Abstracts of issue 17 (2003)

Pyrros Bamichas

Monteverdiís ďstile concitatoĒ: Some Later Indications

In spite of Monteverdiís declaration concerning the invention of the ďnewĒ style, in his Madrigali guerrieri et amorosi (1638) it seems that the paternity of its rhythmic expression does not belong to him. According to newly discovered material, the famous pattern of the sixteen successive semi-quavers preexists, wholly or partly, in works by Giovanni Valentini. The presence of many concitato elements found in Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda (1624), in Valentiniís madrigals Tocchin le Trombe of 1619 and Guerra, guerra tu brami (1616) is due to the aggressive religious policy of the Emperor Ferdinand II Habsburg, which resulted in the eruption of the Thirty-Year War.
The warlike spirit and the grandeur of Ferdinandís Court was highly reinforced by the use of the trumpet and its military repertoire, as it appears in Cesare Bendinelliís (1614) and Girolamo Fantiniís (1638) playing methods of the instrument, where we can trace pieces that almost certainly form the source of inspiration for Valentiniís ďmotiviĒ. It is possible that Monteverdi might have heard Valentiniís compositions, as well as that he already knew Gabrieliís instrumental pieces and the military signals of the trumpet. His decision to imitate them is probably connected to his ambitions concerning his professional and financial status. However, the existence of the madrigal Non piý guerra in Valentiniís book of 1621 proves that Monteverdi was the first to occupy himself with the problematic of the passions, which rule the warriorís soul in battle and their expression in terms of music.

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