Sobre as “flautas eco”

Ou “flautas em eco”, ou “flautas de eco”.

  • Richard Griscom and David Lasocki. The Recorder: A Research and Information Guide. New York: Routledge,2003 – (Google Books contém a edição de 2009)
  • David Lasocki. Paisible’s Echo Flute, Bononcini’s Flauti Eco, and Bach’s Fiauti d’Echo –

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.

Precursores de Adrian Willaert – Giovanni D’Alessi – Parte 1

Apesar da idade desse texto (publicado em 1959), ainda é considerado um texto relevante para a discussão da gênese do Cori Spezzati (como visto em Charteris, 1990, “Indications in Early Sources”).

Página 187: “coro spezzato (also called coro battente) was not a novelty introduced by Adriano Willaert”
– “As has been observed, the question does not concern the ancient practice of the Church of performing the Psalms with two choirs, alternately answering each other in chanting verses, but rather a custom introduced in the early part of the 16th century; while the ancient tradition of two alternating choirs was maintained, the Gregorian chant came to be supplanted by polyphonic verses, generally entrusted to two vocal quartets (cantus, altus, tenor, bassus).”
– “the double choir, as used in the 16th century, might take three different forms:
1. Two choirs, one of which performs the Gregorian chant, while the other responds with polyphonic verses.
2. Two choirs that respond alternately, each one with “closed” polyphonic verses, i.e., compositions complete in themselves and not related to each other, except in so far as they preserve the mode and psalm tone.
3. Two choirs that alternate with closely interwoven polyphonic verses, so that the entire Psalm forms a single composition. Although each of the two choirs lives its own life, in dialogue with the other, they are nevertheless framed into a unitary composition and sometimes unite to form a complex of eight voices, especially toward the end, or even at some other point, in order better to enhance the sense of the text. Psalms composed in such a way form coro spezzato in the true sense.”

Página 188: [Zarlino 1552] “Sometimes it. happens that some Psalms are composed in such a way that they are called coro spezzato, which many times it is a custom to sing in Venice at Vespers and other hours of the solemn feasts; and they are arranged and divided into two, or three, choirs, in each of which four voices sing, and the choirs sing first one and then the other in alternation, and sometimes (depending upon the intention) all together, especially at the end, and this has a very fine effect. And since such choirs are stationed at some distance from each other, the composer will take care (to the end that there be no ugly dissonances between the parts in any of them) to form the composition in such a manner that each choir is consonant, i.e., that the parts of one choir are arranged in such a way as the piece would be composed for four simple voices, without consideration of the other choirs, having regard, however, in arranging the parts, that they are all in concord and there is no dissonance. For if the choirs are composed in such a manner, each one may be sung separately by itself, and nothing will be heard that might offend the ear. This advice is not to be scorned, for it is of great convenience; and it was formulated (ritrovato) by the most excellent Adriano.”

Página 189: “Since the Istitutioni harmoniche had a didactic character, Zarlino found it opportune to remind the student of this advice, since Willaert, working in a field already prepared by tradition, understood how to provide a new and very definite stylistic model for the employment of coro spezzato, by keeping it closer to the nature of psalmody and to the spirit of the liturgy. Thus the novelty of the discovery of the Flemish master has no reference to its having been he who first used the coro battente but rather to his particular form of treating it, as distinct from that adopted by the composers who had preceded him in the same practice and to whom I shall refer later.”
– [Zarlino 1552] “Then let such a Psalm be composed so that its verses can be sung with another choir in alternation, as Jachetto and many others have composed; or again everything may be composed as a whole, as Lupo composed the Psalms In convertendo Dominus captivitatem Syon and Beati omnes qui timent Dominum in four voices in the eighth mode; or they may be composed for two choirs, like the Psalms of Adriano’s Laudate pueri Dominum, Lauda Jerusalem Dominum, and many others, which are called for coro spezzato.”
– “the third [type on page 189], i.e., the true coro spezzato.”

Página 190: “Mass in eight voices for coro spezzato with the title Missa super verbum bonum by a certain Ruphinus, whom he identified, with good reasons, with Fra Ruffino Bartolucci of Assisi, maestro di cappella at the Padua Cathedral from 1510 to 1520 and then for some years at the Cappella del Santo”
– “a collection of all sorts of sacred compositions by composers flourishing at the end of the 15th and in the first part of the 16th century (Andrea de Silva, Jean Mouton, Josquin des Prez, Gombert, Lheritier, Claudin, Lupus, etc.).”
– [Monsig. Casimiri] “After I transcribed the eight parts,” he writes, “and reconstructed the score, there resulted a composition for double coro battente, with animated and rapid dialogue; yet with some technical life there is still something a little primitive, so that it gives rise to some critical reflections.”
– [Mosig. Casimiri] “The date of the manuscript miscellany which contains the Missa super verbum bonum and which, as I have said above, might be ascribed from its writing to the first quarter of the 16th century; the presence of Ruffinus at Padua, as chapel master of the Cathedral from 1510 to 1520 and then for some years at the Cappella del Santo; the preservation of the manuscript in the archive of a city in Veneto; the internal criterion of style, which reminds us of the first part of the I6th century–all these points suggest, I venture to say with certainty, that in the name Ruphinusis to be recognized Fra Ruffino of Assisi, and the work is to be attributed to the period when he held his post in Padua. Now if this is true, it was an Italian, a son of green Umbria, a Franciscan, who was practicing the form of dialogue for double choir, even in the first years of the 16th century.”

Página 191: “nine Psalms for coro spezzato by “Frater Ruflinus Patavinus” contained in a manuscript in the library of the Liceo Musicale G. Donizetti in Bergamo, the drafting of which was certainly prior to 1550″
– [Prof. Giuseppe Pedemonti 1943] “these are compositions for double coro battente.”

Página 192: “The existence of this codex [Ms. 1207-8, 1524-1542] containing Psalms for coro spezzato, written for the use of the choir of the chapel of S. Maria Maggiore at the period of the major activity of De Albertis, shows conclusively that in Bergamo at that time Psalms for coro spezzato not written by Willaert were being performed.”
– [Pietro Aaron, 13/3/1536, Convent of S. Leonardo in Bergamo] “All the Vespers were performed on the day of the Most Blessed Gregory, the day when, may it please God, I took the habit of the Order of the Crosachieri, honored and respected by many people. For the sake of the love that these musicians and singers have for me, Maestro Gasparo, the chapel master, came here voluntarily with twenty-two singers to honor me, and they sang Vespers most excellently with two choirs and psalmi spezzati.”
– [Fra Ruffino] “the Mass Super verbum bonum, the Bergamo Psalms, and particularly the Dixit and the Laudate pueri, which I was able to score. These are complete for two choirs, so that they offer the possibility of showing the way in which he [Fra Ruffino] treated the coro battente, a way very different from that of Willaert.
As the nature of antiphonal singing requires, Fra Ruffino preserves the tone and mode of the Gregorian melody and in the construction of the verses, which reveal certain technical traits of the first decades of the 16th century, he sometimes uses the imitative style but for the most part has the parts proceed with simultaneous declamation of the text. In the alternation of the choirs he does not always respect the structural unity of the individual verses; more often he breaks them with a give and take between the two choirs. Profiting by their contrast and echo effects with repetition of words, he gives life to a rapid dialogue, briefly articulated, lively, and concerted. In both of the Psalms he unites the two choirs twice-at the fifth verse and the final Doxology of the Dixit, and at the second verse and the Gloria of the Laudate pueri.”

Página 195: “The Gloria (…) is attacked simultaneously the two choirs and then proceeds in a very rapid dialogue(…).”

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.

Mito e Realidade – por David Bryant – Parte 2

Página 177: “According to one of the general rubrics in the ceremoniale of 1564 the organists were present during Vespers of almost all the most important feasts.” Never, however, in the detailed descriptions of the various individual ceremonies are they mentioned specifically in connection with the accompaniment of the psalms”.
– “The evidence of sixteenth-century musical prints, moreover, points vaguely to the prevalence of an a cappella style [nos salmos].”
– “The other instrumentalists were certainly not normally involved in the accompaniment of the double-choir psalms.”

Página 178: “Never in the ceremoniale of 1564 is their presence at Vespers recorded; they are not, in fact, mentioned in connection with this service until 1604, when Stringa refers to their participation on only one feast – First Vespers in Nativitate Domini”
– “The ceremonialia and other documents of St Mark’s contain valuable information not only on the double-choir Vespers psalms but also on the other main category of music for cori spezzati: the concerti and sacrae symphoniae of Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli and Giovanni Bassano.
– “In almost every respect this repertory differs fundamentally from the salmi of Willaert and Croce. First, in form: thestrictly liturgical, verse-by-verse alternation of choirs so typical of the salmi is here replaced by a rapid interchoir dialogue of overtly musical orientation. Second, in the number of performing groups: while salmi, in conformity with the liturgical rubrics, are invariably scored for two performing groups, concerti frequently have one (in which case they are not polychoral), three or even four. Third, in the use of cantus firmus: this, ever present in the salmi, is, with few exceptions, absent from the concerti. Fourth, the texts of the salmi are derived from the Offices of Vespers, Compline and Terce, they comprise all verses of the chosen psalm (complete with Doxology), and were always performed in their prescribed liturgical positions; those of the concerti, by no means all of them psalms, are drawn for the most part from the liturgies of Matins and Lauds (at both of which the attendance of the singers was not normally required), are frequently curtailed, and (to judge from a total of nine occurrences of the word ‘concerto’ in contemporary descriptions of Venetian religious ceremonial)” were generally performed outside their immediate liturgical positions at Mass. Finally, while salmi were used exclusively in connection with the greatest liturgical commemorations, concerti, as testified by all nine above-mentioned occurrences of the word, were more often associated with occasional events. (As the published repertory shows, however, concerti too may sometimes have been destined for use at the very greatest of the annually recurring solemnities.)”

Página 180: “A repertory conceived, or largely conceived, for a series of quite unrelated, special occasions will tend to exhibit a minimum of unity both in style and in manner of performance, and to reflect instead the differing musico-ceremonial requirements of the various individual events. This might account for the remarkable range in number of voices used in Concerti di Andrea,& di Gio: Gabrieli (1587) – a minimum of six, a maximum of sixteen – and Giovanni’s two books of Sacrae symphoniae (1597 and 1615) – a minimum of six, a maximum of nineteen.” It would also explain an apparent inconsistency in the use of organists and instrumentalists.”
– uma enorme lista de variações de instrumentação;

Página 181: [1603-1612? Bryant: 1607] “April 2nd. Giovanni Croce, maestro di cappella … having communicated to the Most Illustrious … Procurators that, it being necessary to perform music in the organ [lofts] at such times as the Most Serene Prince and the Most Serene Signoria come to church, it is [also] necessary that there be someone of ability who serves in the organ [lofts] to beat the time, as it is regulated by this maestro. And because, in [Giovanni] Gabrieli’s loft, there is … Giovanni Bassano, capo dei concerti, who on that side [of the choir] is charged with this responsibility, and on the other side this maestro [i.e. Croce] is accustomed to employ … Friar Agostin, the minorite, singer in the choir, who, having left the city already some days ago, without leave, he [Croce] wished to give notice of the fact to Their Excellencies, in order that they might make that provision which seems to them best, that the music pass with that honour and public decorum which is the will of Their Excellencies.”

Página 182: “This account, which by reason of its position in the register may be dated 1607, must refer principally to concerti, and not to the salmi spezzati: frequently, even when (contrary to its stated terms of reference) neither doge nor senators were present, the psalms would be performed in double-choir settings. Two conductors, it would appear, were located in the organ lofts: one was Fra Agostin, a member of the choir; the other was the capo dei concerti, the cornettist Giovanni Bassano, which strongly suggests that the other instrumentalists were here also, together with a few vocal soloists who, according to the practice later noted by Praetorius, were positioned among the instruments. The conductors in the organ lofts were entrusted with the task of relaying the beat, indicated by the maestro di cappella, Giovanni Croce, to the musicians in their charge.”
– “As for Croce himself, he, together with or near to a separate group of performers, can have been located only at quite some distance from the rest (otherwise, why the need to relay the beat?). The obvious question is ‘where?'”
– “It would seem that sometimes, space permitting, he might direct the proceedings from the floor of the choir, as was apparently the case during a specially organised Mass in January 1579 when, in the presence of five visiting Austrian archdukes – and in the absence of all but five representatives of Venetian Church and State – ‘music was made with the two organs and instrumentalists, and the singers in surplices in the choir'”
– “On other occasions he might be situated either in the two-storey pulpitum novum lectionumor in the hexagonal pergolo, as during Mass on Easter Sunday (a feast for which many large-scale concerti and sacrae symphoniae have been preserved) when, according to the ceremoniale of 1564, ‘the singers … mount the pulpit of the lessons, where they sing Mass; for nowadays Our Lord the Doge … mounts the great pulpit [of the singers] in which he hears Mass. Whenever he [the doge] remains in the choir for Mass, the singers mount the great pulpit to sing it.'”
– “And on still others he would appear to have stood in a third, temporary pulpit specially erected for the event, as during the Mass celebrated in June 1585 in honour of four visiting Japanese princes, for which ‘there was made a new platform for the singers’.”

Página 183: “Whatever the case, he seems almost invariably (and in view of his position as maestro di cappella quite properly) to have taken command of the ripieno choir – which group, according to each of the above-quoted statements, was the only one to have been situated, like him, quite separately from the musicians in the galleries; since this choir was located at floor level, the maestro too was presumably there. Any problems of communication between him and his two assistants need not have proved insurmountable since at least one of the organ lofts is always clearly visible both from the floor of the choir, the pulpitum novum lectionum and the pulpitum magnum cantorum.”
– “It was not without reason that the main body of the singers was positioned at floor level. On all the greatest occasions they had, besides the performing of large-scale concertia, number of other liturgical and ceremonial duties.”
– “they often sang the litanies in procession. Sometimes, as on Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, and the Feast of St Mark, they sang the introit of the Mass from the pulpitum magnumc antorumor alternatively from the steps of the choir (that is, ‘in medio ecclesiae’). Occasionally two of their number would be charged with the singing of the tract, or four might sing during the confession.”

Página 184: “The segregation of the ripieno singers from the rest of the ensemble is implicit in much of the published musical repertory. It is immediately apparent in the use of the designation ‘cappella’, a word that, on the relatively few occasions when it occurs, is reserved exclusively for one (and one only) of the four-part choirs. In this context it is used, with only two exceptions, to designate the whole choir (the exceptions occur in Giovanni Gabrieli’s fourteen-voice In ecclesiis and seventeen-voice Magnificat, where ‘cappella’ is applied respectively to three and two voices only).”
– “The spatial separation of the ripienists has a specifically stylistic dimension: the so-called cappella choir, in contrast to the predominantly instrumental groups (which stood much closer together both in location and timbre), is with one exception harmonically self-sufficient and complete.”
– “One is reminded of the comments of the contemporary theorist, Giovanni Maria Artusi:”

Página 185: [Artusi:] “Nowadays composers, in the cantilenae composed for concerti, place the lowest parts (that is, the bass parts of the one, and of the other choir) at the interval of a fifth, a third or an octave; almost always, one hears [a] wretched [sound, such as] I cannot describe, which offends the hearing … And [concerning] those choirs which are situated at a distance one from the other … when their bass … has become a middle-range part it can be said that that choir is [actually] without bass part and foundation; and what good effect can it have if the building be in one place and the foundations elsewhere? what sweet harmony can it yield to hear three or four parts of a cantilena without the bass, or at [other] times so far away that [these three parts themselves] can scarcely be heard?”
– “For Artusi, as indeed for the Gabrielis, the physical separation of one choir from the others appears to have underlined the need for its harmonic self-sufficiency.”
– “Although, then, in the case of the salmi the architectural characteristics of St Mark’s clearly did not influence the style of the music, in the concerti and sacrae symphoniae they do seem to have had a certain definite significance.”
– “While the ripieno choir had a number of liturgico-ceremonial duties which necessitated its remaining at floor level, the instrumentalists, who generally played no active role in ceremonial and the celebration of the liturgy, would surely have been given less conspicuous accommodation. Where more convenient in St Mark’s than the elevated lofts where the two ‘stationary’ musicians, the organists, were already housed? Had these galleries not existed, however, and had some other equally inconspicuous position been available, the result in terms of distance between instrumentalists and singers – hence also in terms of musical style – could well have been identical.”
– “This combination of architectural and ceremonial considerations seems to offer the most plausible explanation for the particular lines along which the cori spezzati developed at St Mark’s.”

BRYANT, David. The ‘cori spezzati’ of St Mark’s: Myth and Reality. In: FENLON, Iain (org). Early Music History, Vol. 1 (1981). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981, p. 165-186.

Mito e Realidade – por David Bryant – Parte 1

Um dos artigos mais exatos dos musicólogos mais tradicionais, esse texto pretende encerrar algumas das acepções criadas a partir dos primeiros vestígios analisados do Cori Spezzati.

Página 165: “Niccolò Fausti, master of ceremonies at St Mark’s Venice from 1576 to 1598, in one of his several additions at the back of a manuscript ceremoniale of 1564, lists the days on which Vespers in the ducal basilica were performed by two choirs of singers. The information is taken, he states, ‘from the list of duties of maestro di cappella Giuseppe Zarlino'”
– listagem de 29 celebrações com execução de música com coros duplos em 1564.

Página 166: “one of Fausti’s predecessors, Bartolomeo Bonifacio (1552-64)”

Página 167: [Bartolomeo Bonifacio] “De Annunciation B. M. V., (…) ‘in both Vespers all the psalms are sung most solemnly by two choirs of singers; and similarly the psalms of Compline of the feast-day [itself]'”
– “De Circumcisione Domini (‘all the psalms are sung by two choirs of singers’), De Assumption B. M. V. (‘the psalms … are sung in both Vespers by the singers in two choirs’), De Dedicatione Ecclesiae S. Marci (Second Vespers only: ‘the psalms … in two choirs’)”
– “Bonifacio’s observations bear out, indeed elucidate, those of Zarlino, (…) in Part III of his Le istitutioni harmoniche”
– “The earliest surviving Venetian examples in this style are the eight salmi spezzati (1550) of Willaert – cited, in fact, by Zarlino”
– “double-choir psalms for Compline (1591), Terce (1596) and Vespers (1597) of Giovanni Croce. All these works are scored for two four-voice choirs, which, in strict conformity with liturgical tradition, are alternated verse by verse (occasionally half-verse by half-verse), each of these liturgical units being expressed as a closed musical block.”

Página 168: “precise instructions for at least one occasion (First Vespers of Pentecost) are given by Bonifacio: ‘The singers sing the psalms divided in two choirs, namely, four singers in one choir and all the rest in the other.'”
– [Bonifacio, 1564] “OF THE PSALMS TO BE SUNG ON ALL SOLEMN FEASTS. Formerly, on all solemn feasts, the psalms were sung by the small choir, and by the singers who normally sing by practice [ex pratica, indicating an oral tradition], if they were available; in which case they were appointed to sing more georgiano. Today this practice of singing has fallen into disuse, and the singers of the greater choir sing all the psalms and whatever remains. And the psalms they sing divided in two choirs, namely four singers in one choir and all the rest in the other; since the small choir no longer exists”

Página 169: “That this practice was indeed polyphonic is duly confirmed by Fausti when, in a statement made in October 1589 before the Procuratia de Supra (the body responsible for the day-to-day administration of the basilica), he refers to a recent performance of the psalms which had been given ‘by two choirs in polyphonic music’.”
– “in St Mark’s, at least, the eight-voice salmi spezzati of Willaert and Croce were not, as has been believed hitherto, performed antiphonally, but rather, responsorially with four vocal soloists in one of the musical groups and all the rest of the singers, anything up to nine (for the second half of the sixteenth century) or eighteen (for the early seventeenth century onwards), in the other. One may note in this traditional manner of performance a definite liturgico-musical precedent for the systematic contrast between solo and ripieno voices used by Monteverdi in a number of his Vespers psalms”
– “During the procession on Good Friday, Venite et ploremus as sung by two choirs of singers: ‘in the first group … are four of the best; in the second group all the others’.”
– “On the same day, and on the previous Wednesday, the singers sang the Passion in three choirs: one soloist was the Evangelist; three sang the words of Christ (making four soloists in all); the others, all together, were the crowd.”
– “On Easter Sunday, at the start of the sepulchre drama, the procession (which had been formed at the nearby ducal palace) reached the church to find its entrance barred. Four singers inside began with the words ‘Quem quaeritis’, to which the rest, outside, replied ‘Iesum Nazarenum’, and so on. During many important processions the singers performed the litanies in two choirs.”

Página 170: “The manner in which they were divided is stated only in connection with the Processio de Domina ad pluviam sive serenitatem petendam: here it is prescribed that ‘the litanies of the Blessed Virgin… are said… by four singers; and all the other singers always respond “Sancta Maria ora pro nobis”‘.”
– “from where in the church did the two groups of singers perform? According to Zarlino, ‘[the] choirs are placed at a little distance one from the other’, a statement which seems to have given rise to the supposition that in St Mark’s the groups of singers were housed quite separately, one in each of the organ lofts on either side of the choir (see Figure 1). Neither this assumption, however, nor the comments upon which it is based are borne out by the contemporary documents of St Mark’s. These, in fact, contain four separate statements to the contrary.”
– “an entry in the acts of the Procuratia de Supra; it describes how at First Vespers in Dedicatione Ecclesiae S. Marci, Sunday 7 October 1589, there had been an argument in church as to whether the psalms of that service were or were not to be sung by two choirs. The master of ceremonies, Niccolò Fausti, said that they should be, but the singers disagreed. In this they had liturgical tradition on their side, for no one could recall a single precedent for the maestro’s directives. Nevertheless, Fausti had his way, and so ‘the book boy brought the books for singing in two choirs to the pergolo … Vespers was said, which the singers sang in two choirs’. This pergolo is identified by Giovanni Stringa, master of ceremonies at St Mark’s in the early years of the seventeenth century, as the hexagonal structure which stands in the nave of the church at the southern end of the iconostasis (see Figures 2 and 3); on it, he says, ‘almost always, and particularly on solemn feasts, and when the signoria comes to church, the musicians sing at High Mass and Vespers’. The procuratorial act contains the names of thirteen musicians ‘who were then in the pergolo’: their leader Baldassare Donato and twelve others, two of whom are identifiable as sopranos, three as countertenors, three as tenors and three as basses (the vocal range of the twelfth singer, a certain ‘Fra Gio: Ang.o de’, is not specified, but he was presumably a third soprano). These performed four of the five psalms according to the standard, double-choir practice outlined above. Of the fifth, however, no such double-choir setting could be found (there never having been need for it in the past), so this they sang in falsobordone.”
– “The other three statements are all from the ceremoniale of 1564:
OF [THE FEAST OF] ST JOHN THE BAPTIST. [In Second Vespers.] 1558. By order of the Most Serene Prince and the … procurators … we make a great solemnity … The psalms are sung by the singers in two choirs … in the choir [of the church] at the high altar.
On the Vigil of Ascension the singers … sing alternatim, divided in two choirs. His Serenity mounts the great pulpit and there hears Vespers … The singers sing in the new pulpit of the lessons, although they are tight in it. Whenever Our Most Serene Lord the Doge sits in the choir the singers are situated in the great pulpit.
[OF [THE FEAST OF] ST MARK. In First Vespers.] Our Lord the Doge mounts the singers’ pulpit, and there hears Vespers … Nevertheless, today the chorus [of priests] is not in the middle of the church, for Our Lord the Doge does not mount the pulpit as formerly.”

Página 175: “In the first of these excerpts the singers are said to have stood on the floor of the choir, near the high altar. In the second their preferred position is the pulpitum magnum cantorum (the hexagonal pergolo); more often, however, this was occupied by the doge, and they sang instead from the pulpitum novum lectionum, a two-storey structure which stands, like the pergolo, in the nave but at the north end of the iconostasis (see Figures 2 and 4). In the third their position is not explicitly stated; however, it may be inferred, if only tentatively, that although formerly, having been displaced from the hexagonal pergolo by the doge, they were situated with the chorus of priests ‘in medio ecclesiae’,29 they were ‘today’ free (the doge having moved elsewhere) to take up residence in what according to Stringa was their regular position, the same hexagonal pergolo, the pulpitum magnum cantorum. In no case in the ceremoniale of 1564 are the singers assigned to the organ lofts for the singing of the double-choir psalms. In no case, either, is it required that they be divided into two, spatially separated groups. Indeed, the whole need for spatial separation as an aid to distinguishing aurally between the two groups of singers would surely have been obviated by the responsorial alternations of soloists and ripieno choir so central to the liturgically prescribed manner of performing salmi spezzati. It would appear that the remarks of Zarlino – addressed, perhaps, less to his colleagues in Venice than to the musical world at large – relate more to doublechoir performance practice in general than to the particular set of conditions that governed the performance of the psalms during Vespers at St Mark’s. His very choice of Willaert’s salmi as illustrative material may well have been determined by sheer necessity: in 1558, when the first edition of Le istitutionwi as published, no other polychoral music was readily available in print to his readers.”

BRYANT, David. The ‘cori spezzati’ of St Mark’s: Myth and Reality. In: FENLON, Iain (org). Early Music History, Vol. 1 (1981). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981, p. 165-186.

‘Cori Spezzati’, por Denis Arnold – Parte 2

Página 10: “the invention of a notation for continuo playing affected the whole range of music very deeply. Polyphony had been dying in the madrigalian forms for some little time. In church music even as late as 1590 it had seemed securely rooted. By 1610, Monteverdi was sounding its death-knell when he described his Gombert Mass as a work of great studiousness at which he had had to work hard to bring it into shape. Thereafter true polyphony was something rather unnatural for composers. It was the stile antico and had a multitude of sins to answer for.
Cori spezzati survived this change without any sign of strain. Indeed it welcomed the use of the basso continuo as a new resource to be tried.”
“(…) the book containing them [Viadana’s first motets in the new style] is called ‘Cento concerti ecclesiastici’, a reminiscence of all the polychoral books which had poured forth since I587. For another, Viadana’s music had borrowed a great deal from the Venetian composers. The comparative simplicity of texture might very well be that of a work by Giovanni Gabrieli. The extended triple-time sections and the importance of simple diatonic harmonies are unmistakably those used in the latest polychoral music, and in fact if we reduced a motet by Croce or Bassano to the notation used by Viadana, we should find very little difference.”

Página 11: “As we have seen, the use of solo voices was also something known to the Gabrielis”
“if we possessed the Venetian motets in the ornamented forms used by the musicians of St. Mark’s, we should find that the moderate fioritura of Viadana comes directly from the same tradition.”
“In Croce’s ‘Sacrae cantilene concertate’, the cori spezzati have become rather different in build. One choir is now a group of soloists accompanied by an organ. Groups of instruments and ripieno voices are in other choir galleries. The relationship between the music of this volume and the older music for double choir is quite apparent. The tutti sections are the old “alleluia” refrains, triple time, simple texture and all; and their use as recurring passages in a sort of rondo form is merely an extension of a similar use which we find in many a motet of the Gabrielis. In the solo sections there is the new style, a loose imitative counterpoint with an organ giving the harmonic basis. Here again the old polychoral idiom is not far off, and the split-up melody between the voices, which is so characteristic of the early concertato motet, might well be the interplay between the solo voices of a Gabrieli motet if only two voices were being used and the other parts taken by instruments.”
“The differences between soloist and tutti are now more marked. The former sing in a decorated style, with expressive ornaments and virtuoso gorgie. The tutti is now split up into voices, which sing the homophonic refrains in a massive style, and an orchestra, which sometimes accompanies the voices and sometimes has its own sections.”
“In spite of its new look the style is essentially dependent on groups separated in space. The orchestra sometimes accompanies the solo voices, and it is clear that if the singers are not at some distance from the instruments they will be drowned.”
“Instead of the closely linked dialogue of Andrea Gabrieli, the later volumes of Croce and the younger Gabrieli have strongly defined sections. The soloists sing their duets and trios. When they finish, the tutti or the orchestra is allowed another complete section. At a climax all the forces may be used and there may be some interplay between them.”

Página 12: “In this sectionalism were the seeds of decline for cori spezzati. After all, the whole basis of the separated choirs is that they provided contrasts in colour at a time when such contrasts were diminished by imitative counterpoint.”
“In the works of Grandi, Rovetta, Cavalli and Monteverdi there is really not much need to space out the choirs through the building.”
“The tutti have now become choral sections with the soloists doubling the ripieni”
“the great days of cori spezzati were over by about 1625.”
“There was a brief flowering in Germany, including some fine works by Schütz. This apart, there are no composers who can be compared with the Gabrielis, and the originality even of Schütz is not really concerned with devices peculiar to separated choirs.”
“Nevertheless, the style was too firmly established to die, and we find that cori spezzati were used well into the eighteenth century.”
“One of these [two features developed in early 17th century] is the use of what we can only call “tricks”; the other is the use of cori spezzati by the Roman school, the followers of Palestrina.”
“When cori spezzati were first used in secular music, many new effects were gained by the use of echoes, for example. In madrigals, especially those written with some dramatic intention, echoes seem quite in place.”

Página 13: “The most famous, perhaps, is the setting of “Audi coelum” in Monteverdi’s Vespers, with “gaudio” changing to “audio” and so on.”
“Ignatio Donati recommends in his ‘Sacri Concentus’ (1612) a method which he calls “distant singing”. This, he claims, is an invention
made by me and my singers in the cathedral of Pesaro and elsewhere where I have been. The method which has been tried is this. The part which starts singing first must stay in the organ loft, and the other three voices shall be placed distantly from one another, so as not to be seen in the church.
Several other composers suggested similar things.”
“The complexity which can be reached is seen in a piece by Croce, a setting of ‘Laudate pueri’. This has solo groups all at different places in the church, singing echoes of one another. Then there is a ripieno choir somewhere else, not forgetting an alto accompanied by a group of trombones, again in another part of the church.”
“[Michael Praetorius] fill every possible corner of the church with the forces available. Boys and men soloists were sent away from the others, each with their continuo instrument. Even the outside of the church could be used if the instrumental forces were enough. The military, indeed, were better outside.
It must be arranged for this type of concerto that 5, 6 or 7 trumpeters with or without a drummer be stationed in a special place just outside the church; in this way the loud resonance and sound of the trumpets will not drown and deafen the whole body of musicians, as it would if they were inside the church.”
“it is difficult to account them as anything more than the fripperies of music. Whereas in the music of the Gabrielis, to remove the spatial element will ruin the whole effect, if we do this to one of the monodic works we hardly notice any difference.”
“The Roman school continued writing true polychoral music for a long time. Soriano, Agostino, Abbatini and Benevoli all used the style. So did a host of well-known German composers, not to mention such people as Messaus of Antwerp, Lohr of Dresden and Heinrich Hartmann of Coburg.”

Página 14: “Cori spezzati have now become the plaything of the conservatives, the composers in the stile antico.”
“Although using octave doublings and occasional un-Palestrinian dissonance, he [Benevoli] nowhere approaches the essentially harmonic attitude of even the more moderate seventeenth-century Venetian composers. His splendid and famed Mass for 53 voices, written for the consecration of Salzburg Cathedral, has instrumental groups and choirs of voices in the manner of Giovanni Gabrieli; but this is in itself significant. Gabrieli’s methods had been left completely behind in the two decades after his death, and the essentially linear methods of Benevoli are very different from the more modern orchestral style, based as it was on continuo instruments.”
“Thus cori spezzati, like so many musical forms, lived on to become something of an anachronism. They were used by Carissimi in his oratorios, by Lotti in his very old-fashioned a cappella church music, by Bach in his motets.”
“although we remember that cori spezzati make a most impressive appearance in the St. Matthew Passion, the element of space is a minor feature in the dramatic intensity.”
“Bereft of variety in harmony and sudden contrasts in rhythm, cori spezzati gave an ideal way of maintaining interest. Even so, space effects cannot make these works great music, as they did the music of the Venetian giants.”
“The true significance of the polychoral techniques lay not in their longevity, but in their power to give rise to something new, to make the natural successor, the concerto motet, a sturdy and independent being. Without this progression of events, the church music of even the later eighteenth century would have been very different.”

ARNOLD, Denis. The Significance of Cori Spezzati  In: Music & Letters, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jan., 1959). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1959, p. 4-14

‘Cori Spezzati’, por Denis Arnold – Parte 1

Apesar de curto, esse artigo é uma síntese da importância histórica do Cori Spezzati, portanto seu foco é descrevê-lo com muitos detalhes e cronologicamente. Uma segunda parte acompanhará esse post.

Página 4: Nobody knows where cori spezzati – choirs divided by space – were invented. The principle of splitting up performing forces into spatially separated groups is certainly of great antiquity, but its significance for the historian undoubtedly begins in the last few years of the fifteenth century. The evidence we possess suggests that the custom was most popular in northern Italy. The wedding celebrations of Costanzo Sforza and Camilla of Aragon at Pesaro in 1475 were graced by a performance of double-choir music. The confraternity of the Most Blessed Sacrament at Treviso remembered its past members with Vesper psalms sung by two choirs from very early in the sixteenth century; while the Order of the Crosachieri at Bergamo admitted one distinguished member at least with salmi spezzati. These, it will be seen, are all occasions of some dignity when large-scale music was almost a necessity, and we shall find that this is true of polychoral music for more than a century.

Página 5: (…) Even so, their [Santacrose and Fra Ruffino] music for double choir is of considerable interest to the historian because it cuts across so many of what we consider the traditional features of early sixteenthcentury music. It is not polyphonic; it can hardly be considered modal; it treats the words syllabically instead of with the extended melismas of the Netherlands style. In its diatonic chordal structure, the clarity of its words and the simplicity of its texture, this music seems so much more modern than the music of many of their contemporaries. Most of all, instead of the long limpid flow of continuously moving music with phrases interlocking effortlessly with one another, here the phrases can be short, cut off from one another by cadences and given some variety(…).

Página 6: He [Willaert] also sees that there are special problems to be solved. Of these the most important is to make the harmony tolerable even if a listener is much nearer one choir than the other. His solution was to make both choirs harmonically complete in themselves.

Página 7: Indeed, he went a great deal farther than Lassus, using groups of varying tessitura and with a huge range between the highest and lowest parts. Implied in all this is the use of instruments, and sometimes we can even find signs that definite orchestral colours were in Gabrieli’s mind. In one or two works certain choirs are marked to be performed a cappella, and we know from the writings of Praetorius that other groups consisted of solo voices accompanied by strings or brass. Out of such material Gabrieli weaves a web of contrasting colours which Lassus never knew (…).

Página 8: By quick interchanges of choir, overlappings of choral entries and splendidly sonorous tutti, we are overwhelmed by continual change. The emotional development of the piece is usually closely tied up with the variety of phrase-lengths. The long phrases of Lassus and Willaert may be sufficient for the opening of a motet; they are never enough for its climax, and the quick changes from one choir to another, with phrases of very short duration, give a sense of excitement unequalled in sixteenth-century music.
With these resources to hand, Andrea Gabrieli finds it unnecessary to use more than simple textures. Homophony predominates, perhaps because it makes performances easier when choirs are distant from one another, certainly because imitative counterpoint would be less effective in such a mass of sound. Nor does the composer need the great varieties of harmony known to the madrigalists. It is quite remarkable how simple the harmonies are. As each phrase must end with some form of perfect cadence, the climaxes, where choir follows choir rapidly, seem to consist of nothing but a stream of primary triads. This is further emphasized by the comparatively slowly moving harmonic rhythm, which again probably arose from the acoustical necessities of separated choirs. Add to this the free doublings of bass parts, and we are very near to the sound of modern music.

Página 10: In his ‘Sacrae Symphoniae’ (1597) we see the natural development of his uncle’s idiom. The contrast between the various choirs is now much sharper and instruments are optional only by an immense stretching of the imagination. It is sometimes very easy to see that a motet for double choir would be most effective if sung by two solo voices both accompanied by instruments, even though these are not specified as we sometimes find in his later music. This has become possible only by a destruction of the traditional equality of interest between the voices. In many of the motets there is virtually no imitative counterpoint at all.
The texture, then, is simple in many pieces. So in general are rhythms and harmonies. The reliance on perfect cadences and primary triads again results from the closely knit dialogue in which choir follows choir rapidly. As in Andrea’s work, there is a distinctness of phrase and a variety of phrase-length which clearly derives from the element of space and the difficulty of ensemble. These problems also give rise to a music of strong accents and simple rhythms.

ARNOLD, Denis. The Significance of Cori Spezzati  In: Music & Letters, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jan., 1959). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1959, p. 4-14

‘Polychoral’, por Anthony F. Carver

A Definition

It is essential to be clear exactly what is meant by ‘polychoral’. The following definition is suggested as being consistent with sixteenth-century theory and practice: a polychoral work or passage is one in which the ensemble is consistently split in to two or more groups, each retaining its own identity, which sing separately and together within a through-composed framework in which antiphony is a fundamental compositional resource; in tutti passages all voiceparts should normally remain independent, with the possible exception of the bass parts. Thus most Anglican cantoris-decani practice does not come within the definition, being more of a kind of antiphonal divisi technique. Polychoralism usually lies within the realm of technique or style rather than genre, though there are exceptions to this where the liturgical format of, for example, psalms or canticles is strictly adhered to. My approach to the phenomenon is primarily as a compositional technique; the question of performing locations and spatial separation will be treated mainly in terms of its refiection in the technique of individual pieces.

CARVER, Anthony F.. Cori Spezzati – Volume 1 – The development of sacred polychoral music to the time of Schütz. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988, p. xv.

‘Cori spezzati’, por Denis Arnold

Cori spezzati (it.)

Literally ‘broken choirs’, the term being used to describe the division of the forces used (voices and/or instruments) and the spatial separation of the resulting groups.
The idea of using two groups of singers antiphonally can be traced to Jewish and early Christian times, but the deliberate, artistic development of the concept dates from the later years of the 15th century, when choirs would sometimes be divided into two groups, one on each side of the church, to perform festive motets. This arrangement became popular after the publication of Willaert’s Salmi spezzati (1550). It used to be assumed that these were performed in the two organ lofts of St Mark’s, Venice, but it now seems likely that in fact the groups were placed on the floor of the church, near or even in the pulpits. Certainly elsewhere, cori spezzati were used in churches without galleries.
The St Mark’s galleries were, however, used for the performance of ceremonial motets in the later 16th century, such composers as the two Gabrielis exploiting the arrangement’s capacity to surprise. During this period, the groups were frequently unequal or unlike each other: a high choir (coro acuto) might be pitted against a low one (coro grave); a group of soloists (favoriti) contrasted with the ripieno (or cappella); and both against the instrumental ensemble. These groups would engage in what is best described as a musical dialogue, the phrase lengths being varied and the musical material passed from one group to another, so that interest is kept up by the continual change of the place from which the sound is coming. Echo effects were also common, and these led to the consideration of contrasting dynamics as a useful device, even when spatial effects were not intended.
As it became customary to use a continuo part, composers took the opportunity to set accompanied solo voices against the choir. Since such forces are so unequal, the music was divided in to separate sections for each medium, rather than having a real ‘dialogue’; this sectionalization was eventually to lead to the church cantata, the ‘Neapolitan’ Mass, and other forms of church music where solo voices and duets alternate with choruses.
The continuo also encouraged various gimmicks- such as the so-called musica lontana of Ignazio Donati, where soloists were placed at various parts of the church. Monteverdi uses similar effects in his Vespers of 1610. In Germany, such effects were taken up with enthusiasm, Michael Praetorius in his Syntagma Musicum (1619) advocating the singing of chorales with each verse sung by different forces from different parts of the church.
The vogue for cori spezzati was at its height in Italy c. 1600, although Roman composers (notably Benevoli) went on writing polychoral music until at least the mid century. In Germany, it was taken up at the end of the 16th century and remained popular for many years. The Missa Salisburgensis (once ascribed to Benevoli, but now believed to have been written as late as the 1680s) divided 53 parts (sung and played) into eight choirs, obviously intended for the widely-spaced galleries of Salzburg Cathedral. The use of such large forces meant that the harmony had to be correspondingly simple, to avoid acoustical confusion in a resonant building, and indeed the sole interest in such a work lies in spatial and textural effects.
The cori spezzati arrangement was still used in the 18th century: Burney reported a Mass for four choirs and orchestras by Galuppi being given in Venice in 1770, while Bach’s St Matthew Passion and the double choruses of Handel’s Israel in Egypt imply spatial separation of some kind. In more recent times, the stereophonic reproduction of music has stimulated new interest in spatial effects, from Stockhausen among others.

CORI SPEZZATI. In: ARNOLD, Denis.The New Oxford Companion to Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984, p. 494-495.