BENEDETTO FERRARI (1597-1681)
Musiche varie a voce sola
The three books which are the subject of this anthology were created by Benedetto Ferrari between 1633 and 1641, a time period during which he performed extensively between Modena and Venice. This historical period was particularly important for the development and the evolution of the canto. Between 1620 and 1630 secular music started to decline, especially in the area of the Medici Court where a tendency to religious bigotry led to a predilection for the sacred repertory. On the contrary, Venice became the new centre of the Italian canto. Among the most characteristic Venetian cantos of this decade the ones by Giovanni Pietro Berti, Alessandro Grandi, Martino Pesenti and Giovanni Felice Sances stand out. Just before 1620 the poetic texts of strophic cantos began to divide more and more often into two parts, that is the recitative and aria in triplet time. At the same time, the madrigal was also suffering some important modifications in his physiognomy: the intrusion of continuous triplet time in the prevailing binary time made the structure rather discontinuous. It is then obvious that it was necessary to remodel the traditional forms of composition, which were not following much the artistic and commercial needs any more and were inclined to step away from the coeval style. In these three books, the one that up to now was only a tendency, was bravely sanctioned by Benedetto Ferrari. The insertion in the madrigal of wide movements in triplet time and, the contemporary opposition in the strophic cantos, of recitatives to arias, give life to a new form, born on stylistic features of the previous forms, but without the «new style» identifying specifically the one or the other structure of composition. Benedetto Ferrari’s writing also arises such surprises which associate him to the idea of an avant–garde musician of his age, looking for new expressive, artistic, stylistic and structural elements. In fact, his activity versatility (librettist, composer, musician and impresario) can describe and emphasize his character.