BANCHIERI ADRIANO (1568-1634)
Vezzo di perle musicali [...] op. 23, Bologna, 1610
The Vezzo di perle musicali. . . opera ventesima terza (Venice, 1610) is a collection of duets composed for the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria della Neve. An unicum copy is still preserved in the Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale in Bologna. Of the 21 pieces from the Vezzo, published in separate part books, 11 are for equal voices (two sopranos and bass instrument), while the other 10 are for unequal voices (soprano, bass, and bass instrument). Banchieri concludes his publication with notes “to the performer” in which he recommends in particular that the pieces be executed “with affect and gravity” and “without divisions or gorge”. Of the four books which make up the Nuovi Pensieri Ecclesiastici by Adriano Banchieri, only the third (Bologna, 1613) is complete. This work presents a curious preface entitled “The work [presented] to the reader”. Here the publication, “almost a newlywed bride consecrated to the divine cult”, is presented to “virtuous men and women in the musical profession […]” and “adorned with sacred words containing affective accents”. If the duets of Vezzo di perle musicali are characterized by a still restrained style and rather strict imitation--albeit with a melodic freedom of invention and a perfect adherence to the affects of the text--in the Nuovi Pensieri Ecclesiastici it seems that Banchieri wanted to experiment with the diverse possibilities of a vocal and instrumental language in full renewal. He does not disdain to introduce the most varied compositional devices borrowed from contemporary sacred and secular music: divisions and gorge, sections in recitative style, dotted rhythms, echo effects, instrumental ritornellos and sinfonias, and ascending and descending chromatic passages which, as in the case of the eighth concerto on the adjective “liquefacta”, create harmonic situations of unfettered liberty.