MADRIGALS MINUS 1

Like all music of the period, madrigals were typically printed or copied in partbooks, not scores; thus, for example, five-voice madrigals were published as five-partbook sets. The vagaries and vicissitudes of their subsequent fate not infrequently led to sets being broken up and dispersed, and in some cases one or more partbooks were irretrievably lost, or at any rate no surviving copies can presently be located. Some of the more prominent instances of madrigal publications of which one partbook has not survived include Gastoldi's Terzo libro di madrigali a cinque of 1598 (missing the Alto); Massaino's Primo libro di madrigali a cinque of 1571 (missing the Basso); Croce's collection of Carnival pieces entitled Mascarate piacevoli e ridicolose of 1590 (lacking the Tenore) and Dalla Casa's Secondo libro di madrigali a cinque voci, con i passaggi, also of 1590 and also lacking the Tenore, this last of exceptional interest since it includes a number of madrigals with extensive written-out vocal ornamentation.

I claim no particular expertise in reconstructing missing parts, but when I have had the time to try my hand at it, I have found the exercise to be both challenging and rewarding, as well as a way of gaining greater insight into the music. It is also extremely gratifying to hear, or sing, the result. The few specimens provided here, which can be downloaded from the corresponding entries in the Master List of Composers, are offered in the hope that they will stimulate greater interest in this pursuit.

D'India, Sigismondo
Udite lagrimosi spirti d'Averno (SATTB) *NEW*
Many composers employed chromaticism and dissonance in setting Mirtillo's depths-of-despair lament (Pastor Fido III/vi), but D'India's extraordinary rendering pushes the envelope well beyond anything previously attempted -- and, indeed, not approached again until the late 19th century. The piece's remarkable harmonic excursions venture as far afield as b-sharp(!). Brian Mann has undertaken the challenging task of reconstructing the missing Alto, and has generously given permission to make his version available.
Dalla Casa, Girolamo
Dice la mia bellissima Licori (SSATB)
A rare example of an ornamented madrigal (the Tenore has been reconstructed). Dalla Casa was the author of a well-known treatise on the art of diminution. The text provided the model for Wilbye's "Thus saith my Cloris bright."
Se'l dolce bacio (SSATB)
Another unusual example of an ornamented madrigal (also with reconstructed Tenore)
Non più guerra, pietate (SATTB)
Another ornamented madrigal, whose text is on the theme of love-as-combat (with a twist: the vanquished protagonist warns the victorious warrior-woman that she may come to regret her triumph). Monteverdi set the same text in his Quarto libro (1603), and Caccini set it as a solo song (Le nuove musiche, 1602). Here the Tenore has been reconstructed.
Con che soavità (SSATB)
Dalla Casa's ornamented setting of Guarini's sensuous paean to the two functions of the mouth (speaking and kissing). The missing Tenore has been reconstructed. The text was set to five voices by Monte and Pallavicino, among others; better known is Monteverdi's lush version for solo voice and string ensemble.
Perché di sen in seno (SATTB)
Cupid's antics leave the protagonist perplexed. Another specimen of Dalla Casa's ornamented madrigals, with reconstructed Tenore.
Gastoldi, Concenti musicali a8 (1604/1610) (complete)
T’amo mia vita (SATB/SATB) *NEW*
Summary: Gastoldi’s collection of 21 madrigals published under the title Concenti musicali a otto voci ... (1604, repr. 1610) occupies a distinctive position in Mantuan secular vocal music of the late 16th/early 17th century. It consists of largely homophonic and diatonic music for two equal four-part choirs, and relies primarily on block-sound, antiphonal and echo effects rather than on the word-painting, contrapunctal sophistication and chromaticism prevalent in much of the repertoire. In many respects it seems more akin to the production of Giovanni Gabrieli and the contemporary Venetian school. Furthermore, about half the pieces are preceded by instrumental sinfonie – a practice which may be unique to this collection. Further details are provided in the Introduction (see below). In “T’amo mia vita,” the protagonist takes to heart, quite literally, his love-object’s declaration of affection. The text was extremely popular with other madrigalists, some 20 settings being known, including versions by Cifra, Luzzaschi, Monte, Monteverdi and Pallavicino. The missing Tenore 2o of the sinfonia has been reconstructed.
O dell’anima mia (SATB/SATB) *NEW*
A lovelorn swain beseeches his love-object to return and put everything to rights. The text is anonymous, and there are no other known musical settings. The missing Tenore 2o of the sinfonia has been reconstructed.
Una farfalla cupida e vagante (SATB/SATB) *NEW*
The text was set by several other madrigalists, including Biffi, Ingegneri and Pallavicino. Pallavicino’s setting (q.v.) is particularly animated and charming. The missing Tenore 2o of the sinfonia has been reconstructed.
Dolcissimo usignuolo (SATB/SATB) *NEW*
The poet envies a nightingale, who proclaims his love joyously and with no thought to anything else, while the poet is burdened with memory and self-awareness. Better known is Monteverdi’s concertato setting of the same text in Madrigali Guerrieri ed Amorosi (1638). The missing Tenore 2o of the sinfonia has been reconstructed.
Con che soavità (SATB/SATB) *NEW*
Perhaps the epitome of the sensuous, earthly-delights-centered milieu of Guarini’s poetic madrigali, in praise of a woman whose lips are as alluring as her speaking (or, more likely, her singing) voice. The same text was set by several other composers, including Monte, Pallavicino and Francesco Rognoni Taeggio (q.v.); of these, Monteverdi’s lush setting for solo voice and two instrumental choirs (Settimo libro de’ madrigali, 1619) is perhaps the best known. The missing Tenore 2o of the sinfonia has been reconstructed.
Udite amanti, udite (prima parte) (SATB/SATB) *NEW*
The protagonist flaunts his long-sought success in winning over his lady-love. The missing Tenore 2o of the sinfonia has been reconstructed.
Dolce Filli, del core (SATB/SATB) *NEW*
An anonymous bit of love-poetry fluff, on the well-worn theme of the “stolen heart.” The text is not known to have been set by other composers. The missing Tenore 2o of the sinfonia has been reconstructed.
Baci pur bocca curiosa e scaltra (SATB/SATB) *NEW*
An excerpt from an extended speech by the Chorus that closes Act II of Guarini’s “pastoral tragicomedy” Il Pastor Fido (The Faithful Shepherd). In his copious notes to the 1602 edition of the play, Guarini claims that the purpose of the speech is to extol faithfulness in love, but this particular passage appears to be a sensuous, even erotic digression on the delights of kissing. The missing Tenore 2o of the sinfonia has been reconstructed.
Rallegrati mio cor (SATB/SATB) *NEW*
A rare depiction of requited love and lasting (perhaps even wedded) bliss. This anonymous text was also set by Wert (Ottavo libro de’ madrigali, q.v.). The missing Tenore 2o of the sinfonia has been reconstructed.
Non temete più amanti (SATB/SATB) *NEW*
The protagonist belittles Cupid with mock bravado. The missing Tenore 2o of the sinfonia has been reconstructed.
Al suon de’ nostri accenti (prima parte) (SATB/SATB) *NEW*
The piece bears the subtitle “Le Quattro Stagioni” (The Four Seasons), and provides an early example of musical treatment of the theme of the seasons. In the text, the seasons are represented as personified narrators. Perhaps the piece was originally intended for inclusion in some form of court entertainment, possibly (given the reference to “the depths of frost” in the prima parte) a winter festival. The missing Tenore 2o of the sinfonia has been reconstructed.
Nasce la fiamma mia (SATB/SATB) *NEW*
An anonymous poem, not known to have been set by other madrigalists, whose cosmological musings can be regarded as ecstatic, mystical and/or confused. The missing Tenore 2o of the sinfonia has been reconstructed.
Eran ninfe e pastori (SATB/SATB) *NEW*
A piece by Antonio Taroni, whose text had previously been set to music by Alessandro Striggio in Il Trionfo di Dori (1592), a collection commissioned by Venetian nobleman Leonardo Sanudo in honor of his wife. Why Taroni would have undertaken to publish a composition on the same “occasional” text more than ten years later is something of a puzzle. One plausible explanation is that Taroni – probably around 20 years younger than Gastoldi – was the latter’s pupil, and that Gastoldi gave him the poem to put to music as an exercise. The missing Tenore 2o of the sinfonia has been reconstructed.
Gastoldi, Giovanni Giacomo
Pascon del vago e dilettoso aprile (SSATB)
A nice example of the pastoral madrigal, replete with shepherds and shepherdesses cavorting in the spring sunshine, amidst the birds and flowers. The Alto part has been reconstructed.
Chi di veder procura (SS A/T TB)
The geographical references in the text seem to point to the town of Fano on the Adriatic, thus suggesting that the piece commemorates the elevation of Cardinal Ippolito Aldobrandini of Fano to the Papacy (as Clement VIII) in 1592. The Alto has been reconstructed.
La mia donna bevea (prima parte of 2) (SSATB)
The protagonist is smitten by the sight of his beloved drinking chilled wine from a glass, however, his efforts to quench his passion backfire. The Alto has been reconstructed.
Io che per lei ardea (seconda parte) (SSATB)
M’è più dolce il penar (SSATB)
Mirtillo pledges his steadfast devotion to Amarilli, despite Corisca's provocative advances (Pastor Fido, III/vi). The Alto has been reconstructed.
O della notte bruna (SSATTB)
An upbeat madrigal for six voices. The text is a somewhat enigmatic paean to moon-gazing, on the part of a moon-struck protagonist, with an intimation that some romantic nocturnal hanky-panky is forthcoming. The Alto has been reconstructed.
Marenzio, Luca
Donna bella e crudel (SS A/T TB)
Marenzio's earliest known madrigal, published in an anthology of 1577, three years in advance of his ground-breaking Primo libro a 5. The work displays considerable sophistication, as well as hints of developments to come. Only the Canto and Alto partbooks survive; James Chater has ably reconstructed the three missing parts and has obligingly made the piece available to this site.
Mezzogorri, Giovanni Nicolò
Cruda Amarilli (SSTTB+b.c.)
Another setting of Mirtillo’s anguished opening speech (Pastor Fido, I/ii), by an early 17th-c. composer who was maestro di cappella at the Duomo of Comacchio, a small town east of Ferrara better known for its eel fishery than for its musical establishment. Nonetheless, the piece shows Mezzogorri to be a composer of some ability. No copy of the Canto partbook is known to be extant – various references to a copy in the Pogliaghi collection at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan are evidently in error – and the missing part is reconstructed here. Thanks are due to Grant Herreid for a number of helpful suggestions, which have been incorporated into the reconstruction.
Rossetti, Stefano
Fra quanti amor ("Lamento di Olimpia", prima parte of 17) (SATB)
Ariosto's woeful tale of the abandoned heroine Olympia, recounted in Canto X of Orlando Furioso (first published in 1516), was inspired by classical archetypes. The story attracted the attention of many composers, including d’India, Monteverdi – although the attribution to him has been questioned – and Bononcini. Among the first in this long line, however, is Stefano Rossetti (or Rossetto), who published a setting for four, five and six voices in 1569. Its early date notwithstanding, Rossetti’s version is notably ambitious; he sets the complete text of Olympia’s lament (stanzas 19-34), prefaced by a setting of Canto X’s opening stanza – a full 17 sections in all. Appreciation of this work has been unfortunately limited by the fact that no copy of the original Alto partbook is known to survive. However, Prof. James Chater has recently undertaken a reconstruction of the missing parts of the entire work, soon to be published by A-R Editions, and has kindly furnished the accompanying transcription of the opening section. He would welcome comments on the piece.
Tresti, Flaminio
O come vaneggiate, donna (SSATB)
Flaminio Tresti's Quarto libro a 5 (1596) survives in a single copy in the British Library. Although described as "complete" in standard references, the Quinto partbook is defective -- it preserves only the first 6 (out of 20) pieces. The missing Quinto part of this piece has been reconstructed. Tresti's version is notably energetic and lively (see also the settings of the same text by Giovanelli, Pallavicino and Wert). Note the parallel octaves in bar 24.

 

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