Adriano Banchieri

Festino nella sera del giovedì grasso avanti cena

    Description by Brian Robins

    The Benedictine monk Adriano Banchieri occupies an important place in early seventeenth century Italian music. As a composer of sacred music, he was a great innovator and experimenter, playing a major role in the development of continuo bass. Banchieri was also an important theorist and organizer of musical life in his native Bologna, where he settled after residencies in various Italian monasteries. Somewhat surprisingly for a composer at the forefront of the seminal musical developments that took place in Italy around 1600, he never attempted an opera, the most revolutionary new form to emerge during that period. Instead, Banchieri preferred to remain faithful to the madrigal, now in the last stages of its development at the hands of Monteverdi. Banchieri seems to have had a particular predilection for comic madrigals, frequently combining them into an entertainment known as the madrigal comedy. The most famous of such works is the Festino nella sera del giovedì grasso avanti cena (Fete for the Evening of Carnival Thursday Before Supper). Rather like Boccaccio's The Decameron, it takes the form of an entertainment given before the guests and introduced in a prologue by Pleasure, who relates to other members of the party how he met an old man downstairs called Antique Rigour, an allegory for the old, polyphonic music or prima prattica. The Festino, then, is an entertainment about music, Pleasure being the representative of the modern, or seconda prattica style. Having bid Antique Rigour to "cast his old papers to a grocer," Pleasure then introduces the entertainment: a series of madrigals in between four and seven parts accompanied by continuo. They vary widely, ranging from an absurd onomatopoeic "improvised animal counterpoint," the calls of a street cryer headed "Foolish nonsense (but great fun)," to the mock-serious "The Lovers Sing a Little Song." Various madrigal styles are caricatured ("a madrigal full of conceits," for example) during the course of the comedy, which is by no means all buffoonery. For Banchieri, comedy was a serious business, as it was for his immediate forerunner, Orazio Vecchio, who spoke for composers of the madrigal comedies when he claimed that "just as much grace, talent, and naturalness is required to portray a comic part as to endow an old man with prudence and wisdom."


    1. Il diletto moderno per introduzione
    2. Giustiniana di vecchietti chiozzotti
    3. Mascherata di villanelle
    4. Seguita la detta mascherata
    5. Madrigale a un dolce usignolo
    6. Mascherata d'amanti
    7. Gli amanti morescano
    8. Gli amanti cantano un madrigle
    9. Gli amanti cantano una canzonetta
    10. La zia Bernardina racconta una novella
    11. Capricciata a tre voci
    12. Contrappunto bestiale alla mente
    13. I cervellini cantano un madrigle
    14. Intermedio di venditori di fusi
    15. Li fusari cantano un madrigale
    16. Gioco del conte
    17. a, Li festinanti
    18. b,
    19. Vinata di brindesi e ragioni
    20. Sproposito di goffi (pero di gusto)
    21. Il diletto moderno licenza e di nuovo invita

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    1997 Naxos 8553785
    1997 Rivoalto 9204
    1995 Opus 111 30137
    Opus 111 137