More Early Italian Baroque

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Program: #17-14   Air Date: Mar 27, 2017

Madrigals of Gesualdo, the witty Adriano Banchieri, and the Italian who came to Vienna, Giovanni Felice Sances.

I. Carlo Gesualdo: O dolce mio tesoro (Collegium Vocale Gent/Philippe Herreweghe). Phi CD LPH024.

Gesualdo: O Dolce Mio Tesoro


A personality has who provoked considerable controversy over the centuries, Carlo Gesualdo (1566-1613), aristocrat, musician and murderer of his first wife, is no less a composer whose music is marked by subtlety and refinement. His innovative Sixth Book of Madrigals, written two years before his death, exploits all harmonic, chromatic, and textural possibilities to meet the texts’ expressive requirements and proves to be a veritable masterpiece of the genre.

After a first disc devoted to the Italian composer’s sacred works, the Tenebrae Responsoria, Philippe Herreweghe and his Collegium Vocale Gent invite us to (re)discover his secular music for the 450th anniversary of his birth. In masterful fashion, they propose a delicate, expressive reading of this complex music, doing justice to the modernity of the musical language of the Prince of Venosa. The acoustics of the church in the little Tuscan village of Asciano, where the programme was recorded in 2015, provides an ideal sound setting for this music.

1 Se la mia morte brami 3:37
2 Beltà poi che t'assenti 3:03
3 Tu piangi, o Filli mia 3:10
4 Resta di darmi noia 2:56
5 Chiaro risplender suole 3:42
6 Io parto, e non più dissi 2:50
7 Mille volte il dì moro 3:11
8 O dolce mio tesoro 2:46
9 Deh, come invan sospiro 2:56
10 Io pur respiro in così gran dolore 2:44
11 Alme d'amor rubelle 1:55
12 Candido e verde fiore 2:01
13 Ardita Zanzaretta 3:06
14 Ardo per te, mio bene 2:09
15 Ancide sol la morte 2:22
16 Quel 'no' crudel que la mia speme ancise 2:24
17 Moro, lasso, al mio duolo 3:33
18 Volan quasi farfalle ai vostri almi splendori 2:37
19 Al mio gioir il ciel si fa sereno 2:13
20 Tu segui, o bella Clori, un fuggitivo core 2:19
21 Ancor che per amarti io mi consumi 3:08
22 Già piansi nel dolore 2:12
23 Quando ridente e bella 2:26

II. Adriano Banchieri: Pazzia Senile & Saviezza Giovenile (Delitiae Musicae/Marco Longhini). Stradivarius CD STR 11005.

Adriano Banchieri: Pazzia Senile; Saviezza Giovenile

From Gramophone: Simply put, the madrigal comedy was a form in which a sequence of vocal ensemble pieces was linked by a rudimentary plot to make a kind of musical play. Usually based on characters from the commedia dell'arte, it flourished briefly in Italy at the end of the Renaissance before being blown away by the new-fangled and undoubtedly more realistic operas of Monteverdi et al, thereby joining the baryton, the broad-gauge railway and the Betamax video in the glorious company of good ideas which never quite caught on. Orazio Vecchi, the genre's initiator, invoked the theatre of the mind and advised against staging: his follower Adriano Banchieri, on the other hand, went to great lengths in his performance directions to explain just how a staging could be done, and it is presumably this precision which has fired Marco Longhini's imagination and led him to investigate the two lively examples recorded here.
Both works are knockabout affairs in which lecherous, avaricious and crotchety old Pantaloon characters are outwitted in their schemings by younger, handsomer folk (the titles translate as 'Senile Passion' and 'Youthful Wisdom' respectively). It gets no more sophisticated than that, though the story is adorned with a spoken narration, a resident fool, and a series of interludes in which assorted chimney sweeps, matchsellers and the like spread around some outrageously suggestive puns. If it sounds like fun, then it probably is if you could only get to see it. Certainly the singers and continuo players of Delitiae Musicae give the impression of enjoying themselves enormously, characterising the protagonists for all they are worth, and bravely relishing Banchieri's suggestion that the singers should switch between falsetto and normal voice for extra effect. CD listeners, however, will have to make do with Vecchi's exhortation to 'be silent, and instead of looking, listen', and while it is easy to picture the riotous goings-on in some renaissance palace, when all is said and done the music on its own has little to say for itself.

III. Giovanni Felice Sances: Capricci Poetici, 1649 [Irene Morelli (soprano), Beatrice Mercuri (mezzo), Diego Cantalupi (archlute), Giuseppe Schinaia (harpsichord)]. Tactus CD TC 601903.

Giovanni Felice Sances: Capricci Poetici, 1649

Born in Rome in 1600 into a musical family, Giovanni Felice Sances owes his musical education first to the Roman environment, and then to the Venetian, strongly influenced by the genius of Monteverdi which dominated at the time. The turning point of Sances' life, however, occurred at thirty-six when he was hired at the Imperial Chapel of Vienna, first as singer, and then as main composer and favorite of the emperor; he retained this position until his death, leaving the Imperial Chapel an impressive number of compositions. The Capricci Poetici were printed in Venice in 1649 and dedicated to the noble Nicolò Sagredo (Venetian ambassador to the imperial court and later Doge of Venice). Sances abandons the modal language typical of the sixteenth century and makes a wide range of tonal innovations, highlighting the salient moments of the text and the alternation of the “affetti”.

Chi nel Regno almo d’Amore

Vibrate pur vibrate dalle pupille

Ho il cor ferito e morirò

Deh qual virtude Filli si chiude

Amo e sento nel petto

Perché vecchia gli dissi un dì per gioco

Chi non sa cosa sia Amor

Or che chiarissime da l’alto ciel

Son amante e son fedele

Che sperasti o il mio cor


Composer Info

Carlo Gesualdo (1566-1613), Adriano Banchieri, Giovanni Felice Sances

CD Info

Phi CD LPH024, CD STR 11005, CD TC 601903