Stefano Bernardi (1577-1637)
Motetti in cantilena a quattro voci, Opera Quinta, Venezia, 1613
After his stay in Rome, where he endeavoured to “gain some sort of perfection” in his work as a composer, Stefano Bernardi returned to his native town, Verona, at the end of 1611. Among the best fruits of his Roman experience there are the Motetti in cantilena a quattro voci, dated 1613, which are one of the highest points of a motet production that was focused on the representation of affetti rather than on the constructional rigour of “prima prattica”. The new stylistic course was that of “concertini alla moderna” for “one voice or a limited number of voices”, with the (by then indispensable) support of the bass performed by an organ and/or concertante instruments. An important innovation that is skilfully achieved in these compositions is the use of solos: in the instrumentation of Bernardi’s pieces, there appear the directions “tutti”, “solo”, “due violini”, which give us a definite idea of the innovative value of this composer in the history of the concertante style.