- Il primo libro de’ madrigali a quattro voci by Marc’Antonio Ingegneri, and: Il primo libro de madrigali a cinque voci (1605) by Antonio Cifra
The editions reviewed here present the works of two madrigal composers whom history has often overlooked to varying degrees: Marc’Antonio Ingegneri (1535– 1592) and Antonio Cifra (1584–1629). Ingegneri is known to many as Claudio Monteverdi’s mentor, and is perhaps less well-known as a composer in his own right; Cifra is widely considered to be among the most important members of the early-seventeenth-century Roman school of sacred composers, but little scholarly attention has been devoted to his madrigal output. In both of these editions, we see evidence of major efforts to establish these composers as worthy of additional scholarship made possible by the production of modern critical editions: the Ingegneri edition makes a strong contribution to an ongoing Opera omnia project, and the Cifra edition suggests a model for modern editions of works by lesser-known composers.
When Ingegneri scholar Laurie Paget reviewed the earliest volumes of the Ingegneri Opera omnia in 1995, she welcomed the apparent change in fortune for a composer who had long been received as secondary to his most famous pupil:
The renaissance of Marc’Antonio Ingegneri as an esteemed composer, worthy of serious scholarship, has been a long time coming. After decades of Monte verdiana, it seems that academics and musicians are finally beginning to recognize, en masse, the value of Ingegneri’s legacy to his more famous pupil. However, until now, those of us who have wished to probe more deeply beneath the surface of Monteverdi’s humble beginnings have been forced to transcribe, each anew, madrigal upon Mass upon motet of Ingegneri’s prodigious output. (Review of Marc’Antonio Ingegneri, Opera omnia, ser. II, vol. V: Sacrae cantiones senis vocibus decantandae; and ser. II, vol. III: Il terzo libro dei madrigali a cinque voci. Music & Letters 76, no. 4[November 1995]: 648–51.)
This Opera omnia project was inspired by a 1992 conference devoted to the composer, his works, and his legacy; among other [End Page 800] things, the conference reinforced the need for new critical editions of Ingegneri’s works to be created and made available to a new generation of scholars. The series editors propose a twofold goal for such editions:
Firstly, that the work . . . may open out new prospects of research not only into Ingegneri’s work but also into major aspects of Italian and European music in the late sixteenth century; secondly, that the works of this illustrious polyphonist may once again return to the circuits of actual performance, on the solid foundation of a text freed from the incrustations of time. (Opera omnia, ser. I, vol. I: Liber primus missarum cum quinque et octo vocibus[Lucca: Libreria Musicale Italiana, 1995], no page number.)
More than fifteen years later, the series has produced eight volumes (four in a series devoted to sacred music and four in a series devoted to secular genres). The volume under review here, Il primo libro de’ madrigali a quattro voci, is numerically the first volume in the second series, but the most recent to be published. In this...