Flexi Quintet – Monteverdi, 6th Book of Madrigals (1614) – 13. Presso un fiume tranquillo

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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).

This is the final song in the book and it forms a kind of short scena
all by itself. The words are very evocative and descriptive. The title
translates as “By a tranquil river”. As the music is much more complex than previously, I had to make it a septet in order to get all the parts covered.

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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