Tuesday, February 17, 2015

SCB – Giulio Caccini – Le nuove musiche

   After two centuries of developing renaissance polyphony, in late 16th century music technical merits dominate over emotional representations. Some Italian composers looking for more clear and affective  expression find solution in some ideas of Greek music as well as in folk tunes. In Florence and other cities many composers tried to organize their works in new way. From ancient culture came the idea of monody, solo singing accompanied by kithara. The same source gave new connection of music and theatre called opera. The idea of opera created in Florentine Camerata was the most significant novelty of new style at least from listener’s point of view. But real revolution took place in technical change of polyphonic structures into monody accompanied with basso continuo. This was pure consequence of polyphony development, but in effect it rapidly changed the face of music. The first monody collection was Le nuove musiche by Giulio Caccini (1551-1618) published in 1602 in Florence.
   Giulio Caccini, also called Giulio Romano for many years he spend in Rome, was a singer and a lutenist, but in history of music he is one of composers in late renaissance and early baroque era. First he was composing in traditional polyphonic style of Renaissance music. Influenced by intellectuals from Camerata circle, he had participated in coining new ideas during discussions in Florentine house of Giovanni Bardi. His friendship with Jacopo Corsi and Vincenzo Galilei had its artistic consequences and at the turn of the century Giulio Caccini started to compose musica in stile representativo, which he was calling style moderno and it was merely the same as Monteverdi’s seconda practica. Giulio Caccini sung these works accompanying himself on the theorbo. In 1600 he decided to publish cycle of his songs, in February 1961 engravings were ready, but printer Giulio Marescotti died and release was delayed to 1602.

Montserrat Figueras & SCB – G. Caccini – Le nuove musiche (1984)

   Madrigals and canzonas by Giulio Caccini mark the birth moment of the baroque style. Composer used in this cycle solo voice accompanied by chords. Whole cycle comprises 12 madrigals and 10 canzonette. The book was called Le nuove musiche and was significantly different from earlier works. Musical style was different, what was clearly shown in composer’s preface, even the idea of madrigal was other than before, although the general theme of songs was love. All songs were about love showing it in two emotional perspectives, elegiac expression of rejected lover in madrigals and happiness of fulfilled love in joyful canzonette. Many madrigals were composed to lyrics by Ottavio Rinuccini, Florentine poet and first opera librettist. In 1614 Gulio Caccini published in Firenze his second collection of madrigals Nuove musiche e nuova maniera di scriverle. One of his followers was his daughter Francesca Caccini (1587-1641) whose fame was as high as her father. She was extremely talented person, composer and poet, lutenist, singer and music teacher, one of most active women composers in 17th century. Her 16 stage works were predominantly based on homophonic texture with occasional use of counterpoint technique.
   In 1984 Deutsche Harmonia Mundi published an album with a choice of compositions from two books by Giulio Gaccini. Sung by Montserrat Figueras accompanied by four instrumentalists, this recording is valuable example of modern esthetics of performing ancient music on original instruments. And somehow it was the beginning of beautiful career of this singer. Playing lute and baroque guitar Hopkinson Smith, Robert Clancy with baroque guitar or chitarrone and Xenia Schindler playing diatonic harp are performing chord accompaniment. Playing viola da gamba by Barak Norman (London 1697) Jordi Saval is aiming to his first success. These recordings are effects of both artistic intuition and musicological research. Perfectly recorded and pressed in direct metal mastering technology gave this piece of vinyl almost alive sound. Schola Cantorum Basiliensis was founded in 1933 by Swiss conductor Paul Sacher. The founding idea of this teaching and research center was to create modern artistic and intellectual movement for performing music from Middle Ages to Classicism. This album is just perfect in artistic and technological quality and unique in covering significant moment of music history. It deserves complete of five stars.

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