Madonna mia gentil
Reduction of Madonna mia gentir by Luca Marenzio
Luca Marenzio (1553-1599) was initially employed in Rome, successively serving two cardinals. He then joined the court of Florence in 1588, where he participated in the Pellegrina interludes (1589), as composer and singer, and then returned to Rome where he died. He leaves us books of motets and sacred song, and above all many books of madrigals, reprinted numerous times, that ensure his posterity.
The madrigal Madonna mia gentil is an excerpt from Primo Libro de Madrigali a cinque voci (Venice, 1580). The ornamented version that we propose is by Giovanni Bassano. It is an excerpt from the Motetti, madrigali, e canzoni francesi, di diversi eccelentissimi auttori a quattro, cinque e sei voci Diminuiti per sonar con ogni sorte di stromenti, e anco per sonar con la semplice voce edited in Venice by Giacom Vincenti in 1591. Unfortunately, our only knowledge of this work is through a manuscript copy (D-Hs M B/2488) done in 1890 by the musicologist Friedrich Chrysander, since the original manuscript, conserved in Berlin, was destroyed during World War Two.
Giovanni Bassano (1560/1561-1617), became "piffaro" for the doge in 1576, and then in 1601 succeeded Girolamo Dalla Casa at the Saint Marc basilica in Venice, occupying that position until his death. ln addition to the work from 1591, mentioned above, he leaves his Fantasie per cantar e sonar (1585), a volume of Ricercate, passagi and Cadenze ( 1585) well known to flautists, and various albums of vocal music. His influence on Giovanni Gabrieli was noteworthy.
In 1590, in London, Thomas Watson brought out his Italian Madrigals englished, where this madrigal also appears. The text of this contemporary English version can be found on a separate part.
Pierre Boragno,translated by Jacqueline Rose