Precursores de Adrian Willaert – Giovanni D’Alessi – Parte 2

Página 197: “he [Fra Ruffino] gives a characteristic individuality to the coro battente which will be used later and carried to the acme of perfection by Andrea Gabrieli. These characteristics are lacking in the eight Psalms for coro spezzato published by Willaert in I550. Rather, he observes rigorously not only the tone and the mode but also the unitary structure of the verses in the alternation of the two choirs, and in the few cases in which he breaks the verse, he has the break come where the text permits, i.e., at the flexa or mediant, but not in the midst of the text of the two hemistichs. Except for these few cases, the two choirs proceed regularly without interruption, one following the other in the singing of the verses. It is not his custom to repeat the text, nor do the two choirs sing together except at the final Doxology, where he employs greater variety and liberty(…).”

Página 198: [Willaert] “intention of creating a new style in this genre of composition, fusing the Flemish contrapuntal conception with the requirements of the Italian style, which germinated from the popular song (such as the villotta, lauda, and frottola of the 15th and early 16th century), a style which, remote from every foreign influence, was flourishing in Venice and neighboring cities when Willaert was called to direct the chapel of St. Mark.
All the eight Psalms [1550] show identical characteristics.”
– “transposed a fourth lower, i.e., to its natural position (first tone), probably for better adaptation to the vocal exigencies of the chapel”

Página 202: “It will be noticed that the Gloria [Willaert Ps 112 Laudate Pueri (Gloria)] offers a more articulated and lively dialogue than the preceding verses and finishes with an eight-voice tutti at the words ‘et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.'”
– “in Fra Ruffino a contrapuntal form like that of the composers of the first part of the 16th century, with a somewhat awkward conduct of the parts and still immature harmonic progressions, and with resulting prominent frictions between the voices”
– “Fra Ruffino’s freer and more varied conception offers him a field propitious for a brilliant dialogue and the creation of verses of free invention, with frequent interchanges of choirs. The style of Adriano is more severe and more in conformity to the liturgy; although he composes verses of his own, more often he uses the ecclesiastical chant, and at the beginning he has the Gregorian intonation”
[Treviso] “an act of 1524 of the Council of the School of the Most Blessed Sacrament.”
– “Such was the performance in 1523, as well as the one two years before. This is proved by an act of the Council of the ‘School’, dated April 3, 1524, which shows clearly the admiration and enthusiasm aroused by the singing of Vespers and Mass with music for ‘two choirs’.”
– “[1524 act] the number of the said singers and their marvelous and excellent solemn singing both at Vespers and at Mass with two choirs”
– “[the 1524 act] determined to augment the modest remuneration offered to the singers, pledging them for the future to sing ‘all the Vespers and all the Mass every year with two choits, as it has been done hitherto and especially in the last two or three years, that we know they have done well and will do even better if it is possible.'”
– “The document [1524 act] thus explains the amazing effect of the compositions”

Página 204: “At the present time the musical archive has fifteen compositions certainly by Santacroce–five motets (one for four voices, four for five voices) and ten Psalms for coro battente and, it may be noted, all for ‘coro spezzato’, these forming music for Compline and Vespers, without the Magnificat.”

Página 206: “But if Patavino wrote for coro spezzato before 1527, we have reasons for maintaining that he had used this style also in the Vespers and the Mass for the Dead of 1523. To arouse the enthusiasm of the presidents of the Confraternity, the performance could not have been one of the level he was in the custom of giving the chapel, but must have been something new and extraordinary.”
– “he [Santacroce] had learned the art of coro spezzato from Fra Ruffino and that he had introduced it in Treviso”

Página 210: “There was a school of composers not only in Venice, as Benvenuti proves, but also in other cities of the dominion of Veneto, such as Padua, Treviso, Bergamo, and Verona – cities closely linked to Venice in musical principles through community of taste, tendencies, form, and style to the first decades of the 16th century. These schools show evident signs of uncommon vitality(…).”

D’ALESSI, Giovanni. Precursors of Adriano Willaert in the Practice of Coro Spezzato. In Journal of the American Musicological Society, Vol. 5, No. 3 (Autumn, 1952). California: University of California Press, 1952, p. 187-210.

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