Get e-book MADRIGAUX (POESIE) (French Edition)
He confided him his "relief" in the face of this request, as Debussy also urged him to grant him these same rights. According to Marcel Marnat, Ravel then invited Mondor to yield to this request. Learning that the rights had already been granted to a composer who was readily presented as his rival,  he was furious. In general, the two great composers - apart from a certain tacit rivalry inherent in their creative contemporaneity - have always respected each other deeply, and many supposed frictions between the two personalities were above all caused by their respective surroundings, or even by the cotteries occupying the Parisian musical scene.
In the eyes of the critics, the choice of poems was not fortuitous: Debussy and Ravel set Soupir and Placet futile to music. The comparison of the differences between the two versions of these poems has sometimes resulted in unfortunate consequences for the critics   regarding their styles.
Ravel's poems ended this concert. The influence of Pierrot Lunaire by Arnold Schoenberg is often mentioned: Stravinsky and Edgar Varese had witnessed the creation of this work in Berlin in Ravel, without having heard it, had gathered their testimonies and, on their enthusiastic description, would have considered writing for a chamber music ensemble.
Paul Collaer stated that "Schoenberg pointed the way for music to escape from the enormous apparatus of the great orchestra". However, Alexis Roland-Manuel would note that. When Delage composed his poems, he was left to himself in the jungle, without contact with his master and friends.
He spontaneously searched for and found, the first, the flash form, the total in the instantaneous, a bestowal that delivers itself in a deep sigh of tenderness. Soupir opens with the "fairy-like" sonority of the natural harmonics of the string quartet, in incessant slippage of quadruple eighth notes.
The voice lands beneath that whisper.
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As it rises, the piano, then the flutes, and finally the clarinets appear - in pursuit of this mallarmean "Azur". The quartet resumes after a pause of singing, offering a natural, more elegant sound. Until the end, the voice is supported by the piano, written on three staves , and discreet outfits of the strings. Placet futile offers rhythm games and "dialogues" of more whimsical sonorities: the measure often changes, when Soupir remained immutably four-stroke.
The piano, absent during the whole first quatrain of the poem, makes an entrance almost as "spectacular" as in the future Tzigane of a rush of arpeggios accompanying the evocation of frivolous pleasures and the "lukewarm games" of the poem. Surgi… offers as first characteristic a change in instrumentation : the second flute takes the piccolo , and the second clarinet takes the bass clarinet.
The small flute immediately flies away, on a tremolo broken from the violins, pp but cruelly dissonant. Overall, the accompaniment is very discreet, with a clear and icy equality of tone harmonics of the quartet, octaves of the piano, etc. Vocally, the melody follows the text as closely as possible: neither vocals nor melisma , one note per syllable.
The expansion linked to instrumental accompaniment, however, imposes a certain lyrical "breath". The performance of the song and its sharpness, or "intelligibility", are essential. Basically, the 16 th century cared deeply about text, and about the relationship between words and music. Furthermore, 16th-century people were both passionate and expressive of their passions; the only difference between them and us is that they expressed themselves somewhat differently.
Those who seek to "really" understand Shakespeare often must deal with the same issue. A further problem is that the larger literary context of the Italian madrigal is generally known only to Italians, and even then to those fairly well versed in their own literature. In other words, although the piece itself might be a musical miniature less than three minutes in length, through the text it opens out onto a vast literary space rich in associations extending far beyond the immediate textual confines.
While it is obviously a hopeless task for us to try to replicate the 16th-century context and its effects on the hearers, nonetheless an awareness of the literary dimensions can greatly deepen and enrich singers' understanding of the music they are making. Glad you asked. What follows is just a whirlwind tour.
For more details, check out Wikipedia article "Madrigal music " ; Groves Dictionary of Music; or, for a more general survey that includes the madrigal outside of Italy, Jerome Roche's highly readable The Madrigal. For a weightier read, consult Alfred Einstein's three-volume classic The Italian Madrigal in English translation from the original German. The 16th-century Italian madrigal unrelated to a 14th-century musical genre of the same name emerged circa In very general terms, the madrigal was a polyphonic vocal work that was not strophic in nature i.
Initially it was popularized by northerners transplanted to Italy, such as Verdelot and Arcadelt. Arcadelt's Il bianco e dolce cigno, written ca. The ensuing decades were a period of intense experimentation, during which various exponents of the genre sought to forge a sophisticated idiom in which music and poetry - preferably good music and good poetry - were intimately linked and mutually reinforcing.
Often, madrigalists turned to Petrarch, one of the "fathers of Italian poetry," and particularly to Petrarch's large corpus of sonnets, as a source of ready-made high-quality texts. Petrarch lived some years earlier, and the grafting of 16th-century musical language onto Petrarch's 14th-century sensibilities itself creates some interesting problems of 21st-century interpretation.
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By the s the madrigal had evolved into an astonishingly varied and versatile genre. There were humorous madrigals, serious madrigals, erotic madrigals beware, however - not every instance of "morire" to die or "morte" death has sexual connotations , dramatic madrigals, madrigals that plumbed emotional depths, madrigals about nature or the pleasures of rustic existence, light-hearted madrigals, silly madrigals, bawdy madrigals, occasional madrigals for weddings, celebrations and official festivities All of Italy, it seems, was awash in the stuff, and the music-printers of Venice were evidently hard put to keep up with demand.
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Indeed, inability to sing at sight from a partbook must have been a serious social liability for the well-bred gentleman or lady, much as Thomas Morley's imaginary protagonist was to discover in similar circumstances in contemporary London But when, after many excuses, I protested unfeighnedly that I could not: everie one began to wonder. Yea some whispered to the others, demanding how I was brought up. Plain and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke, Although these different types of madrigals co-existed right up to the madrigal's eventual demise in the 17 th century, beginning in the s the serious, high-art-form madrigal shows a tendency toward greater innovation, more daring experimentation, and heightened expression.
While not altogether abandoning Petrarch and other traditional sources of texts, madrigalists turn increasingly to contemporary literature, in particular to Torquato Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata Jerusalem Delivered and, especially, Battista Guarini's Il Pastor Fido The Faithful Shepherd - see my "Madrigals on Texts from Pastor Fido" page. Madrigalists mined these extensive works for their choicest, most dramatic, most fraught-with-fraughtness emotion-laden scenes, and set these to music. The results can be breathtaking, particularly when the composer fashions a sequence of connected texts into a longer madrigal cycle, or madrigal in multiple sections.
A madrigal group can live for months at a time, so to speak, in one of these cycles, constantly discovering fresh ideas and new perspectives and tweaking the interpretation accordingly. To me, the year period is the true "golden age" of the Italian madrigal. Some of the outstanding composers of the period were the following: Giaches de Wert - to all intents and purposes an Italian, despite his Flemish name - who published 11 books of five-voice madrigals between and If I was shipwrecked on a desert island with four other members of a madrigal group, and we each had managed to salvage only one volume of madrigal music, I would want those five volumes to be Wert's Books Seven through Eleven.
Claudio Monteverdi, who published five books of five-voice a cappella madrigals between and , besides many other works. Luca Marenzio, who published nine books of five-voice madrigals, and six books of six-voice madrigals, between and Giangiacomo Gastoldi, best known for his light-hearted fa-la-la balletti, but also a serious madrigal composer of note, who produced four books of five-voice madrigals, as well as a book of six-voice madrigals - none of which have heretofore been published - between and ; his virtually unknown fourth book of five-voice madrigals Quarto libro di madrigali a cinque voci, consists almost exclusively of settings of Pastor Fido texts, and awaits discovery by the intrepid madrigal group.
Tiburzio Massaino, hardly a household word today, and also conspicuously absent in modern edition. He published four books of five-voice madrigals and two of six-voice madrigals between and The listed output of the above five composers collectively amounts to over madrigals, give or take, and these guys are only the tip of the iceberg. Many other madrigalists were as prolific as they, and many other composers of the time produced fine specimens of the madrigal art.
In a sense, the dramatically conceived, emotionally charged madrigal that emerged during this golden age carried the seeds of its own destruction. Take a madrigal cycle like Monteverdi's "Ecco, Silvio, colei ch'in odio hai tanto," from his Fifth Book of , essentially a dialogue between the characters Dorinda and Silvio at a particularly poignant moment in Act IV Scene ix of Pastor Fido.
If you sing through the piece, you can almost imagine the action unfolding on stage, but it is an imaginary stage, a theater of the mind. It was no great leap for Monteverdi - and others, for he was scarcely alone - to take the next logical step and shed the cumbersome machinery of trying to represent characters through the medium of a five-voice ensemble.
That Monteverdi got so much of it right the first time is a testament not only to his genius, but also to the fact that that next step wasn't the abrupt break with the past it is sometimes portrayed to be. The sensibility, if not the form, of the madrigal lived on in early 17th-century opera, at least for a while. Like all things, though, musical tastes change with time, and that sensibility too was destined to disappear, not to become a matter of interest again until the recent emphasis on historically informed performance.
As I indicated, they're not extensive, but here are some you should be aware of: Jerome Roche, ed. Very useable anthology of 5- and 6-voice madrigals, with English translations and commentary. Alec Harman, ed. Good representative collection, mostly for five and six voices. English translations are included, and there is a useful, though brief, introduction; however, no commentary is provided for the individual pieces, and text sources are identified only by the poet's name.
Harman measures popularity by the number of times a piece appeared in print; I don't necessarily agree that the results equate to the "top hits" of the day. Still, the book includes a number of madrigals not readily available elsewhere. Commentary provided for some pieces, as are underlaid "singing translations," which may or may not be found helpful. Denis Stevens, ed. Good introduction to Monteverdi's madrigals, with English translations and commentary; however, the minuscule format is a drawback to practical use.
If someone in your madrigal group has access to a good music research library, then the scope of available resources becomes much wider.