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Paradigma Medioevo: Music from 14th-Century Italy

Paradigma Medioevo: Music from 14th-Century Italy

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Polyphonic 14th-century Italian secular music seems to emerge out of nowhere in the history of music. Nevertheless, this tradition – which often goes by the name Ars Nova – fits seamlessly into the history of Italian culture. Our knowledge of it has been pieced together from relatively few sources, which nevertheless reveal three distinct phases. In its first phase, Italian Ars Nova spread out from universities, including those of Padua and Bologna, which had strong links with the dominant and contemporaneous French Ars Nova. In the second phase, the centre of 14th-century Italian polyphony seems to shift markedly to Florence. The final phase, which bridged the late 1300s and early 1400s, shows the influence of intense cultural exchange brought about by an international circulation of musicians and poets caused by the political instability of the papacy’s return from Avignon to Rome and the consequent heightened mobility among the various courts and their entourages.
This phase is reflected in such sources as the renowned Squarcialupi Codex. Compiled in Florence around 1415, it contains over 350 compositions (madrigals, ballate and cacce) and is the source of the majority of the tracks on this album. Francesco Landini (c.1325/35–1397) is represented by five of his 141 ballate and the virelai ‘Adiu, adiu dous dame’. Also from the Codex are one ballata by Andrea da Firenze (c.1350–1415) and two ballate and a caccia by Antonio ‘Zacara’ da Teramo (1355–1416). Three instrumental tracks complete the album, two of them from the ‘London’ Manuscript (British Library) compiled in Florence, probably in Medici circles. In addition to mostly polyphonic music by Landini and other Florentine composers, this tome features several anonymous instrumental works including the lively dances ‘Chominciamento di gioia’ and ‘Tre fontane’. The madrigal ‘Aquila altera’ has a different background entirely: the version presented here is the instrumental arrangement found in the Codex Faenza, a unique volume assembled in the early 15th century containing around 50 Italian and French polyphonic compositions for organ.

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Brilliant Classics
    • UPC/Barcode: 5028421969220
    • Item Number: BRI96922