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MONTEVERDI: Canzonette

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Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)
Canzonette (1584)
  Claudio Monteverdi was born in Cremona in 1567, the son of an apothecary and physician who had come to occupy a leading position in his profession in the city. Monteverdi was probably trained as a chorister at the cathedral and was certainly a pupil of the distinguished maestro di cappella Marcantonio Ingegneri, a composer of international reputation. Monteverdi's first published compositions, sacred music in the spirit of the reforms of the Council of Trent, appeared in 1582, followed in succeeding years by other collections of madrigals and canzonets, sacred and secular. In 1590 or 1591 he entered the service of Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga of Mantua as a string-player, continuing to work in the musical establishment of the Gonzaga court until Duke Vincenzo's death in 1612, from 1601 as maestro di cappella to the court. Among Monteverdi's compositions in Mantua, which include further innovative collections of madrigals in the new style of the period, the dissonances of the modern style giving rise to controversy with more conservative musicians, is the court opera Orfeo, first staged in 1607. With a text by Alessandro Striggio based on the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice as recounted by Ovid and by Vergil, Orfeo was a remarkable and significantly successful achievement. It was followed in 1608 by Arianna, a work now lost, except for the very influential lament of Ariadne, reworked by Monteverdi into a five-part madrigal and subsequently published in its original form in a collection of music by various composers. Duke Vincenzo was succeeded in 1612 by the older of his two sons, Prince Francesco, the initiator of Orfeo, but now, as the ruling Duke, determined to institute various reforms and economies in the court. There had been no reason to suppose that Duke Francesco harboured any ill-will towards Monteverdi, but, for whatever reasons, Monteverdi and his brother Giulio Cesare were dismissed from the service of the Gonzagas during the summer of 1612. The two returned to Cremona, while seeking other employment, which Monteverdi found triumphantly in 1613 with his appointment as maestro di cappella at the basilica of San Marco in Venice, a position that brought opportunity and security of tenure. He remained there for the rest of his life, refusing attempts to recall him to Mantua and instituting various reforms at San Marco, particularly in the employment of instrumentalists. It was in Venice in 1637 that the first public opera-house was opened and Monteverdi was able to contribute again to this repertoire. In 1640 his Arianna was revived at the Teatro San Mois?¿, now converted from theatre to opera-house, and in the same year a new opera, Il ritorno di Ulisse in patria was staged at the Teatro San Cassiano. For carnival in 1643 Monteverdi wrote another new opera, La coronatione di Poppea, staged at the Teatro Grimani. Monteverdi died in Venice on 29 November 1643, after returning from an extended journey through Lombardy, his death widely mourned. He was succeeded at San Marco by one of his pupils, Giovanni Rovetta, who had served as Monteverdi's assistant, while his contemporary fame is witnessed by a series of posthumous publications. Monteverdi's first publication, in 1582, was his Sacrae cantiunculae tribus vocibus, printed in Venice by Angelo Gardano. The following year saw the publication in Brescia of a set of Madrigali spirituali a quattro voci. In 1584 came the canzonets, Canzonette a tre voci, 21 three-voice compositions, settings of verses by unknown poets, eleven of which had already been used by other composers, notably Orazio Vecchi. The title-page of the Canzonette, printed in Venice by Giacomo Vincenzi and Ricciardo Amadino, advertises the seventeen-year old composer as of Cremona and a pupil of Marc' Antonio Ingegneri and there is a dedication to Pietro Ambrosini of Cremona, described as Monteverdi's master and patron. Although the canzonets are described as libro primo, it was followed not by a second collection but, in 1587, by a first volume of Madrigali a cinque voci. The canzonets open with a first setting that incorporates a reference to the dedicatee in its mention of Ambrosia, a plant from heaven. This is followed by a second, Canzonette d'amore, a conventional envoi. The settings that come later are in no particular order, but end with Hor care Canzonette, sicuramente andrete, which provides a general textual frame-work. The intervening canzonets include a number of places where there is a play on words, where ma ria suggests Maria, or chiara luce del mondo suggests the name Chiara. These first published secular settings by Monteverdi are relatively conventional, suggesting, however, something of what will follow, as he explores new ground, at first within the existing tradition and then in the world of the seconda prattica. Ferrara, to which Mantua was later obliged, on occasion, for musical assistance, had its own cultural distinction under the d'Este family. The most famous element in the very rich musical establishment that flourished under Duke Alfonso II and the head of his musical establishment, Luzzasco Luzzaschi, was the so-called Concerto delle dame, who preserved a secret repertory of music for the private delectation of the court. Something of this music is reflected in the collection of three-voice madrigals later published by Luzzaschi. When Monteverdi wrote and published his Canzonette the singing ladies of Ferrara were unrivalled as virtuose, famous throughout Italy. Keith Anderson ---  
Item number 8553316
Barcode 730099431620
Release date 01/01/2000
Label Naxos Records
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Composers Claudio Monteverdi
Conductors Sergio Vartolo
Orchestras Concerto delle Dame di Ferrara
Disc: 1
Canzonette d'amore
1 Introduzione
2 Qual si puo dir
3 Canzonette d'amore
4 La fiera vista
5 Raggi dov'e il mio bene
6 Vita de l'alma mia
7 Il mio martir
8 Son questi i crespi crini
9 Io mi vivea
10 Su su su che'l giorno
11 Quando sperai
12 Come faro cuor mio
13 Corse a la morte
14 Tu ridi sempre mai
15 Chi vuol veder
16 Gia me credea
17 Godi pur del bel sen
18 Giu li aquel petto
19 Si come crescon
20 Io son Fenice
21 Chi vuol veder
22 Hor care canzonette
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