Below is a list of composers currently represented on this Web site. Clicking on a composer's name will bring up a list of madrigals available to be downloaded. Three downloads are available for each madrigal: Score (in PDF format), MIDI (.mid) and Text/Translation (also in PDF).

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Note that, in the case of madrigals in multiple sections, the full Text/Translation may be downloaded from the entry for the first section (the prima parte).

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Aleotti, Vittoria
Arcadelt, Jacques (Giaches)
Artusini, Antonio
Bati, Luca, Primo a 5 (1594) (complete)
Bellasio, Paolo
Bertani, Lelio
Boschetti, Giovanni Boschetto
Caletti, Giovanni Battista
Califano, Giovanni Battista
Capilupi, Gemignano
Casentini, Marsilio
Cavaccio, Giovanni
Cifra, Antonio
Costa, Gasparo
Croce, Giovanni
D'India, Sigismondo
Dalla Casa, Girolamo
Del Mel, Rinaldo
Dentice, Fabrizio
Falcone, Achille
Felis, Stefano
Florio, Giorgio
Freddi, Amadio
Gabrieli, Giovanni
Gagliano, Marco da
Gastoldi, Concenti musicali a8 (1604/1610) (complete)
Gastoldi, Giovanni Giacomo
Gastoldi, Primo a 6 (1592) (complete)
Gastoldi, Quarto a 5 (1602) (complete)
Ghizzolo, Giovanni
Giovanelli, Ruggiero
Guami, Francesco
Guerini, Pietro Francesco
Ingegneri, MarcAntonio
Isnardi, Paolo
Leoni, Leone
Mancini, Curzio
Marenzio, Luca
Masnelli, Paolo
Massaino, Primo a 6 (1604) (complete)
Massaino, Quarto a 5 (1594) (complete)
Massaino, Terzo a 5 (1587) (complete)
Mezzogorri, Giovanni Nicolò
Monteverdi, Claudio
Mosto, Giovanni Battista
Nasco, Giovan (Jan)
Nodari, Giovanni Paolo, Madrigali a 5 (complete)
Pallavicino, Benedetto
Rognoni Taeggio, Francesco, Primo a 5 (1613) (complete)
Rognoni Taeggio, Giovanni Domenico, Primo a 5 (1605) (complete)
Rore, Cipriano (De)
Rossetti, Stefano
Rossi, Salamone
Ruffolo, Lucrezio
Sabino, Ippolito
Santini, Marsilio
Stabile, Annibale
Taroni, Antonio
Tomasi, Biagio
Tresti, Flaminio
Tresti, Secondo a 5 (1587) (complete)
Usper (Spongia), Francesco
Valmarana, Girolamo
Various (from Dolci Affetti, 1582)
Various (from Trionfo di Musica, 1579)
Vecchi, Orazio
Venturi del Nibbio, Primo a 5 (1592) (complete)
Venturi del Nibbio, Primo pastorali a 5 (1592) (complete)
Verdonck, Cornelius
Virchi, Paolo, Primo a 5 (1584) (complete)
Virchi, Paolo, Secondo a 5 (1588) (complete)
Wert, Decimo a 5 (1591) (complete)
Wert, Giaches de
Wert, Ottavo a 5 (1586) (complete)
Zanchi, Liberale
Zanotti, Camillo
Zoilo, Annibale

Virchi, Paolo, Primo a 5 (1584) (complete)

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Title and DescriptionScoreMidiTranslation
Introduction and Commentary
Summary: Paolo Virchi (ca.1550−1610) joined the Ferrarese court of Alfonso II d’Este around 1580, when the group of extraordinarily accomplished women singers known as the concerto delle donne was coming into prominence. His Primo libro a 5 is of particular interest because of its explicit links to the group. See the full text of the introduction (downloadable from the Translation column) for further details.
Qual cervo errando suole (SSATB) *NEW*
An elegant setting of Tasso’s poem about the overpowering effects of a woman’s love, with some nice word-painting.
Nei più lucenti albori (SSATB) *NEW*
A depiction of an idyllic pastoral scene, in which the protagonist has high hopes for the outcome of his chance encounter with a shepherdess, only to have them dashed by her gentle but firm rebuff.
Non fonte o fiume od aura (SSATB) *NEW*
A madrigal in praise of Laura Peverara, a virtuosa singer at the Este court in Ferrara and a member of the renowned ensemble known as the concerto delle donne. Many madrigals, as well as three madrigal anthologies, were dedicated to her.
La bella cacciatrice (SATTB) *NEW*
A retelling of the myth of Endymion and Artemis/Diana, altered by the introduction of a third personage who is presumably Margherita Gonzaga, the third wife of Duke Alfonso II d’Este. She is also eulogized in Virchi’s setting of the sonnet by Tasso that follows.
D'eterna mano uscisti anima eletta (prima parte of 2) (SATTB) *NEW*
A variant of an encomiastic sonnet that is attributed to Tasso in contemporary sources. The subject is evidently Margherita Gonzaga, who became, at the age of 15, the third wife of Duke Alfonso II d’Este, and the madrigal may have been composed on the occasion of her marriage in 1579. See the Notes accompanying the translation for further details.
E di lui vago più che del tuo velo (seconda parte) (SATTB) *NEW*
Arsi mentr’ a voi piacque (SSTTB) *NEW*
A piece which had appeared in print earlier in the anthology Il lauro secco (1582), dedicated to the virtuosa singer Laura Peverara. The theme of the text is the poet’s response – in this case a rather ungracious one – to the fact that his love-object has turned her affections elsewhere. (Peverara had recently become engaged to Count Annibale Turco, a member of the d’Este court.)
Son come stelle i vostri alti costumi (SATTB) *NEW*
The anonymous text, which showers extravagant praise on an unnamed woman, may be another encomium of Alfonso II d’Este’s wife Margherita Gonzaga. The last 10 bars are particularly animated.
Ohimè l`antica fiamma (SATTB) *NEW*
Virchi was the first of many composers to set Guarini’s wistful meditation on rekindled love (others include Marenzio, Soriano, Anerio and Rognoni Taeggio).
Ben fu l`ape ingegnosa (SSATB) *NEW*
The text offers a somewhat overdrawn comparison between a bee who has stung the face of the poet’s love-object, and the love-object’s propensity to wound the poet’s heart unmercifully.
Se 'l sol guardo e le stelle (SSATB) *NEW*
Another madrigal in praise of Laura Peverara, one of the “singing ladies” of the renowned concerto delle donne of the Ferrarese court.
At the expense of some strained imagery, the anonymous text manages to weave in the names of four of the virtuosa singers at the Ferrarese court of Alfonso II d’Este (Anna Guarini, Laura Peverara, Livia d’Arco and Tarquinia Molza).
Aura che dolce spira (SSATB) *NEW*
The text has been interpreted as another piece in praise of the virtuosa singer Laura Peverara, but if this were the case, one wonders why the opening line is not rendered as “L’aura …”, which would be equally plausible from the standpoint of grammar and poetics.
Vide Amor da begli occhi di colei (SSATB) *NEW*
Cupid offers a gentle reproach to a woman who, for once, is on the receiving end of love’s pangs.
Devea la fredda neve (SAATB) *NEW*
Love strikes even in the depths of winter. The text, which is attributed to Tasso in some sources (with a first line that reads “Dovea la fredda neve”), is subtitled “His lady handed him some snow.”
Mordimi questa lingua (SSTTB) *NEW*
The poem is included in what purports to be an exchange of “amorous letters” between the litterateur and composer Girolamo Parabosco (ca. 1524−1557) and Polissena Frizera (or Frigera), an elusive figure who was reputed to be a talented singer and lutenist. To judge from the correspondence (and the poem), their relationship must have been tempestuous.
Dolce Amarilli addio (SSATB) *NEW*
A “lovers’ parting” dialogue, featuring stock pastoral characters. Other examples of the genre include Isnardi’s “Dolc’ Amaranta, addio” and Massaino’s “Ben venga il pastor mio” (qq.v.).
Ape sacra e gentile (SSATB) *NEW*
The “sacred bee” that is the subject of the poem reflects the circumstance that, in Greek legend, the bee was sacred to Artemis. (Indeed, bees are depicted on ancient coins from Ephesus, the site of the Temple of Artemis that was one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.)
Cari scogli dilette e fide arene (prima parte of 2) (SATTB) *NEW*
The author of the text, Jacopo Sannazaro (1458−1530), was a humanist and prolific writer of verse in both Italian and Latin. Like many of his sonnets, "Cari scogli, dilette e fide arene” harks back to Petrarch in both form and content; Virchi’s musical treatment displays a degree of conservatism and an appropriate sense of gravitas. The work may be an early one, predating Virchi’s Ferrara period.
O solitari colli (seconda parte) (SATTB) *NEW*
Chi vuol veder un sole (SSSS A/T) *NEW*
A tribute to a lady-love, who is vivacious and alluring even in a black veil. The unusual disposition of the piece (four C1 and one C3 clefs) prompts one to wonder if it may have been intended for the four women singers named in “SEGU’ A RINAscer L’AURA” (q.v.), with an unnamed contralto (or even a male singer) taking the bottom part. Even more speculative is the possibility that the work might have been performed as the 16th-century equivalent of a cabaret piece.

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