “chanson roial,” a monophonic forme fixe, by Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377), included in his epic musical poem, Le Rémède de Fortune (ca. 1342):

Joie, plaisence et douce nourriture,
Vie d'onnour prennent maint en amer;
Et pluseurs sont qui n'i ont fors pointure,
Ardor, dolour, plour, tristece et amer.

Se dient, mais acorder
Ne me puis, qu'en la souffrence
D'amours ait nulle grevance,
Car tout ce qui vient de li

Plaist a cuer d'ami.

Car vraie Amour en cuer d'amant figure
Très dous Espoir et gracieus Penser;
Espoirs attrait Joie et bonne Aventure;
Dous Pensers fait Plaisence en cuer entrer;

Si ne doit plus demander
Cils qui a bonne Esperence,
Dous Penser, Joie et Plaisence,
Car qui plus requiert, je di

Qu'Amours l'a guerpi.

Dont cils qui vit de si douce pasture
Vie d'onneur puet bien et doit mener,
Car de tous biens a a comble mesure,
Plus qu'autres cuers ne saroit desirer,

Ne d'autre merci rouver
N'a desir, cuer, ne bëance,
Pour ce qu'il a souffisance;
Et je ne say nommer ci

Nulle autre merci.

Mais ceaus qui sont en tristece, en ardure,
En plours, en plains, en doulour sans cesser,
Et qui dient qu'Amours leur est si dure
Qu'ils ne puelent sans morir plus durer,

Je ne puis ymaginer
Qu'ils aimment sans decevance
Et qu'en eaus trop ne s'avance
Desirs; pour ce sont einsi,

Qu'il l'ont desservi.

Qu'Amours, qui est de si noble nature
Qu'elle scet bien qui aime sans fausser,
Scet bien paier aus amans leur droiture:
C'est les loiaus de joie säouler

Et d'eaus faire savourer
Ses douceurs en habundance;
Et les mauvais par sentence
Sont comme traitre failli

De sa court bani.


Amours, je say sans doubtance
Qu'a cent doubles as meri
Ceaus qui t'ont ser-vi.

Joy, pleasure, sweet nourishment,
And a life of honor take many who love;
While many others have only pain,
Hardship, gloom, tears, sadness and bitterness,

They say, but agree
I cannot, that in the suffering
of love there is no wrong,
For everything which comes of it

Should please the heart of a lover.

For true Love in the heart of the loving draws
Sweetest Hope and gracious Thought:
Hope attracts Joy and good Fortune;
Sweet Thoughts make Pleasure enter the heart;

So one should not demand more
Than good Expectation,
Sweet Thought, Joy and Pleasure,
Anyone who requires more, I say

Love has abandoned.

Thus those who live in this sweet meadow
A life of honor, can well and should lead,
For one has all this goodness in full measure,
More than other hearts would dare to desire,

Nor to seek further reward
Does one wish, long or yearn for,
Because one has enough;
Nor can I even name here

Anything else wanting.

But those who are sad and overwrought,
In tears, in complaint, in endless gloom,
Who say that Love is so hard on them
That they cannot bear to continue living,

I cannot imagine
That they love without deception
Or that within does not overly advance
Desire; if they are this way then

They deserve it.

For Love is of such noble nature
That she knows well who loves without falseness,
Knows well how to pay the loving their due:
It is the faithful she showers with joy

And lets them taste
Her sweetnesses in abundance;
And the evil she sentences
Like fallen traitors

Banished from her court.


Love, I know beyond a doubt,
That thou hast rewarded one hundred times over
Those who have served thee.




My vernacular translation sung by soloist 3 (first two stanzas) and the choir (Envoi):

Some lovers get sad
Get bitter and cry
They say love's too hard
They'd rather die—

But I can't imagine
They truly love
It must be Desire
They're dying of.

For Love who is noble
Knows who does not lie
Knows how to repay all:
Her true live in joy.

Love, I know beyond a doubt
That thou hast rewarded one hundred times over
Those who have served thee.