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Tromboncino & Cara: Dialogo d'Amore; Frottolas for Isabella d'Este
By Ensemble L'Amorosa Caccia, Fabio Antonio Falcon, Giulia Valentini, Julie Roset, and Marcos Garcia Gutierrez. By Bartolomeo Tromboncino and Marchetto Cara. Classical. CD. Brilliant Classics #BRI95759. Published by Brilliant Classics (NX.BRI95759).
Item Number: NX.BRI95759
The Italian frottola is an important predecessor to the madrigal and is a secular piece made up of three to four voices with instrumental accompaniment. Translating as 'a lie' or 'a childish deceit', frottolas are often simple, with repetitive melodies and homophonic textures. The frottola was immensely popular among the upper classes, in stark contrast to the other highly ornate and complex music of the Renaissance. This set sheds light on the fascinating genre. Although little is known about the composers, their music survives thanks to Ottaviano Petrucci, a prominent Venetian publisher who printed 11 anthologies of frottolas during his lifetime. The frottola emerged at the same time as Renaissance humanism, and the diversity of the genre explores the human experience, with encounters between the sublime and homespun realities and the mingling of classes and cultures. In the musical texts we find a curious melting pot of themes, ranging from popular chansons of love and nature, to proverbs and classical antiquity. Tromboncino is probably the most famous composer of frottolas, and he wrote 176 in total. He led a life fraught with criminal activity and most infamously murdered his wife, Antonia, after accusing her of adultery. He was never convicted, however, because the acting regent of Mantua, Isabella d'Este (to whom his frottolas are dedicated), was his patron and very fond of him. As for his music, Su, su leva, alza leciglia has an upbeat nature and features a clear harmonic progression in the accompaniment, foreshadowing what would later develop into Baroque era functional harmony. Meanwhile Zephyro spira e il bel tempo rimena, based on Petrarca's poem about the Greek god of the west wind, is programmatic in its yearning melody and the ceaseless drive in its contrapuntal instrumental interludes.