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Monteverdi and the End of the Renaissance

Gary Tomlinson

Publication Year: 1990

Combining a close study of Monteverdi's secular works with recent research on late Renaissance history, Gary Tomlinson places the composer's creative career in its broad cultural context and illuminates the state of Italian music, poetry, and ideology in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Published by: University of California Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

The music historian focuses first on works of music, whatever else he might survey. These are his primary texts. They are ordered systems of symbols, linguistic webs that conveyed meanings to those who created, performed, and listened to them. The historian's task is to describe what he takes to be those meanings. ...


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1. Oppositions in Late-Renaissance Thought: Three Case Studies

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pp. 3-30

Italian culture of the late sixteenth century offers a picture of stark philosophical contrasts and intellectual eclecticism. The unprecedented explosion of information during the previous century, set off in particular by an astonishingly active printing industry and new technological and geographical discoveries, ...

The Perfection of Musical Rhetoric

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2. Youthful Imitatio and the First Discovery of Tasso (Books I and II)

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pp. 33-57

Monteverdi the musical orator did not immediately find his voice. His first two books of madrigals, published while he was still at Cremona, his birthplace and youthful home, preserve the record of his early steps on the way to this discovery—hesitant steps, along paths well trodden before him, ...

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3. Wert, Tasso, and the Heroic Style (Book III)

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pp. 58-72

Monteverdi's appreciation of Tasso, hesitant and secondhand in Book II, matured notably by 1592, when he published his Terzo libro de madrigali. The work that fascinated him now was the epic poem Gerusalemme liberata. So much so that he put aside almost completely the "madrigalismo descrittivo" of many texts of Book II: ...

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4. Guarini and the Epigrammatic Style (Books III and IV)

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pp. 73-113

Tasso may have inspired the freshest idiom in Book III, but Guarini pointed the way to Monteverdi's future. The paradox here is more apparent than real. Monteverdi's settings of two cycles from Gemsalemme liberata contained much that the composer would develop in later works ...

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5. Guarini, Rinuccini, and the Ideal of Musical Speech

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pp. 114-148

In 1598 Vincenzo Gonzaga finally brought to pass the performance of II pastor fido that he had cherished since 1584 and pursued actively since 1591. The play was staged three times in Mantua that year, in late June and early September and, most sumptuously, on 22 November during the visit of Margherita of Austria, on her way to wed Philip III of Spain. ...

The Emergence of New Ideals

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6. Marino and the Musical Eclogue (Book VI)

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pp. 151-164

In July 1612, shortly after the death of Vincenzo I Gonzaga, Monteverdi was summarily released from his position at the court of Mantua. He returned to the environs of his youth—first to his father's house at Cremona and then to nearby Milan, where he seems to have spent part of the next year directing concerts in aristocratic salons. ...

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7. Marinism and the Madrigal, I (Book VII)

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pp. 165-196

In 1614 Marino had announced the themes of the third part of La lira with these Anacreontic lines. Five years later, set to music in the guise of an operatic prologue complete with instrumental sinfonie and ritornelli, they signaled the novel poetic themes and musical styles of Monteverdi's Concerto. ...

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8. Marinism and the Madrigal, II (Developments after Book VII)

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pp. 197-214

After the fourteen through-composed duets of the Seventh Book, we noted in the preceding chapter, Monteverdi published only seven more works of this type. He included one in an anthology of 1624 ("O come vaghi, o come cari sono"),1 two more in the Scherzi musicali of 1632 ("Zefiro torna" and "Armato il cor d'adamantina fede"), ...

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9. The Meeting of Petrarchan and Marinist Ideals (The Last Operas)

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pp. 215-240

In the Madrigals, arie, and canzonette of 1614-38 Monteverdi evolved new modes of musical expression and structure to accommodate the new poetics of Marinism. He created, in effect, a Third Practice, largely independent from the rhetorically inspired, Petrarchan Second Practice of the period 1592-1610. ...

The End of the Renaissance

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10. Monteverdi and Italian Culture, 1550-1700

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pp. 243-260

The story of Monteverdi's career told in the preceding chapters is mainly one of shifting poetic styles, genres, and expressive aims and of the changing musical means the composer employed to reflect them. But the story remains incomplete. For the changes in Monteverdi's compositional goals, ...

Works Cited

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pp. 261-270

Index of Monteverdi's Works and Their Texts

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pp. 271-276

General Index

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pp. 277-280

E-ISBN-13: 9780520910102
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520069800

Page Count: 292
Publication Year: 1990