Luca Marenzio

Solo e pensoso i più deserti campi, madrigal for 5 voices (Il nono libro de madrigali a 5 voci)

    Description by Donato Mancini

    Among the madrigals in Book 9, this one marks a return to the lyrical, tragic pastoral manner that Marenzio was the master of. Some of the most remarkable passages occur right at the start. Here the highest line sings what are in effect a series of inverted pedal tones: a line rising in half notes through, and eventually above, a lacy imitative texture for which it provides a stable harmonic reference point. Just as it reaches the heights of the climb, the other voices join rhythmically in an exquisite passage of purely chordal writing. We can hear that the Baroque age will soon be in bloom.

    The following section of imitation brings the music towards a point of exuberance, with rattling rhythms and an inevitable upwards pull. The cadence of the section is delicately sung by the top two voices alone, in the upper part of their range, while the rest simultaneously begins the next section; the whole returns decisively to its aristocratic, melancholy calm as an elegant bird to roost.

    Sometimes prosaic in its thematic content, the madrigal is yet made deeply touching by the light chromatic flavorings that pervade it, although it is only moderately dissonant at most. If comparisons need be made, then we must admit that this is one of Marenzio's most thoroughly eloquent madrigals.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi / Sony Classical 88875143482
    2009 Vanguard Classics 196
    2007 Accent 30128
    2004 M.A. Recordings / MA Recordings 63
    2000 Vanguard 2544
    2000 Accent 98130
    1999 Glossa 920007
    1992 Dorian 90154
    W.W. Norton 3099
    Norton 10608