Listening Log – [Pt. I- Proj.1]- Claudio Monteverdi’s ‘Ah, Dolente Partita’ from the fourth book of madrigals, published in 1603
Research Point: 1.0 Claudio Monteverdi’s ‘Ah, Dolente Partita’ from the fourth book of madrigals, published in 1603
Claudio Monteverdi (Cremona, 1567 – Venice, 1643). Monteverdi’s motets were first published when he was 15 years old. A couple of years later he started publishing secular music, completing five books of madrigals before his opera Orfeo, in 1607. Orfeo is generally considered the first opera. Opera emerged in Florence around 1600 and started out as a re-imagining of ancient Greek drama. Monteverdi used this dramatic structure but emphasised the words and put emotions in the foreground. Opera was born and this ‘new’ genre can be seen as a forerunner of our modern concept of a song.
‘Ah, Dolente Partita’ is from Monteverdi’s fourth book of madrigals, published in 1603, making it a transitory piece between the old style ’prima prattica’(counterpoint in the style of Palestrina) and the ‘seconda prattica’(which broke with counterpoint rules of how to prepare a dissonance). Emphasising text became Monteverdi’s calling card. He used various compositional devises for word painting, expressing meaning and emotional content, describing a very painful separation from a lover. Opening with the quintos and quantos singing in unison, the intervals gradually widen to a minor second, minor third and then a major third during the words of ‘dolente partita’.
There is extensive word painting throughout the madrigal. For example, the lyric ‘Ah, fin de la ma vita.’ Is generally accompanied by a stepwise descending line perfectly illustrating the descent into despair, and perhaps even the descent into hell (see Fig. 1. above).
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Figure 1. Lazic, S. ‘Ah, fin de la ma vita’ Bar 1-5 (2019)
Anupam, R. (2007) Influence of Italian Musical Innovations on English Vocal Music in the Early Seventeenth Century. At: http://musichistory-essays.blogspot.com/2007/11/influence-of-italian-musical.html
Bush, A. (1948) Strict counterpoint in the Palestrina style. London Strainer & Bell.
Corniush, G. (2013) Ah Dolente Partita: Monteverdi’s Bridge Between Two Ages. University of Rochester. At: file:///Volumes/Lacie%20USB3/Ah%20Dolente%20Partita.%20GCornish_H.docx%20(1).pdf
Delitiae Musicae. (2003) Monteverdi, C.: Madrigals, Book 4 (Il Quarto Libro De’ Madrigali, 1603) [download] Salford: Naxos Music UK Ltd. Available At: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B001LZJ3BK/ref=dm_ws_sp_ps_dp
Encyclopaedia Britannica. (s.d) ‘Madrigal‘ [online] At: https://www.britannica.com/art/madrigal-vocal-music (Accessed on 11 June 2019)
Guarini, B. (1590) Ah, Dolente Partita. In: ll pastor fido. Venice: Guarini.
Johnston, A. (2013) ‘A History of Classical Music: Part 4 – The Later Renaissance.’ In: The List [online] At:https://www.list.co.uk/article/50729-a-history-of-classical-music-part-4-the-later-renaissance/
Monteverdi, C. (1603) Ah, Dolente Partita. In: Il quarto libro de madrigali a cinque voci. Venice: Ricciardo Amadino
Monteverdi, C. (1603) Ah, Dolente Partita. In: Il quarto libro de madrigali a cinque voci. [Music Score] Public Domain At: http://hz.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/d/d3/IMSLP515843-PMLP82326-Monteverdi_in_2-4_with_English_A_minor.pdf
Monteverdi, C. (1603) Ah, Dolente Partita. [Video Score]. At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-97t3lw2sJA (Accessed on 03 May 2019)
Schubert, P. (1999) Modal Counterpoint Renaissance Style. New York: Oxford University Press.
Swafford, J. (s.d) ‘Milestones of the Millennium. Claudio Monteverdi with Jan Swafford. In: NPR online [online] At: https://www.npr.org/programs/specials/milestones/990519.motm.monteverdi.html?t=1534860387474&t=1564599890419
Taruskin, R. and Gibbs, C. (2013) The Oxford History of Western music. (College Edition) New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.
Wayland Public Schools. (2018) The Medieval Church Modes, Dorian Scales & Mixolydian Scales. At: http://bandnotes.info/tidbits/tidbits-feb.htm (Accessed on 30 July 2018)
Whenham. J and Wistreich, R. (2007) The Cambridge Companion to Monteverdi (Cambridge Companions to Music). [Kindle edition] From: Amazon.co.uk (Accessed on Jan 2019)
Yearsley, D. (2002) Bach and the Meanings of Counterpoint (New Perspectives in Music History and Criticism). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.