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Gramophone Guide To ... Madrigals

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We all know what a madrigal is, don’t we? Creatures somehow being ‘merry-minded’, fa-la-la, Merrie England and all that. A jolly part-song suitable for singing at home by competent amateurs. And for readers of Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim, the catalyst for an excruciating moment of barely averted social crash-and-burn for its main character. To anyone who remem...

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Gramophone Guide To ... Madrigals

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Title Artist Album Duration
1
Italia mia benché 'l parlar sia indarno
David Skinner Madrigaux pour le Roi Tudor 00:03:32

Alamire - David Skinner, conductor

2007 Obsidian 2007 Obsidian

2
Arcadelt: Tutt’il dì piango
The Hilliard Ensemble Il Cor Tristo 00:03:40

David James, Counter-Tenor, AssociatedPerformer - Rogers Covey-Crump, Tenor, AssociatedPerformer - Jacques Arcadelt, Composer - Francesco Petrarca, Author - Gordon Jones, Baritone, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - The Hilliard Ensemble, Ensemble, MainArtist - Steven Harrold, Tenor, AssociatedPerformer - Peter Länger, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2013 ECM Records GmbH, under exclusive license to Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

3
Quando fra l'altre donne
Singer Pur Willaert, A.: Musica Nova - The Petrarca Madrigals 00:04:48

Adrian Willaert, Composer - Singer Pur, Ensemble, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Oehms Classics (P) 2009 Oehms Classics

4
Plange quasi virgo
Paul Van Nevel Cipriano de Rore : Missa Praeter rerum seriem 00:05:10

Paul Van Nevel, Conductor - Cipriano de Rore, Composer

2002 harmonia mundi

5
Noel, Adieu Thou Court's Delight
Consort of Musicke & Anthony Rooley Thomas Weelkes: Anthems & Madrigals 00:05:48

Consort of Musicke & Anthony Rooley, MainArtist

Musical Concepts Musical Concepts

6
Madrigalls, First Booke: In Dewe of Roses
Alfred Deller Thomas Morley: Madrigals - Best Classical Collection 00:03:39

Alfred Deller, Orchestra, Performer - Alfred Deller, Conductor, Performer - April Cantelo, Performer - Wilfred Brown, Performer - Eileen McLoughlin, Performer - Gerald English, Performer - Maurice Bevan, Performer - Thomas Morley, Composer - Anonymous, Writer

2014 Mangora Classical 2014 Mangora Classical

7
25. When shall my wretched life?
The Consort of Musicke Gibbons/Wilbye/Morley: The Silver Swan; English Madrigals 00:02:46

Andrew King, Tenor, AssociatedPerformer - Anthony Rooley, Director, MainArtist - Joseph Cornwell, Tenor, AssociatedPerformer - Emma Kirkby, Soprano, AssociatedPerformer - John Wilbye, Composer - Mary Nichols, Alto, AssociatedPerformer - The Consort of Musicke, Ensemble, MainArtist - Poppy Holden, Soprano, AssociatedPerformer - Francis Steele, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - John Pellowe, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Peter Wadland, Producer

℗ 1982 Decca Music Group Limited

Claudio Cavina, Conductor - La Venexiana, Ensemble, MainArtist - Paolo Virchi, Composer

(C) 2011 Glossa (P) 2011 Glossa

9
Spiri dolce Favonio Arabi odori
La Compagnia del Madrigale Luca Marenzio : Quinto libro di madrigali a sei voci 00:04:52

La Compagnia del Madrigale, Ensemble - Anonymous, Lyricist - Torquato Tasso, Lyricist - Luca Marenzio, Composer - Giovanni Battista Guarini, Lyricist - Lorenzo Guicciardi, Lyricist - Girolamo Troiano, Lyricist - Giovanni della Casa, Lyricist

(C) 2015 Glossa (P) 2015 Glossa

10
Madrigals, Libro IV (extracts): XIII. Sparge la morte al mio Signor
Les Arts Florissants Gesualdo: Madrigals 00:04:14

Les Arts Florissants, Primary - William Christie, Conductor, Primary - Carlo Gesualdo, Composer

harmonia mundi harmonia mundi

11
Or che'l cielo e la terra e'l vento tace
La Venexiana Monteverdi: Madrigals, Book 8 00:10:11

Venexiana, La, Ensemble

12
Lay a Garland
Oxford Camerata Mélodies et madrigaux anglais 00:03:31

Robert Lucas Pearsall, Composer - Jeremy Summerly, Conductor - Oxford Camerata, Choir - Francis Beaumont, Lyricist

1996 Naxos 1996 Naxos

About Playlist

We all know what a madrigal is, don’t we? Creatures somehow being ‘merry-minded’, fa-la-la, Merrie England and all that. A jolly part-song suitable for singing at home by competent amateurs. And for readers of Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim, the catalyst for an excruciating moment of barely averted social crash-and-burn for its main character. To anyone who remembers that episode, the very word ‘madrigal’ may be enough to induce a wince. But there’s more to the madrigal than all that. Its history may be essentially restricted to little more than a hundred years, primarily in Italy – but it occupied the talents of some of the finest composers of the age. © Lindsay Kemp / Gramophone

Photo: Manchester Madonna - Painting by Michelangelo

Guide to the Madrigal

by Lindsay Kemp - Gramophone

Lindsay Kemp explores the development of this secular, multi-part vocal composition

But in general the direction was towards greater emotion and an ever-increasing insistence on the primacy of the words, an attitude that yielded dramatic results in the ‘mannerist’ works of Luzzaschi, Marenzio and Gesualdo. The emotional apogee was reached with Monteverdi, initially following in the footsteps of De Wert, then striking out on his own; his madrigal books of the early 1600s caused controversy, breaking compositional rules for expressive ends. The madrigal style was to find its way into Monteverdi’s 1607 opera Orfeo, but it shared the stage with the new monodic manner (single voice, continuo accompaniment) that would supplant it altogether. Monteverdi’s later books of so-called madrigals (the last in 1638) leaned increasingly towards this monodic style, and by the mid-17th century the old-style madrigal was effectively dead.

Where the word madrigal crops up in later music, it’s usually to honour it more in spirit than in imitation, suggesting a non-specific ‘old’ style of writing, such as in the instrumental ‘madrigals’ of Martin. Perhaps most convincing are the 19th-century madrigals of Robert Pearsall, of which Lay A Garland is the best known.

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