Composed by Josquin des Prez (1440-1521). Arranged by David Warin Solomons. Renaissance, Early Music. Performance. Published by David Warin Solomons (S0.287635).
Item Number: S0.287635
Madrigal by Josquin des Prez arranged for men's voices
There is a theory that El grillo refers to Carlo Frillo, a singer who worked for the same patron as Josquin, Cardinal Galeazzo Sforza, and that it was intended to remind the prelate that his musicians’ salaries were overdue. The Sforzas were apparently notoriously mean to their employees, in spite of (or possibly because of) the fact that one of them was happy to pay a large sum of money for a parrot that could recite the Creed. Certainly the words of this little piece, with their reference to the cricket “who sings for love”, seem to have a good deal more impact in this sardonic light. Although the piece is similar in form to many other frottole, it is really quite unlike most such works, especially the way the repeated notes are used for comic effect.
El grillo è buon cantore
[The cricket is a good singer]
che tiene longo verso.
[and he sings for a long time]
Dale beve grillo canta.
[Give him a drink so he can go on singing]
Ma non fa come gli altri uccelli,
[But he doesn't do what the other birds do]
come li han cantato un poco
[Who after singing a little]
van' de fatto in altro loco,
[Just go elsewhere. ]
sempre el grillo sta pur saldo
[The cricket is always steadfast]
Quando la maggior è [l'] caldo
[When it is hottest, ]
alhor canta sol per amore.
[then he sings just for love]
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