Flexi Quintet – Monteverdi, 6th Book of Madrigals (1614) – 10. Qui rise Tirsi


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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).

This song, No 10 starts with the line “Here Tirsi laughed and
wriggled under the two(twin?) stars of the beautiful Clorinda” I think
you get the picture! We can see plenty of musical laughing and wriggling
in the music with dotted rhythms and semiquaver runs. The top two
voices are Clorinda (doing a fair amount of wriggling herself) while the
bottom two take the part of Tirsi. There are places where all four
voices give vent to an exclamation and where, presumably, the two lovers
had to stop for breath! The original incorporates a very basic continuo
part, which I have shared between the resting voices.

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

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Ensemble Type

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Flexible Instrumentation

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Medieval and Renaissance


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