Monteverdi, Two Sonnets and a Letter

Pryer, Anthony J.. 2011. Monteverdi, Two Sonnets and a Letter. In: Richard Wistreich, ed. Monteverdi. 5 Farnham: Ashgate, pp. 337-352. ISBN 9780754629023 [Book Section]

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Monteverdi, Two Sonnets and a Letter

Using historical, analytic, and documentary methodologies this article establishes dates in 1607 for the composition of two madrigals by Monteverdi - “Ohime el bel viso”, and “Zefiro torna e’l bel tempo rimena”, both eventually published in 1614. It also demonstrates the exact process by which “Zefiro torna’” clearly began as a homage to a setting of the same text by Marenzio (including quotations from Marenzio’s music), but became creatively sidetracked into a reminiscence of the central moment in Monteverdi’s opera L’Orfeo. Thus ,even in the absence of compositional sketches, it has proved possible to uncover the “compositional archaeology” of these two works and the creative processes that led to their final form. It also establishes a methodology for distinguishing accidental similarity from deliberate allusion in compositional connections during the late Renaissance.

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March 2011Published

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24 May 2013 08:48

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 10:06


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