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Roaming the Renaissance

Diminutions from the textbook of Giovanni Bassano (1591) by Musica Figurata.


In the second half of the 16th century, a genre quickly gained great popularity: musicians took existing music and improvised diminutions, also called passaggi in Italian, on it.
Instruction books appeared with instructions on how to improvise such diminutions. These books also contained examples and ensembles in our time enjoyed playing them.
In this program, we hear diminutions from one of those books: ‘Motetti, madrigali et canzone francese di diversi eccellenti autori, diminuiti per sonar con ogni sorte di Stromenti et anco per cantar’ by Giovanni Bassano (1591).
The most commonly used pieces to create diminutions were by Palestrina, De Rore, Lassus, and Willaert. But, as the title of Bassano’s book suggests, they could be played and sung in different arrangements.

The Musica Figurata ensemble showcases the different possibilities.

Giovanni Bassano (1558-1617)
1. La rose (Adriaen Willaert)
2. Susanne un jour (Orlandus Lassus)
3. Dissi a l’amata mia (Luca Marenzio)
4. Caro dolce ben mio (Andrea Gabrieli)
5. Introduxit me rex (Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina)
6. Pulchra es (Palestrina)
7. Fuit homo missus (Palestrina)
8. Tota pulchra es (Palestrina)
9. Benedicta sit Sancta Trinitas (Palestrina)
10. Ave Maria (Palestrina)
11. Anchor che col partire (Cipriano de Rore)
12. Signor mio caro (Rore)
13. Io canterei d’amor (Rore)
Musica Figurata: Santina Tomasello, soprano. Alessandro Carmignani, alto. Paolo Fanciullacci, tenor. Marcello Vargetto, bass. Lapo Bramanti, recorder. David Yacus, trombone. Stefano Lorenzetti, harpsichord, organ
(cd: “Motetti, Madrigali et Canzoni francese” – Tactus TC550201, 1999)

Rocco Rodio (ca. 1530/40-na 1615)
14. Ilaria Monticelli, harpsichord
(cd: “Di Voci Affettuose – Neapolitan Ricercars” – Da Vinci Classics C00559, 2022)

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