Flexi Quintet – Monteverdi, 6th Book of Madrigals (1614) – 05. Zefiro torna e bel tempo rimena


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As part of my continuing project to transcribe Monteverdi’s
madrigals onto winds, here is the 6th book. In this book we see a much
greater development towards dramatic representation. In a way, this book
is divisible into two Scenes with a number of single items in between.
The vocal lines are all much more complex and we can also see the
beginnings of monodic writing appear in the semi-recit sections of some
of the songs.

Also clearly developing are delineations of the voices into soloists
and chorus. Several songs in this book are almost akin to arias, with
clear soloistic writing for the higher voices (Cantus/Tenor).

The first four songs form a kind of introductory ‘scena’, which
Monteverdi calls “Lamento d’Arianna”. A little later, there is a set of 6
songs which he grouped together under the title “Sestina”.

Song number 5 sits between Lamento della Ninfa and Sestina as a
stand-alone song. “Zephyrs turn and bring good weather” A zephyr is a
kind of fickle wind that can bring clouds or sunshine.

As with all things madrigalian, the lyrics are rife with double
entendres. Monteverdi uses some very close dissonances to describe death
and release.

Additional information

Ensemble Type

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Flexible Instrumentation

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Medieval and Renaissance


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