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8.553785 - BANCHIERI: Il Zabaione Musicale
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II zabaione musicale [j] I Introduzione 1:31 Attol

Adriano Banchieri (1568-1634)

II Zabaione musicale

Festino nella sera del giovedi grasso avanti cena, op. 18


Adriano Banchieri was a man of considerable versatility, a composer, dramatist, organist and theorist. Born in Bologna in 1568, he studied the organ and composition as a pupil of Giose!lo Guami, who had himself studied with Adrian Willaert and Annibale Padovano as a member of the musical establishment at St Mark's in Venice, where he was later second organist under Giovanni Gabrieli, before returning to his native Lucca as organist at the cathedral there. Banchieri entered the Olivetan monastic order in 1587, taking the name in religion of Adriano and in 1590 making his solemn profession. Thereafter he was employed at various houses of his order, serving as organist in Lucca in 1592, in Siena the following year and from 1596 at S Michele in Bosco near Bologna, where he had moved in 1594. His term of service there was interrupted from 1600 to 1604, when he was organist at S Maria in Regola at Imola, followed by employment at the monastery of S Pietro at Gubbio and subsequently at churches in Venice and in Verona. In 1607 he dedicated the new organ at the Siena mother-house of his order, Monte Oliveto Maggiore. In 1609 he returned to S Michele in Bosco. There, in 1615, he founded the Accademia dei Floridi, assuming the name of II dissonante, following the usual practice of these enthusiastic groups of scholars, musicians and amateurs, the members of which took more or less appropriate pseudonyms. Monteverdi visited the Accademia in 1620 on the occasion of his eldest son Francesco's entry into the order of Discalced Carmelites, where, presumably, he hoped to continue his activities as a musician. The Accademia held a meeting on 13th June, the feast of St Anthony of Padua, in Monteverdi's honour, with the additional presence of a number of leading musicians from Bologna, including Girolamo Giacobbi, maestro di cappella at the basilica of S Petronio, an important musical centre, a close friend of Banchieri. The Accademia changed its name to the Accademia dei Filomusi in 1622, when it began to meet in the house of Girolamo Giacobbi, a change followed by the emergence in 1633 of the Accademia dei Filaschi, the direct progenitor of the influential Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna, established in 1666. Banchieri was given the honorary title of Abbot in 1618, moving to S Bernardo in Bologna only in 1634, the year of his death from apoplexy.


Banchieri occupied a position of importance among his contemporaries as an organist. As a theorist, he involved himself in the musical controversies of the time, in particular in attempts to reconcile the traditional modal practice of composers with the new tendency towards major and minor keys. Compositions of his were printed with an organ bass and with dynamic directions of piano or forte, a practice unusual at the time. He wrote a quantity of church music, but also added significantly to secular repertoire in a series of three-voice canzonettas, often reflecting dramatic situations or characters drawn from the traditional commedia dell'arte or from a particular place. Influenced by Orazio Vecchi's L 'Amfipamasso, of which he made his own paraphrase, he carried the art of comedy in music a step further, making use of his own skill as a writer and an expert on local dialects in the North of Italy. His writings in other fields were often issued under the pseudonym of Camillo Scaliggeri dalla Fratta, or, in the case of his popular La nobilita dell'asino (The Nobility of the Ass) the improbable Attabalippa dal Peru.


II zabaione musicale, a title that defies plausible translation, described additionally as Inventione boscareccia (a sylvan invention), was published in Milan in 1604. A modern scholar has described the work as a synthesis of madrigal styles, presenting, in its three acts, the contemporary development of the form. The first act, it is suggested, presents the bucolic, the second the Renaissance refinement of the form in the Intermedi, with their element of spectacle, and the third the final dramatic development. The entertainment offers a mixture of various seasonings, as Banchieri explains in his own preface, and consists of a series of five-part madrigals, a form of polyphonic drama or rather, here, a series of short dramatic scenes.


The work starts with an Introduction, in which vocal parts are allocated, leading to the final invitation to enjoyment of the dish, the upper parts moving over a slowly rising bass line. The Prologue is offered by L 'Humor Spensierato (Carefree Humour), an exhortation to the shepherd company, in this conventional Arcadian setting, to banish melancholy. There follows the Intermedio di felici pastori (Intermedio of Happy Shepherds), described as a due cori (for two choruses) and using corresponding vocal grouping between the five parts in praise of the joys of love. Progne e Filomela (Procne and Philomela) offers a moment of melancholy, one of the four traditional humours and an important affetto in developing musical theory of the time, according to which a piece of music might rightly express or, in Platonic or Aristotelian terms, awaken in the listener a single state of mind, properly evoked. The myth of Procne and Philomela concerns the crime of the husband of Procne, King Tereus of Thrace, who raped Procne's sister, Philomela, and cut out her tongue. The sisters took their revenge by killing Procne's son by Tereus and serving him up as dinner for his father. The sisters were transformed into birds, one a swallow, the other a nightingale, while Tereus became a hoopoe. The succeeding dance of five shepherdesses is to the sound of the Spagnoletto, a dance with a fixed and repeated harmonic pattern. For the repetition of the dance a cornamusa is called for, an instrument generally identified with the shepherd bagpipe. Banchieri now adds a setting of a pastoral poem by the well known poet and humanist Giambattista Guarini.


The second act of II zabaione starts with the Intermedio di pignattari (Intermedio of Cooking-Pot Sellers), with a text taken from a collection of five-part madrigals published by Manilio Caputi in Naples in 1593. There follows a shepherd lament for a bird killed by a cat, its text attributed to an otherwise unknown Agostino da Padova. In Tirsi a Clori (Thyrsis to Chloris), with its imitative entries, the shepherd addresses his beloved, leading to a dialogue between the shepherd Amyntas and Daphne, and Cupid's verdict. The light-hearted sport of the little sparrow, in which the bird is gradually eaten, ends the act, after which a more formal madrigal is interposed, with a text by Alberto Parma.


A setting of a further text by Banchieri himself opens the third act, Ergasto appassionato (Passionate Ergastus), a lover's complaint. Two shepherd lovers, Silvio and Carino sing of their beloved Amaryllis and Phyllis, while in the following Gara amorosa di pas tori (Love Contest of Shepherds), two madrigals are interwoven, the first entrusted to the top three voices and the second to tenor and bass. There is a dance of nymphs and shepherds, before the five voices impersonate L 'Humore Spensierato for the epilogue or Licenza, and the final Viva il dolce Zabaion (Long live sweet Zabaione).


Banchieri's Festino nella sera del giovedi grasso avanti cena (Entertainment for the Eve of Carnival Thursday before Dinner) was published in Venice in 1608 and is again in five parts rather than the three that he more often favoured. Appearing as Opus 18, it opens with an address from Diletto Moderno (Modern Pleasure), in which he explains how, as he came in, he had met an old man, Rigore, representing the old-fashioned style of composition. This reported dialogue suggests that Banchieri was an unqualified champion of the modern style, although the respect he shows elsewhere to


Monteverdi's critic Artusi may indicate, at the least, an acknowledgement of the merits of the old style, the so-called prima prattica of Palestrina. The relevant part of Banchieri's prologue is included, with a translation, in the texts given below. The Festino has thoroughly modern elements, in contrast to its more conventional madrigals, and opens with an invitation to light-hearted amusement. In the following madrigal, based on commedia dell'arte characters, the gondolier, his godfather and old Pantaloon offer the balletto of old greybeard Giandon. The Mascherata di Villanelle has a spinster admiring her own supposed beauty, words sung by the two upper voices, to an imitated instrumental accompaniment followed by an additional Jew's harp solo. A madrigal with imitative entries now urges the pursuit of love. A chromatic madrigal to a sweet nightingale leads to the Mascherata d'Amanti (Masque of Lovers) in which the voices imitate instruments, lute and harpsichord. The lovers now sing a Moresca, to the pattern of the traditional Spagnoletto, with its repeated harmonies, followed by a madrigal, described as artificioso. They proceed to a canzonetta with some strange notes. Now Aunt Bernadina tells a story, followed by a three-voice Capricciata. Banchieri now introduces an animal chorus, a dog, a cuckoo, a cat and an owl, with a bass providing the necessary musical foundation in dog-Latin. A serious madrigal leads to an Intermedio of spindle-sellers, who then sing a madrigal. The comic tongue-twister of the Count is succeeded by the revellers, in homophonic mood, and a drinking-song, a toast to each of the singers. Street vendors lead to the final epilogue of Diletto Moderno.


Choir of Swiss Radio Lugano

The Choir of Swiss Radio Lugano was established by Edwin Loehrer in 1936 and has won international acclaim for its recordings of Italian repertoire from the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The choir is flexible, with smaller groups of singers employed according to the needs of the repertoire, from madrigal groups to a complement of some sixty singers. The present concentration is on Renaissance and Baroque music, now under the direction of Diego Fasolis, after forty years under its founder, Edwin Loehrer, and work with Francis Travis and Andre Ducret. The choir has won considerable success with a recording devoted to the work of Andrea Gabrieli and has followed this with recordings of Buxtehude, Palestrina, Banchieri, Monteverdi and other composers, largely from this earlier period.

Diego Fasolis, Conductor

Diego Fasolis studied organ with Erich Vollenwyder (organ and concert diplomas), piano with Jurg von Vintschger (teaching and soloist diplomas), voice with Carol Smith and conducting with Klaus Knall in Zurich. In addition to master-classes with internationally renowned artists, he studied organ and improvisation with Gaston Litaize in Paris and performance practice with Michael Radulescu in Cremona. Fasolis was a prize-winner at various international competitions, including awards of first prize in Stresa in 1983, first prize and scholarship from the Migros-Gohner Foundation in 1983 and 1985, the Hegar Prize in 1984. He was also a finalist at the Geneva Competition in 1985. He has performed a cycle featuring the complete organ works by Mendelssohn and Liszt and in addition to his activities as a concert organist, Diego Fasolis performs as a choral and instrumental conductor and as a chamber musician. He is also a recognised composer. His versatility and virtuosity are complemented bya keen sense of style which has earned applause and praise from audiences and critics alike, whether in concert performances, radio and television broadcasts or recordings. Diego Fasolis began working with RTSI (Radiotelevisione Svizzera di lingua italiana) as a musician and conductor in 1986, and in 1993 he was appointed director of the Chorus of Swiss Radio in Lugano.

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