Structure and interpretation in Luca Marenzio's settings of Il pastor fido Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Coluzzi, Seth J.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Music
  • Battista Guarini's Il pastor fido (1590) holds a prominent place in the history of the Italian madrigal. Originating in the settings of Luca Marenzio and Giaches de Wert in 1594-95, the Pastor fido madrigal tradition stretches well into the seventeenth century and involves nearly every major madrigalist of the time. This study of Marenzio's Pastor fido settings first considers the cultural and historical milieu that surrounded the composer in 1590s Rome-the literary debates, patronage, and the interactions of various intellectuals associated with the play (including Guarini, Torquato Tasso, Cinzio Aldobrandini, Scipione Gonzaga, and Leonardo Salviati)-and the effects this setting potentially had on his work. Detailed analyses of his Pastor fido (and other) madrigals then examine Marenzio's treatment of Guarini's poetry, elucidating how structure and text are integrated in his works to produce musical readings that are highly sophisticated and show remarkable sensitivity to the details of the poem. At the same time, the study reexamines our understanding of mode and how modal music operates. Following a review of prevailing perceptions of mode and musical structure in pre-Baroque music, a new approach to the analysis of late- Renaissance polyphony is developed by incorporating principles of sixteenth-century theory into the notions of hierarchical and teleological structure of Schenkerian analysis. This analytical system recognizes the text and music as central elements of the music's structure, and deals with pre-tonal music in a way that is both effective and historically accountable. Finally, this dissertation calls into question current views of the broader function of the madrigal in music history, and of how the madrigal functioned as a rendering of the lyric io for its contemporary readership. The analyses of Marenzio's (and Wert's) madrigals demonstrate the ability of the madrigal to project and accommodate at once multiple interpretative dimensions. This presentation of the text proves entirely lyric in nature, and stands distinctly apart from the dramatic mode of presentation of monody. The madrigal, therefore, is viewed as a viable and exceptionally intuitive vehicle for the handling of lyric poetry, and not as a striving precursor in the development of dramma per musica.
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  • Carter, Tim
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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