Flexi Quintet – Monteverdi, 6th Book of Madrigals (1614) – 11. Misero Alceo

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Description

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).

No 11 is a stand-alone song describing a young man, Alceo, unwilling
to leave his lover (Lydia) to go on a long journey. This is much more
in the character of a solo song for the tenor, with interjections from
the ‘chorus’.

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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Flexible Instrumentation

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