The triple foole
quattro madrigali a cinque voci su testi di John Donne
for: vocal ensemble (S. MS. CT. T. B.)
text by: John Donne
commission: Milano Musica
first performance: 25.11.17, Milan, Teatro Girolamo, Milano Musica Festival, Exaudi Vocal Ensemble
publisher: Suvini Zerboni
catalogue number: S. 15524 Z.
Di dolci aspre catene
(for five voices) is the fourth chapter of a personal exploration of madrigalistic vocality that began with Dir - In dir
(for six voices and six strings), followed by Horrido
(for seven voices) and Se taccio, il duol s’avanza
(for violin and twelve voices) that share their poetic source with the new madrigals, namely the Rime
of Torquato Tasso. This path will continue with a new series of madrigals on texts by English poets of the Elizabethan age. A common characteristic of these works, besides making use of an “ancient” language, is the use of rhetoric – at the basis of the theory of affects that moved musical research so much forward during the golden age of the madrigal – both structurally and expressively. Contemporary vocal techniques, which I widely exploited in my cycles for solo voice and that I haven’t forsaken also in this case (though used in a more moderate fashion) are guided by the linguistic, structural and conceptual values of these texts, very well known also because, before me, they were set by illustrious musicians contemporary to Tasso: texts so impregnated with the artifices of the word, taken to their extreme, fleeting and polysemic, in the subtleties of courtly love. The form, the harmonic course, the general architecture of the pieces and their relation together create values more important than the single moments, aimed at “illustrating” in a madrigalistic style (in the modern sense, that is never in the original conception) the words and their emotional repercussions, and the insufficiency (or the power?) of symbolic language.