Roman Monody, Cantata, and Opera from the Circles around Cardinal Montalto - Vol. 2

Roman Monody, Cantata, and Opera from the Circles around Cardinal Montalto - Vol. 2

Roman Monody, Cantata, and Opera from the Circles around Cardinal Montalto - Vol. 2

Roman Monody, Cantata, and Opera from the Circles around Cardinal Montalto - Vol. 2

Synopsis

This book uncovers the connections between the invisible network of political and economic dependents among Italy's church and state elite and the formation of the Baroque musical style in Rome. The author rediscovers music for Battista Guarini's last stage work and the first Roman opera, and offers a new explanation for the rise of the Italian chamber cantata.

Excerpt

'IL non s'impresta' -- 'Not to be lent' or 'It does not circulate' -- is the curious motto written on two of four closely related manuscripts of early seventeenthcentury Italian solo songs with basso continuo accompaniment (monody) prepared by 'Francesco Fucci, Romano' for commercial sale. the motto must have been a boast or sales promotion, advertising a repertoire of music that was not in general circulation. Fucci appears to have been correct. Virtually no music in his manuscripts was ever printed, and very little of it was copied into any manuscripts outside of a small group of sources that have remained unexplored until now. This is the reason why the repertoire contained in Fucci's manuscripts, while very important at that time, has remained unknown to modern scholarship. and this is why there are significant lessons to be learnt from these sources about the origins of Baroque vocal music, even though this topic has long been a locus classicus for musicology. For many years Fausto Torrefranca had been the only scholar to have commented about 'Il non s'impresta' and any of the manuscripts that carry this motto.

During the darkest period of the last world war, when very little that was printed in Italy found its way to the international market, the prolific and provocative Torrefranca initiated a music journal called Inedito: Quaderno musicale, for the second number of which (1944) he wrote an article about an early seventeenth-century music manuscript entitled 'Grilanda musicale di diversi eccel.mi hautori, scritta da Francesco Maria Fucci Romano', which was in his private collection. Torrefranca included a transcription of the anonymous work that he hypothetically named in the title of his article, 'Il lamento di Erminia di Claudio Monteverdi'. Although he ascribed the lament to Monteverdi on shaky stylistic grounds, reference to the article has been preserved in Monteverdi bibliographies, without which it, too, would have been forgotten.

Torrefranca was wrong about the authorship of the lament, as Irving Godt already suspected ('A Monteverdi Source Reappears: the "Grilanda" of F. M. Fucci', 1979), but he was right to link the manuscript to the patronage of Alessandro Peretti (1571-1623), who became known as Cardinal Montalto. It was the obscure name of 'Cavaliere Marotti', that is, Cesare Marotta, that led Torrefranca to his richest source of information about Montalto and his musicians, Alberto Cametti's article 'Chi era l' "Hippolita", cantatrice del cardinal di Montalto', published in 1914, a remarkably detailed documentary study initiated by the seemingly chance discovery of seventeenth-century legal documents relating to Ippolita's challenge . . .

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