The Italian 'Trio' Sonata: From Its Origins Until Corelli 0198162294, 9780198162292

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The Italian 'Trio' Sonata: From Its Origins Until Corelli
 0198162294, 9780198162292

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The Italian ‘Trio’ Sonata From its Origins Until Corelli PETER ALLSOP


Oxford University Press, Walton Street, Oxford 0x2


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Published in the United States by Oxford University Press, New York © Peter Allsop tgg2

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, tored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any mean electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Oxford University Press British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data (Data available)

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Allsop, Peter. Dr. The Italian ‘trio' sonata: from its origins until Corelli/Peter Allsop. —(Oxford monographs on music) Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Trio sonata.

2. Music—Italy—17th century—History and criticism. ML1156.

I. Title. A4418

II. Series. igg2

785' .13183'0945—dc20 ISBN o-ig-8i622g-4 Typeset by Pentacor plc, High Wycombe, Bucks Printed in Great Britain by St Edmundsbury Press, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

a Claudio Sartori senza la cui Bibliografia questo libro non sarebbe stato possibile

PREFACE This book is the outcome of almost twenty years of research into Italian instrumental music of the seventeenth century, beginning, like so many similar undertakings, as a doctoral thesis (Oxford, 1976). It is devoted to lengthy free compositions (i.e. not dances, sets of variations, or short introductory sinfonias) scored for instrumental combinations of two trebles, or two trebles and one melodic bass instrument and continuo which today frequently masquerade under the misnomer of ‘trio’ sonatas. My intention at the outset of this extended period of study was to explain the enormous stylistic chasm which separates the improvisatory rhapsodies of the early seventeenth century from the controlled formalism of Corelli’s so-called Sonate da chiesa. My point of departure was in fact the concluding chapter of Eunice C. Crocker’s comprehensive dissertation on the Italian Canzona francese (Ph.D. Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Mass., 1943), in which she drew attention to the sketchiness of current knowledge about the precise nature of the sonata’s development, while issuing a provocative challenge for future research: We know in a general way that the ‘sonata’ eventually took over features of the canzonastyle and mingled them with features of the sonata-style, meanwhile evolving from the variform principle a scheme of six, five, and finally four contrasting movements, arranged in an effective sequence, that the center of gravity eventually fell upon the second, which is commonly referred to as the ‘fugal’ movement. This fine-sounding generalization is of no value to the cause of research in the seventeenth century, however, if it cannot be supported by specific findings. Such findings must come from a careful study of the complete works of each composer of the period, and then they must be correlated both with past trends of the history of the ‘canzona’ and the ‘sonata’ and with the developments which were consolidated in the sonata da chiesa.

Many of these ‘fine-sounding generalizations’ handed down to us from the pioneering studies of Hugo Riemann and others were based largely on the modicum of randomly selected examples to be found in the anthologies of Wasielewski and Torchi. No one could seriously claim these to be representative of the period as a whole, yet the validity of many of the theories based upon them has remained almost unquestioned until quite recent times. The years since Crocker’s study have seen a considerable growth of interest in Italian music of the seventeenth century, yet the problems of source material still remain a formidable impediment to a fuller understanding of the period. Much research has focused on individual composers, or perhaps on a single location



(no doubt due to the exigencies of a three-year doctoral programme) but apart from William S. Newman’s Sonata in the Baroque Era, few systematic attempts have been made to relate this material to the development as a whole. This study aims precisely at that correlated appraisal of the complete works of each composer advocated by Dr Crocker, and as such is based on the vast majority of surviving ‘trio’ sonatas from the earliest known examples until the publication of Corelli’s Op. I in 1681. The time-consuming task of transcription in no small measure accounts for its long gestation period. Despite determined efforts to the contrary, the overall form (if not the content) has come more and more to resemble the bipartite arrangement adopted by Newman. Although working from fundamentally different premises, he nevertheless outlined some thirty years ago many of the problems and pitfalls that all researchers in this field must encounter. Part I therefore deals with matters of a general nature—instrumentation, terminology, genre, performance practice, etc. Its prime aim is to present the sonata and its composers in the widest historical context as a social and cultural phenomenon, the product of the interaction of discernible environmental forces, and hopefully to arrive at some clear understanding of the relevance of these works to the society which produced them. Such an undertaking relies heavily on the many excellent biographical and archival studies which have appeared recently, and these are fully acknowledged in the appropriate places. I am nevertheless aware that in some instances my indebtedness amounts almost to plagiarism: Bonta (Legrenzi), Selfridge-Field (Venice), Schnoebelen (Bologna), Wessely-Kropik (Rome). Above all, I wish to express my deep appreciation to Claudio Sartori, whose Bibliografia remains the indispensable tool for any researcher in this area. Part II, on the other hand, is based largely on primary sources. This includes nearly every known ‘trio’ composition of composers who began publishing instrumental music before 1681 and may therefore have contributed to the development of the ‘Corellian’ sonata. However, a few exceptions have been found necessary. First, composers such as Farina, Bertoli, and Viviani, all of whose known instrumental collections were the products of service at foreign courts, have been excluded on the grounds that they cannot properly be said to represent Italian practice. Secondly, whereas in the sparse early years of the century a few isolated works may assume a significance far beyond their numerical importance, by the mid-century it seemed pointless to include those composers such as Allevi and Placuzzi whose surviving contributions amounted to no more than about half a dozen sonatas. Some substantially incomplete printed editions have also not been included. One ever-present problem in any analysis of seventeenth century music is the question of terminology. Much research carried out at the turn of this century



suffered from the besetting sin of the uncritical application of the ideals and concepts of the eighteenth century in situations where they were clearly inappropriate. The problem is most acute in the many instances of terms such as ‘fugue’ which have remained in general use but have radically altered in meaning, and nowhere is this more likely to confuse than in the realm of tonality. I had hoped to arrive at a terminology based largely on contemporary usage, but the relationship between theory and practice at any given time is notoriously tenuous. Many theorists still couched their writings in the language of Zarlino (without feeling much obligation to preserve his meanings) and this soon proved inadequate to describe the intricate changes in harmonic practice during the period. The inevitable compromise is admittedly idiosyncratic but is largely selfexplanatory, and must surely be preferable to the imposition of a body of technical language more germane to later periods. Despite a prodigious growth of interest, much of this repertory still remains unpublished in easily accessible modern editions and this has necessitated the inclusion of copious musical examples if the main body of the text is to be intelligible. Scores of many of these compositions are now obtainable in less easily accessible sources, especially as adjuncts to doctoral theses. It is my intention over the next few years to publish a large body of this repertory in the New Orpheus Series, in the hope that others will discover for themselves the extraordinary7 richness and vitality of this branch of Italian music. P.A. Exeter 1990




CONTENTS List of Maps


List of Tables







Period, Place, and Personalia The Instrumental Ensemble Genre and Function The Composer in Society

3 24 47 67

II. REGIONAL DEVELOPMENTS 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

The StilModerno Sonata The Ducal Courts The Central Development Emilia and the Romagna Rome The Northern Regions The Corellian Sonata

85 106 126 156 188 211 227



Musical Examples




LIST OF MAPS 1. Political state of Italy 01650 2. Centres of sonata production in the seventeenth century

4 84

LIST OF TABLES 1. Position of instrumental and vocal music during Mass, as shown in Franzoni,Apparato musicale (1613a), and Milanuzzi,Armonia sacra (1622a) 2. The influence of G. Usper’s Sonata aj on Gastello’s Book I, Sonata 11 3. Tones of Merula’s Sinfonie di tutti gli tuoni 4. Tonal planning in Legrenzi’s La Bevilacqua (1663b) 5. Legrenzi’s Op. II ‘trio’ Sonatas, arranged according to mode 6. System of twelve tones used in Arresti’s Sonatas 7. Bononcini’s list of tones ordinarily used by composers 8. Tones of the Sonatas in Bononcini’s Op. VI 9. Tonal relationship in the inner sections of Legrenzi’s Sonata 3 aj in La Cetra


89 13 2 145 150 161 177 178 218


American Institute of Musicology


Acta Musicologica LArte musicale in Italia (Milan, 1897-1907)


Analecta Musicologica


Early Music Geschichte derMusik in Beispielen (Leipzig, 1931)


Historical Anthology ofMusic (Cambridge, Mass., 1950)


Instrumentalsaze vom Ende des XVI. bis Ende des XVII. Jahrhunderts, ed. Joseph Wilhelm von Wasielewski


(Bonn, 1874) Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society


Journal of the American Musicological Society


Music in the Baroque Era (New York, 1947)


Musikgeschichte in Beispielen (Leipzig, 1921)


Music and Letters


Monumenti di musica italiana


Musical Quarterly


Music Review


Musical Times


Note d’archivioper la storia musicale


New Oxford History of Music


Nuova rivista musicale italiana,


Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association


Rivista italiana di musicologia


Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle


Rivista musicale italiana


The Sonata in the Baroque Era


Zeitsch rift fit r M usikwissenschaft

NOTE Dates such as (1617c) serve to identify the entry in Sartori’s Bibliografia, to which reference should always be made. When there is a substantial discrepancy betw een this and the original date of publication, this is noted (i64ib/before 1630). As the Julian calendar was still widely used in Italy, the date on the titlepage may not infrequently differ from the equivalent modern date by one year. Modern spellings of seventeenth-century terms are often arbitrary and do not comply with the commonest contemporary usage. In particular, the desire for uniformity has led to the suppression of many regional variations. These have been retained in the present text, since such variants as adagio, or adaggio, Canzone, Canzona, or Canzon, and Sinfonia or Simfonia may provide important clues to the provenance of a work. With regards to titles of compositions, it is crucial to distinguish between the original use and that of the present day if confusion is to be avoided. The problem is most acute when terms such as ‘canzona’ and ‘sonata’ nowadays imply specific and exclusive genres whereas many seventeenth-century com¬ posers used them interchangeably. I have tried consistently to differentiate between original and modern usage by capitalizing the former, even when anglicized. Thus ‘sonata’, ‘canzona’, and ‘sinfonia’ are used as broad generic terms including any lengthy abstract instrumental composition, the choice resting on the predominant usage of a particular composer or school. ‘Sonata’, ‘Canzona’, and ‘Sinfonia’, on the other hand, indicate that this was indeed the title used by the composer. Cazzati’s Sonatas would therefore exclude his Op. II Canzonas, whereas his sonatas include all his free instrumental compositions. Most names of composers appear as on the title-pages. Where there is a discrepancy the commonest spelling is used. On a few occasions when the overwhelming consensus favours the modern spelling, this has been adopted. I have also followed modern usage in removing the accent no longer required in Italian (e.g. 02). As the numbering of the modes was inconsistent in the seventeenth century, I have preferred letter names, distinguishing between major and minor ‘tones’ through capitalization (‘G’ and ‘g’, etc.).





Pitch Designations




I Contexts and Concepts


Period, Place, and Personalia Italian instrumental music of the first half of the seventeenth century, in common with most other branches of the art, presents a bewildering variety of opposing trends. By the beginning of the next century, perhaps due to the unprecedented success of Corelli’s works, there was a greater measure of uniformity, but many of these independent local traditions had by no means been eliminated. The numerous foreign commentators who became so intrigued by the ‘Corellian’ idiom, especially the prolific and prosaic French, evidently considered the Italian style to be essentially homogeneous, but throughout the century regional variations were often almost as pronounced as the various national characteristics to which those writers referred. Such differences of idiom were by no means necessarily strongest between centres so geographically remote as Venice and Rome, but applied equally to locations within a very restricted area. Spared the seemingly inevitably centralization of the arts which so often followed the creation of a ‘nation state’, many of these independent regions developed their own distinctive characteristics which in some cases persisted throughout the century and beyond. The regional nature of this development naturally reflects the political divisions which comprised that ‘geographical expression’ to which Metternich could still refer some two centuries later (Map i).1 The Peace of CateauCambresis (1559) had assured Spain of a continuing hegemony in Italy at the expense of France, and throughout the seventeenth century almost half the peninsula was subject to its domination, including the strategically important Duchy of Milan in the north, the whole of Naples and Sicily, and the island of Sardinia, each ruled by a viceroy or governor appointed from Madrid. During this period the papacy also sought to extend its temporal powers, wresting Ferrara from the hands of the d’Estes in 1598, annexing Urbino following the sudden extinction of the della Rovere family in 1631, and finally, after several unsuccessful attempts, acquiring the territory of Castro hitherto belonging to the much embittered Farnese family of Parma. Thus papal jurisdiction extended from the northern Duchy of Ferrara, through Emilia and Romagna, into Umbria ' The most comprehensive history ofltalv in the seventeenth century in English is still K. D. Vernon, Italy from 1494 toi-ygo (Cambridge, 1909).

Contexts and Concepts


Map.i. Political state of Italy,



Period, Place, and Personalia


and the Marches, and on to the borders of the Spanish Habsburg domain of Naples. The Republic of Venice, while maintaining her independence, suffered greatly from the prolonged and eventually abortive efforts to preserve her possessions and trading links in the Levant. Mantua, under the ruling house of the Gonzagas, of such importance to the history of music in the early seventeenth century, declined rapidly as an artistic centre after the sack of the city in 1630. The petty duchies of Modena and Parma, the seats of the d’Este and Farnese families, maintained a consistent patronage of music, and in the case of Modena with a particular liking for instrumental composition. Of the remaining states, none would appear to figure prominently in the rise to popularity of the sonata for small ensembles. The contributions of the Dukedom of Savoy and the Republic of Genoa were minimal, and even the Grand Duchy of Tuscany seemed largely uninterested, despite its lavish patronage of other branches of the musical arts. The particular bias of musicological research at the turn of the present century, with its predisposition towards stylistic change, inevitably focused attention on those regional developments which are generally regarded as the most progressive and experimental, irrespective of the fact that many of these innovations were accepted elsewhere only with considerable modification, or even not at all. In instrumental music it is often those trends which have been considered as most indicative of the stil moderno which found least response in the rest of the peninsula, and it was frequently the most audacious and adventurous idioms which were soonest discarded. In the sparse early years, even a single composition may yield important clues to the sonata’s provenance, yet large collections by such composers as Giulio Mussi (i62oi) and Pellegrino Possenti (1628I1) have been totally ignored since they happen to fall outside the fashionable regional centres.2 Preoccupation with the more radical trends, especially those associated with Venice, have tended to obscure the less spectacular but more tenacious lines of development which gradually led to the formation of the more widely disseminated idioms of the Corellian Sonata. On the authority' of Diego Ortiz’s Trattado de glosas (Rome, 1553a), the combination of solo instrument and keyboard was certainly known in the sixteenth century, and the first reference in print to a ‘trio’ composition occurs in Giovanni Gabrieli’s Sacrae symphoniae (1597c) where the composer offers an optional instrumentation of two cornetti and organ to the previous ten-part Canzon in echo. The first extant published piece of any length to be specifically designated for the ‘trio’ (aj) ensemble was included in the Concerti ecclesiastici (i6iod) of the Milanese organist, Giovanni Paolo Cima. What may have prompted Cima’s interest in this combination at so early a date is a matter of Mussi does not even warrant a mention in New Grove, despite the fact that he produced at least five opeia. 2


Contexts and Concepts

some speculation, for most Milanese collections of the period are scored for the usual forces of four or less often eight instruments. In the past, Milan has been dismissed as a musical backwater, but during the first thirty years of the century it offered major posts at a number of religious institutions and the ducal court. At first sight, its contribution to the sonata appears to have been small, but instrumental music is known to have played an important part in its religious worship (see p. 60), and Francesco Rognoni, head of the court band and a performer of international repute, brought out an important tutor on the art of playing divisions {Selva de varii passaggi, 1620c, dl, and there is evidence of an earlier lost work entitled Aggiunta del scolaro di violino (1614).3 No publications survive of instrumental compositions for small instrumental ensembles by Rognoni himself, but in 1626 an enterprising publisher, Filippo Lomazzo, produced an anthology of works by no less than sixteen of the city’s best known composers, including two of Rognoni’s Canzonas for two cornetti or violins and continuo.4 Cima’s precocious interest in the new media may well have been symptomatic of a wider cultivation along the main trade route from Milan to Rimini. Both Serafino Patta and Giulio Belli included an instrumental ‘trio’ in sacred vocal collections of 1613. The former, Milanese by birth, served at Cesena near Rimini before taking up an appointment at Reggio nell’Emilia from 1609 and then on to Pavia between 1613-14. Belli travelled widely in Northern Italy but actually originated from near Cesena. Arcangelo Borsaro’s Odorati fiori (16150) also contained a single work for two violins, trombone, and continuo. All three had connections with the large town of Reggio neU’Emilia, noted for its school of violin-playing, where Ottaviomaria Grandi, ‘organista della cathedrale, & della chiesa della Miracolosissima Madonna de Servi di Reggio, e Professore di violino’, brought out his important Sonate, Op. II (i628d). The interrelationship of these centres along the Via Emilia afforded ample opportunity for reciprocal influence. Grandi’s Sonata 17 is dedicated to his Bolognese master, Alfonso Pagani, and both served under Sigismund III of Poland in the early seventeenth century, as did Francesco Rognoni. Considering the closeness of Cremona, it is hardly surprising that this region should have cultivated an interest in the violin relatively early in its history. During the second decade of the century, ‘trio’ sonatas appeared sporadically over a wide area of Northern Italy, but the upsurge of interest following the publication of Biagio Marini’s Affetti musicali (1617c) was largely a Venetian 3 This work is mentioned in F. Picineili, Ateneo de’ letterati milanesi (Milan, 1670). See G. Barblan, ‘La musica strumentale e cameristica a Milano dalla seconda meta del cinquecento e tutto il seicento’, Storia di Milano, 16 (Milan, 1962), 589-618. 4 Florespraestantissimorumvivomrn (Milan, 16260).

Period, Place, and Personalia


phenomenon. No fewer than seven composers working in Venice produced between them more than a hundred sonatas for one to three instruments plus continuo, and through the agency of Marini and others the new style quickly spread to nearby centres such as Brescia. With the decline of commerce in the East, Venetian society was becoming increasingly introspective, seeking to hide her real economic distress behind a facade of superficial grandeur and display. This provided an ideal environment for the cultivation of the arts and during the seventeenth century the patronage of music reached monumental proportions. In spite of her desperate financial plight, brought to a head by disastrous attempts to maintain her possessions against the Turkish onslaught, the Republic could still draw on vast reserves of accumulated private wealth to provide the financial backing for her artistic extravagances. The pre-eminence of Venice in the early history of the sonata may be attributed to several related causes. In the first place, her tradition of fine instrumental placing extends far back into the sixteenth century, numbering many virtuosi of international repute.5 As early as 1568, the cornettist Girolamo Dalla Casa was hired to give concerts in the organ lofts of San Marco with as many as twelve instruments, and this laid the foundation for the first regular salaried ensemble at the basilica in the early seventeenth century. The position of San Marco in Venetian society is particularly significant, for it was not the seat of the ecclesiastical see, but the chapel of the civic authorities, and as such provided the focal point for state pageantry and ritual. The lavish ceremonies at which the Doge and his retinue were required to attend, and which so impressed foreign visitors, were a symbolic embodiment of temporal power and thus served an essential propagandistic function. For these reasons the basilica required a considerable body of musicians, and the ensemble, instituted in 1614, numbered about sixteen players who were required to attend on twenty-six occasions a year. Instrumentalists evidently enjoyed many other sources of patronage besides San Marco, for records of such churches as the Frari and San Salvador refer to the use of large forces for special occasions. Each of the six confraternities or scuole supported its own band to be used in ceremonial processions, and the Venetian orphanages which became so famous in the eighteenth century already placed considerable emphasis on music in their curricula/’ This abundance of institutional support has perhaps distracted attention from the important role that private patronage must have played in the musical life of the city. The 5 On all matters pertaining to Venice see Eleanor Selfridge-Field, Venetian Instrumental Musk from Gabrieli to Vivaldi (Oxford, 1975). . 6 Denis Arnold, ‘Music at the Scuola di San Rocco’, ML 40 (1959), 229-41, and Music at a \ enetian Confraternity in the Renaissance’, AM 37 (1965), 62-72.


Contexts and Concepts

dedications of instrumental collections constantly refer to the names of wellknown patrician families who provided a ready market of enthusiastic amateurs. Marini’s Affetti musicali (1617c) alone contains over twenty such dedications to Venetian noblemen. In a letter of 1643, Iacomo Razzi extolled the virtues of the Venetian nobility, but a certain allowance must be made for exaggeration, given his objective of enticing Carissimi away from Rome after the death of Monteverdi: ‘And here the hearts of this numerous nobility are enraptured, and every least noble can do more than a cardinal there. And they are so enamoured of music, especially of novelties, that it is impossible to believe it... ’.7 Most of the colourful descriptions by foreign visitors refer to large ensembles similar to those suitable for the performance of Gabrieli’s instrumental music, and the immediate stimulus for the introduction of smaller groupings appears to have stemmed from the current vogue for the vocal solo and duet with which it coincides almost exactly. The new vocal forms of Caccini by no means achieved immediate and universal approval, for it was not until the end of the second decade that traditional media such as the polyphonic madrigal were displaced in printed editions.8 From 1620 until 1630 the city was by far the most prolific centre for the production of monodies and duets—the very period which saw the rise of the stil moderno sonata. This entire development was greatly facilitated by the Venetian presses which were responsible for the great majority of editions produced in Italy until the mid-century, and Razzi’s letter to Carissimi still mentions the ‘convenience of these good presses’, but especially after the plague of 1630 their decline was rapid and this may account for the scarcity of instrumental publications after that date.9 No other centre could rival Venice either in the number of composers or the amount of music published in the first three decades of the century. The only comparable development—remarkable for its precocity if not for the quantity of its contribution—was that of the Dukedom of Mantua, where from 1607 until 1622 Salamon Rossi produced four volumes of instrumental music mainly for the ‘trio’ medium. The long tradition of lavish musical patronage continued into the seventeenth century during the reigns of Vincenzo I and Ferdinando II Gonzaga.10 Vincenzo’s musical taste had been nurtured at the fabulous court of Ferrara during the final years of the previous century, when the Concerto delle donne so captivated the hearts of its audiences. He maintained close ties with the 7 Document 173 in Thomas D. Culley, SJ, Jesuits and Music, i. (Rome, 1970). 8 Tim Carter, ‘Music Publishing in Italy, c. 1580-01625: Some Preliminary Observations’, RMARC 20 (1986-7), 19-37, contains revealing statistics concerning the probable chronology of this development. 9 See L. Bianconi, Music in the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge, 1987), 77. 10 A. Bertolotti, Musici alia corte dei Gonzaga in Mantua dal secolo XV al XVIII (Milan, 1890; repr. Bologna, 1969).

Period, Place, and Personalia


Grand Duchy of Tuscany and had supplied musicians for the sumptuous wedding festivities of the Grand Duke Ferdinando to Christine of Lorraine in 1589. One account of the Duke’s retinue even mentions that the four ladies accompanying him not only sang very well but also played the cornetto and other instruments.11 The astonishing dexterity of the instrumentalists engaged by the court is nowhere better demonstrated than in the instrumental writing of Monteverdi’s L ’Orfeo. Throughout the first half of the century, court documents reveal many occasions when large forces were required, but of more relevance to the early development of the sonata are those suggesting the existence of a string consort. Pietro Canal lists seven violists present at the court in 1597,12 and a letter of 1628 mentions a payment made by the Duke to the concerto delle viole.13 If such a body existed over this extended period it may explain the preference of Mantuan instrumental composers for ensembles made up predominantly of strings. Despite the abundant references to instrumental music in the court archives, its use in an independent capacity for the performance of chamber music is almost never mentioned. The main preoccupation of the Mantuan court under both Vincenzo I and Ferdinando II was clearly with vocal music and theatrical entertainments rather than with abstract instrumental compositions. Monte¬ verdi’s description of the Friday concerts held in the hall of mirrors in the ducal palace is extravagant in its praise of the famous contralto, Adriana Basile, while the function of the instruments is primarily accompanimental.14 Much of Salamon Rossi’s first two books of instrumental music are devoted to the type of Sinfonia too slight for independent performance but merely intended to provide incidental music in vocal entertainments.15 Only passing references suggest that the instrumentalists were called upon to provide diversional chamber music. A letter of Monteverdi to Alessandro Striggio regarding the appointment of some wind players provides a brief glimpse of the possibility of their use in this capacity: ‘They play together well and readily both dance and chamber music, since they practise every day.’16 It is hardly credible that the concerto delle viole would not have been called upon to provide diversional music, but it was clearly of secondary importance to virtuoso singing.

11 Quoted in I. Fenlon, Music and Patronage in Sixteenth-Centum Mantua (Cambridge, 1980), 132. 12 Della musica inMantova, notizie tratteprincipalmentedall’archivio Gonzaga (Venice, 1881). 13 Bertolotti, Musici, 103. 14 See The Letters of Claudio Monteverdi, trans. and ed. Denis Stevens (London, 1980), 85. 15 Don Harran in ‘Salomone Rossi as a Composer of Theater Music’, Studi musicali, 16 (1987), 113, argues that much of Rossi’s instrumental output was specifically for the use of the Jewish theatrical group with which he was associated. 16 24 Aug. 1609. Monteverdi, Letters, 65.


Contexts and Concepts

By the time of Monteverdi’s dismissal from the court in 1612, the heyday of Mantuan music had already passed and the court could boast of no major composer of either vocal or chamber music in permanent employment for more than a short period. Monteverdi’s letter of refusal of the post of maestro di cappella offered by Ferdinando II in 1620 plainly indicates that the working conditions at Mantua were hardly calculated to attract first-class composers.17 It was these unsatisfactory conditions which were no doubt responsible for the speedy departure of Frescobaldi after only two month’s service as maestro (see p. 74). Even those instrumentalists who had received their training at the court soon departed for more lucrative positions elsewhere. Carlo Farina, of considerable importance to the early history of violin-playing, published all five of his instrumental collections while serving at the Dresden court under Fleinrich Schiitz between 1625 and 1629, and therefore hardly warrants inclusion as a Mantuan court composer. The shortage of sonatas by Mantuan composers is in part due to the absence of surviving editions of the first three books of instrumental music of Giovanni Battista Buonamente. By Book IV (i626d), he too had decided that a period abroad would enhance his prospects, and until at least 1629 he served at the Imperial court. Nevertheless, he not only maintained close ties with the Gonzaga household, but also supplied them with music, for a letter from Prague of 3 December 1627 encloses a violin sonata with the promise of further compositions as time allowed.18 It therefore seems not unreasonable to assume that his early collections were written for the same purposes and that at least Book IV might have represented the taste of the Gonzaga court at that time, but Buonamente never again took up a position at Mantua after his return to Italy. If the fortunes of the Gonzagas had undergone a steady decline during the first three decades of the century, the events of the years 1627-30 were to prove calamitous. With the death of Vincenzo II in 1627 the male line of the family became extinct. Vincenzo had named as his successor Charles, Duke of Nevers, naturally supported by France who wished to gain a foothold in Northern Italy, and by the same token opposed by both Spain and the Emperor. Thus the main European powers were soon embroiled in a bitter war of succession, but the worst results were not of the fighting itself, but of the plague which followed in the wake of the Imperial troops as they marched across the plains of Lombardy to the seige of Mantua. Giovanni Lodi records a contemporary account of its effects within the city: ‘But besides these conditions it is necessary to mention the unhappy state in which the city finds itself as a result of the plague, since in four months over 20,000 inhabitants and soldiers have died.’19 17 Monteverdi, Letters, 189-93. 18 Paul Nettl, ‘Giovanni Battista Buonamente’, ZM 9 (1926-7), 529. 19 Quoted in Mantova e leguerre memorabili (Bologna, 1880).

Period, Place, and Personalia


Mantua remained in the hands of the Gonzagas but its patronage of music never regained its former glory. However, under Carlo II who died in 1665, there is evidence of a partial revival, and during the 1680s the famous violinist and composer Carlo Ambrogio Lonati was ‘virtuoso’ at the court.20 At that time there is some evidence that Marco Antonio Ziani was maestro at the ducal chapel of Santa Barbara, and his brother, Pietro Andrea—a composer of instrumental music as well as operas—is also mentioned in the court records with the cryptic titles of‘giuoccatore di pallone e sonatore di violino’.21 The only instrumental collections by resident composers during this long period were the Correnti (1650b) of Francesco Todeschini and the three volumes of instrumental music by Andrea Grossi (1679a, 1682b, 1685b). It is still not unlikely that the Gonzagas exerted at least an indirect influence on the fortunes of the sonata in the middle years of the century, for Maurizio Cazzati maintained a cordial relationship with the family throughout his long life. This prolific and influential composer began his career as organist at the Mantuan church of Sant’Andrea, from where he published his Salmi e motetti (1641) dedicated to Ferrante Gonzaga, Duke of Guastala—one of the petty duchies of the family. He remained in close contact with members of this household, dedicating various collections to them, including the important Sonate, Op. XXXV (1665a), and the Varii capricci, Op. L (1669a), both composed at Bologna. He also served for a short time as maestro di cappella di camera at the nearby court of Sabioneta—another outpost of the Gonzaga family—and it was from there that he published his Secondo libro delle sonate, Op. VIII (1648). In 1656 the Duke of Mantua received the dedication of the Suonate, Op. XVIII, the year before Cazzati left the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo to take up his appointment at San Petronio in Bologna. After his dismissal from this post in 1671, largely as a result of the distressing feud with some native Bolognese musicians, he returned to Mantua as maestro di cappella to Anna Isabella Gonzaga. He published no more collections of instrumental music during the last few years of his life in the service of the Duchess, but it seems that over many years the various branches of the Gonzaga family were intimately associated with the production of his instrumental collections. After 1630, Modena replaced Mantua as the most prolific court for the production of instrumental music. The fortunes of this small provincial town had changed dramatically following the annexation of Ferrara by the papacy and consequent removal of the d’Estes, with much of their art treasures, to Modena.22 The death of Alfonso II in 1597 saw the cessation of the main line of 20 Bertolotti, Musin', 114. 21 Ibid. 114. 22 Luigi Amorth, Modena capitate (Modena, 1967).


Contexts and Concepts

the d’Este family, but the Duke had named as his successor his cousin, Cesare d’Este. Pope Clement VIII refused to accept Cesare’s entitlement to Ferrara on the grounds of illegitimacy, while acknowledging him as Duke of Modena and Reggio. Rather than risk a confrontation with the papacy and the threatened excommunication, Cesare, who was both politically feeble and a religious bigot, conceded to the Pope’s demands and evacuated his entire court to Modena. With Alfonso’s death the Golden Age of Ferrarese patronage was brought to an end. During the sixteenth century the sumptuous musical life of the court had been the envy of Europe, but Cesare d’Este was little interested in the arts, and his heir, Alfonso III, abdicated after only a year’s reign to take up the religious life. With the accession of Francesco I in 1629, however, Modena once more had an able statesman and a great lover of the arts who was determined to restore the family to its former glory. The city suffered heavily during the plague which claimed half its inhabitants, but under Francesco its recovery was quick, and as early as 1631 work had begun on the magnificent ducal palace which then formed so fitting a counterpart to his grandiose schemes of fame and conquest and which still dominates the city today. His various political intrigues and manoeuvres achieved little, however, and only led to his untimely death of malaria at the seige of Mortara in 1658. Ultimately he had gained far more from the marital alliances of his heir Alfonso with Mazarin’s neice, Laura Martinozzi, and his own marriage to Lucrezia Barberini after the triumphant return of her family to Rome from exile in Paris. His son, Alfonso IV, survived him by only four years, and in 1662 his grandson, Francesco II succeeded to the dukedom at the age of 2. During the first twelve years of his long reign the control of state lay in the hands of the dowager duchess, Laura Martinozzi. This was a period of peace and prosperity for Modena after the long years of war and intrigue, although her stringent economies did little to further the arts. The climax of her regency was the marriage between her daughter Maria Beatrice and the Duke of York, later James II of England. Francesco himself ruled for another twenty years after assuming power in 1674, and by the end of his reign the d’Estes had recovered from their humiliation over the loss of Ferrara and in some measure had regained the respect and recognition of other European powers. While retaining her independence, Modena had formed strong ties with both France and England, and this opened the way for reciprocal musical influence, for the court was one of the first in Italy to adopt the new repertory of dances in stil firancese, and also dispatched a band of Italian virtuosi to England in the train of Maria Beatrice. In such a despotic and absolute society, music flourished not only as a social art but as a necessary part of state ritual. In so centralized an environment the

Period, Place, and Personalia


main arbiters of taste and fashion would naturally have been the members of the ducal family, and it is of particular relevance that successive generations of d’Estes especially favoured and themselves played the violin. This accounts for the large quantity of sonatas produced betw een 1640 and the end of the century. The most coveted position at court was that of capo degl’instromentisti, a post held for over twenty years by Marco Uccellini, who also served concurrently as maestro di cappella at the cathedral.23 It was only after his departure for the court of Parma at the request of his former pupil, Isabella d’Este, that any other composers of note emerged. His position at the Duomo was filled by the Bolognese singer and composer Padre Mario Agatea, who remained there until 1673. Although Agatea contributed nothing to the Modenese sonata, his importance lies in the forging of links with Bologna which remained for the rest of the century. After his departure, tw o important violinist composers, Giovanni Maria Bononcini and Giuseppe Colombi, came to the fore as equal contenders for the main musical posts in church and court, but this rivalry was brought to an end by Bononcini’s early death in 1678 at the age of 3b.24 In 1682 no less a personage than Giovanni Battista Vitali, the celebrated Bolognese cellist settled at Modena, succeeding to the position of maestro two years later.25 The Farnese Dukes of Parma and Piacenza also maintained a permanent band for secular purposes and for use in the ducal chapel of La Madonna della Steccata.26 As early as 1560, court records reveal the presence of violinists, and by the early seventeenth century a compagnia dei violini of five players had been established. There is no evidence of any interest in abstract instrumental music at this time, for it appears that their function was to accompany vocal performances and to provide dance music. Among the notable instrumentalists to serve the Farnese household were the Neapolitan lutenist, Andrea Falconiero, and Biagio Marini who spent a year in Parma before departing for Germany. Neither published any instrumental music during their periods of office, although the latter did produce two vocal collections. The chapel of La Steccata also seems to have attracted some well-known players, but no violinist is mentioned as such until 1631, when Carlo Farina, recently returned from 23 F. M. Pajerski, ‘Marco Uccelini (1610-1680) and his Music’ 2 vols. (Ph.D. New York Univ., 1979). 24 William Klenz, Giovanni Maria Bononcini of Modena (Durham, NC, 1962). See also E. Pancaldi, Atti e memorie della R. deputazione di storia patria per le provincie modenesi vi. Sit la famiglia dei Bononcini (Modena, 1929); Pancaldi and G. Roncaglia, ‘Maestri di cappella del duomo di Modena’, Studi e documenti della R. Deputazione di storia patria per I’Emilia e la Romagna, 8/3-5 (Modena, 1939-41). This material was later released as a book by Roncaglia, La cappella nuisicale del duomo di Modena (Historiae musicae cultores biblioteca, 5; Florence, 1957). 25 John Gunther Suess, ‘Giovanni Battista Vitali and the Sonata da chiesa’, 2 vols. (Ph.D. Yale Univ., 1963)-

26 N. Pelicelli, ‘Musicisti in Parma nel secolo XVII’, NA 9 (1932) and 10 (1933).


Contexts and Concepts

Dresden, was appointed—though he had left tty March 1632. G. B. Buonamente made a brief appearance in July of that year, but there are no further references to his presence there. Once more, there are few indications of any long-standing interest in the sonata but the inclusion of one composition by the cornettist, Giovanni Francalanza, in Giacomo Monti’s Bolognese anthology (1680a) must suggest the existence of other unpublished works composed during his forty years of service at the church. Only after the arrival of Uccellini following the marriage of Isabella d’Este to Ranuccio II Farnese in 1665 does any appreciable quantity of published instrumental music appear. The composer dedicated his Sinfonici concerti (i667g) to the Duke, while Giuseppe Colombi’s Sinfonie da camera (1668a) bears a dedication to the Duchess of Parma. Besides the ducal courts, the obvious sources of patronage were the large religious establishments, but of the many institutions which supported musicians, only a few are recorded as fostering continuing traditions of instrumental music. After San Marco, the most significant of these was Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo.27 Music had long been cultivated extensively at this church and it is some measure of its reputation that in 1628 it attracted so notable a composer as Monteverdi’s assistant at San Marco, Alessandro Grandi. At the time of his appointment there were no fewer than twenty-two musicians on the regular payroll, but the political upheavals of the next few years were to have far-reaching consequences, for Bergamo was to suffer calamitously in the War of Mantuan Succession.28 As part of the Veneto standing on the main route between the Spanish Duchy of Milan and Venice, the city inevitably became caught between the rival factions in the war. The situation was greatly exacerbated by the failure of the harvests in consecutive years from 1627 to 1629, and when the plague swept through the city in 1630 the inhabitants, already weakened by famine, fell easy victims. One contemporary account put the loss of life at over 9,000 out of a population of about 20,000, and among these was the maestro di cappella, Grandi, himself. Over the next thirty years three of the most prolific instrumental composers of the entire century—Tarquinio Merula, Giovanni Legrenzi, and Maurizio Cazzati—all worked there at one time or another. This was a crucial period for the establishment of the formal stereotypes of the late seventeenth-century sonata, and the mutual influence of these composers on each other was a 27 Maurizio Padoan, La musica in S. Maria Maggiore a Bergamo net periodo di Giovanni Cavaccio (1598-1626) (Como, i983);Jerome Roche, ‘Music at S. Maria Maggiore, Bergamo (1614-1640)’, ML 47 (1966), 296-312. Also Robin Bowman, ‘Musical Information in the Archives of the Church of S. Maria Maggiore, Bergamo 1649-1720’, in I. Bent (ed.), Source Materials and the Interpretation of Musk: A Memorial Volume to Thurston Dart (London, 1981), 323-56. 28 B. Belotti, Storia di Bergamo e dei bergamaschi (Milan, 1940).

Period, Place, and Personalia


significant factor in this development. Merula’s period at the basilica was brief and stormy for he was dismissed for bad conduct in 1633, but was again in Bergamo in 1638, and during the next few years he served in the adjacent cathedral of San Pietro.29 Legrenzi became organist at Santa Maria Maggiore in 1645, a Post he held at the time of Cazzati’s appointment as maestro in 1654.30 By 1657 both had left the city7 for positions elsewhere, respectively in Ferrara and Bologna. The musical tradition was continued by Pietro Andrea Ziani and Giovanni Battista Marino. Although Bergamo was a small provincial town of relatively little importance it nevertheless had a very active musical life. Apart from the principal churches, the Accademia Eccitata held in the Bishop’s Palace seemed to have placed particular emphasis on its musical activities, and both Legrenzi and Cazzati were members. This academy had originated as a series of informal meetings of some Bergamese clerics at the monaster}7 of S. Agostino and, according to its founder, Donato Calvi, one of the main reasons for its change of venue was the growth of its musical activities: ‘The Academy was transfered from S. Agostino to a more suitable place, owing to the increase not only of subjects, but of illustrious and much admired musical concerts.’31 It is possible that Santa Maria Maggiore had connections with the city of Ferrara, for three of its most distinguished musicians—Grandi, Cazzati, and Legrenzi—all served at one time or another at one or both of its two important academies, the Accademia dello Spirito Santo and the Accademia della Morte.32 These institutions were neither colleges nor learned societies, but seemed to exist for no other reason than the patronage of music at their respective churches of the Spirito Santo and Santa Maria dell’Annunziata. Their significance lies in the succession of notable composers of instrumental music, including Marini, Cazzati, Legrenzi, Mazzaferrata, and Bassani. Nevertheless, the city seemed unable to offer more than a stepping-stone for aspiring musicians who would quickly pass on to more lucrative posts elsewhere. Legrenzi, for instance, found it necessary to seek other employment because of insufficient pay, despite ‘the good fortune already had in this city of indulgence for my weaknesses’.33 This unhappy situation was obviously the direct result of the removal of the Estense court to Modena. In 1598 the city’s population was estimated at 41,700, but by 1676 it had fallen to 27,000. One visitor passing through the city in 1688 was 2C) Maurizio Padoan, ‘Tarquinio Merula nelle fonti documentarie’, Contributi e studi di liturgia e musica nella regionepad-ana (Bologna, 1972), 229-329. 30 S. Bonta, ‘The Church Sonatas of Giovanni Legrenzi’, 2 vols. (Ph.D. Harvard Univ., 1964), i. 15. 31 Scena letteraria degli scrittori bergamaschi, Parte II, ‘A Signori Accademici Eccitati’ (Bergamo, 1664). 32 Both are discussed in Bonta, ‘Church Sonatas’, i. 27-45. 33 Ibid. i. 53 n. 87.


Contexts and Concepts

moved to enter in his diary, ‘Ferrara is very large and pretty handsome; but ill peopled. Some say it was called Ferrara—quasi fere aurea, because of its rich trade. But at present it is so poor and desolate that it cannot be viewed without Compassion.’34 The days of unlimited patronage were long since past and Ferrara’s musical life continued as a shadow of its former glory. After 1660 no centre could rival Bologna in the publication of instrumental music, and this sudden spate of collections seems to have been the result of three main factors: the arrival of Cazzati from Bergamo in 1657, the foundation of the Accademia Filarmonica in 1666, and the decision of the Bolognese presses to venture into the field of music publishing. When Cazzati took up his appointment as maestro di cappella at San Petronio, he left behind a small provincial town for a large and important centre of trade and commerce, famous for its university—the oldest and most venerable of the great medieval studia. It was a city dominated by the church, for since its annexation by the papacy in 1506 it had been governed by a papal legate, despite a measure of autonomy in the administration of routine affairs accorded to the elected senate of forty noblemen known as the ‘Signoria’.35 Although the city had no hereditary court, she compensated for this by concentrating her pageantry and spectacle around the dignatories of the civic authority. There is no doubt that Bologna possessed a rich and varied musical life, famous both for its performers and its musical scholarship, long before the arrival of Cazzati. The Signoria maintained a large body of instrumentalists for use on ceremonial occasions known as the ‘Concerto Palatino’ which had earned a considerable reputation far beyond the city itself.36 Town bands traditionally consisted of wind players, but the Bolognese Concerto was particularly noted for the quality of its violinists. Giovanni Cavaccio dedicated a canzona from his Sudori musicali (1626c) to ‘Signor Camillo Cortellini detto il Violino Meritissimo deU’illustrissima Signoria di Bologna’, and Grandi (i628d) describes Alfonso Pagani as ‘musico eccelentissimo dell’Illustrissima Signoria di Bologna’. The latter collection is remarkable for its advanced violin technique and so early an indication of the existence of a tradition of violin playing at Bologna must assume considerable importance in view of later developments. The Concerto was required to perform at both the public and private gatherings of the Signoria, and the various diarists of the period frequently mention its use during 34 Francois Maximilien Misson, A New Voyage to Italy with Curious Observations on Several Other Countries, 2 vols. (London, 1739), quoted in Bonta, ‘Church Sonatas’, i. 54. 35 Howard B. Adelmann, Marcello Malpighi and the Evolution of Embryology (New York, 1966), contains a useful chapter on Bologna in the 17th century. 36 Francesco Vatielli, ‘II Concerto Palatino della Signoria di Bologna’, Atti e memorie . . . per le provincie di Romagna (1939-40), 33-61; Osvaldo Gambassi, ‘Origine, statuti e ordinamenti del Concerto Palatino della Signoria di Bologna (1600-1797)’, NRMI2 (1984), 469.

Period, Place, and Personalia


the grand ceremonies at San Petronio which involved the papal representatives and the Signoria. One event which particularly fired their imaginations was the Festa della porclietta—an annual reinactment of the Battle of Fossalta (1249), held on a huge stage erected in the central piazza. This always required a multiplicity7 of instruments, but most accounts only mention the large forces of wind and brass. An illustration accompanying the Relatione of 1667, however, depicts a group of nine musicians playing four violins, two violoncellos, violone, spinet, and archlute.37 There were many religious institutions which supported musicians—San Pietro, San Giovanni in Monte, Santa Maria dei Servi, San Salvatore, San Francesco—but by far the most important was of course San Petronio.38 This vast church served a similar function in Bologna to San Marco in Venice and Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo in that it was not the cathedral, which maintained its own musical establishment in the seventeenth century, but the seat of the municipal authorities and therefore the focal point of civic pomp and pride. The temporal affairs of the church, including music, were the responsibility of the Fabbriceria, a body of five members of the Signoria under the presidency of a sixth senator elected for life by the Pope himself. It was at San Petronio that the Signoria met for the many splendid festivities which called for such large forces of musicians, but as with other similar institutions, musical patronage varied according to its prevailing fortunes, and these changed not infrequently in the seventeenth century. After Cazzati’s appointment there is no doubt that the governing body deliberately set out to foster music on an unprecedented scale, for on 6 September 1658 the vestry board decreed that the musicians should no longer be hired on an ad hoc basis but were to form part of the regular salaried staff of the basilica. A fixed number of musicians was agreed, including an instrumental body of two violins, two alto and two tenor violas, two trombones, one violone, a contrabasso violone grosso, one theorbo, and two organs.39 The forces never did reach the required number, but nevertheless this ensemble could still claim to be one of the largest in Italy. San Petronio did not, however, prove quite the Mecca for musicians that it might have been, for internal disputes soon arose between the new maestro and the existing cappella, and the actual personnel was remarkably fluid during Cazzati’s term of office. The most important single event in the rise of the Bologna School would seem to have been the founding of the Accademia Filarmonica by Count


Relatione della festa populare fatta a Bologna in occasione della solita Porchetta (Bologna, 1667). 38 Anne Schnoebelen, ‘The Concerted Mass at San Petronio in Bologna: ca. 1660-1730’ (Ph.D. Univ. of Illinois, 1966); eadem, ‘Performance Practices at San Petronio in the Baroque’,AIM 41 (1969), 37-55. 39 O Mischiati, ‘Aspetti dei rapporti tra Corelli e la scuola bolognese’, Qitaderni della R.I.M. 3 (Studi Corelliani) (1972), 25.


Contexts and Concepts

Vincenzo Carrati in 1666.40 It is particularly significant that, as one manuscript of the early eighteenth century confirms, Carrati’s main interest appears to have been instrumental music: He devoted himself to the pleasure and delight of hearing sonatas in his Noble House in the Cartolaria Nova, especially in the evenings on which he held Academies of music. It came about that some of his friends who were connoisseurs and lovers of music persuaded him to form an Academy, which he was pleased to entitle de’ Filarmonici, magnificently adorning a ground-floor room for that purpose; and at no little expense he bought or had made by the best craftsmen not only of Bologna but the whole of Italy, every type of wind, keyboard, or bowed instrument.41

Most of the composers associated with the Bologna School (with the exception of Cazzati) were members of this academy and probably attended the esercitazione prattiche held at its Thursday meetings. They would also have taken part in the sumptuous musical functions which marked the feast of the patron saint, St Anthony of Padua. But Carrati was by no means alone in his generous patronage of musicians, for the city possessed a rich mercantile class and the petty nobility vied with each other in the lavishness of their entertainments. Musical spectacles, operas, dances, diversional chamber music could be heard in many of the great houses—Bentivoglio, Albergati, Pepoli, names which figure so prominently on the title-pages of instrumental collections. These factors all provided a fertile environment for a flourishing music publishing industry and during the period 1657-1700 the Bolognese presses produced around 150 editions of instrumental music, totally eclipsing the Venetians.42 The singular importance of this expansion lies in its concentration to an unprecedented extent on instrumental rather than vocal music. By the end of the century, this accounted for no less than 62 per cent of the catalogue (1698-9) of the Bolognese publisher, Marino Silvani, while the Indice (1661) of the Venetian publisher, Vincenti, contains only about 10 per cent. Perhaps because so much attention has focused on the more sensational form of the concerto as performed at San Petronio, it has not been generally recognized that by far the largest part of this prodigious output did not consist of free sonatas but of dances. The primary stimulus to instrumental composition in Bologna was not sacred but secular, and its actual contribution of abstract ‘trio’ sonatas before

40 Nestore Morini, La R. Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna (Bologna, 1930);]. G. Suess, ‘Observations on the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna in the Seventeenth Century and the Rise of a Local Tradition of Instrumental Music’,Qtiadrivium, 8 (1967), 51-62. 41 ‘Succinto ragguaglio della fondazione della celebre Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna’, MS 25, Biblioteca Gozzadini, Biblioteca comunale, Bologna. +2F. Vatielli, ‘Editori musicali dei secoli XVII e XVIII’, Arte e vita musicale a Bologna (Bologna, 1927).

Period, Place, and Personalia



Corelli is surprisingly small.43 Furthermore, the taste of the general public was lor remarkably few composers. Of the twenty or so names usually associated with the school, half produced only a single collection, usually of dances, which was not reprinted. Against this, between 1657 and 1680, G. B. Vitali accounts lor seventeen editions, Cazzati sixteen, and G. M. Bononcini twelve, while their closest rival, Pietro Degli Antonii, achieved only three. The last great cultural centre to contribute substantially to the spread of the trio sonata southwards was the papal city itself. Throughout the seventeenth century, Rome and Venice were the poles of attraction for the finest musicians of the age, and especially during the reign ol Urban V III Barberini Rome regained a measure ol the splendour ol the Renaissance Popes prior to the CounterReformation.44 The sack ol 1527 had left the city depopulated and despoiled, but under the patronage of the great papal households, who increasingly held the monopoly ol power and wealth, the Eternal City' was gradually transformed into a fitting reflection ol the Church on Earth Triumphant. The magnificence and luxury ol Roman life in the seventeenth century necessitated colossal expenditure, but at hand were the vast revenues of the Roman church, which successive popes felt few scruples in dipping into to fill the family coffers. However, by its very nature Roman patronage was unstable, liable to sudden shifts of direction according the dictates of the reigning pontiff. Under Urban VIII Barberini (1623-44) music and the fine arts enjoyed an unprecedented measure of official recognition, but the rampant nepotism and enormous drain on papal resources demanded by his grandiose schemes of self-glorification were generally considered to have exceeded the bounds of decency, even for a pope. At the succession of Innocent X Pamfili, the Barberini were forced to flee to Paris pending an inquiry into the mismanagement of papal finances and this ushered in a period of greater austerity in the arts. The politics of reaction continued to operate throughout the remainder of the century, if in less extreme forms, and periods of repression followed periods of relative freedom and prosperity' for musicians. As the hub of the Catholic Church, Rome had always attracted outstanding musicians, and its interest in instrumental virtuosity extends back long before the advent of the sonata, as the early date of Ortiz’s viol treatise (1553a) indicates. By the beginning of the seventeenth century descriptions almost as lavish as those of Venetian practice record the large number of instruments used in Roman churches.45 At the German College, for instance, in the 1580s massed 43 P. C. Allsop, ‘Secular Influences in the Bolognese Sonata da chiesa’, PUMA 104 (1977-8), 89-100. 44 L. von Pastor, Histor? of the Popes, xxiii-xxxii, trans. and ed. R. F. Kerr and E. Graf (London, 1933-40). 45 See G. Dixon, ‘Roman Church Music: The Place oflnstruments after 1600’, Galpin Society Journal, 34 (1981), 51-61.


Contexts and Concepts

ensembles were used on festive occasions, and its sister church of San Appolinare had gained a wide reputation for its music with instruments, as described in Pompeo Ugonio’s Histona della stationi di Roma (1588). Thus whereas this church was hardly known at first, it is now esteemed and visited by a large number of people, mainly because there are frequent Masses and because the divine offices are celebrated most devoutly, accompanied on the more solemn days by very beautiful music, with voices, organs and other instruments.46 As violins replaced other instruments, the trend towards smaller ensembles, already a fait accompli in most North Italian churches, was paralleled in Rome. Andre Maugars’s famous account of an oratorio at II Crocifisso mentions only organ, large harpsichord, archlutes, and two or three violins,4 ‘ while in 1659, Francis Mortoff was much impressed by the ensemble of ‘Lute, Violin and Organs, which sounded most sweetly, especially the Lute and Violin was so rare that being once out of Rome it must never be expected to heare the like again’,48 while about that time one visitor reported on the ‘incomparable symphony of viols’ at the English College.49 In the second half of the century the churches most frequently associated with instrumental performance were San Giovanni dei Fiorentini and San Luigi dei Francesi.s° Perhaps because of the shifting status of music in the Church during the seventeenth century, Roman musicians often preferred the comparative security of service with a princely patron, and in this they were exceptionally fortunate. Many noble households maintained their own retinues of musicians on the permanent salaried staff of their palazzi. Frescobaldi became direttore di camera to Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, nephew to Pope Clement VIII (1592-1605).51 He also enjoyed the patronage of the Barberinis, and the dedication of the Fiori musicali (1635a) mentions that the collection was in part a tribute for their generosity over many years.52 Later in the century, music flourished under a succession of enlightened patrons, but none could rival in discernment the ex-

46 Culley,J7esuits, 86. 47 ‘Response faite a un curieux sur le Sentiment de la Musique d’ltalie, Ecrite a Rome le premier Octobre 1639’, ed. Ernest Thoinan (Paris, 1640), trans. in C. MacClintock (ed.), Readings in the History of Music in Performance (Bloomington, Ind., 1979), 119. 48 Howard E. Smither,^ Historjj of the Oratorio, i. (Chapel Hill, NC, 1977), 214. 49 Culley,Jesuits, 180. 50 For much relevant information on the musical life of Rome in the late 17th cent., see Helene WesselvKropik, Lelio Colista (Vienna, 1961). 51 Alberto Cametti, ‘Girolamo Frescobaldi in Roma 1604-1643’, RMI 15 (1908), 714; Frederick Hammond, Girolamo Frescobaldi (Cambridge, Mass., 1983), 45-6. 52 F. Hammond, ‘Girolamo Frescobaldi and a Decade of Music in Casa Barberini: 1634-1643’, AnM, 19 (Cologne, 1979), 94-124.

Period, Place, and Personalia


Queen Christina of Sweden, resident in Rome since 1653.53 She had been an avid admirer of Italian music even before her abdication, and after taking up residence in the Palazzo Riario in 1659, her home became the meeting place of the most distinguished letterati of the day. The roll of outstanding musicians in her employ is prodigious, including the violinist, Carlo Ambrogio Lonati (‘il gobbo della Regina’), Stradella, Carissimi, Pasquini, A. Scarlatti, and Corelli, who dedicated his Op. I to her. After her death pre-eminence passed to the Pamfili and Ottoboni families, both of whom were outstanding in their patronage of instrumentalists such as Carlo Mannelli (Carlo di Pamhlio), Giovanni Lulier del Violone, and of course Corelli. Of the sonata south of Rome, our knowledge is minimal. Bartolomeo Mont’Albano da Bologna produced a volume of Sinfonie for one to four voices (i62gd) while serving as maestro di cappella at San Francesco in Palermo but he later moved back to the city7 of his birth. The royal chapel at Naples also supplies only a single collection—the Primo libro di canzone... (1650a) of the well-known lutenist, Andrea Falconiero. At that time the Spanish governors were involved in suppressing the revolutions which had broken out in 1646 and which led eventually to the intervention of Mazarin. Ten years later Falconiero succumbed to the plague then ravishing the city. If these were hardly times of peace and prosperity, it still seems improbable that no school of instrumental composers arose to parallel that established in keyboard music, especially considering that the celebrated violinists Nicola Matteis and Carlo Ambrogio Lonati served there before 1670. It is impossible to ascribe any of the surviving music of either composer to their periods of residence in Naples, but the absence of surviving sources may not indicate lack of activity. Despite the initial reluctance to cross the geographical barrier of the Apennines, by 1630 instrumental compositions for small ensembles had appeared throughout the peninsula from Milan and Venice in the north to Rome and even Palermo. Furthermore, by that date the new genres had already been exported abroad to the Italianate courts of Europe. As early as 1621b, Giovanni Martino Cesare, an Udinese cornettist working in Munich, had published his Musicali melodie which contains ten compositions for small instrumental ensembles, Stefano Bernardi settled in Salzburg in 1624, and Giovanni Valentini and Antonio Bertali joined the steady stream of Italian musicians attracted to the Imperial court in Vienna. Marini served the Duke of Neuberg for a number of years, and the violinist, Carlo Farina, worked under Heinrich Schiitz in Dresden. This migration continued unabated throughout the period 53 A. Cametti, ‘Cristina di Svezia: L’arte musicale e gli spettacoli teatrali a Roma’, Nuova antologia, 16 (Rome, 1931), 641. Also Carl-Allen Moberg, ‘Christina and Music’, in the catalogue of the exhibition, Christina of Sweden (Stockholm, 1966).


Contexts and Concepts

as the vogue for Italian sonatas spread, but not without some fundamental concessions to indigenous taste—especially as regards instrumentation. The contributions of composers who spent most of their working lives abroad should therefore be considered within their adopted contexts and are not necessarily typical of Italian practice.54 Our knowledge of this entire development, extending over a period of almost a hundred years, rests mainly on the fortuitous survival of the large collection of printed music assembled by Padre Martini in the eighteenth century and now housed in the Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale at Bologna, supplemented by the smaller holdings at Oxford and Wroclaw.55 Remarkably little manuscript material has been preserved and this is confined almost entirely to the later part of the century, yet not only are the extant printed sources demonstrably incomplete, but some major composers still felt no inclination to enter into the dubious financial transaction of publishing their works. The Mantuan violinist Giovanni Battista Buonamente is chiefly remembered for his four extant sets of instrumental music, but quite apart from the three lost collections, an inventory compiled at San Francesco in Assisi dated 1647 over *5° sacred vocal compositions, hardly any of which he saw fit to publish.5 Roman instrument¬ alists in particular seemed reluctant to commit themselves to print but preferred to circulate their music in manuscript. It was only after many years as a violinist and teacher that Giovanni Antonio Leoni decided to counter the circulation of badly copied and sometimes anonymous transcriptions of his works by publishing his Sonate di violino (1652b). This collection, the first known to consist entirely of solo violin sonatas, is designated as Op. Ill, while no trace survives of the earlier opera. Nor is there an extant version of Carlo Mannelli’s Sinfonie a violino solo mentioned in his Sonate aj (1682a), and furthermore, his next collection of Sonatas aj (1692)) refers to a lost Studio del violino—perhaps the only advanced treatise on violin playing of the entire century. Of his contemporaries in Rome, Colista, Stradella, and Lonati themselves published no sonatas, although copious manuscript sources survive, while not a single instrumental composition of the famous Giovanni Lulier del Violone has been preserved. Even within the vicinity of the productive presses of Venice and Bologna, it cannot automatically be assumed that most music circulated in printed form. Had it not been for the perspicuity of G. B. Reghino who assembled a collection of eighteen Sonatas eleven years after the composer’s death, the substantial 54 For German influences in the works of Viviani see Herbert Seifert, Giovanni Buonaventura Viviani: Leben, Imtrumentalmerke undvokaleKammermusik (Turzing 1982). 55 For Oxford see Denis Stevens, ‘Seventeenth-Century Italian Instrumental Music in the Bodleian Library’, AM 26 (1954), 67-74. Sartori’s Bibliografia lists most other sources. 56 Assisi, Biblioteca Comunale, Archivio Amministrativo del Sacro Convento, vol. 43K, i5o'-i53r.

Period, Place, and Personalia


contribution of Fontana to the history of violin playing would have remained unknown. Such a fate may well have befallen Alfonso Pagani, since the only record of his compositional activities is a short extract from a Sonata 04 quoted by Cazzati in his Risposta alle opposition!,57 Giovanni Colombi published five sets of instrumental music between 1668 and 1689, whereas the Biblioteca Estense in Modena houses another twenty-two volumes of unpublished works by him mainly for violin solo, arguably his most impressive contribution. A history so closely tied to printed sources may therefore chart the fortunes and vicissitudes of the Italian publishing industry or a composer’s chance approximation to a flourishing local press as the actuality7 of sonata composition at the period. The apparent spread of the sonata southwards through Bologna to Rome in the course of the century could merely reflect the virtual collapse of the Venetian enterprises after 1630 and the rise of the Bolognese presses in the late 1660s. Of the hundred or so composers of ‘trio’ sonatas only about twenty provide more than ten extant examples, and of these fourteen produced more than one collection—surely a meagre number given that the population of Italy by the end of the century was in the region of 13,000,000.58 This must represent but a small proportion of the whole, for the frequent references to lost works and the lack of manuscript sources betray the limitations of our knowledge. 57 Bologna, 1664, p. 15. 58 Giulio Beloch, ‘La populazione d’ltalia nei secoli XVI, XVII et XVIII’, Bulletin de I’lnstitut Internationalde Statistique, 3 (1888).

2 The Instrumental Ensemble Of all the alleged inconsistencies of terminology in Italian music of the seventeenth century, few have provoked more confusion and misrepresentation than the term ‘trio’. Although this designation has been applied to an amazing variety of combinations, its commonest applications today are to compositions for two melody instruments (most frequently in the treble range), or two trebles plus melodic bass instrument, each group supplied with its own continuo. It is these two ensembles which are implied by the term ‘trio’ in this study. Much of this confusion supposedly stems from the lack of uniformity on the part of seventeenth-century Italian composers as to whether or not the bass should be included in the specification, and this also raises the subsidiary question of the doubling of the bass-line of the continuo by a melody instrument. If the melodic bass acts merely as a foundation instrument as defined in Agazzari’s Del suonare sopra 7 basso (Rome, 1607O, its role being simply that of reinforcement, should it be included in the numerical designation of the sonata? Such questions have much perplexed foreigners from the time of Purcell to the present day, yet what is most surprising about these enigmas is that no such confusion ever existed in the minds of seventeenth-century North Italian composers who were almost totally consistent in the designations of their sonatas throughout the period. These were described solely by the number of melodic instruments, whether treble or bass, and the basso continuo was never included in the reckoning. Thus sonatas 0,2 and aj were always scored respectively for two and three melodic instruments, usually (but by no means always) with a harmonic continuo instrument.1 In view of the seeming simplicity and almost complete uniformity of these designations in printed editions of the period, it would certainly appear difficult to explain the curious lack of comprehension on the part of so many foreigners over the centuries. It has even been suggested recently that the numeral referred to the number of part-books which was almost never the case in ‘trio’ sonatas

1 Niels Martin Jensen, ‘Solo Sonata, Duo Sonata and Trio Sonata: Some Problems of Terminology and Genre in 17th-Century Italian Instrumental Music’, Festskriftjfens Peter Larsen (Copenhagen, 1972), 73-101: a thorough investigation of numerical terminology during the period.

The Instrumental Ensemble


of this period.2 These misunderstandings are not entirely without historical justification, for they are already implicit in the earliest eighteenth-century definitions. Brossard’s Dictionaire de musique evidently considers the ‘trio’ sonatas of Corelli, to whom he refers specifically, to be essentially for two violins and continuo, and the role of the third melodic instrument is largely ornamental: ‘[Sonatas] may be found in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 parts, but normally they are for violin alone or for two different violins with a basso continuo for the harpsichord, and often with a more embellished bass for the viola da gamba or bassoon, etc.’3 The implication that the bass is not entirely essential is further endorsed by the German theorist, Adolph Scheibe, who is much more explicit: The so-called trio consists of three distinct voices, of which two are the upper while the third is the lowest voice or bass . . . However, generally the true nature of these pieces is that in all the voices, but especially the upper voices there must be a distinctive melody and fugal treatment. . . . The bass, or lowest voice must be so carefully constructed as to allow the upper voices ... to be heard, while maintaining a clear and acceptible melody. However, in spite of this point, a certain amount of latitude can be allowed the lowest voice which may proceed in an even and measured step throughout without sharing in the thematic material. In this case, the tw o upper voices, as it were, converse with each other in the most pleasing manner while the bass merely accompanies them throughout in an appropriate manner.4

It was these post-Corellian views of foreign commentators on the Italian sonata which informed most of the pioneering studies undertaken at the turn of the twentieth century. Riemann was quite categorical in his definition of the ‘trio’ as an ‘instrumental monody’ consisting essentially of two soprano instruments and basso continuo, and this classification still remains the basis of much discussion of the sonata today.5 Such categorization reveals some very fundamental and deep-seated miscon¬ ceptions about the nature of the a2 and aj media in the seventeenth century. Riemann’s opinion that both represented a single category sharing an affinity with the new ‘monodic' idioms of harmonically accompanied melody was by no means held by all Italian composers of the period, many of whom considered these twro combinations to be intrinsically different. One crucial aspect of this is the role of the continuo which in the sonata a2 acts largely as a non-thematic 2 Christopher Hogwood, The Trio Sonata (London, 1979), 6. 3 All references are to the 3rd edn. (Amsterdam, 1710). 4 CritischerMnsikus (Leipzig, 1745). Quoted injensen, ‘Solo Sonata’, 74. 5 Hugo Riemann, ‘Die Triosonaten der Generalbass-Epoche’, Praeludien and Studien, iii (Munich, 1901), 129-56. John Daverio assesses the influence of Riemann on subsequent thought in ch. 1 of‘Formal Design and Terminology in the Pre-Corellian “Sonata” and Related Instrumental Forms in the Printed Sources’ (Ph.D. Boston Univ. Graduate School, 1983).


Contexts and Concepts

harmonic support above which the trebles indulge in an interplay of figurations, and the elaboration and extension of thematic material remains throughout strictly their domain. In the sonata aj on the other hand, each of the three melodic voices participates equally in the imitative texture while the continuo merely doubles the lowest part, often simplifying it, in the manner of the basso seguente of the previous century.6 This treatment of the bass is symptomatic of a much more thoroughgoing disparity of idiom, for the a2 medium was widely considered to be unsuitable for strict contrapuntal textures and fugal designs, which were regarded as more appropriate to the sonata aj. The former therefore did indeed align itself with the new vocal genres of solo and duet while the latter was associated with the more conservative trends of the period. This crucial distinction influences almost every aspect of the composition from overall structure to melodic and harmonic idiom and texture, and is of fundamental importance in any attempt to understand the developments leading to the Corellian sonata. In the first half of the century the sonata 02 became the vehicle for the most radical experimentation, while the sonata aj preserved the contrapuntal forms of the past, thus supplying the indispensable fugal element of the late seventeenth-century sonata. Initially, these two media in many respects represented opposing poles, but their mutual influence upon each other is one of the central issues in the development of instrumental music after the mid¬ century. The term ‘trio’ as used today comprises a largely artificial category, and as such would have conveyed little to most composers of the seicento. Its retention implies no more than a concession to convenience, and it is to be hoped that in time the much more precise contemporary terminology of a2 and aj will be restored to popular usage. The growth of interest in instrumental music for these ensembles was gradual, for during the first two decades of the century four, and to a lesser extent eight, remained the most usual combinations. Throughout these early years, ‘trio’ sonatas often appeared merely as adjuncts to vocal collections, and it was only in the 1620s that they began to be established independently as the most popular grouping. By then, the older traditions associated with consorts of like instruments had already passed, at least according to Vincenzo Giustiniani, whose Discorso sopra la musica (after 1628) summarily dismisses the former practice in a slighting epitaph: Formerly the pastime of a concert of viols or flutes was much in vogue, but in the end it was discontinued because of the great difficulty of keeping the instruments in tune (for not being played frequently they became absolutely useless) and of getting together the 6 The term basso seguente is used throughout this study to refer to the practice of extracting the continuo part from the lowest note of the melodic parts. As T. Borgir points out in The Performance of the Basso Continuo in Italian Baroque Music (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1987), 65, this is modern rather than 17th-century usage.

The Instrumental Ensemble


many persons to make up the concert. Then, too, experience has shown that such diversions, with the unity of sound and of the consonances became tiresome rather quickly and was more of an incentive to sleep rather than pass the time on a warm afternoon.7

Despite Giustiniani’s assurances, the viol consort was still in existence in 1632 when Cherubino Waesich published his Canzoni a cinque, and as late as 1673) Legrenzi’s La Cetra contains two sonatas for quattro viole da gamba, although the composer considered it expedient to add ‘o come piace’. These may have resulted from the requirements of Legrenzi’s teaching practice at the Ospedale dei Mendicanti w hich had taken the seemingly old-fashioned step of acquiring seven viole da gamba for its church of San Lazzaro.8 Nevertheless, to most Northern Italians such a combination must have seemed distinctly anachronistic. Giustiniani’s objections to the uniformity of sound of the viol consort was evidently widely shared, for many instrumental collections of the early seventeenth century present a considerable variety of instrumentation, employ¬ ing mixed ensembles of woodwind, brass, and strings. He himself set out a formidable array of ‘usual’ instruments in his Discorso, including organ, lute, pandora, harp, cembalo, theorbo, guitar, lyre, flutes, viols, violin, cornetto, viola bastarda, together with a variety of obscurities, such as sordellino, piva, colascione, and sanfornia. This cornucopia of instruments inherited from the previous century serves as a reminder that the seventeenth century actually sawr a decline in the types of instruments in general use in Italy. The old belief that the development of specific instrumental idioms was primarily an achievement of the seventeenth century has long since been undermined.9 The treatises of Silvestro Ganassi dating from 1535 already reveal a sensitive understanding of the different qualities and possibilities of various instruments. La fontegara (Venice, 1535) deals with such matters as tonguing on the recorder in some detail, while the viol treatise, Regola rubertina (Venice, 1542), reveals a keen understanding of the expressive possibilities of stringed instruments, including vibrato, chord-playing, and various bowing techniques.10 It is significant that Ganassi was a Venetian, for it was in Venice that the most adventurous and demanding developments in instrumental technique were to take place. The prowess of Venetian instrumentalists in the latter part of the sixteenth century can be gauged by the extensive literature purporting to teach 7 C. MacClintock (ed. and trans.), Musicological Studies and Documents (AIM 9; Rome, 1962), 79. 8 S. Bonta, ‘The Church Sonatas of Giovanni Legrenzi’, 2 vols. (Ph.D. Harvard Univ., 1964), i. 80. 9 I. Horsley, ‘The Solo Ricercar in Diminution Manuals: New Light on Early Wind and String Techniques’, AM 33 (1961), 29-40. 10 Opera intitulata Fontegara: A Treatise on the Art of Playing the Recorder and of Free Ornamentation, ed. H. Peter, trans. D. Swainson (Berlin, 1959). Regola rubertina: Regola die insegna sonar de viola (Facs. edn. Leipzig, 1924).


Contexts and Concepts

the art of diminution.11 The divisionist manuals of Girolamo Dalla Casa12 and Giovanni Bassano13 published during the 1580s already exhibit that preoccupa¬ tion with virtuosity which was to become the hallmark of the Venetian stil moderno sonata of the early seventeenth century. The long passages of rapid divisions attest to the amazing dexterity of these players and provided the basis for the extensive notated divisions in the Sonatas of Castello and Fontana. The authors of these treatises often publicised their works as being suitable for any type of instrument, whether wind or strings, for at this period the crucial preoccupation was with the differentiation of vocal and instrumental styles rather than any distinction between specific instruments. Although writers continued to exhort the player to imitate the singer well into the seventeenth century, after 1580 the ornamentation manuals increasingly contain passages of an unques¬ tionably instrumental character by virtue of their wide range and angularity, and of these it is Aurelio Virgiliano’s unpublished set of studies, II Dolcimelo, which contains the most advanced techniques of the period.14 By this time the instrumentalists were clearly expected to improvise embellishments according to the specific properties of their instruments. Francesco Rognoni’s Selva e varii passaggi (Milan, 1620c, d) is divided into two parts, the first devoted to vocal ornamentation, while the second treats of ‘pasaggi dificili, per gl’instromenti’ and its preface discusses the different properties of each instrument, opening with specific exercises for bowing and tonguing.15 Despite this growing awareness of the individuality of each instrument, the ubiquitous description on title-pages of the previous century ‘con ogni sorte di stromenti’ survived well into the siecento.16 Its meaning, however, grew increasingly ambiguous, for a collection such as Biagio Marini’s Sonate, Op. VIII (1626m), while still retaining the overall description, actually contains pieces requiring such violinistic devices as double-stopping and scordatura, effectively ruling out the possibility of substitution. It is therefore necessary to discriminate between those collections in which the implication is that the piece would be equally effective on any instrument within the given range, and those which contain compositions for a variety of named instruments. Banchieri’s Moderna armonia di canzoni alia francese (1612a) leaves not only the choice of instruments to the players but offers optional scorings since the contents may be performed 11 For a comprehensive list see Ernest T. Ferand, ‘Didactic Embellishment Literature in the Late Renaissance: A Survey of Sources’ in J. La Rue (ed.), Aspects of Medieval and Renaissance Music (New York, 1966), 154-72. 12 II vero modo di diminuir, 2 vols. (Venice, i584d). 13 Ricercatepassaggi et cadentie (Venice, 1585a). 14 Modern edn. of 13 of the Ricercate, ed. Bernard Thomas (London, 1980). 15 Facs. edn. Bologna, 1970. 16 S. Mangsen,1Ad libitum Procedures in Instrumental Duos and Trios’, EM (Feb. 1991), 29-40.

The Instrumental Ensemble


on the organ alone, or ‘with one or two high or low instruments, separately or together as one pleases’. Similar ad libitum practices do occasionally occur later in the century. Marco Uccellini’s Sinfonie boscarecie a violino solo e basso (i669d) provides the further options of performance with ‘two, three or four instruments as one pleases’. It should not be implied that most compositions presented the performer with a carte blanche to rearrange the scoring at will, for the great majority of works are quite specific in their instrumentation. In fact the only widespread survival of wholesale substitution concerns the adaption of ‘trio’ compositions for performance on the organ. This was of course extremely common in the sixteenth century and many Canzoni francesi 04 exist both as part-books and keyboard transcriptions. The Canzoni 04 (1613d) of Tarquinio Merula survives complete only in the organ version, and among his later compositions La Loda (1651a) also exists as a keyboard arrangement.17 Many important composers of instrumental music in Italy in the seventeenth century were primarily organists, and such transcriptions may to some extent explain the relatively small quantity of organ music published after the death of Frescobaldi. As all-purpose designations became less common they were replaced by a much more limited range of options. The almost invariable alternative to the violin was the cornetto which still maintained considerable popularity in the early seventeenth century.18 For the first three decades at least it managed to withstand the onslaught of its rival, despite considerable technical difficulties. In the hands of a skilled player it was capable of an expressive range and control of dynamics almost on a par with the violin, and its cup-shaped mouthpiece enabled an incisiveness of articulation not available on other wind instruments. Giustiniani speaks highly of its use as a chamber instrument in the hands of one Luigi dal Cornetto: ‘Among other performances he played many times in one of my little rooms to the accompaniment of the cembalo which was closed up and could scarcely be heard; and he played the cornett with such moderation and exactitude that it astonished many gentlemen present who liked music, because the cornett did not overshadow the cembalo.’19 Instances of its independent specification are relatively few—perhaps no more than fifteen sonatas during the entire period. Giulio Belli (1613b) and Nicolo Corradini (1624a) contributed canzonas for two cornetti and continuo, while G. P. Cima (i6iod) and G. B. Buonamente (1636) both provided

17 Modern edn. by Alan Curtis, Composizioniper Organo e Cembalo (MMI i; Brescia, 1961). 18 For information on all wind instruments see Edgar Jay Lewis, jun., ‘The Use of Wind Instruments in Seventeenth-Century1 Instrumental Music’ (Ph.D. Univ. ofWis., 1964). 19 Discorso, in MacClintock (ed.), MusicologicalStudies, 78-9.


Contexts and Concepts

compositions for violin and cornetto. Larger ensembles specifying the instru¬ ment are included in collections by the Venetian composers Castello (1629!), Picchi (1625b), and Neri (1651b). It is primarily as an alternative instrument that the cornetto is most frequently encountered, although it does seem almost beyond question that well-known players like Giovanni Francalanza, whose only known work is a single sonata in Silvani’s anthology (1680a), would have composed other works and availed themselves of the ever-growing repertory of violin sonatas, if they could have been adapted to that purpose. As it happens, the records of the Bolognese municipal ‘concerto’ provides clear evidence that the instrument did not become obsolete until well into the eighteenth century, for it was not until 1779 that it was officially abolished as being ‘no longer practical or available’.20 It is hardly surprising, therefore, that as late as 1670a the Sonate a2 of Maurizio Cazzati should still offer the alternative of ‘violino o cornetto’, although the necessary restriction of compass was already out of keeping with contemporary developments in violin playing. The frequency of the designation ‘violino o cornetto’ in the first half of the century raises fundamental questions about the nature of the. instrumental idioms of the period. Some of the most technically demanding writing in fact occurs in the sonatas of the third decade, reaching its peak in the works of Castello and Fontana. The solo passages often included in the ensemble sonatas of these two composers require an unrivalled degree of virtuosity, yet Castello rarely specifies the treble instruments, preferring the vague term soprano. There is little in the musical style to differentiate between wind and strings—apart from the tendency to construct shorter melodic periods to allow for the exigencies of breath control in the few parts specified for cornetto. Even the copious slurring and articulation marks may apply equally to bowing or tonguing, and occur as often in parts marked for violin or wind. As Castello describes himself as ‘Capo di Compagnia de Musichi d’Instrumenti da fiato’ (1629c), it should not be automatically assumed that he was in the forefront of developments in violin technique at this period. In much of the literature the overriding factor is simply that of compass. Parts marked for both instruments never exceed the range c-c" and were therefore all playable on the one size of cornetto, and although lower instruments did exist there is no evidence that they were ever used in Italian sonatas. Kircher’s Musurgia universalis (Rome, 1650) did however include a short piece (cribbed from Mersenne’s Harmonie universelle) with parts allotted to soprano and tenor instruments.21 Parts intended for the violin may be extended in either direction. 20 F. Vatielli, il Concerto Palatino della Signoria di Bologna’, Atti e memorie . . . per le provincie di Romagna (1939-40), 33. 21 Transcribed in Lewis, ‘Wind Instruments’, 41.

The Instrumental Ensemble


The gradual expansion of the upper limits of course became a principal preoccupation of a later period, but before 1630 few composers seemed at all interested in venturing out of first position in their ensemble sonatas, although both Marini and Fontana do so in their solo sonatas. The high d" in the latter’s Sonata 7 a2 (before 1630) is a rare exception. Between 1630 and 1650, the use of third position on the E string became increasingly common. Both Tarquinio Merula’s Canzona 12 (16390/32?) and Buonamente’s Sonata 7 (i637d) even attempt a fourth finger extension to e", only exceeded by the violinist, Marco Uccellini, whose La Torella (1642a) actually ascends to F" in fifth position (Ex. ia)\ After 1650 there seems to have been a reversal of this trend: few North Italian composers appear interested in furthering this line of development in their ‘trio’ sonatas. Merula never uses third position in his Sonate concertate (1637a)— otherwise his most demanding collection—and only very occasionally in his Book IV (1651a). Maurizio Cazzati manages d" in a single sonata (La Casala, 1665a), and many other composers of the third quarter of the century, including Legrenzi, Yitali, Bononcini, and Colombi, showed a similar reluctance. It is against this decline in interest in the upper reaches of the finger-board that the adventurousness of the Roman composers of the late seventeenth century may be judged. Stradella, Mannelli, and Corelli all extend to e", while one simfonia of Carlo Ambrogio Lonati soars up to g" in sixth position—the highest note of any Italian ‘trio’ sonata of the century (Ex. 1 b). From the early years of the century violin parts may extend the range downwards to G, but even by the 1680s the G string was not of comparable importance to the other strings. Only once in the first two collections of Cazzati (1642c, 1648) does the pitch fall below middle C (La Lucilla, 1648), and this superstition was so tenacious that even as late as Corelli’s sonatas, many compositions hardly use the lowest string at all (see Op. I No. 1). This may to some degree have been due to the poor response of the gut G string, although experiments in wound strings were already under way.22 Composers such as Marini show no such reluctance in their solo sonatas, so it may equally well have been attributable to the preference for particular sonorities. It was not until after 1630 that an unequivocal violin idiom began to replace the all-purpose instrumental style for violin or cornetto in the ‘trio’ sonata. The system of fingering on the latter facilitates rapid stepwise figurations in the upper register, whereas the violin is equally adept at long scale passages and wide skips across strings. These possibilities are exploited in Merula’s La Cancelliera (16390/32?) which contains successions of octave leaps and long scalic runs 22 For a comprehensive bibliography of recent research into string-making, see S. Bonta, ‘Catline Strings Revisited’, jfA/MIS 14 (1988), 38-60.


Contexts and Concepts

from G-d".23 Apart from obvious idioms such as double-stopping, skips of this kind are also the most distinctively violinistic feature of Marini’s writing (Ex. if). The most characteristic types of figuration in the late seventeenth century are those based on arpeggios involving several strings. Before 1630 these were still remarkably little used, although anticipations of later practice are discernible in works such as the Canzon 1 (1626a) of the Venetian, Giovanni Rovetta. A closer approximation to later styles is to be found in Merula’s La Caravaggia (1637a), much of the material of which is based on wide-ranging scales and arpeggios (Ex. id). Throughout the remainder of the century the potential of the violin is most fully realized in passages such as these. Scant reference is made to any other treble instrument during the seventeenth century, although the recorder did enjoy a measure of popularity in Venice before 1630. Riccio’s Primo libro delle divine lodi (repr. i6i2g) earns the distinction of containing the earliest known solo sonata for flautino and the composer was still writing for the instrument in his last collection of 1620b. Picchi also requires the flauto in several sonatas of 1625b, and it is listed among the ten melody instruments suggested on the title-page of Neri’s Sonate (1651b). Outside Venice, however, it appears hardly at all, and then only as one of a number of options, but this does not entirely rule out its use in Italian violin sonatas, at least in Northern Europe. One anthology published by Paulus Matthysz in Amsterdam in 1644 bears a dedication to an amateur recorderplayer, Adriana van den Bergh, which mentions several famous Italian composers: ‘If G. B. Buonamente, T. Merula, and M. Uccellini and other phoenixes of this noble art could hear your Honour, they would express wonder and would appreciate that their efforts to compose difficult music has been accepted so graciously and has resulted in performance by such a lady.’24 Other instruments such as the trumpet are never encountered in ‘trio’ sonatas, their use being confined to larger ensembles, although it does figure prominently as a solo instrument in Girolamo Fantini’s tutor, Modo per imparare a sonare di tromba (1638b). Whereas the violin was already established as the principal treble instrument at the beginning of the century, the choice of melodic bass was subject to considerable variation. Until about 1650 the trombone was frequently speci¬ fied.25 Unlike other wind instruments it was completely chromatic over its entire range—a capacity exploited in Cima’s Sonata a2 (i6iod) which offers violone or 23 Transcription, J. W. von Wasielewski, Instrumentalsaze, No. xvi. 24 Der Goden Fluit-Hemel, quoted in F. M. Pajerski, ‘Marco Uccellini (1610-1680) and His Music’ (Ph.D. New York Univ., 1979), from R. Rasch, ‘Some Mid-Seventeenth-Century Dutch Collections of Instrumental Ensemble Music’, Tijdschrift van de Verenigingvoor NederlandseMuziek Geschiedenis, 22 (1972), 162-3. 23 F. W. Galpin, ‘The Sackbut, its Evolution and History’, PRMA 33 (1906), i-2e.

The Instrumental Ensemble


trombone as alternative bass instruments. The size of instrument is rarely specified in seventeenth-century editions, the choice of clef presumably being considered sufficient indication. Most parts in ‘trio’ sonatas fall within the compass FF-bi> compatible with the range of the tenor instrument (then as now the most popular size) but the bass is also occasionally required. Its use was not restricted to any particular region, for it is mentioned as far afield as Milan, Venice, Modena, Bologna, and Palermo. After 1650 its decline appears to have been very rapid, although Uccellini refers to it in i66od and Stefano Pasino includes one sonata for two cornetti and tenor and bass trombones in his collection of 1679b. This suggests the survival of the preference for groupings of like instruments, but such works as Marini’s La Foscarina (1617c) and Riccio’s La Rubina (1620b) combine violins and trombone. By far the most adventurous writing for the instrument occurs in the two books of Sonate concertate of Dario Castello (162 m, 1629O. As he was head of a Venetian wind band,26 it is hardly surprising that these sonatas favour wind instruments, and no fewer than ten compositions specify trombone as first choice of melodic bass. The florid cadenza-like solo section in Book II No. 12 attains a level of virtuosity unequalled during the remainder of the century (Ex. 2). The technical demands of Castello’s Sonatas far surpass the normal expectations of the period, and it is no wonder that his contemporaries complained of their difficulty, as the composer remarked in the preface of the reprint of Book I (1629c): To give satisfaction to those w ho take pleasure in playing these sonatas of mine, it has occurred to me to advise them that although at first sight they may appear difficult, their spirit will not be destroyed by playing them more than once; and in so doing they will become practised and this will render them very easy, since nothing is difficult when pleasure is derived. I declare that having observed the modern style, I could not have made them any easier.

While never achieving the popularity of the trombone, the bassoon was particularly favoured by members of the Venetian and Brescian schools, beingmentioned by Marini (1617c, 1626m), G. Usper (1619a), Riccio (1620b), Castello (162m, 16290, Picchi 1625b), Neri (1644b, 1651b), and Fontana (1641b).27 In the latter’s posthumous collection it is in fact the only named melodic bass in eight of the eighteen sonatas, and four years later G. A. Bertoli brought out his impressive Compositioni musicah (1645c)—the climax of the early history of the instrument.

26 E. Sclfridge-Field, ‘Dario Castello: A Non-Existent Biography’, ML 53 (1972), 179-90. 27 Brian Klitz, ‘Some 17th-Century Sonatas for Bassoon’, JAMS 15 (1962), 199-205, and ‘The Bassoon in Chamber Music of the 17th Century’, JfAMIS 9 (1983), 5-20.


Contexts and Concepts

Compared with the trombone, the bassoon imposed certain obvious restrictions on the composer. The complicated system of fingering on the twokeyed instrument must have seriously limited the performer’s ability to produce chromatic notes quickly and accurately, and certainly no passage similar to that of Cima’s sonata for cornetto and trombone is ever encountered. In ‘trio’ sonatas the range falls within the compass CC-d although one manuscript solo of about 1686 actually achieves e.28 Nor is the lowest extreme ever extended downwards, despite the historical evidence that makers were experimenting with a third key to produce a low Bl>. Whatever the inherent technical limitations, the standard of technical accomplishment demanded by the sonatas of Fontana and Castello stands as a permanent testimony to the excellence of the players of the period. (Ex. 3). Buonamente’s Libro sesto (1636) contains one unique canonic Canzona a2 for violin and dolzaina.29 Despite Praetorius’s claim to the contrary, it is quite clear that this instrument was not a bassoon since the collection also contains two other pieces specifying fagotto. Even at the end of the century the two instruments maintained an independent existence, for a manuscript document of the Accademia della Morte in Ferrara lists both ‘Signori delli Fagotti’ and ‘Signori delli dolzzagne’ among its members.30 The technical requirements of all these pieces are modest, and the only distinction between them seems to be that of range. The dolzaina only requires DD-c, while the fagotto ranges from CC-d. Klitz argues convincingly that the former is in fact a Bass Pommer or Bombard, an instrument already falling into disuse at the time, for Anastasius Kircher remarks that it was then being superseded by the bassoon.31 This slight problem of identification pales into insignificance besides the bewildering variety of alternatives allotted to the stringed bass, for neither the terminology nor the instruments themselves had achieved the standardization of the trebles. Many collections of the first half of the century offer only the nebulous term basso or the ambiguous viola, while later the equally misleading term violone is used. Other designations include violetta used by Castello as an alternative to the trombone) and bassetto viola which became quite popular around the time of Mazzaferrata’s Sonate (i674d). The former instrument could be a viol, for Lodovico Zacconi so described it in his Prattica di musicaA2 On the other hand, Rovetta (1626a) obligingly adds ‘da brazzo’ in his Canzon prima thus identifying it as a member of the violin family corresponding in compass to 2fs Klitz, ‘Sonatas for Bassoon’, 205. 29 Klitz, ‘A Composition for Dolzaina’, JAMS 24 (1971), 113-18. 30 Bonta,‘Legrenzi, i. 33. 31 Musurgia universalis (Rome, 1650)^.505. 32 2 vols. (Venice, 1592-1622).

The Instrumental Ensemble


the modern viola. The latter term, also used by Colombi (1676b) and Grossi (1679a), would very probably have been taken by a cello, since Giorgio Buoni’s Suonate a due violini e violoncello (i6g3g) is inconsistent between title-page and part-book. At no time in the seventeenth century can the use of the viola da gamba be entirely ruled out, although by the mid-century its inclusion would have certainly been unlikely.33 Buonamente’s Settimo libro (1637b) distinguishes clearly between ‘basso di viola, o da brazzo’, and Ferro (1649c) mentions both violetta da brazzo and viola da gamba. This work appeared while the composer was working at the Austrian court, and it does seem that the gamba was rather more frequently mentioned in works with foreign associations. These include Marini’s Op. VIII (1626m), the product of his period spent at the court of the Duke of Neuberg, and Legrenzi’s La Cetra (1673)) dedicated to the Emperor Leopold I. But against this evidence of continued use must be set the testimonies of a stream of visitors from northern Europe (where the instrument was at the peak of its popularity') who registered their astonishment at its disappearance from Italy. In 1639 Andre Maugars remarked, ‘As for the viol, there is no one at present who excels in it, and it is even played very little in Rome.34 He presumably did not have access to the exalted company of the Casa Barberini which certainly did support a consort of viols.35 Thomas Hill offers an even more categorical assurance of its obsolescence in a letter dated from Lucca, 1 October 1657: ‘The organ and violin they are masters of but the bass viol they have not at all in use, and to supply its place they have the bass violin with four strings and use it as we use the bass viol’.36 In view of so unequivocal a statement it seems difficult to justify the use of the gamba much beyond the mid-century. Among the commonest designations of the stringed bass at this period is violone, a term which has aroused considerable speculation.37 Much confusion arises from the simple fact that even in the eighteenth century the word undoubtedly specified more than one instrument, confirmed by the dictionary, Vocabulario degli Accademici della Crusca (1729): ‘Violone: A low-pitched, large viol which is also called “bass viol”, and when of smaller size “violoncello”.’ 33 P. C. Allsop, ‘The Role of the Stringed Bass as a Continuo Instrument in Italian Seventeenth Century Instrumental MusicJournal of the Viola da Gamba Society, 8 (1978-9), 31-7. 34 C. MacClintock (ed.), Readings in the History of Music in Performance (Bloomington, Ind., 1979), 121. 35 F. Hammond, Girolamo Frescobaldi (Cambridge, Mass., 1983), 105. 36 Quoted in W. H., A. F., and A. E. Hill, Stradivari: His Life and Works. 1644-1737 (London, 1902; rev. edn. 1963), 110. 37 Henry Burnett, ‘The Various Meanings of the Term “Violone” ’ Journal of the Viola da Gamba Society of America, 8 (1971), 29. S. Bonta, ‘Terminology of the Bass Violin in Seventeenth-Century Italy’, JAM IS 4 (1978), 5-42.


Contexts and Concepts

In the sixteenth century the term was of course the one used in connection with the viol consort, and Adriano Banchieri still used it to describe the lowest members of the family, basso and contrabasso.38 It is however extremely unlikely that most parts marked violone were taken by a viol da gamba since in the case of the bass instrument the lowest string would be redundant, while the contrabass would be incapable of playing the low CCs so often required in the sonata repertory, and furthermore the top string (D) would only be used as an open string. Presumably the large size of this instrument would also have made it extremely difficult for it to play the florid concertante parts, and in any case, as Bonta remarks, the combination of two high trebles with a very low bass would surely have produced some very bizarre sonorities. This assumption seems reasonable enough, but Cazzati’s Sonate, Op. XXXV (1665a), disconcertingly offers the option of ‘tiorba o contrabasso’ rather than his usual choice of violone. Only in Venice does the term violone seem regularly to apply to the large instrument, but then the normal designation of the melodic instrument in the collections of Legrenzi (1673]) and Fedeli (1685) is ‘viola’. There is also little doubt that the term violone was applied to members of the violin family long before the reference in the Vocabulario della crusca. Again, inconsistencies within collections clearly equate it with the viola da brazza and, by the seventeenth century, with the cello or its derivatives. Bononcini’sy4nc e correnti (1678a) gives ‘violone’ on the title-page, ‘violoncello’ in the part-book, and ‘violoncino’ in the Estense Library manuscript. One particularly conclusive piece of evidence concerns the famous Bolognese instrumentalist G. B. Vitali, who from his Op. I (1666a) describes himself consistently as ‘sonatore di violone da brazzo’, whereas the records of San Petronio refer to him variously as a player of the violonlino and violoncino, and when he left to take up an appointment in Modena, the Chapter sought for a replacement ‘being vacant the position of violoncello, through the departure of Gio. Batt. Vitali’.39 Furthermore, one manuscript containing biographies of members of the Accademia Filarmonica written shortly after his death extols his virtues on the instrument: ‘Fte applied himself with so much love to the study of the violoncello that he aroused the admiration of players and composers with his compositions.’40 It seems hardly feasible that Vitali played three different instruments all sounding at the same pitch. The term violoncello itself did not become popular until it was widely disseminated in the works of Bolognese composers such as Arresti (16665c), Albergati (1683c), G. B. Degli Antonii (1687a), and Torelli (i687d). Before 38 Conclusioni nelsuono dell’organo (Bologna, 1609; facs. edn. New York, 1975), 53-4. 39 A. Schnoebelen, ‘The Concerted Mass at San Petronio in Bologna’ (Ph.D. Univ. of Illinois, 1966), 60. 40 This MS is located in an uncatalogued folio entitled ‘L’Accademia Filarmonica’ in the Biblioteca Comunale, Bologna.

The Instrumental Ensemble


then, violoncino was preferred. Its earliest occurence was the list of options on the title-page of Fontana’s posthumous sonatas of 1641b. However, in the letter to the reader of his Musiche sacre (1656a), Cavalli still thought it necessary to comment on its use: ‘I advise you that the part of the Violoncino (which will be good with the violins competing against each other) can be employed or omitted at leisure.’ This must surely imply that the instrument was still something of a novelty in mid-century Venice. The invention of this more versatile small-sized violone may well have been closely associated with experiments in the use of wire-wound bottom strings which allowed equivalent tension from a shorter string length.41 By far the commonest alternatives to violone on the title-pages of the latter part of the century were not bowed instruments but members of the lute family.42 Again, indiscriminate application of nomenclature has been responsible for much needless distortion over the years, although some foreign contemporaries may have been just as guilty in this respect. With the familiar exception of Bernardi, whose Aladrigaletti (162if) mentions chitarrone on the title-page, tiorba in the table of contents, and liuto over Canzon 5 aj, most composers are fairly consistent in their usage. ‘Chitarrone’ is the preferred term in ensemble sonatas from Salamon Rossi (1607c) until Fontana (1641b). By then, apart from reprints, teorba had been widely adopted from the North to Bologna. Further south in Rome, until the time of Mannelli’s Sonate, Op. Ill (1692)), leuto remained normal, strongly challenged by arciliuto after Corelli’s Op. I (1681 a), and by the end of the century this was the most widely accepted alternative bass instrument from Rome to Venice. However, the Bolognese editions of Corelli’s works (1682I1) still retain the theorbo, an indication of its continued popularity in Bologna. Of these instruments, the chitarrone and theorbo appear to be identical for all practical purposes, but they differed from other large lutes of the seventeenth century in several important respects, especially the tuning of the upper strings. The distinction is succinctly summarized by Praetorius: ‘At present the lute most often has a long neck almost like a theorbo . . . there is no particular difference between the lute and the theorbo except that the lute has double courses over the fingerboard whereas the theorbo exclusively uses single courses, and on the theorbo the two highest strings must be tuned down an octave.’43 The arciliuto, claimed to be the invention of Alessandro Piccinini, was 41 S. Bonta, ‘From Violone to Violoncello: A Question of Strings?’, JfAMIS 3 (1977). (>4~9942 Robert Spencer, ‘Chitarrone, Theorbo, and Archlute’, EM 4/4 (1976), 407-23, and Douglas Alton Smith, ‘On the Origin of the Chitarrone’, JAMS 32/3 (1979), 440-62. I am grateful to Nigel North for help with this section. 43 Syntagma musicum, ii. de organographia (Volfenbiittel, 1618—19), 50— i- The pagination in these vols. is very erratic. This vol. has been trans. and ed. D. Z. Crookes (Oxford, 1986).


Contexts and Concepts

a derivative of the lute with similar tuning.44 Its rise to popularity was quickest in those centres such as Rome which had previously favoured the lute rather than the theorbo since it retained the same fingering as the lute. Despite the persistent mention of the lute in the generic sense throughout the century, there is little evidence of its widespread use in ‘trio’ ensembles in Northern Italy much before the 1680s. Rossi’s choice of the chitarrone in his Sinfonie is unique even among his fellow Mantuans. One should regard with suspicion those sets of Bernardi (162if) and Fontana (1641b) which include ‘lutes’ in the intentionally comprehensive lists on title-pages. The theorbo appears to have established itself in the Bolognese Sonatas of Cazzati in the 1660s, and 1669 saw the publication of Giovanni Pittoni’s two collections each with twelve Sonatas for solo theorbo and continuo (1669b, e). By the end of the century it was included in Bolognese publications by such composers as Corelli (1682I1), Albergati (1683c), Mazzolini (i687g), Penna (1673O, and Torelli (1686a). In Rome the leuto was certainly used regularly in sonatas by the mid¬ century and probably long before. The celebrated lutenist Girolamo Kapsburger recommends lute, chitarrone, cembalo, and harp for the bass instruments in his Sinfonie 04 (1615m). Maugars’s description of the ensemble in the church of San Marcello mentions two or three archlutes.45 The earliest dated work of the important lutenist composer Lelio Colista is a Sinfonia scored for lutes, guitar, theorbo, and harp,46 while leuto is the most mentioned bass instrument in the works of his kinsman Carlo Mannelli (1682a 1692)'). As early as 1629 there is documentary evidence that the ensemble of two violins and theorbo was known in Rome, for the archives of the church of Santo Spirito in Saxia record payment made to Lionardo del Violino, Antonillo del Violino, and Gioseppe della Thiorba for services rendered.47 It is therefore hardly surprising that Corelli’s Sonatas should follow Roman fashion in offering the alternatives of violone or archlute as the third melodic instrument. 1

Agazzari’s treatise Del sonare sopra 7 basso (1607O had ascribed two roles to members of the lute family within his large ensemble—the first, as a foundation to provide the harmony, the second, as a melodic instrument of ornamentation similar to the violin. Flowever, apart from the four collections of Salamon Rossi (1607c, i6o8h, i623a/i3, 1622b) which specify the chitarrone, describing it as ‘istromento da corpo’ in the first volume, the instances in which it assumes the former function in abstract ‘trio’ sonatas are rare indeed and its primary function 44 A. Piccinini, Intavolatura di liuto, et di chitarrone, Bk. I, ch. 34, ‘Dell’Arciliuto, e dell’inventore d’esso’ (Bologna, 1623). 45 MacClintock, (ed.), Readings, 119. 46 This appears as an example in A. Kircher, Musttrgia universalis (Rome, 1650). 47 Antonio Allegra, ‘La cappella musicale di S. Spirito in Saxia di Roma: Appunti storici 6551-1737)’, NA 17 (1940), 26-38.

The Instrumental Ensemble


was to provide the third melodic strand in the aj texture on a par with the two treble instruments.48 This does not imply that the lutenist would not have supplied his own harmonies, but there is little evidence that it was considered a suitable choice of independent continuo instrument. As a subtle and unobtrusive harmonic background to the songs of Caccini it was unrivalled, but it was less well suited to the fuller sonorities and wide-ranging continuo parts of the sonata aj. Agostino Guerrieri’s Sonate (1673c) offers a further clue to this rejection, since the Sonatas La Rosciana and La Benedetta suggest as an alternative to the organ a ‘teorba e basso di viola’. The implication must surely be that a bowed instrument was required to compensate for the lack of sustaining power of the theorbo, and this might well have been considered a major drawback. The preface to Francesco Turini’s Madrigali (1629) makes the position absolutely clear: ‘the chitarrone alone without the keyboard leaves the middle register of the accompaniment too empty, especially in ties and suspensions, and even more in the high parts; and to play in the lower octave does not have a good effect. . .’.49 By definition the basso continuo was expected to provide a solid and continuous harmonic framework to the ensemble, and not the light arpeggiated accompaniment of the theorbo and archlute. Most collections of the first half of the century do not specify any particular basso continuo but on the few occasions when designation is precise that instrument is the organ, and by the end of the century it is mentioned in nearly even' set of free sonatas. This by no means implies a da chiesa performance, since organs were also used as chamber instruments. Merula describes himself on the title-page of his Primo libro de Motetti, e sonate (i624d) as ‘organista di chiesa e di camera’ at the Italianate court of Poland, and the music room of the Accademia Filarmonica at Bologna contained an organ with seven pedals and eight stops.50 Other keyboard instruments, such as the optional spineta and clavicembalo mentioned in Castello’s Sonate concertate (162m and i62gf respectively), occur with such infrequency as to suggest that they were considered a poor substitute, and by the end of the century are almost never encountered. There is no doubt that the normal accompanying instrument for free sonatas in the seventeenth century was the organ. It is nowadays taken for granted that any ensemble would automatically have required the support of a harmonic continuo instrument. This was by no means 48 There is indeed no absolute reason to suppose that Rossi’s use of the term ‘da corpo’ signifies a harmonic instrument. See T. Borgir, Performance of the Basso Continuo, 54. 49 Quoted in S. J. Mangsen, ‘Instrumental Duos and Trios in Printed Italian Sources, 1600-1675 (Ph.D. Cornell Univ., 1989), i. 434-5. 50 A list of instruments donated to the Academy is given in ch. 4 of N. Morini, La R. Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna (Bologna, 1930).


Contexts and, Concepts

always the case since much dance music of the period was composed for two violins and violone without continuo—a combination which met with the usual disbelief when exported abroad. G. M. Bononcini’sHne, e correnti (1678a) which has no continuo part was published by Walsh with a ‘Thorough Bass for Harpsichord’ (London, 01700). Unaccompanied string music constitutes an important part of his output, and this was no mere expedient in the absence of a keyboard instrument, for he expressly states in the violone part-book of his Arie a violino e violone (1671c) that ‘One should bear in mind that the violone will produce a better effect than the spinet since the basses are more appropriate to the former than the latter instrument.’ However, there can be little doubt that in most free sonatas a continuo instrument was intended, the only notable exceptions being Buonamente’s Books IV (i626d), V (1629a), and VII (163yd), which were designated specifically for strings and contain no keyboard part. The Sonate et canzoni (1636) mentions basso continuo on the title-page and includes a part-book with figured bass. If the inclusion of a harmonic instrument was almost obligatory in free sonatas, the introduction of the figured bass was not without some opposition. Several instrumental composers expressed their disapproval of it as little more than a short cut for idle organists. In his Canzoni (1613d), Merula stressed that he considered it as an unsatisfactory substitute for a full score: ‘For the greater facility of the Signori Organisti a Basso Continuo has been added to the present Canzoni, I am nevertheless in favour of scoring them.’ Viadana, Diruta, and Banchieri all endorse the view that it is the responsibility of the conscientious accompanist to score the parts and play from his copy,51 and on a number of occasions the publisher actually went to the expense of having a score printed.52 In the preface to the 1628 edition of Frescobaldi’s Primo libro delle canzoni (1628!), Bartolomeo Grassi explains that he had published a partitura because he considered it essential for the performers to be able to see all the parts. If this were still the custom, it would to some extent explain the extremely sparse figuring common in the first half of the century. A Milanese anthology. Flores praestantissimorum vivorum (i626n), presents six of the seven canzonas in full score without figures while these are supplied for the seventh—a keyboard reduction.53 No instrumental composer ever provided the meticulously figured continuo parts of the early monodists. Even in the mid-century, chords are frequently indicated by a single figure, and the third is represented as ‘3’ irrespective of whether it is major or minor. This must have led to a certain 51 The appropriate passages are all given in F. T. Arnold, The Art of Accompaniment from a Thorough-Bass (Oxford, 1931), 80-1. 52 See e.g. Cima (i6iod) and Corradini (1624a). 53 Mangsen, Duos and Trios, i. 122.

The Instrumental Ensemble


amount of confusion in performance. It has been suggested that performers relied instead on a number of unwritten conventions governing the choice of chord,54 as codified by theorists such as Lorenzo Penna, whose Li primi alberi musicali contains the fullest account of continuo realization of the late seventeenth century,55 but this necessarily relates to the music of its own day and whether it is applicable to that of an earlier period is open to question. A principal contribution of the Bologna school of which Penna was part was the stereotyping of harmonic formulas constructed over stock bass patterns which produced the universal language of the eighteenth century. These rules should not be applied indiscriminately to earlier composers such as Biagio Marini, who frequently chooses far less tonal solutions. The imposition of such conventions as the harmonization of falling fifths and rising fourths in the bass with a major third on the first note would have very unfortunate consequences in such passages as Ex. 33. If it were still the custom to score the parts, many of these problems would not have arisen. Alternatively, to avoid the laborious task of scoring, much greater exactitude would have been necessary in the figuring. It was perhaps inevitable that the simple expedient of adding a figured bass would prevail, but the more completely figured parts after 1650 still served precisely the same function of enabling the accompanist to produce a fairly exact duplication of the upper voices. This type of realization, deriving from the practices of the previous century, survived much later than is generally supposed. An examination of figured basses as late as those of Corelli confirms that over 90 per cent of all figures merely duplicate the violin parts (except in solo passages), and additional harmonies are supplied by the continuo very rarely. Further proof is provided by the figuring of fugal entries in such works as Cazzati’s La Lachenetta (1665 a), the nicety and precision of which can only imply that an almost exact replica was required in the accompaniment right from the start of the composition (Ex. 4). This may conflict with present-day theories of realization but it is confirmed by Penna: . . . one begins the fugue with one part, then the second enters, followed by the third, etc., it is therefore necessary to advise the beginner to commence the fugue with one finger only, playing the same notes as the part which begins the fugue . . . Afterw ards, when the second part enters play with tw o fingers, and likewise when the third enters use three fingers, playing the same notes as the given parts.56

He is also most insistent that it was not the role of the continuo player to add imitations and flourishes: ‘When accompanying the instruments that are playing 54 See the Introduction to S. Bonta’s edn. of Legrenzi’s Sonate, Op. II (Cambridge, Mass., 1984), pp. xx— xxxv. 55 Bologna, 1684 (facs. edn. Bologna 1969). 56 Ibid. 187.


Contexts and Concepts

it is not good to introduce movement, otherwise the listeners will not be able to hear the concerto, imitations, calls and rispostes between them’.57 The function of the continuo was clearly to provide a discreet and unobtrusive background to the interplay of the instrumentalists and the performer was not required to indulge his own fancy in the invention of ingenious imitations and embellishments. Another widely held belief that would repay closer scrutiny is the doubling of the continuo part by a melodic bass instrument. This would certainly appear to be justified on the authority of Praetorius: It is particularly to be observed that when two or three voices sing together to the accompaniment of the General Bass which the organist or lutenist has before him and plays from, that it is very good, indeed almost necessary to have the same General Bass played in addition by some bass instrument such as the fagott, Dolcian, or trombone, or what is best of all, a violone.58

This may have been the case in German vocal music, but it is perhaps surprising that no Italian treatise of the period ever mentions such a practice. On the very few occasions that a part-book is provided for a reinforcing instrument the composer almost invariably states that it is entirely optional. This applies to Cazzati’s Suonate (1656c), Mazzaferrata’s Sonate (i674d), and Tonino’s Suonate da chiesa (i6g7d). Tomaso Cecchino actually mentions on the title-page of his Messe . . . con otto sonate (1628c) that the Sonatas are to be accompanied by the organ ‘senza altro istromento basso’. Of the few unequivocal statements to the contrary, Marco Uccellini’s Op. Ill (1642a) concerns not the free sonata but some instrumental dances and arias where the composer suggests that these compositions would be more effective if the keyboard were to be doubled by a violone, but as no such direction is given for the nineteen abstract Sonatas it can only be assumed that this was not considered necessary in their case. For Cazzati’s Sonate (1665a) the existence of two bass part-books does suggest reinforcement, but instances such as this are so few as to suggest this was neither widely practised nor considered necessary.59 In their excessive preoccupation with the new monodic genres, the pioneers of historical research at the turn of this century failed to discriminate between the two functions of harmonic accompaniment and basso seguente, and misconstrued the relationship between the melodic bass and continuo bass in the Sonata aj. Their belief in the supremacy of the thorough-bass principle—that all-embracing determinant of ‘Baroque’ music style—led to the elevation of the bass-line to a position of

57 Bologna, 1684 (facs. edn. Bologna 1969) 198. 38 Syntagma maskum (Wolfenbiittel, 1619), 145. 59 This is the conclusion of T. Borgir in Performance of the Basso Continuo, ch. 3.

The Instrumental Ensemble


undue prominence, whereas it is clear from contemporary' sources that the interest resided principally in the imitative interplay of the melodic voices. In more recent years it has become fashionable to assume an ‘orchestral’ performance of the ‘trio’ sonata with doubling of all parts and even to suggest that this could constitute a fundamental difference between church and chamber styles.60 Like so many theories this is based largely on information dating from the last years of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, but before the 1670s there is no reason to suppose that multiplication of parts was at all common in Italy, either in theatres, churches, or courts. The later years of the century did see a rapid growth of interest in massed ensembles, as witnessed by the Bolognese diarist, Francesco Ghiselli in 1675, ‘The Cardinal Bishop held an Academy in his rooms with more than a hundred players of every kind of instrument.’61 However, there is little evidence that sonatas ca and aj would have suited this need without substantial rewriting. The first unequivocal statement that such duplication took place does not occur until Torelli’s Sinfonie aj e concern a quattro (1692a) where the reader is advised to ‘moltiplicare tutti gl’Instromenti’ in the Concerti. Such a belief does not accord with the state of music in most Italian churches during the century', for one should not be misled by the descriptions of costly patronal celebrations for which major institutions customarily imported musi¬ cians. Even at San Petronio in Bologna, which during Cazzati’s period of office was one of the best funded cappellas in Italy, the normal complement of violins was only two or three,62 and throughout the century this holds good for most other great churches. Since the resources were not available it is hardly credible that maestri di cappella should regularly have conceived their ‘trio’ sonatas orchestrally. In the absence of even a passing reference to the practice of orchestral doubling on title-pages throughout most the century, nor mentions of it in any treatise, the theory must be treated with some caution. If it were not considered appropriate for the continuo player to provide an elaborate accompaniment to the ‘trio’ sonata, neither was it automatically required that the melody parts should be freely graced. The rapid decline in the number of diminution treatises in the early seventeenth century was sympto¬ matic of a general trend towards the exact notation of embellishments. At the end of the previous century some writers had already expressed their disapproval of the extemporizing of contemporary instrumentalists. Bottrigari’s II Desiderio or

k° This is considered at length in Bonta, ‘Legrenzi’, i. 206—11. Also N. Zaslaw, When is an Orchestra not an Orchestra’, EM (Nov. 1988), 483-95. 61 ‘Cronica di Bologna’, 25 Apr. 1675 (MS in the Biblioteca Universitaria, Bologna). 62 A. Schnoebelen, ‘Performance Practice at San Petronio in the Baroque’, AM 41 (1969), 42-3.


Contexts and Concepts

concerning the playing together of various instruments (Venice, I592) contains a particularly outspoken condemnation of the practice: Because of the presumptuous audacity of performers who try to invent passaggi, I will not say sometimes but almost continuously, all trying to move at the same time as if in a passage-making contest, and sometimes showing their own virtuosity so far from the counterpoint of the musical composition they have before them, that they become entangled in their dissonance, it is inevitable that an insupportable confusion should occur.63

Bottrigari was referring to the large ad hoc ensembles, but his objections were shared by composers of music for smaller combinations. In the prefatory letter to his Concerti ecclesiastici (i6iod) Cima politely requests the ‘Benign Reader’ to restrain from adding anything beyond accenti and trilli, and the extensive writtenout passaggi make this unnecessary. A far more extreme view of the liberties taken by instrumentalists was expressed by G. M. Bononcini in the preface to his Sonate da chiesa, 1672a: Nowadays there are some of so little intelligence in the Art, that when they sing or play they always wish with their ill-ordered and indiscreet caprices of Bow or Voice, to alter or deform compositions (however carefully made) so that the authors have become obliged to ask these singers and players to sing and play things simply as they are written.64

Despite these vitriolic remarks, Bononcini did condone a limited amount of gracing, restricted to trills and gruppi. In his Arie (1671c) he does in fact take the trouble to add his own embellishments, and these at least provide a suitable model for the ornamentation of other slow movements (Ex. 5). Such ornaments do not occur in any of the ‘trio’ sonatas, and in view of his own forthright condemnation the only conclusion to be drawn is that he did not intend similar embellishments to be added to them. If elaborate gracing was more appropriate in solo music, this would then presumably apply to the lengthy solo sections contained in many ‘trio’ sonatas of the period. Those of Castello and Fontana are fully notated, but Uccellini frequently includes long passages largely in white note values for a single instrument. Very occasionally these are replaced by florid solos, and it must at least be possible that they represent isolated examples of a notated improvisatory practice that should be applied to the other solos (Ex. 6a-b). On the other hand, both Ottaviomaria Grandi (Sonata 4, i628d) and Frescobaldi (1628)) precede entire compositions with the direction ‘come sta’, and this must at least imply 63 In MacClintock (ed. and trans.), Musicological Studies, 61. 64 Trans, in W. Klenz, Giovanni Maria Bononcini of Modena (Durham, NC, 1962), 75.

The Instrumental Ensemble


that the other works in each set should be embellished. Finally, the ensemble works of both Colista and Guerrieri contain rudimentary bass patterns over which the melodic instruments were to improvise complete solo sections (Ex. 7 a-b)f5 Occasionally the performer is presented with written instructions the meaning of which are not at all clear, the most common of which are tremolo and affeto or affetti. The first instance of the former occurs in Marini’s La Foscarina (1617c), which specifies tremolo con Varco, and other instances are encountered throughout the century. From contemporary sources it is quite clear that the term was capable of various interpretations. Francesco Rognoni in his Selva de varii passaggi (Milan, 1620c, d) describes it as a short grace leading to a long note in singing, and warns against those who produce it ‘without termination as if they were goats’.66 The second part of the same work mentions certain instrument¬ alists who ‘make tremoli with their fingers which forms the note itself (surely a reference to vibrato!) and then describes a second type of tremolo made with the finger above the one that is playing, corresponding to the illustration in Diruta’s II Transilvano, 1 (Ex. 8).67 More recent definitions have been based on the precarious assumption that the semantic relationship with the word in its modern sense implies a musical relationship, usually supported by a reference to Monteverdi’s measured semiquavers in his Eighth Book of Madrigals (i638d), even though the composer never mentions the term. Sections marked tremolo occur in the works of eight major composers and, with few exceptions, they are similar in style. Each consists of groups of repeated quavers, not infrequently slurred in fours. This accounts for movements over a considerable period of time from G. Usper (1619a). Uccellini (1642a), and Colombi (1676b) (Ex. 9a-c). It is most unlikely that a manner of performance approaching the modern conception would have been required, since this would have been almost impossible on some of the wind instruments specified. In fact, there is no reason to assume that additional interpretation is intended beyond the notation itself, for similar terms in sonatas of the period are not directions but observations, and there are indeed many movements identical in style which bear no description. On the other hand, the slow-moving passages in Marini (1617c), Merula (16390/32?), and Uccellini clearly require some additional interpretation (Ex. 9d-f). It is just possible that Merula was indicating the use of vibrato, but as Marini specifies tremolo con I’arco, this could not apply to his example. Furthermore the continuo part in this Sonata gives the direction ‘metti 65 E. McCrickard supplies further examples of this practice in ‘The Roman Repertory for the Violin before the Time of Corelli’, EM (Nov. 1990), 57366 Facs. edn. Bologna, 1970. 67 Venice, 1593; facs. edn. Bologna, 1969. The tremolo is discussed from iorto i2r.


Contexts and Concepts

il tremolo’ and Stewart Carter argues convincingly that the keyboard player is to activate the tremulant stop common on seventeenth-century organs. This is supported by two conclusive accounts of the practice from German sources. Carlo Farina in his Capriccio stravagante (Dresden, 1627a) explains that ‘the tremolo is done with a pulsating of the hand which has the bow, imitating the organ tremulant’, and Andreas Hammerschmidt’s Musicalischer Andachter, dritter Theil (1638) instructs the violinist to ‘play four notes in one stroke with your bow (like the tremulants in an organ)’. It is therefore probable that these white-note examples are shorthand for the fully notated versions, all of which imitate the slow undulations of the organ tremulant.68 The indications ajfetto and ajfetti occur with much less frequency and it is therefore more difficult to arrive at a satisfactory interpretation. With the exception of Buonamente, their use is mainly confined to composers connected with Venice—Marini, Castello, Scarani, and (later) Legrenzi. In contrast to the movements marked tremolo, these are applied to passages in widely different styles, united only by their slow tempos. Both Castello’s Sonata 3 a2 (162 m) and Legrenzi’s Sonata 1 (1673)) are notable for their astringent harmonies, while Scarani’s movements (1630b) contain unusual melodic progressions (Ex. loa-c). Conversely, Marini’s Sonata 1 (1626m) and Buonamente’s Sonata 4 (1636) consist of rather bland chordal progressions (Ex. 10d-e). It may be significant that those movements which are characterized by some peculiarity of melodic or harmonic idiom employ the term ajfetto while those of Marini and Buonamente use ajfetti. It could be that the former is an observation while the latter is a direction, and Francesco Rognoni provides at least one possible interpretation of it as a bowing style entitled ‘7/ lireggiare ajfettuoso, cioe, con ajfettf-. ‘The same as that described above with regards to the bow [i.e. slurred], but it is necessary that the wrist of the hand that holds the bow beats all the notes as if jumping, one after another.’69 Rognoni illustrates this in the bowing study which follows but it is difficult to imagine how it would have been applied to Marini’s example (Ex. 11).

68 S. Carter,‘The String Tremolo in the 17th Century’ EM (Feb. 1991), 43-59. 69 Selva de variipassaggi (Milan, 1620; fasc. edn. Bologna, 1970), ii. 3.

Genre and Function From the time of Praetorius until the present day, many attempts have been made to decipher the various meanings—real or imaginary—implied by the multifarious titles of early seventeenth-century Italian instrumental music. As it happens, the only terms to occur with any frequency in the abstract ‘trio’ sonata were Sinfonia, Canzona, and Sonata, and the attempts at precise categorization of this nomenclature has given rise to much distortion and misrepresentation. One symptom of this is the frequent renaming of works which has continued unabated from the time of Riemann until the present day. Schering renamed Biagio Marini’s Symfonia a violino solo (1617c) as ‘sonata’,1 as did Bukofzer in the case of a Sinfonia of Salamon Rossi (1607c).2 Such instances reveal a preconceived notion of genre evidently not shared by the composer, with the inevitable result that much unnecessary confusion has arisen between the original usage and that of the present day. This problem was fully acknowledged by William S. Newman in The Sonata in the Baroque Era, who attempted to circumvent these pitfalls by taking a largely semantic approach which aimed to relate the ‘history of a single term, by whatever principles it might be governed’.3The overriding drawback of the semantic approach, however, lies in its automatic exclusion of much stylistically related music simply on the grounds that the composer had chanced upon some designation other than ‘Sonata’. For example, Maurizio Cazzati’s collection of 1648 is entitled Sonate, despite the fact that several individual pieces are headed Canzone in the table of contents. Such inconsistencies are indeed frequent in the seventeenth century. Stefano Bernardi refers to alcune Canzoni on the title-page of his Motetti (1613d) whereas the index lists them as Sonate, and one composition is entitled ‘Sonata Sesta in Sinfonia’. Conversely, his Madrigaletti (162if) refers to Sonate in the title but Canzoni in the index. One intriguing collection for solo violin and continuo by Gabriele Puliti is entitled Fantasie, scherzi et capricci da suonarsi in forma di canzone (1624I). Such indiscriminacy is widespread throughout the century, occurring in the works of Picchi (1625b), 1 Geschichte derMusik in Beispielen (Leipzig, 1931), no. 182. 2 Music in the Baroque Era (New York, 1947), exx. 13, 53. 3 The Sonata in the Baroque Era (4th edn. New York, 1983), 5.


Contexts and Concepts

Merula (i628g), Colombi (1673a), Bassani (1683a), Torelli (1687c), Borri (1688b), Vannini (1691a), and Albinoni (iyoog). Furthermore, many composers equate terms in their overall titles. Banchieri’s two collections of 1603a and i6o7d are respectively entitled Fantasie overo canzoni francesi and Ecclesiastiche Sinfonie dette canzoni in aria francese. Merula’s Terzo libro (1637a) is described as Canzoni, overo sonate concertate, while Marco Uccellini’s collection of 1649b is entitled Sonate over canzoni. The inescapable conclusion to be drawn from so large a number of inconsistencies is that many composers implied no clear-cut distinction of genre in the designations of their instrumental compositions. Nevertheless, the possibility that others did so discriminate cannot easily be dismissed when so ardent an advocate of Italian music as Praetorius expressly defined each classification as early as 1619 in the third volume of his Syntagma musicum.4 These familiar definitions represent the fullest account of each genre in the early seventeenth century. The sinfonia according to Praetorius, was evidently a broad category of contrasting types: Sinfonia, as was indicated above, is understood by the Italians to mean a free full concentus, composed in the manner of a toccata, Pavan, Galliard or other similar harmony with 4.5.6 or more parts on instruments alone without the use of voices. The same is also used now and then at the beginning and also the middle of a concert of choral songs like a Praeambulatura on the organ. It may moreover be similar to that understood under the term of Ripieno, Retornello, etc. as in the Eighth Chapter of this Third Volume.5

The definition of the canzona applies to a more restricted category and denotes a particular texture and specific formal structure: ‘There are also a few (compositions) without text composed with short fugues and artful fantasies for etc. voices. There the first fugue is usually repeated and used as an ending. These are also called canzonen or canzoni. Many beautiful canzonas have been published in Italy, above all those of Gio. Gabrieli.’6 This distinction is further amplified in the discussion of the sonata where, for the first time in any theoretical source, Praetorius draws a clear distinction between the two: The sonata a sonando is so named because it is performed as the canzonas are, not with human voices but solely by instruments. Very lovely (examples) are to be found in the canzonibus and symphonies of Giovanni Gabrieli and other authors. In my opinion the distinction lies in this: the sonatas are made to be grave and imposing in the manner of 4 Wolfenbiittel, 1619. 5 Ibid. 24. Trans, from T. D. Dunn, ‘The Instrumental Music of Biagio Marini’, 2 vols. (Ph.D. Yale Univ., 1969). 6 Ibid. 17.

Genre and Function


the motet, whereas the canzonas have many black notes running briskly, gaily and rapidly through them.7

Praetorius based his definitions on the limited supply of Italian compositions at his disposal—especially those of Gabrieli. The first definition of the sinfonia as a large-scale composition refers to such collections as Viadana’s Sinfonie musicali a8 (1610a) and Banchieri’s Ecclesiastiche sinfonie (i6o7d). This usage was very infrequently applied to ‘trio’ compositions in the first half of the century, although Bartolomeo Mont’Albano did use it as the title for his collection of i629d. The second definition as a functional piece too short to warrant independent performance is perhaps the most consistent of all the terminology of the period, being used in this sense by Rossi, Marini, Buonamente, and many others.8 The definitions of canzona and sonata may again have been based on the works of Giovanni Gabrieli whose four Canzoni 04 in the Raverij collection (i6o8f) exemplify Praetorius’s conception of a lively fugal piece on spritely themes, and all but one do indeed conclude with a recapitulation of the first fugue. This association of the canzona with a da capo is endorsed by Adriano Banchieri in his Moderna armonia di canzoni cdla francese (1612a): ‘When the sign .S. is reached there will be a cadenza media (according to the manner of the Canzone alia francese) upon which one returns to the beginning until the said sign which marks the conclusion.’ ‘Sonata’ was relatively little used before 1619, and Praetorius could well have been referring to the solemn and imposing pieces found in Gabrieli’s Sacrae symphoniae (1597c). The ‘other authors’ may have included Cesario Gussago (i6o8j), Salamon Rossi (1607c), and G. B. Riccio (1620b), all of whom composed compositions fitting this definition, which therefore appears to have had some validity in the first few decades of the century. Even within the Venetian orbit alone, Praetorius’s classifications had already outlived their usefulness by the time his treatise was published. The diminuitive ‘Sonatas’ in Marc’Antonio Negri’s Affetti amorosi (i6nd) would correspond more closely to the definition of ‘Sinfonia’—especially as they are included among a collection of madrigals, and Riccio’s sedate Sonata a4 (1620b) is actually subtitled Canzon. Even the usage in Gabrieli’s posthumous Canzoni e sonate (1615!) had already become ambiguous. Whereas Sonata 18 continues the style of the earlier set, Sonata 19 employs melodic idioms more commonly associated with the canzona, with its preponderance of repeated note rhythmic patterns, and at times the floridness of the instrumental parts rivals that of the canzonas. Nor can any significance be attached to the massive scorings for 7 Ibid. 171. Trans, from Newman, SBE 23. 8 The most thorough study of the term and its applications is Franco Piperno, ‘La Sinfonia strumentale del primo seicento’, i and ii, Studi musicali, 4 (1975), 145-68; 5 (1976), 95-141.


Contexts and Concepts

fourteen to twenty-two voices, for the collection also contains the Sonatta con tre violini. From the outset, therefore, compositions for small ensembles appeared under a variety of designations, and the numerous instances of inconsistency and equation obviously preclude precise categorization. Nevertheless, the belief in the existence of some tangible distinction between ‘canzona-style’ and ‘sonatastyle’, however nebulous and hard to define, still underlies much recent thought on the subject. Most of these alleged distinctions arise from mistaken attempts to compare disparate regional developments, and even different periods, rather than the actual significance of the terms at a specific time in a given location. ‘Canzona’, for instance, is often equated with the earliest examples of the genre such as those contained in the Libro primo de canzoni da sonare (repr. 1584a) of the Brescian composer, Florentio Maschera. In these the origins of the Canzona francese are still very much apparent since many plagiarize actual chanson melodies, incorporating such typical features as the dactylic repeated note incipits, largely stepwise movement, and restricted melodic and rhythmic compass. Each piece forms a single continuous unit in which coherence is maintained by the homogeneity of the thematic material and sometimes through sectional repetition. Textures are predominantly imitative, only occasionally relieved by short homophonic passages. ‘Sonatas’, on the other hand, are generally seen as embodying the most radical trends of the period. Marini’s Sonata La Foscarina (1617c) contains the first known mention of tremolo, while the ‘curious and modern inventions’ of his Op. VIII (1626m) includes such novelties as a Sonata d’inventione employing scordatura, a Sonata in ecco for three violins, two of which are to be hidden from view, a Sonata senza cadenza, and a Sonata per sonar due corde. Dario Castello explicitly equates the stil moderno with virtuosity in the preface of his first book of Sonate concertate (1629c).9 These sonatas therefore embody some of the most extreme practices of the period and certainly differ substantially from Maschera’s Canzoni, but this in no way implies any intrinsic characteristics in the designations themselves. Compositions entitled ‘Canzona’ in the fifty years after 1580 encompass a multitude of diverse styles. Within the Venetian context most music for small ensembles, however named, represents the more experimental trends of the day. Such innovations as the tremolo and echo effects occur not only in the Sonatas but also in G. B. Riccio’s Canzona La Pichi in ecco con il tremolo (1620b). Copious dynamic markings, explicit instrumental idioms, and contrasts of solo and tutti are to be found in Venetian Canzonas as well as Sonatas, while the unsurpassed virtuosity of Castello’s Sonate concertate merely accentuates a trend already well established in the Venetian Canzona of the late sixteenth century. Nor is the 9 Seep.33.

Genre and Function


Canzona for small ensembles necessarily associated with polyphonic textures, for no works are more thoroughgoing in their rejection of contrapuntal procedures than those of Riccio for two treble instruments and continuo which bear this title. Even the association of Canzona with a da capo on which Banchieri and Praetorius insist is no reliable guide, since it is also present in Marini’s Sonata La Foscarina (1617c). It would seem that with regard to the small ensemble Italian designations implied few easily discernible divisions of genre, but this may not have been the case with larger combinations. Marini’s Op. I offered few clues to his intended distinctions if any, but there can be little doubt that in his Op. VIII (dedicated from Germany in 1626) he did differentiate between them. Whereas the Sonatas are all scored for a2 and aj combinations, the Canzonas call for four to six instruments. Rather than the through-composed patchwork structures of most of his Sonatas, nearly all the Canzonas return to the repetition schemes so common in the works of Maschera. Nowhere is the conservative aspect of these compositions more apparent than in the restrained melodic style of Canzone 6, which forms a striking contrast with the exuberant and dashing rhythms of the Sonatas (Ex. 12). This represents the most retrospective aspect of Marini’s style and clearly reflects his Brescian ancestry, and it is precisely because his musical development bridges two regional schools that the contrast of old and new is so acute. In a sense his discrimination in later sets compounds the mystery, for it is clear that even within the works of a single composer one can expect no consistency of usage, let alone between divergent musical traditions. Although beyond the scope of a study of the ‘small ensemble’, it is worth bearing in mind that Uccellini also preferred the designation ‘Canzona’ for larger ensembles.10 The term ‘Canzona’ as an overall title for an instrumental collection fell into disuse after 1650, and in an organ collection of 1687I1, the Neapolitan composer, Gregorio Strozzi, actually drew attention to its redundancy, since the first Sonata is headed ‘detta da altri impropriamente canzona francese’. It still survived as a heading for the fugal movement of a sonata—a connection established as early as the Tabulatur Buck (1607) of Bernhardt Schmidt which is subtitled Volgen zwolf Fugen oder (ivie die Italiener nennen) Canzoni alia francesi. Although it appears for the first time in this context in Marco Uccellini’s Sonata 4 (1639b), its most widespread application is in the works of the Roman composers of the second half of the century, being used by Colista, Stradella, and Mannelli, then taken up elsewhere by Pietro Sanmartini (1688a), G. A. Avitrano (1697a), and others. This was the definition known to the English composers Young and Purcell,11 and is also acknowledged by Brossard: ‘The 10 His Ozio regio (i 66od) contains 17 Senate ai-j followed by 4 Senate over Canzoni 04. 11 Newman, SBE, 213.


Contexts and Concepts

term canzone, when found in sonatas serves to indicate that the airs over which they are placed are lively, like the ordinary fugues marked Allegro in the sonatas.’ With the redundancy of the title ‘Canzona’, ‘Sonata’ became the most usual designation in Northern Italy, but ironically just as it assumed the ascendancy its supremacy was challenged by ‘Sinfonia’. This had long been the accepted term for lengthy independent compositions in Rome, and as such it occurs in manuscripts of Colista, Stradella, and Lonati, but after the publication of Corelli’s Op. I (1681a) even indigenous composers such as Mannelli changed to ‘Sonata’. Further north, the vogue for ‘Sinfonia’ seems to have begun with Uccellini’s two sets (i66gd/6i?, i667g), followed by other members of the Modenese school, including Colombi (1673a), Bassani (1683a), and Giovanni Bononcini (168yd, e). By the end of the century it had spread to Bologna in the works of Torelli (1687c) and Sanmartini (1688a). In the great majority of cases this is entirely synonymous with ‘Sonata’. Of the more exotic terms, the title Sonate concertate occurs with sufficient frequency to warrant comment. It first appears as the title of Gastello’s two collections, 162 m and 1629^ and was then taken up by the Mantuan monk, Giuseppe Scarani, who had just moved to Venice. Elsewhere, Tarquinio Merula, who was well aware of the Venetian style, used it for the overall title of the Libro terzo delle canzoni overo sonate concertate (1637a). While never approaching the extravagances of Castello, this collection contrasts so markedly with Merula’s previous set of Canzoni (16390/32?) as almost to suggest a parallel with the antico and moderno of vocal music. The obvious semantic link with ‘concerto’ has prompted the speculation that a stylistic affinity may exist between these works and the later form, much aided by Praetorius’s well-known derivation of the word from the verb concertare, ‘to fight or contend’.12 The contrast of solo and tutti is indeed a prominent feature of the relevant collections of Merula and Castello, whose Sonata 17 (1629^ actually uses the terms solo and insieme in the continuo part. This definition could hardly apply to the two solo sonatas in this collection, and furthermore such contrast is totally lacking in Scarani’s collection. On the other hand, many works entitled ‘Canzona’ also exploit solo/tutti contrast as do numerous later ‘Sonatas’ which never mention concertato. ‘Concerto’ and its various derivatives is in fact one of the most nebulous terms of the period, being applied to both vocal and instrumental music, and at the end of the century Torelli could still apply it to ‘trio’ compositions (i686d). As late as 1689, the Bolognese theorist, Angelo Berardi, treats the term with a considerable degree of interchangeability: ‘The concertos 12 See C. Palisca’s refutation of Praetorius’s derivation in ‘The Meaning of Concerto’, Baroque Music (2nd edn. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1981), 65-8.

Genre and Function


for violin and other instruments are called Sinfonie; today those of Arcangelo Corelli, new orpheus of our time, are highly esteemed.’13 The only feature that all lour sets of Sonate concertate have in common is the desire for modernity, and there is little reason to suppose that the composers intended to imply otherwise. In his Musico prattico Bononcini contrasts the strict observance of the rules of prima prattica composers such as Palestrina with the freer concertato practices of secular compositions and Sinfonias.14 Just as considerations of numerical designation and genre have been much distorted by succeeding generations, so the true assessment of the functions of the free sonata has been bedevilled by notions deriving from later practices. Much of this distortion springs from the uncritical application of concepts from the immediate post-Corellian period to music of an earlier date. Thus Brossard's definition—the fullest account of a foreigner’s view of the Italian sonata—is often automatically taken to apply at least throughout the second half of the seventeenth century: The sonata da chiesa differs from that called da camera or Balletti in that the movements of the da chiesa are Adagios or Largos, etc., mixed with fugues that provide the Allegros. Whereas the movements of the da camera consist, after the Adagio, of airs of a stereotyped kind of movement, such as an Allemande, a Courante, a Saraband and a gigue; or perhaps after a Prelude, an Allemande, an Adagio, a Gavotte, a Bourree, or a Minuet. For models see the works of Corelli.15

While this simple categorization does seem to apply to the major division in Corelli’s Sonatas it is by no means so accurate for some of his contemporaries. The question of function is far from straightforward even for an apparently simple classification such as da camera,16 for in his Op. II (i667d), G. M. Bononcini actually distinguishes between those compositions intended for dancing (da ballo) and those presumably regarded as diversional chamber music (da camera), while neither the two pieces entitled Sonata da camera of his Op. Ill (i66qg) nor the three Sonate per camera included in Merula’s Book IV (1651a) contain any named dances. There is no reason to exclude the use of dances in church, judging by the regularity of papal legislation against the practice. La Titd from Agostino Guerrieri’s Sonate per chiesa (1673c) includes a movement specifically marked ‘Corente’, while the inclusion of dance movements is a distinctive feature of the Roman simfonia of the second half of the century. Equally, sets of variations on standard bass patterns were not exclusively da 13 Miscellanea musicale (Bologna, 1689). 14 Bologna, 1673; facs. edn. Hildesheim, 1969, 120. 15 Trans, in Newman, SBE, 25. 16 SeeJ. Daverio, ‘In Search of the sonata da camera before Corelli’, AM 57 (1985), 195-214.


Contexts and Concepts

camera, since La Bologneta from Lipparino’s Sacri concerti (1635c) concludes with a Bergamasca. The designation da chiesa was in fact remarkably rare in the seventeenth century. The earliest instance is Merula’s Canzoni, overo sonate concertate per chiesa, e camera (1637a) which includes three dances and two sets of variations, but the bulk of the collection comprises nineteen pieces individually entitled Canzone and it is to these that the title clearly refers. These works are frequently mentioned as exemplifying the sharpening division between the two genres,17 but there is little doubt that, while suitable for church use, the canzonas were originally intended for the chamber, since the letter of dedication expressly states that they were commissioned by the dedicatee, G. B. Visconti, and performed in his house: As most of these canzonas were children of your command, they will succeed without any support other than that of the Paternal protection of Your Most Illustrious Highness. Adding that since they were given life in your most noble House, where with sonorous plectrum the Muses are often called to sojourn, I will live with the hope that nurtured by your tastes, they will be so increased by those honours, as to be released from the shades of oblivion, and long remain in the light of your grace.

There is therefore no justification for the common assumption that Canzonas and Sonatas were primarily, if not exclusively, church music. The few occurrences of these terms in the mid-century7 also imply no exclusive categorization of function. Massimiliano Neri’s Sonate e canzoni. . . in chiesa e in camera, con alcuni correnti (1644b) suggests by its wording that it is the Canzonas and Sonatas which are suitable for church and chamber, not the dances. Nor is there any support for the belief that Marini’s Sonate, da chiesa e da camera (1655a) makes a clear functional distinction on the grounds that the set contains both free sonatas and dances, for while the latter are obviously more suited to the chamber, there is no suggestion that the former are only suitable for church use, nor is there any reason to suppose that his usage differs from that of Merula and Neri. Similarly, Legrenzi’s Sonate da chiesa, da camera, correnti, balletto, alemane, sarabande (i656d) is just as ambiguous. The contents are arranged in two groups, the first headed simply ‘Sonate’ and the second ‘Sonate da camera’. The compositions of the first group are all extended works, while those of the second are short single-movement pieces presumably intended as ‘preludes’ to the dances which follow. While it is indisputable that Legrenzi did not intend these for church use, it does not altogether follow that the

17 E.g. Walter Kolneder, ‘Music for Instrumental Ensemble 1630-1700’, in G. Abraham (ed.), Concert Music (i6jo-iy^o) (NOHM 6; Oxford, 1986), 195.

Genre and Function


compositions simply entitled ‘Sonata’ were envisaged only as da chiesa. They, too, might just as easily have been conceived as all-purpose music. The ingrained habit of begging the question as regards function is particularly deep-seated in connection with Corelli’s works. Whereas Op. II and IV bear the designation ‘da camera’, Corelli himself never used the term ‘da chiesa’, nor does it occur over any reprint listed in the Catalogue raisonne of his works.18 There is no reason whatsoever to suppose that these free Sonatas were originally intended for church and, given the dedication of Op. I (1681 a) to Christina of Sweden, it is as likely that they were intended for performance at the famous academies held in her palace. Op. Ill may likewise have served the secular purposes of its dedicatee, the Duke of Modena. This misapplication was already established in Brossard’s definitions, and later perpetuated in the nineteenthcentury collected editions of Joachim and Chrysander, who arbitrarily added ‘da chiesa’ to their frontispiece under the verisimilitude of an original title-page.19 There can be no doubt that dances were not normally marketed for church use, but it remains to be proven whether the great majority of free sonatas without qualification were automatically intended to be church music by virtue of their stylistic qualities. Such a restriction would certainly not have been in the interests of either composer or publisher, and although the specification da chiesa became slightly more common in the last quarter of the century, this does not imply a growing recognition of a church style. The preface of Benedetto Vinaccesi’s Sonate da chiesa (1692c) expressly encourages chamber performance: ‘As much as they may be performed in church, you are invited to play them in a place where their shortcomings may more easily be pardoned.’ The evidence of prefaces and letters of dedication provides abundant proof that on many occasions no functional differentiation was intended. Throughout the century', much of this music was originally composed for secular use, both private and public, and dedications often refer to the informal music-making of private patrons. Just as Merula’s Sonate concertate (1637a) were intended for the enjoyment of G. B. Visconti, so the Canzoni (1615d) were composed for Pietro Ghirardello, an official at the court of Parma, who played the violono(!) ‘with so much taste that few could be considered superior in the art’, and at whose house Merula had experienced so much kindness. One of the commonest secular functions of abstract instrumental composi¬ tions was as concert music for the meetings of the many academies that sponsored musicians.20 In his dedication to Count Alessandro Bevilacqua,

18 H. J. Marx, Arcangelo Corelli: Catalogue raisonne (Cologne, 1980). 19 Les (Euvres deArcangelo Corelli, 5 vols. (London, c. 1890). 20 M. Maylender, Storia delle accademie dItalia (Bologna, 1926), vi.


Contexts and Concepts

Floriano Canale leaves little doubt that this was the purpose of his Canzoni da sonare (i6ood): The protection that Your Most Illustrious Signor affords to virtuosi, and particularly to professors of Music, many of whom you honour by entertaining them in your most Illustrious House on the occasion of your Academy which you have modestly named Ridotto, has given me the courage to dedicate these canzonas to you, so that I might again be recognized by you in the future and be included in your Ridotto and be favoured once more with your virtuous Grace.

G. D. Rognoni, organist of San Marco in Milan, was encouraged to publish his Canzoni (1605a) by members of the academy held in the house of Prospero Lombardi, ‘amatore di Virtuosi’. In 1615, Stefano Bernardi provided the famous Accademia Filarmonica of Verona of which he was maestro della musica with an entire set of Concerti academici. A description of the meeting of the Bolognese Accademia dei Filomusi held on the 14 November 1625, includes a ‘ripieno di varie diversi stromenti musicali’ and mentions the performance of some sonatas.21 According to one of its principal members, Adriano Banchieri, this academy quickly established itself as a meeting place for enthusiastic instru¬ mentalists. In 1626, Banchieri published his Virtuoso ritrovo academico containing music expressly written for this academy, including both Sonatas and a Canzone—further proof that neither genre held any specific religious connotation. Many composers of sonatas were members of these academies in the seventeenth century, and there is little doubt that their works were performed in that context. Buonamente’s Sonate e canzoni (1636) bears a dedication to Antonio Goretti, ‘noted throughout Italy for his noble Academy’, and the preface makes particular mention of the number of instruments to be found in his house. Legrenzi’s Sonate (1655c) were first performed at the esteemed academy of Giovanni Carlo Savorgnano; Carlo Mannelli produced a set of Capricci for the academy of Giovanni Battista Giansetti, maestro di cappella of II Gesu in Rome. The last Will and Testament of Count Vincenzo Carrati, founder of the Bolognese Accademia Filarmonica, specifically mentions his ‘pleasure and delight in hearing sonatas in his noble house in the Via Cartolaria’.22 The many instrumental collections dedicated to him were no doubt used for this purpose— including those generally thought to fall within the da chiesa category, such as G. B. Vitali’s Sonate (1667c) ‘born and nourished under the auspices of your Grace’. Apart from these general references, several accounts mention specific performances of sonatas in academies. One performance of a work by Uccellini 21 An account of this meeting is given in W. Klenz, Giovanni Maria Bononcini of Modena (Durham, NC, 1962), 40-2. 22 MS 25, Biblioteca Gozzadini, Biblioteca Comunale, Bologna.

Genre and Function


moved the poet G. B. Fioruzzi to write a laudatory sonnet addressed to ‘Signor Marco Uccellini in the person of Sig. Andrea Lazzari, known in the Apparenti as LAcuto, Upon a sonata of the said Uccellini played by Lazzari in the academy.’ This must have been a most impressive occasion, judging by the exaggerated rhetoric of the poem: Do I also dare, Marco, herein To enliven my wood with your music? But my plectrum is nothing to your poetry. What passion I feel in your gift, While Acuto, subrogating those heroes, Makes me despair of your pardon.23 But the most sensational account of an instrumental performance in an academy occurs in the unlikely source of a philosophical work on the nature of the universe, Anastasius Kircher’s Itinerarium exstaticum (Rome, 1656), in which the author uses Theodidacticus as one of the characters in a dialogue to describe his own recent experiences: It happened not so long ago that I wras invited to a demonstration in an Academy given by three incomparable musicians (w hom I can without exaggeration call the Orpheuses of our age) which had been arranged in a private house. . . . They began the composition which was for two small violins and the kind of lute known as a theorbo with such agreeable harmony and extraordinary combinations of intervals, that I cannot recall having heard the like before, for when they combined diatonic, chromatic and enharmonic passages, it is hard to describe how moving these unusual combinations were. And next, as they descended through the octave from high to low they became gradually more gentle, thus affecting the senses of the listeners with similar languor. Then they arose as from a deep sleep to arouse one to unimaginable heights ... and then sometimes, with low sounds of sorrowful disdain, they drew forth a mood of melancholy and sorrow, as if engaged in a tragic event . . . Little by little, they began to pass into more rapid and urgent figurations, joyful and dancing, until I was close to becoming overwhelmed with the violence of my mood . .. excited by thoughts of combat and battle. And finally, w ith a slackened impulse, I was brought to a calmer frame of mind inclined to compassion, divine love, and denial of wurdly things, by such extraordinary grace and noble dignity that I am convinced that the heroes of old ... never attained such skill.24 A marginal note by Kircher actually identifies the performers as Lelio Colista, Michelangelo Rossi, and Salvatore Mazzella, but no surviving Roman Simfonia of the period at all corresponds to this description—certainly none by Colista. This account calls into question the concept of ‘pure’ instrumental forms at a 23 Quoted in F. M. Pajerski, ‘Marco Uccellini (i610-1680) and His Music’, 2 vols. (Ph.D. New York Univ., 1979), i. 37. 24 The Latin text is given in H. Wesselv-Kropik, Lelio Colista (Vienna, 1961), 36-7.

Contexts and Concepts time when music as a representational art was pre-eminent, for whether or not it was intended to be programmatic, it is evident that Kircher construed it to be so. There is little reason to suppose a da chiesa function for much of the music composed at court, least of all in the case of the Jew Salamon Rossi. It is much more likely that his sonatas were written for the use of the Gonzaga household itself, as the early collections of G. B. Buonamente almost certainly were. A letter from the latter to Duke Francesco apologizes for his tardiness in writing due to the preparations for the coronation of his new patron, Ferdinand II of Austria, but promises to send new compositions for the younger members of the family as time allowed: Thank God we have now finished the jousts, comedies and balls, and I shall be able to make a start in sending you new compositions for the children, therefore I am at present enclosing a new violin solo which I hope you will be pleased to play without embellishments, and for the convenience of the children I have not made it too difficult in case they would like the opportunity of adorning it with passaggi.25 In such courtly environments, sonatas were also used as ‘table music’, as the Bolognese chronicler, Antonio di Paolo Masini records in his diary, Bologna perlustrata: ‘The musicians play in the hall of the Anziani every morning at nine when the Gonfaloniero and Anziani go to dine, and while they eat they are entertained by virtuosi of the lute and other instruments, who play various Sonatas’.26 No hint is given of the type of music performed, but the municipal ensemble included well-known composers of the calibre of G. B. Degli Antonii. Many sonatas were written for didactic purposes, and this may well have been the purpose of much of the output of Marco Uccellini, since he was responsible for the musical education of several generations of the Estense family. No documentary evidence survives to support this theory, but certain peculiarities of style suggest that his sonatas a2 were originally conceived as duets to be performed with his pupils. Uccellini was one of the most outstanding violinists of his day whose main contribution to violin technique lay in the exploitation of high positions. It is a fundamental principle of ‘trio’ writing that each of the treble parts is of equal importance and difficulty, but in La Torella a2 (1642a) the second violin suddenly soars into fifth position—a remarkable feat at that date (Ex. 1 a). One can only assume that Uccellini played this part while the other, which remains in first position throughout, was taken by one of his princely pupils. It is alsb probable that Giuseppe Colombi provided instructional pieces for a later member of the family, Francesco II, for his Sonate (i68qg) mentions their relationship of teacher and pupil: ‘It is to the eternal glory of my rude hand that 2;' Quoted in Nettl, ‘Giovanni Battista Buonamente’, ZM 9 (1926-7), 528-9. 26 2 vols. (3rd edn. Bologna, 1666).

Genre and Function


in Your Most Serene Highness’s tenderest years and in those brief moments when noble ease could be stolen from the most vigilant talent of Your Exalted Highness, it has served the honour of advancing your right hand, born to the sceptre, in peacefully managing the sonorous bow.’ Even more explicit is the letter to the reader of the Sonate di violino (1652b) of Giovanni Antonio Leoni, which explains that the work was in part a response to the demands of his pupils: ’As I have followed the profession of violinist for many years, it has been necessary for me to compose many different Sonatas and Sinfonias, both for the many Princes and noble Gentlemen and patrons, and for my pupils . . . At the same time, the dedication to Cardinal Pallotta also states that many of the compositions were performed at the church of the Santa Casa. Although there seems little justification for assuming the existence of an easily identifiable church style, this is not to deny that a substantial quantity' of instrumental music was at least originally destined for use in churches. The role of music in worship had by no means been settled by the Council of Trent, but continued to occupy the minds of church officials throughout the succeeding century.27 Far from reflecting any consistent policy during this period, the attitude of the papacy towards the arts varied considerably according to the personal tastes of the reigning pontiff. The Tridentine reformers had in effect compromised between two strongly contrasting views of the desirability of music in the liturgy. A small but vociferous minority led by the Cardinals Marone and Navagero were actually opposed to all music except plainsong, and this fundamental issue occupied the Council on two separate occasions between 1562 and 1563. These cardinals, like many others through the ages, were concerned with the individualistic nature of the musical arts, with their propensity to ‘delight the ear rather than the mind and excite the faithful to lascivious rather than religious thoughts’.28 The decision to retain polyphony apparently owed much to the intercession of Ferdinand I of Spain whose letter to the Council dated 23 August 1563 insisted that ‘so divine a gift could frequently stir to devotion the souls of men who are especially sensitive to music’.29 Even without his support it seems unlikely that a complete ban on elaborate musical settings would have been imposed, if only because such a policy would have been unenforceable. For the most part the debate revolved around the remedying of existing abuses in liturgical music, and as these mainly concerned textual appropriate¬ ness and intelligibility', instrumental music was touched upon only in passing. 27 K. G. Fellerer, ‘Church Music and the Council of Trent’, /Wj£3 39, (1953), 576-94. 28 8 Aug. 1562. Most quotations are taken from the comprehensive selection in Robert F. Hayburn, Papal Legislation on Sacred Music % a.d. to 1977 a.d. (Collegeville, Minn. 1979). 29 Ibid. 28.


Contexts and Concepts

The chief objection seemed to have been the introduction of profane and worldly melodies such as the caccia and battaglia which might arouse wantonness rather than piety, for in his L’Organo suonarino, Banchieri remarks that ‘it is permitted by customary usage to play a Battaglia on Easter Day’.30 The second main objection concerned the curtailment of parts of the prescribed liturgy in favour of lengthy organ compositions, and this must also have been very widespread. The matter had been previously raised in 1543 when the Bishop of Vierne had written to apprise Pope Paul II of the abuse: Nor do they recognize the fact that all too often those things which are prescribed for the sacred services are omitted or cut short for harmonious songs or organ music. These parts are the Prophecies, the Epistle, the Credo, the Preface, the actions of the graces, the prayers and other things of that sort, which are a great hinderance.31

As the organ was of course the only instrument sanctioned by the Council, a strict adherence to its deliberations would have severely hampered the growth of the new musical forms which were already gaining momentum by the end of the sixteenth century. The responsibility for their implementation lay with the provincial synods, with the inevitable result that actual practice reflected not the views of the Council but those of the local bishops, many of whom chose to disregard its rulings entirely. The resulting inconsistencies are well demon¬ strated by the adjacent dioceses of Venice and Milan where the high-minded Archbishop Borromeo sought for a literal enforcement of the reforms, and was understandably indignant when others less zealous than himself failed to implement them. In 1582 he wrote to the Prior of San Marco in Venice to object to the extensive use of musical instruments in the basilica in blatant disregard of official teachings, but provoked no response.32 The reality in most dioceses by the late seventeenth century would have corresponded more closely with the statement of the Council of Ravenna in 1568: ‘Other sorts of instruments besides the organ may not be used, unless they should for some reason seem good to the Bishop who may judge it to be in keeping with religion according to the circumstances of time and place, and so decide in accordance with his prudence’.33 Almost immediately after Borromeo’s death, churches within the diocese of Milan began to incorporate instruments into their services in keeping with trends elsewhere. The chief justification for the retention of music seemed to have been its ability to inspire godly emotions in the congregation. The power of instrumental 30 Venice, 1611,41. 31 Hayburn, Papal Legislation, 26. 32 Lewis Lockwood, The Counter-Reformation and the Masses of Vincenzo Ruffo (Venice, 1970), 1. 33 Concilium Ravennatense, 1568. Quoted in Fellerer, ‘Church.Music’, 592.

Genre and Function


music to achieve this is graphically described in one Modenese source of the early eighteenth century: Among the distinguished properties of music, the movement of the affections is to be singled out. The Modenese have had amongst their citizens some magnificent proofs of this. On occasion ol the Benediction of the Most Holy Sacrament... it is customary for string players to make heard certain gravi which move the souls of the hearers to a most singular veneration towards the Most Holy Sacrament . . . because they are of a style which is grave and serious, but at the same time tender, which draws tears from the eyes, and the author of these is the celebrated Professor of violin, Tomaso Vitali.34

The attitude to music of many wealthy churches of Northern Italy must have corresponded to that expressed by the chapter of Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo: And because music greatly excites the souls of the faithful to devotion, as a sign of celestial harmony, and also for the honour of the church and the satisfaction of the inhabitants of the City, it will therefore be well to maintain a sufficient number of Musicians, greater or lesser according to the quality of the times and the authority of the place, as it will from time to time appear expedient to the Magnificent Council.35

Thus music functioned not only as valuable aid to evangelism through its ability to arouse the emotions, but also as a necessary counterpart to the temporal prestige of the establishment. It is highly significant that the greatest centres of religious music in Venice, Bergamo, and Bologna were not the seats of the diocesan bishops, but the churches of the civic authorities, and as such were regarded as symbols of wordly power as much as places of worship. If it were beyond the capabilities of Archbishop Borromeo and like-minded reformers to alter the course of musical developments, the purges to which musicians were subjected certainly did affect their livelihoods from time to time. The most determined of these followed the publication of Alexander VIPs Papal Constitution, Piae sollicitudinis (1657). The ominous declaration of intent with which this document opened must have been regarded with deep foreboding among professional musicians in Rome: We, occupied with safeguarding the decorum and reverence of the churches destined for divine praises and prayer, and of the oratories of our gracious city (from which examples of good works go forth into all parts of the World) are compelled by the desire of pious solicitude, to keep far away from them anything ostentatious, and especially 34 Quoted from A. Schnoebelen, ‘The Concerted Mass at San Petronio in Bologna’ (Ph.D. Univ. of Illinois, 1966), 34. 35 Institutioni, I, cap. vi, fo.17. Quoted from Angelo Meli, ‘La misericordia maggiore di Bergamo e il vescovo cardinale San Gregorio Barbarigo’, Bergomum, 37 (Bergamo, 1963).


Contexts and Concepts

concerted music and symphonies in which anything indecorous or divorced from ecclesiastical rite is mixed, with offence to the Divine Majesty, scandal of the faithful, and impediment of the elevation of the hearts and devotion to things above.36

The issues raised were mainly the perennial ones concerning the curtailment and even replacement of liturgical texts by non-liturgical substitutes, with the usual exhortation that symphonies be ‘churchly, grave and devout’. Not only did this bull attempt to revive the ideals of the Council of Trent, but for the first time it also proposed measures to enforce them on both musicians and their employers. The formidable list of punishments ranged from loss of stipend, suspension from duty, and disqualification from office, to corporal punishment and excommunication, and a determined effort was clearly made to cleanse church music of its profanities. It would appear, however, that musicians in the seventeenth century were no more willing to accommodate themselves to papal pronouncements than they had been in the sixteenth, and eight years later the Apostolic Visitation amplified the original text to avoid any possibility of misinterpretation. Nevertheless, in 1692 Pope Innocent XII once more found it necessary to issue a reprimand for neglect of Alexander’s bull, and critics were still voicing the same complaints in the early eighteenth century as they had done in the sixteenth. Gerbert’s De canto et musica sacra (1724) bears a striking resemblance to the remarks of the Bishop ofVierne in 1543: Many organists too frequently cause profane melodies to resound in church, nay frivolous and sometimes wicked melodies . . . Moreover it is the reason why in many places, the Credo and Gloria are neither sung nor heard by the people on festal days . . . Furthermore, many organists in order to make a display of their skills and be heard at great length, pound away so long (though such pounding as the distinguished man said, is nothing more than sound without sense) that sometimes they draw out the Mass a whole hour longer than is proper.37

The long-standing disparity between papal pronouncement and actual practice was largely resolved by tht Annus qui (1749) of Benedict XIV. Despite its late date, this lengthy document merely gives official approval to practices which prevailed throughout the seventeenth century. For the first time, instruments other than the organ are expressly sanctioned, and indeed the term ‘organ’ is taken to mean ‘not only that instrument but others’. The point at issue had now shifted from the appropriateness of instrumental music in general to the suitability of various specific instruments. The right of instrumental music to provide an unobtrusive background to the liturgy was now fully acknowledged:

36 Quoted from T. D. Cullev, Jesuits and Music, i (Rome, 1970), 266-7. 37 Fellerer, ‘Church Music’, 579 n. 12.

Genre and Function


Finally we speak of orchestral music. Where its use has been introduced it may be tolerated as long as it is serious and does not because of its length cause boredom or serious inconvenience to those who are in the choir or are celebrating at the altar during Mass or Vespers . . . Such playing is not part of the office itself, but adds to the solemnity and veneration of the Office and to the elevation of the spirits of the faithful so that they more easily be moved and disposed to devotion.3's

The regularity with which the foregoing complaints were raised over a considerable period of time suggests that lengthy instrumental music was frequently heard in the Mass, and that this often led to the suppression of parts of the liturgy. Surprisingly little precise information survives concerning the exact placing of these compositions within the services of the church, and no doubt practices varied from place to place. In 1606 an official Caeremoniale episcoporum was published at the instigation of Clement VIII, containing regulations governing the use of music in church, but this of course refers only to the organ. Besides, the religious institutions which maintained their own complement of musicians were precisely those which would have devised their own Caeremoniale and indeed, like Milan and Venice, may not even have subscribed to the Roman Rite. From the limited amount of information that survives it is still possible to pin-point with some likelihood of accuracy the locations of ensemble music at Mass and Vespers.39 Of particular value are the few printed editions which contain both vocal and instrumental music for Festal Masses. Amante Franzoni’s Apparato musicale (1613a) and Carlo MWanuzzl's Armonia sacra (1622a) clearly identify the position of both instrumental pieces and vocal motets during Mass (Table 1). In these tw o cases there seems to be general agreement about the placing of the canzonas at the Epistle (i.e. during the Gradual) and at the end of the service, while Milanuzzi also includes a Canzona after the Communion. Giulio Cesare Arresti’s Messe aj (1663a) also contains one Sonata which probably coincides with the Gradual, but a discrepancy exists between the part-books. Fortunately there is strong documentary evidence to suggest that this was the usual place in Bolognese Masses, since a letter of Mario Agatea to G. P. Colonna, maestro di cappella at San Petronio, discusses the annual celebration of the feast of St Anthony of Padua, patron saint of the Accademia Filarmonica: ‘There will be a Mass with music, that is Chirie, Gloria, sonata at the epistle, Credo, Motet at the offertory, and another besides at the elevation, and the Sanctus and Benedictus a braccia’.4° One Caeremoniale used in San Petronio in 1692 also records that a Sinfonia or motet was customarily performed at this point: ‘and 38 Havburn, Papal Legislation, 104. 39 The fullest discussion of this is S. Bonta, ‘The Uses of the Sonata da chiesa ’,JfAMS 22 (1969), 54-84. 40 Quoted from Schnoebelen, ‘Concerted Mass’, 196.


Contexts and Concepts

Table i. Position of instrumental and vocal music during Mass, as shown in Franzoni, Apparato musicale (1613a), and Milanuzzi,Armonia sacra (1622a)

Introit Mass setting Epistle Offertory Sanctus Elevation Agnus Dei Post-Communion Exit/Deo Gratias



Entrata & ritornello a4 Messa del Sesto Tuono Canzon Francese 34 (La Gonzaga) ‘Laudamus Dominum’ & sue Sinfonie a8 Sinfonia a4 ‘Aperi oculos tuos’ a4

Concerto a5 Messa Liquide perle Amor a5 Canzon a5 (La Zorzi) Concerto a5

Concerto a due Canti, 0 Tenori

Sinfonia a4 Canzon a4, due soprani, e due Bassi

Canzon a5 (La Riatelli) Canzon a2 alia Bastarda per il trobone, e violino

the Sinfonia or Motet being terminated by the musicians ... the Deacon having said Munda Cor Meum so that when the Sinfonia or Motet is terminated he may ask the blessing of the priest to say the Gospel’.41 Agatea’s reference to the Sanctus and Benedictus a braccia would seem to refer to the practice of curtailing or even omitting these items of the Proper in favour of instrumental compositions. Again, this seems to have been common practice, for from the 1660s onwards few Italian settings of the Mass actually contain them. The preface of Ignazio Donati’s Salmi boscarecci (1623) mentions the customary curtailment in Venice: ‘The Sanctus and Agnus Dei have been set very simply and briefly after the Venetian fashion in order to make way quickly for the Concerto at the elevation and the Sinfonia for the Communion.’ Corroborative evidence on the use of instrumental music is also provided by the various handbooks for the guidance or organists published in the early seventeenth century. By far the most popular of these was Adriano Banchieri’s Organo suonarino which went through no less than six editions from 1605 to 1638. The existence of ensemble sonatas in organ versions strongly suggests that they might have served the same function as the organ compositions contained in this manual. At the same time, in the plainsong Masses to which Banchieri’s instructions apply the organ had to make do for both instruments and choir and therefore substituted for both vocal and instrumental items. Apart from the 41 Quoted from Schnoebelen, ‘Concerted Mass’, 198.

Genre and Function


traditional alternatim presentation with the chant, the organ also supplied free instrumental compositions at various specified places, and these are obviously of most relevance: 3. When the epistle has ended, a short fugue of about forty pause is played. 6. After the Priest has said Oremus, a motet or something similar is played until the orate fratres. 8. At the elevation the sonata is grave & piano so as to arouse devotion. 10. When the choir has repeated (the Agnus Dei) one plays a beautiful and musically satisfying Franzesina.42

In the first edition a collection of free instrumental compositions are included ‘appropriate for the Gradual, Offertory, Elevation, and Communion’ to fulfil the above requirements. Given that some of these positions would be taken up by vocal motets, this would still seem to confirm the use of sonatas at the Gradual and Communion. Information on the use of instrumental music at Vespers is even more scanty. From the account of Andre Maugars who attended Vespers at the Roman church of the Minerva in 1636 it is evident that very sumptuous settings were sometimes employed: ‘In the Anthems they had also very lovely instrumental performances, with one, two or three violins with the organ, and with archlutes playing certain dance tunes and answering each other’.43 As usual, Banchieri gives precise information for the benefit of organists: 3. After the sicut erat of each psalm has been finished by the choir one plays for a short or long while according to the occasion. 6. After the Magnificat, a franzesa musicale is played, or whatever one wishes. 7. After the Benedicamus, as we have said above in connection with the Mass.

The first edition of Banchieri’s handbook provides a selection of sonatas in score ‘for the occasion of the five psalms, which are normally sung at Vespers’. As in the Mass, it is unlikely that ensemble music would have filled all these positions and the most probable places would appear to have been after the Magnificat, where the Franzesa musicale is specified, and at the end of the service after the blessing. Despite the paucity of sources, it would appear that there was some degree of uniformity in the placing of instrumental compositions in church services, and that this might have involved the curtailment of some parts of the liturgy itself. The various papal legislations therefore concern instrumental as much as vocal music and, the former was particularly susceptible to the influence of such 42 2nd edn. (Venice, i), 9943 C. MacClintock (ed.), Readings in the History of Music in Performance (Bloomington Ind., 1979), 118.


Contexts and Concepts

profane melodies as dances and battaglie. As this was particularly true of Rome itself (see Ch. g), they may have been mainly concerned with the removal of local abuses. The term da chiesa never occurs in the context of Roman instrumental ensemble music since there was no church style easily recognizable by its grave and sober character. This may not accord with long-standing beliefs about the nature of church music at this period, but if composers could have agreed on a fixed and acceptable concept of a ‘churchly’ style in the seventeenth century, this would have relieved them of much unpleasantness, if not to say persecution, from the papal authorities.

The Composer in Society The twenty or so major composers of instrumental music with which this study deals do not represent the rank and file members of minor secular institutions or parochial churches, whose lot may well have been pitiful in the seventeenth century, but were the most successful musicians of the day, whose music was eagerly awaited not only in Italy but abroad. Yet the distinction of‘instrumental composer’ is an arbitrary one, for few restricted themselves mainly to that medium, while such seminal figures as Marini, Rossi, Merula, Legrenzi, and Cazzati were all primarily composers of vocal music. Much of the instrumental repertory was not composed by players of melody instruments, but by organists, and this automatically implied substantial differences of training and prospects from those available to the instrumental virtuosi. Detailed information on the formative years of these composers is at best scanty and in the majority of cases non-existent, yet with the limited amount of material available it is still possible to piece together the most likely paths that led them from obscurity to fame and fortune. In the seventeenth century, the profession of music was not confined to any particular class of society but drew its adherents from a wide social spectrum. Surprisingly few of the major composers of instrumental music came from long dynasties of musicians, and even that would not imply any distinction of class. Whereas Giovanni Maria Legrenzi was a humble violinist serving the municipality of Clusone for a paltry L.50 a year,1 Massimiliano Neri’s father was a celebrated singer and theorbo player active in Germany, eventually ennobled by the Duke of Neuberg. On the other hand, there are numerous examples of sons trading on the success of their fathers—and, in the cases of Tomaso Antonio Vitali and Giovanni Bononcini, actually surpassing them. For the rest, the parents of these composers followed many different walks of life. Lelio Colista came from a landowning family from L’Aquila, the son of a dignitary in the papal administration who eventually became Riformatore of Rome Univer¬ sity.2 Corelli apparently enjoyed an easy childhood on his family’s estates, 1 S. Bonta, ‘The Church Sonatas of Giovanni Legrenzi’, 2 vols. (Ph.D. Harvard Univ., 1964), i. 2.


H. Wesselv-Kropik, Lelio Colista (Vienna, 1961), 10-23.


Contexts and Concepts

despite the early death of his father.3 Uccellini’s family could claim a respectable pedigree of clerics who acquired real estate in their home territory of Forlimpopoli,4 while Stradella’s father had at one time been Vice-Governor of Vignolo near Rome.5 To these may be added the constant stream of noble dilettanti such as the Bolognese Count Pirro Albergati and Tomaso Albinoni who devoted their lives to the practice of music. Certainly, by this period, no stigma could be attached to the profession of music, and the possession of a prized virtuoso reflected on the discernment and judgement of the patron himself. The high esteem in which the musical arts were held in cultivated society rendered them a sure method of social advancement for those of sufficient talent. A well-tried path was to enlist for a short period in the services of one of the petty princelings at the courts of Europe in the hope of receiving not only substantial financial remuneration but also ennoblement. Tarquinio Merula owed his knighthood to the King of Poland, while the Imperial court was responsible for the ennoblement of Buonamente, Neri, and Viviani. These were trivial honours compared with the grandiose title of Marquis of Landesburg bestowed posthumously on Corelli by the Count Palatine of the Rhine. Of all the many instances of social climbing none was more blatant than the career of Biagio Marini.6 Having begun as an impecunious violinist at San Marco,7 in 1623 he entered the services of the Duke of Neuberg and married the daughter of a minor nobleman, Counsellor to the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria. He was knighted in 1626. After the death of his first wife, he had advanced sufficiently up the social hierarchy to sue for the hand of Maria Taegia, a member of a wealthy Milanese family, thus securing for himself a good measure of financial security and social prestige for the rest of his life. A less spectacular but no less frequent course of action was to take holy orders. The Mantuan composers G. B. Buonamente and Giuseppe Scarani were respectively members of Franciscan and Carmelite communities, while Adriano Banchieri eventually received the title of ‘abate benemerito’ at San Michele in Bosco where he had served as organist for many years. Both Cazzati and Legrenzi were cappellani semplici licensed to celebrate Mass, although it should be added that the former was defrocked for some unspecified 3 M. Pincherle, Corellietson temps (Paris, 1954), trans. H. E. M. Russell (New York, 1956), 16. 4 F. M. Pajerski, ‘Marco Uccellini (1610-1680) and his Music’, 2 vols. (Ph.D. New York Univ., 1979), i. 10-11.

5 C. Gianturco, ‘Alessandro Stradella: A True Biography’,MT(Nov. 1982), 757. 6 The fullest account of Marini’s life is in Willene B. Clark, ‘The Vocal Music of Biagio Marini’, 2 vols. (Ph.D. Yale Univ., 1966). 7 Marini was never actually named as a violinist in the church records. See E. Selfridge-Field, ‘Addenda to Some Baroque Biographies’, JAMS 25 (1972), 236 n. 1.

The Composer in Society


misdemeanour. Uccellini began his career at the Modenese court as ‘chaplain and musician’, and his nephew, Camillo (buon musicista), through the former’s tireless nepotism was apparently elected bishop of Parma, although his sudden death deprived him of this preferment.8 Besides their musical duties these composers could have augmented their incomes by clerical duties. A letter from Legrenzi of 1657 mentions payment for ‘the celebrations which I have performed for three months at the command of Your Excellency and the Signora Donna Constanza’.9 Furthermore, there was always the possibility of a benefice. In 1644 Giulia Felice d’Este petitioned Duke Francesco I on Uccellini’s behalf for the benefice of Pomposa, and in 1665 Uccellini himself approached Cardinal Rinaldo d’Este for the vacancy at San Silvestro di Crevalcore in the diocese of Nonantola.10 Besides these possibilities, another advantage of a religious vocation was the opportunity7 of a good education at a seminary. Zarlino’s requirements of a sound training in arithmetic, grammar, classics, history, dialectics, and rhetoric might appear unduly optimistic, but many musicians were definitely extremely literate. Even the stereotyped and uniformly sycophantic dedicatory epistles to publications required some degree of literary skill, while not a few instrumental composers such as Cima, Banchieri, Bononcini, and Penna were the authors of theoretical treatises. Musicians frequently took part in meetings of learned societies, and their contributions were by no means confined to the purely musical. Banchieri in particular was a noted authority on diverse topics from the Bolognese dialect to the origins of the bagpipes, as well as being the author of the Organo suonarino. In all probability, the majority of composers in holy orders (and many others besides) would have received their musical training at one of the seminaries attached to important religious institutions. For example, the Bergamese church of Santa Maria Maggiore combined its role of charitable institution with that of ‘choir school’ as expressly laid down in its Istituzioni ed ordini (1620): ‘It will also be well to maintain the Academy of clerks now established for many years and recently reformed, for the services and ornament of the church and for the benefit of poor citizens’.11 Elections to the college were through competitive examinations: ‘When it becomes necessary to hold an election either for scholars or choristers, a competititon will be announced. Attention will be given to the citizenship, poverty, character, morals, singing voice, intelligence, ability in 8 The documentation for this is given in G. Roncaglia, La cappella musicale del duomo di Modena (Historiae musicae cultores biblioteca, 5; Florence, 1957), 125, but has been questioned by Pajerski, ‘Marco Uccellini’, 42 n. 38. 9 Bonta,‘Legrenzi, i. 43. 10 Both letters are transcribed in Pajerski, ‘Marco Uccellini’, i. 163 and 158. 11 Bonta,‘Legrenzi’, i. 5.


Contexts and Concepts

letters and inclination towards the religious life’.12 Thus the poor children of the neighbourhood would be given the chance of acquiring a sound general education and expert instruction in music. It is indeed very likely that Legrenzi was a pupil at the school before his appointment as organist at its church. Details of the musical training at these establishments are extremely scanty. At Santa Maria Maggiore the maestro was expected to teach ‘polyphonic music and counterpoint for at least two hours a day in summer and one in winter, so that the aforementioned choristers be good singers and extremely expert in counterpoint’.13 These scholars would therefore have received a very7 thorough grounding from highly competent teachers, and it is little wonder that on more than one occasion complaints were raised about the neglect of academic studies in favour of music. Presumably, instruction in counterpoint would have followed the pattern of such treatises as Bononcini’s Musico prattico (1673), which provides a solid foundation in grammar and syntax. In the early part of the century this branch of musical composition was more the domain of the organist composers, while instrumentalists relied on the variation techniques which had long formed the basis of impromptu instrumental performance. By the second half of the century a thorough grasp of contrapuntal practices was a standard requirement of all composers of whatever background. In the preface to his Artificii musicali (168gi), the cellist, G. B. Vitali is quite categorical about the importance attached to a sound contrapuntal training and is forthright in his condemnation of those whom he considered deficient: He does not deserve the name of musician who does not know how to treat in any fashion the more profound secrets of the Art. Thus, having a special desire to be useful, I have published this little work, including various Canons, double counterpoints, and Curious inventions to serve as models to Teachers who can then perfect their scholars, if they have true information. Even though some of little skill have dared to say that the knowledge of these canons was not necessary, I have talked with many of the profession who, to tell the truth, have not known how to impart the faintest glimmer (of this), yet they are deceived, because they cannot succeed to the true title of perfect composer without it, the Canon being the true test of Counterpoint.14

Having acquired by whatever means the necessary skills, the young composer could set about the task of finding a suitable position. Some composers, notably those already living at ducal courts, may have decided to remain at a single location for much of their working lives, but for most the early years of a career involved frequent changes of employment in a constant search for financial 12 Ibid. 5. 13 Ibid. 7. 14 Modern edn. by Louise Rood and Gertrude P. Smith (Smith College Music Archives, 14; Northampton, Mass., 1959).

The Composer in Society


betterment. Applications would be sent to the appropriate body, but would seldom succeed without the support of a powerful advocate. This process is well demonstrated by the career of Giovanni Legrenzi in the uncertain years between his departure from Ferrara and his appointment at San Marco.15 Although highly regarded in Ferrara, having formed close ties with several aristocratic households, by 1665 he had begun to seek another appointment on the grounds that the pay at the Accademia dello Spirito Santo was insufficient. In 1665 he declined the offer of the post of maestro di cappella at Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo as he was more interested in securing a court appointment at this stage in his career. He made enquiries at the court of Modena, but nothing to his liking was available and, besides, he had more ambitious plans afoot. Hoping to capitalize on the success of his Oratorio del Giuditio performed before the Dowager Empress Eleanora Gonzaga at the Imperial court, he decided on the bold step of offering his services as Kapellmeister to the Emperor. To this end he sought the intercession of Carlo II of Mantua, brother to the Empress, but despite his warm recommendation of ‘this most virtuous subject’ no appoint¬ ment was forthcoming from this quarter either. In 1670 he set in motion yet another chain of supplications in the hope of securing the musical directorship at the Farnese court of Parma. On this occasion he enlisted the help of the former papal legate of Ferrara, Cardinal Girolamo Buonvisi, who happened to be a close friend of Rinaldo d’Este of the Modenese ruling family, who in his turn was uncle to the two successive consorts of the Duke of Parma. In spite of this elaborate preparation, it appears that Legrenzi had been misinformed and that no vacancy existed. Further disappointments were in store for him at Bologna and initially in Venice and it was not until 1681 that he eventually became vice¬ maestro at San Marco and finally maestro in 1685. His ultimate achievements were therefore the result of a long and determined struggle for self¬ advancement in the face of many disappointments and considerable hardship. Apart from the usual letters of recommendation, composers sometimes thought it necessary to accompany their applications with some more tangible proof of their abilities. Cazzati backed up his supplication to the Fabbriceria of San Petronio with some performances of his works at the church of San Salvatore at Bologna.16 It also commonly happened that the publication of a new collection bearing a dedication to the would-be patron coincided with the overtures for employment. It is surely no coincidence that Frescobaldi’s two departures from Rome, first to the Mantuan court in 1615? and then in 1628 to Florence, were both accompanied by effusive dedications to the respective dukes. 15 16

Bonta,‘Legrenzi’, i. 60-75 . A. Schnoebelen, ‘The Concerted Mass at San Petronio in Bologna’ (Ph.D. Univ. of Illinois, 1966),


Contexts and Concepts

Most composers of instrumental music, whether organists or players of melody instruments, would naturally aspire to the position of maestro di cappella at church or court. As head of the musical hierarchy responsible for the day-today running of the cappella, the maestro wielded considerable authority, and all musicians were directly answerable to him. He would therefore expect and frequently receive the full support of the authorities both in musical affairs and in matters of conduct and discipline. His decisions on professional competence would be final. At Modena Cathedral in 1675, G. M. Bononcini found it necessary to override the express wishes of the Duke and dismiss the violinist, Ippolito Bellini, for being ‘ignorant, incapable and for using the maestro di cappella badly’.17 Again, in 1689, under the directorship of Antonio Giannettini, it was necessary to take immediate action over the appointments of some instrumentalists: ‘This cappella has no need of people who do not know their craft well, since we have a patron with such good taste, and to serve him well we wish good people’.18 At the larger religious institutions the duties of musicians were often clearly formalized in a published booklet, thus assisting the maestro in the task of enforcement. The Oblighi of the Accademia dello Spirito Santo in Ferrara laid down firmly that ‘everyone must obey the maestro di cappella and sing and play without objection those compositions which have been requested of him’.19 Cazzati himself was responsible for the publication of five hundred copies of the Online per la musica (1658) at San Petronio.20 Some of his reforms were by no means calculated to win the co-operation of the musicians under his command, yet until his eventual dismissal in 1671 he evidently did receive the support of the vestry board. As a token of his respect for this body he instructed the executors of his will to inform the chapter of ‘the great esteem in which he always held the church and your excellencies’.21 It is clear from these documents of contractual obligations that the most serious problem in most institutions was absenteeism, frequently resulting from a conflict of commitments. In 1635 an edict was passed at Santa Maria Maggiore limiting performances by its musicians at other churches in the neighbourhood unless the maestro di cappella was present.22 The two Ferrarese academies seemed to have faced similar conflicts of interest: ‘The Accademia della Morte . . . does not aspire to erect its trophies by rashly building on the glories of 17 W. Klenz, Giovanni Maria Bononcini of Modena (Durham, NC, 1962), 11. 18 E- J- Luin- ‘Antonio Giannettini e la musica a Modena alia fine del secolo XVII’, Atti e memorie della R. Deputazione di storia patria per leprovincie modenese, 7/7 (Modena, 1931), 180-1. 19 The complete document is given in Bonta, ‘Legrenzi’, i. 486-7. 20 Schnoebelen,‘Concerted Mass’, 34. 21 Ibid. 73. Roche,‘Music at S. Maria Maggiore, 1614-1634’, ML 48 (1966), 299.

The Composer in Society


others. Therefore it is ordered by express law and regulation that no musician who serves the learned Accademia dello Spirito Santo can be proposed or accepted for service at the Accademia della Morte’.23 At San Petronio measures were taken to curb these outside activities, for Cazzati’s Ordine expressly forbade the hiring of musicians who were already members of the Concerto Palatino: ‘Since it is known from experience what poor service results when members of the Musici di Palazzo or Mansionari are received into the capella musicale because of their frequent obligations in the choir or at the Palace, which diminishes the body of the capella musicale, they are hereby excluded from the music at San Petronio’.24 In order to enforce these restrictions most establishments resorted to a system of fines. At San Marco in Venice a sum of two ducats was subtracted from the salary for absence at major festivals, and one for processions.25 The heavy penalties imposed at San Petronio under Cazzati may have been another cause for complaint from the musicians. An entire month’s salary was to be deducted for the third offence—doubled in the case of those earning more than L. io per month. Another absence would result in immediate dismissal.26 The responsibilities and pressures that befell the maestro di cappella at important institutions were obviously considerable. Apart from those arising from his musical duties as composer and director of the chapel, he also needed exceptional tact and diplomacy in his dealings with those under his charge. Lodovico Casale’s Generale invito alle grandezze e maraviglie della musica (1629) sets out at some length the qualities expected of the maestro: He should be versed in any instrument and intelligent in both Latin and the vernacular, have a well-founded knowledge of perfect music, be full of invention and be gifted by nature with a good ear, he should have sure sight without eye glasses, a firm and stable beat, not intermittent, so that everyone can follow it without being reproached. Affable to all, honouring them in their presence, and even more in their absence.27

Needless to say, such paragons were hard to find, and the reality often fell far short of the ideal. In this respect, Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo seemed especially unfortunate in its choice of employees. During his second year of office, Tarquinio Merula was dismissed for ‘wicked misbehaviour and indecency shown towards some of the choristers who were his pupils, with serious scandal and detriment to the honour of God and the reputation of this body’.28 Merula did not take dismissal lightly and initiated legal action against the church, but 23 2+ 25 26

Bonta, ‘Legrenzi’, i. 37. Ordine per la musica dell’insigne collegiata di San Petronio (Bologna, 1658). E. Selfridge-Field, Venetian Instrumental Music from Gabrieli to Vivaldi (Oxford, 1975), 6. U. Brett, ‘Music and Ideas in Seventeenth-Century Italy’ (Ph.D. Univ. of London, 1986), 59.

27 Quoted from Schnoebelen, ‘Concerted Mass’, 47. 28 Recorded in the council’s minute-book, the Terminationes, lxii, fo. 263': 9 Feb. 1633.


Contexts and Concepts

withdrew his protests after being threatened with criminal prosecution for his offences.29 During Merula’s brief term of office (1631-3) Buonamente was forced to break his contract with the church by the command of his superiors in the Franciscan order. Legrenzi was also dismissed for an unspecified offence in 1655, while in 1656 Cazzati was granted an adjusted status ‘so that there be no scandal and disorderliness such as is likely to occur’.30 In the following year he submitted a request to be relieved of his priestly duties and was asked to resign shortly afterwards. On most occasions the onus fell on the musician to prove his worth to a prospective employer. An entirely different situation arose in the case of an established master who could demand his own terms of employment. By 1615 Frescobaldi was already considered by many to be the finest keyboard player of his generation, and when attempts were made to entice him away from Rome by the agent of the Duke of Mantua, he intended to strike a hard bargain.31 Besides the substantial salary of 600 ducats per annum in real estate, with an advance payment of 300 ducats to cover the cost of printing his new Toccate (1615a), he also required fully furnished accommodation for himself and his family for two years as well as provision for bread and wine every day for four months after his arrival. Like Monteverdi before him, Frescobaldi soon learnt that despite their musical discernment, the Gonzagas were not noted for honouring their commitments. A letter to the Duke’s secretary leaves no doubt about his dissatisfaction with his treatment at Mantua: ‘I must advise you that Frescobaldi is very disgusted with this court and it would be as well to apprise the master of this . . . After his arrival no one has addressed more than a word to him and since the first day the Duke has paid no attention to him’.32 This was not the correct behaviour towards such a celebrated virtuoso, and Frescobaldi soon returned to Rome. Nor was it by any means the only occasion when the musician clearly had the upper hand. During his prolonged period of employment as musico reservato to the Duke of Neuberg in Bavaria, Biagio Marini was evidently far from diligent in the observance of his duties, so much so that the Court Marshall felt it necessary to inform the Duke of his shortcomings in a letter of 1624. The Duke merely replied that they must be careful not to offend Marini so that ‘he lose the pleasure in music’.33 29 M. Padoan, ‘Tarquinio Merula nelle fonti documentarie’, Contributi e studi di liturgia e musica nella regione padatia (Bologna, 1972), 294-7. 30 R. Bowman, ‘Musical Information in the Archives of the Church of S. Maria Maggiore, Bergamo 16491720’, in I. Bent (ed.), Source Materials and the Interpretation of Music: A Memorial Volume to Thurston Dart (London, 1981), 345. 31 F. Hammond, Girolamo Frescobaldi (Cambridge, Mass. 1983), 48-51. 32 A. Cametti, ‘Girolamo Frescobaldi in Roma: 1604-1643’, RMI15 (1908), 720. 33 Clark, ‘Vocal Music’, 33.

The Composer in Society


This system of patronage by a cultured elite may not recommend itself to the standards of a more egalitarian age, but the seventeenth century offers many instances of close and cordial relationships between composer and patron. If the Gonzagas deserved a poor reputation for their payment of musicians, they were nevertheless ready to show their appreciation in less tangible forms. Duke Vincenzo greatly admired Salamon Rossi’s talents both as a performer and composer and, wishing to acknowledge his loyal service over many years, ordered that ‘Salamone de Rossi the Jew should be allowed ample and free liberty to traverse our city7 and domain without wearing the yellow insignia on his hat’.34 Marco Uccellini remained a close friend and adviser in matters far beyond music to successive Dukes of Modena, and his eventual removal to the court of Parma was at the express command of Isabella d’Este after her marriage to her cousin, Ranuccio II Farnese.35 Legrenzi enjoyed close and cordial relationships with the Bentivoglio family of Ferrara long after he had left the city. On numerous occasions he apparently acted on their behalf in the purchase of household goods of various sorts as well as wood for a new harpsichord.36 The relationship between Corelli and Cardinal Ottoboni was so intimate that the cardinal declared that he ‘no longer distinguished the passion of his own interest from that of so worthy a subject’, and after the composer’s death he had the body embalmed and laid in a marble tomb in the church of the Rotunda.37 These musicians earned the respect and friendship of their patrons, but even the most diligent and loyal servant could not expect automatic security of tenure. However much the arts were admired they were the first to suffer in times of hardship. The vicissitudes of the Modenese musicians in the latter part of the century provides a graphic illustration of the precariousness of the musical profession. One of the first acts of the regency of Faura Martinozzi was the dismissal of the entire musical establishment, including the long-serving and faithful Marco Uccellini. He at least had his cathedral post to fall back upon, but the ageing theorbo player and composer Benedetto Ferrari no doubt expressed the common sentiments of most court musicians in a bitter letter to Cardinal Rinaldo d’Este of 29 July 1662: ‘having been dismissed from this most Serene service after ten years of the most faithful service, I find myself kicked out by Your Royal Highness, supplicating of your most clement protection, and reduced to advanced age, desiring to live and die under the most exalted patronage of this serene House of d’Este’.38 His supplications fell on deaf ears. 34 A. Bertolotti, Musici alia corte dei Gonzaga in Mantua dal secolo XV al XVIII (Milan, 1890; repr. Bologna, 1969), 87. See D. Harran, ‘Salomone Rossi, Jewish Musician in Renaissance Italy’, AM 59 (1987), 46-64. 35 Pajerski, ‘Uccellini’, i. 52. 36 Bonta,‘Legrenzi’, i. 52. 37 Pincherle, Corelli, 40-1. 38 The entire letter is quoted in Pajerski, ‘Uccellini’, i. 173.


Contexts and Concepts

Later in the century it was the turn of the musicians at the Duomo to undergo similar tribulations. In 1689, as a result of heavy debts, the chapter decided on the drastic step of dismissing its entire cappella. Within two weeks it had reconsidered its decision and asked Giuseppe Colombi to reconstitute it at reduced salary. The composer was understandably a little incensed by this high¬ handed treatment and replied that he was in two minds whether to accept or not. Eventually the chapter had recourse to the bishop to summon him to the post.39 Such treatment may appear harsh, but it was by no means unusual in the seventeenth century. After many years of keen cultivation of music, in 1616 the authorities of Santa Maria Maggiore at Bergamo suddenly revised its policy: Reform of the music is very necessary as the expenses have been so high since 1611 (5,000 scudi). It is not necessary to have up to twenty-five musicians, therefore all contracts except the maestro di cappella should be suspended for the whole of September next and then there should be a new election for musicians—two voices, two organists, one cornetto, one violin and no more.40

At La Madonna della Steccata in Parma more mundane matters took precedence over music: 21 October 1694 In order to decorate the exterior of the church, the musicians were dismissed.41

Even at so illustrious an institution as San Petronio precisely the same situation arose in the late seventeenth century. After Cazzati’s arrival the expenditure had risen to gigantic proportions and although it stabilized to some extent under Colonna the costs were still considered excessive. In 1695, two months after Colonna’s death, the Fabricceria decided to disband the musical cappella. In future, only the maestro and vice-maestro were to receive salaries while the other musicians were to be hired on an ad hoc basis for the major festivals. This naturally provoked a hostile reaction not only from the musicians but also from the public who were used to some degree of spendour in their worship. The diarist, Antonio Ghiselli, summed up the general attitude, ‘the news was badly received by everybody since the Cappella was qualified and famous, not only here but in foreign cities as well, and it did seem that they could have reformed it by restricting the number of musicians without having to abolish it entirely’.42 On this occasion public opinion prevailed and the musical establishment was reinstated, but reduced by a third. 39 G. Roncaglia, Maestri di cappella, 162-3. 40 Terminationes, lxiii. Quoted in Roche, ‘Music at S. Maria Maggiore’, 303. 41 N. Pelicelli, ‘Musicisti in Parma nel secolo XVIP, NA 10 (1933), 221. 42 Schnoebelen, ‘Concerted Mass’, 107.

The Composer in Society


The precariousness of an existence in which a musician could be deprived of his means of livelihood without notice at the whim of the patron, and like Ferrari be plunged into abject poverty, must have acted as an effective stimulant to sharpen the instincts for self-preservation. In a society where blatant selfinterest dictated the basic needs of survival it is hardly surprising that bitter resentments and jealousies often arose amongst colleagues. There are numerous instances in the seventeenth century of a composer having reason to fear the invective and hostility of his colleagues almost as much as the attitude of his employers. Uccellini’s later years were clouded by a malign critic against whom he implored the protection of the Duke of Parma in the dedicatorv letter of his Op. IX ( i667g), and Bononcini encountered similar opposition when he was accused of plagiarism of a canon. In refutation of this he published a Discorso musicale w ith an open challenge to his accusers to state publicly by whom they considered it to be—one apologia among a considerable literature of similar documents of the seventeenth century.43 This was a minor affair compared with the prolonged feud between Cazzati and his Bolognese associates.44 His term of office at San Petronio had begun badly after a disagreement with his assistant who was eventually dismissed. Then in 1659 Lorenzo Perti, a beneficed priest at the basilica, found it necessary to inform the chapter of allegations of professional incompetence currently circulating among its musicians. The matter came to a head when the dismissed first organist, Giulio Cesare Arresti, published the Kyrie of Cazzati’s Mess a e Salmi ay vod (1655) at the head of his own Op. I, liberally sprinkling it with alleged ‘errors’. By this time the maestro was seriously concerned for his reputation and replied in a lengthy Risposta alle oppositioni (1663). The affair dragged on for eight more years until Cazzati was finally dismissed as a result of the mounting pressure against him. It must be acknowledged that the Bolognese seemed to be notoriously augumentative and pedantic in their views on music. To some extent the Accademia Filarmonica had appointed itself guardian of correctness in musical composition, and admission to its ranks was only through rigorous public examination at the Thursday esercitazioni prattiche. It was on one of these occasions that Corelli’s Op. II No. 3 was declared to be unsatisfactory, or at least to require explanation, and thus began the much publicized ‘affair of the fifths’. The current ‘Prince’ of the academy G. P. Colonna, being himself unable to account for the apparent chain of consecutives, decided to seek an explanation from Corelli himself through the agency of his friend Matteo Zani. He could not have anticipated the rancour and downright rudeness of Corelli’s reply: 43 The complete text is quoted in Klertz, Bononcini, 173-4. 44 For a full account of this feud see, Brett, ‘Music and Ideas’.


Contexts and Concepts

I understand full well the range of their science, which scarcely goes beyond the first principles of composition and modulation since if they had advanced further in the art and were acquainted with its finesse and profundity, and knew what harmony is and how it can charm the human spirit, they would not have had such scruples, which are normally born of ignorance.45

The debate aroused the comment of other major composers, including G. B. Vitali and Giacomo Perti, and it may well have been the reason for Corelli’s decision to expunge the epithet II Bolognese from the title-pages of his later collections. Such tensions could easily be exacerbated when they occurred within the confines of a single court where musicians were in the invidious position of competing with colleagues for the same appointments. This is well illustrated by the conflict of interests between the two Modenese violinists, G. M. Bononcini and Giuseppe Colombi, whose professional aspirations frequently ran counter to each other. In 1673 the post of maestro di cappella at the cathedral became vacant and both composers submitted applications. Bononcini’s letter to the chapter is couched in the fawning rhetoric so typical of the period: Most Illustrious and Reverend Gentlemen Gio. Ma. Bononcini of Modena, Your most humble and devoted servant . . . has for years applied himself indefatigably to the Art of composing Music so that one day he would render himself fitting for the post and especially able to perform at the Cathedral and consequently in the service of Your Highnesses. Now with the aid of God having succeeded in showing some signs of achievement with several works already published . . . and relying above all on Your Highness’s benignity, which three years ago obtained for me the position of violinist, to follow with that of maestro di cappella, reverently and in anticipation begs Yr. Ill. Highnesses to do me the honour of allowing me to serve and obey you with the greatest application and diligent concern corresponding to Yr. charge.46

In this confined society dominated so exclusively by the ducal court, even ecclesiastical posts were to a large extent within the gift of the ruling family, and Bononcini of necessity first approached the Duchess to intercede on his behalf with the cathedral chapter. She was happy to offer her ‘warmest and most solicitous recommendations’. Colombi meanwhile, equally anxious to secure the position, sought the help of his young pupil, Duke Francesco II, who supported his application. When the chapter met the following day they had not yet been informed of the Duke’s preference, and elected Bononcini instead. Later that afternoon, when the royal envoy arrived, he was much surprised to find the post already filled, and immediately returned to the palace to inform Francesco, but 45 Rome, 17 Oct. 1685. Doc. vii in Mario Rinaldi, Arcangelo Corelli (Milan, 1953), 429-30. 46 Klenz, Bononcini, 6.

The Composer in Society


received no other reply than that his highness had only ‘recommended, not commanded’. Despite his tender years, Francesco was evidently a skilful diplomat in his dealings with his subjects, and in the following year found an opportunity to make amends by appointing Colombi director of the votive chapel—a post normally held by the maestro of the cathedral. To gauge the precise financial status of these musicians in so many locations and over a period of a hundred years would be a formidable task. The absence of a standard monetary system, the multiplicity of coinage, the constant inroads of inflation, and lack of comparative analysis of wages against the cost of living would render this almost impossible. The available statistics do nevertheless provide some guide-lines concerning the relative incomes of musicians at specific institutions, and from these some useful inferences may be drawn. First, only the maestro di cappella at a major establishment would receive anything approaching a living wage. Organists generally received rather less than half of this amount, and vice-maestri even less. This rule of the thumb applies to such diverse institutions as San Marco, Venice, where the maestro received 400 ducats a year for most of the century, while the first organist’s salary eventually stabilized at 200 ducats after 1600, and that of the vice-maestro varied from 120 to 200 ducats.47 At Santa Maria Maggiore, Bergamo, Cazzati earned a substantial salary of L. 1,400—the exact equivalent of the headmaster at its academy, while Legrenzi as organist was paid L.560.48 Furthermore, the post of maestro di cappella was more likely to entail accommodation, as well as remuneration in kind such as bread and wine, and even the occasional ex gratia payment. If the financial status of organists and vice-maestri was precarious, that of instrumentalists seemed desperate. The true position of many court instrument¬ alists may well be reflected in the dedicatory letter of Giovanni Bononcini’s Sinfonie (1685O concerning his father, Giovanni Maria: ‘From my parents I had that much of life to make me known to misery, while they, dying, abandoned me, yet a babe in arms, to poverty'.’ It would seem that, despite Giovanni Maria’s persistent attempts to secure concurrent posts at church and court, he still could not achieve a decent living wage. The wide discrepancy between maestri and instrumentalists in fact did not arise solely as the result of the relative worth of each position, but because only the former was a full-time occupation. At San Marco, for example, the band was expected to be present on twenty-six occasions a year, while the two organists alternated monthly. Normally these musicians would make up a livelihood from a variety of supplementary sources. The documents concerning Frescobaldi’s 47 Selfridge-Field, Venetian Instrumental Music, 292-5. 48 Bowman, ‘Musical Information’, 332.


Contexts and Concepts

appointment at the court of Mantua reveal that the 72 scudi he received as organist at San Pietro was a modest part of his yearly income which included another 300 scudi from pupils and patrons plus his stipend from Cardinal Aldobrandini.49 Instrumentalists would therefore need to augment their income by freelance performances, and by all accounts this was where the most fabulous sums could be earned. Even institutions with modest resources went to enormous expense for the feast of a patron saint, importing choice musicians from far and wide. The Assumption was always celebrated with the most spectacular pomp and ceremony at Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo and in 1628 no fewer than fiftyseven musicians were employed at considerable expense.50 Colonna had good cause to boast of the lavishness of the patronal festival at San Petronio: In my chapel of San Petronio for the feast of the same, which is solemnized with great decorum and nobility, I perform many of my compositions with three and four choirs, and I have this singular honour every year, so that skilled virtuosi and excellent maestri di cappella come from both Lombardy and Venice and other places to hear this function, remarkable both for the quality of the virtuosi as well as quantity which reaches as high as thirty or more or less according to the order of the patrons.51

In Rome, annual events such as the series of Lenten Oratorios at San Marcello were considered the highlights of the musical year and no expense was spared to obtain the most outstanding performers. In 1661, Colista received 6 scudi for each performance—the equivalent of more than his month’s pay as Custode delle Pitture at the Vatican. In addition, at the end of the entire cycle, as a mark of the highest regard, he was given a pair of silk gloves in which his admirers were invited to place silver coins to show their appreciation.52 In spite of all its uncertainties, the musical profession could offer the opportunity for rich financial rewards to those of sufficient talent. Not a few of the chief composers of instrumental music died wealthy men. Despite his early hardships, Legrenzi’s Last Will and Testament reveals that his decision to settle in Venice paid handsome dividends, for he had accumulated a fortune in real estate, outstanding loans, jewellery, and household effects.53 Uccellini acquired sufficient capital to endow a college in Forlimpopoli, while Lelio Colista had amassed enough revenues from various sources to enable him to take up residence in the Via del Corso, the most fashionable part of Rome, and support a retinue of servants and a coachman. These Roman virtuosi certainly appeared as 49 Anthony Newcomb,‘Girolamo Frescobaldi, 1608-1615’, Annates musicologiques, (1964-77), 111-58. 50 Roche, ‘Music at S. Maria Maggiore’, 307. 51 Schnoebelen, ‘Concerted Mass’, 84. 52 Wessely-Kropik, Colista, 56. 53 Bonta, Legrenzi, i. 479-85.

The Composer in Society


able in their financial transactions as in their musical affairs. Colista was an astute businessman with large investments in the Monte della Pieta and the Banco dello Spirito Santo which he loaned out on mortgage and rent contracts to members of the Roman aristocracy. In 1663-7 he had invested no less than 4,600 scudi and his yearly income from them had reached 271 scudi by the age of 40—over and above his revenue from musical activities.54 Many of these internationally renowned musicians therefore prospered as much through astute financial speculations and shrewd business dealings as through the practice of their art. Clearly bricks and mortar represented a more permanent investment for the future than the shitting fortunes of the musical profession. 54 Wessely-Kropik, Colista, 69-71.


II Regional Developments

Map.2. Centres of sonata production in the seventeenth century

The Stil Moderno Sonata Chronologically, instrumental music for small ensembles appeared roughly contemporaneously over a wide area of Northern Italy and by 1630 collections had been produced by composers working as far south as Rome and Palermo. The earliest known substantial work for the aj medium is the Sonata a tre per il violino, cornetto, e violone contained in the Concerti ecclesiastici (i6iod) of the Milanese organist, Giovanni Paolo Cima.1 Despite its precocity, this Sonata is remarkable for its stylistic assurance and confidence. Constructed as a continuous succession of six subsections, it relies largely on traditional imitative methods of generation, while overall unity depends on the progressive evolution of thematic material, the opening arpeggio exerting its influence on both the second and third sections (Ex. 13a). Texturally, it exhibits tendencies which were to become particularly marked over the next two decades—antiphonal rather than linear counterpoint, soloistic presentation of thematic material, and the pairing of treble instruments against the bass—but the role of the continuo differs from later practice in that the partitura merely presents the three instrumental parts in score without the usual simplification of the melodic bass by the continuo. More progressive textures contrast with sections of conservative polyphony and the piece therefore represents a judicious blend of strict linear counterpoint with the florid embellishment of the late sixteenth-century divisionist practices (Ex. 13^). The early appearance of Cima’s Sonatas is symptomatic of a wider cultivation of the ‘trio’ in the areas around the Via Emilia. Giulio Belli and Serafino Patta each contributed a single composition to sacred collections of 1613 and these provide some indication of the extremes of approach encountered in the new media a2 and aj. Belli’s Canzone aj from the Concerti ecclesiastici (1613b) stems directly from the well-worn formulas of the late sixteenth-century canzona francese a4.2 Apart from a cursory few bars in triple metre, it maintains its imitative texture in all parts almost throughout, the continuo acting simply as a basso seguente following the lowest voice (Ex. 14). The piece progresses as a series of fugal expositions based on points of imitation as conservative as those of 1 Modern edn. by Eric Schenk, The Italian Trio Sonata, (Anthology of Music, 7; Cologne, 1955). 2 Without capitalization, this term always refers to the genre described in Ch. 3, p. 50.


Regional Developments

Maschera and ends with ada capo repetition of the first section in the manner prescribed for the Canzona by both Praetorius and Banchieri. In Patta’s Canzona francese 02, La Lampugnana, from the Sacrorum canticorum (1613b) such traditional modes of treatment are rejected in favour of a soloistic conception in which lengthy solos and dialogues and a homophonic refrain in triple metre replace linear counterpoint—all over a simple non-thematic bass, the main function of which is to provide an harmonic support for the upper voices (Ex. 15). In the first decade of their existence, the division between the two ‘trio’ media was already firmly established, for aj composition tended to invoke a conservative reaction, while the a2 medium exemplified the ‘monodic’ conception of harmonically accompanied melody. Despite these sporadic appearances of the sonata for small ensembles over a wide area of Northern Italy, by the third decade of the seventeenth century the primacy in its development had passed to Venice. Giovanni Battista Riccio’s Divine lodi (repr. i6i2g, 1614a, 1620b) include twenty-one instrumental compositions strongly favouring the a2 ensemble, while Biagio Marini’s Ajfetti musicali (1617c) claims the distinction of being the first Venetian set to consist entirely of instrumental works for small ensemble. Twenty-four of the twentynine Sonate concertate in stil moderno contained in the two books of Dario Castello (162 m, 1629:!) are for combinations of less than four instruments, and all eighteen works in Giuseppe Scarani’s volume of the same name (1630b) are scored for two or three melody instruments. Larger combinations were not entirely neglected, since ten of the nineteen works in the Canzoni da sonar (1625b) of Giovanni Picchi are still for four to eight instruments, and of the four Canzonas in Giovanni Rovetta’s Salmi concertati (1626a) two prefer the oldfashioned 04 combination, but clearly the trend of the 1620s was towards smaller groupings. In the restricted environment of a single city it is hardly surprising that a distinctive local idiom should develop, and this interrelationship is acknow¬ ledged in the dedications of the sonatas, for Riccio mentions both Grillo and Picchi, while Marini mentions Grillo and Riccio. Giuseppe Scarani alone appears to stand apart from his contemporaries and this may be explained by the fact that his appointment as a singer at San Marco dates only from 1629, after his removal from his native Mantua, to where he later returned.3 The title of his one collection, Sonate concertate (1630b), suggests an acquaintance with Castello’s two sets of the same name, yet his undoubted debt to the Venetian idiom lay in the absorption of the more superficial aspects of the style, while his concepts of structure reveal a fundamentally different outlook. The main discussion of his music will therefore be included in a later chapter. Nor is the 3 E. Selfridge-Field, ‘Addenda to Some Baroque Biographies’, JAMS 25 (1972), 237-8.

The Stil Moderno Atwata


relationship of Biagio Marini to the Venetian development entirely straight¬ forward, for only the first of his instrumental collections was actually composed in Venice. While he participated in the early flowering of the stil moderno sonata, his Brescian upbringing fundamentally affected his approach to composition and it can therefore only be assessed in relationship to his native origins. The sudden rise to popularity of the small ensemble parallels a similar preoccupation in vocal music,4 and it is significant that the earliest known Venetian collection of secular solos and duets, Marc’Antonio Negri’s Affetti amorosi (161 id), also contains some rudimentary Sonatas for ‘trio’ combinations, but despite an obvious correlation between vocal and instrumental ‘monody’, both sharing the common interest in harmonically accompanied melody, the problems of extension in free instrumental music are essentially different from those governed by textual considerations. Each regional centre reacted to the new media according to its existing preconceptions of instrumental composition, and in Venice these predated the vocal development, for the stimulus and abiding influence on the younger generation was naturally enough the monumental works of Giovanni Gabrieli. The massive scorings of the polychoral Canzonas and Sonatas may not immediately suggest a kinship with the 0,2 medium, and only recently has the importance of the Canzon in echo for eight cornetti and two trombones from the Sacrae symphoniae (1597c) been recognized.5 As is explained in the part-books, Gabrieli offers an alternative instrumentation by taking the soprano from each of the two choirs and playing them together with the organ.6 Much of the rhetoric of the Venetian sonata 02 actually has its origins in such ‘echo’ compositions rather than vocal monody, and this coloured the development of the medium throughout the remainder of the century. This type of composition is essentially antiphonal rather than polyphonic and its transference to the a2 medium lent itself to the cultivation of a limited range of basic textures which became the stock in trade of the Venetian stil moderno sonata: Motivic dialogue—a motivic fragment, often articulated by a rest, is passed between the two instruments (Ex. 16a) Antiphonal statement—differing from the above in the greater length of the subject (Ex. 16b) Alternate solos—quite lengthy solo passages are stated alternately by each instrument (Ex. 16c) 4 Nigel Fortune,‘Italian Secular Song from 1600-1635’ (Ph.D. Univ. of Cambridge, 1952). 5 See D. Arnold, Giovanni Gabrieli (Oxford, 1979), 154—5• 6 ‘Pigliate li Soprani della Canzon in Echo antecedente a nurnero 48. che e questa istessa, & si soni com’ e scritta qui, Variata di Concerto, con l’Organo insieme, che cosi va Concertata’. Modern edn. of entire collection by V. Fagotto (Venice, 1969).


Regional Developments

Parallel movement—extensive parallel thirds between the treble instruments (Ex. 16 d)

Although imitation remains the predominate generative process, and many passages are in fact strictly canonic, the prime concern is not contrapuntal equality of part-writing, but rather a continual shift of interest from one voice to the other. The bass is relegated to an accompanimental position, almost never joining in the interplay of the upper parts, and this again exemplifies the monodic conception of the a2 medium as applied to many early sonatas a2. Together with homophony, as at the opening, these represent the characteristic methods by which harmonically accompanied melody replaced linear counter¬ point. The emphasis on virtuosity is apparent not only in the florid solos but in the cadenza-like codas to sections where driving rhythms and rising sequences of semiquavers over slow-moving basses accumulate into spectacular climaxes at the end of each section (Ex. i6e). The Gabrielian idiom was taken over by Giovanni Battista Riccio, and at times the parallels are so close as to suggest quotation (Ex. 17). His Canzone for two flautini (repr. i6i2g) shares many of the mannerisms of Gabrieli’s Canzon in echo, from the homophonic opening to the alternate solos and florid cadenza-like codas. The decline of linear part-writing is particularly evident in the triple metre sections of sensuous parallel thirds between the recorders, which together with motivic dialogue and solos constitute the greater part of the composition. Gabrieli’s Canzon was constructed as a large-scale rondo of 173 bars, but in Riccio’s Canzone there is no systematic sectional repetition (as there is in his Canzon a2 soprani, 1614a) although there is a certain amount of melodic consistency. Instead, the piece consists of no fewer than eleven short sections, few exceeding ten bars, contrasting duple and triple metre, homophonic and dialogue textures, solo and duet, and such unprecedented exploitation of contrast gave rise to that type of composition aptly named by Hugo Riemann the Flicken or ‘patchwork’ canzona.7 By Riccio’s last collection, the desire for variety outweighs any consideration of overall unity through long-term sectional repetition, and this heralded a general decline of interest in the complex formal structures of Giovanni Gabrieli.8 The most elaborate of these early patchwork compositions is the Sonata aj of Gabriele Usper contained in the Compositioni armoniche (1619a) of his uncle, Francesco. Its 174 bars are divided into thirteen sections (Table 2). More ‘traditional’ modernisms, including echos and a sixty-bar tripla in parallel 7 Handbuch der Musikgeschichte, ii (Leipzig, 1912), 125 ft See also H. Riemann, ‘Die Triosonaten der Generalbass-Epoche’, Praehidien undStudien, iii (Munich, 1901), 129-56. 8 Of the notable exceptions, Giovanni Rovetta’s tvvo Canzonas aj (1626a) emplov repetition schemes— ABCDEBCA, ABCDCEA.

The StUModernoSomite


movement, combine with novelties such as programmatic effects in imitation of the bagpipes and lira da gamba to produce a veritable pot-pourri of disparate styles. The whole is very much the sum of the parts and it must be admitted that there is an intrinsic danger of incoherence in so diffuse a design. Unfortunately, Usper lacked the instinctive grasp of long-term tonal organization and the manipulation of climax so evident in the large-scale through-composed works of Gabrieli, and his Sonata aj undoubtedly warrants the criticism of bittiness. Table 2. The influence of G. Usper’s Sonata 33 on Castello’s Book I, Sonata n

Bar nos. in Usper


Bar nos. in Castello

i-4 5-20 20-4

Introductory canonic flourish florid solo for basson (taken up by violins) homophonic cadential passage triple metre section (tripla) zampogna (bagpipe) section tremolo section tripla homophonic section echo section dialogue Urate bassoon solo tripla


25-43 44-55

56-62 63-77

78-91 92-107 108-20 121-32 133-8



25-9 30-57 57-72

Whatever the weakness of this experimental work, its importance lies in its direct influence on the most radical and prolific composer of stil moderno sonatas, Dario Castello, who modelled the eleventh Sonata of his Book I upon it (Table 2). Castello considerably enlarges each section, but their distribution remains identical from the introductory fanfare and bassoon solo to the distinctive metrically free zampogna section (Ex. 18a-b). This arrangement is so unusual as to rule out the possibility of coincidence, and at times there are both melodic and harmonic correspondences. Castello also adopted the opening format of fanfare for treble instruments, bassoon solo, and tripla in Book II No. 10, and Book I No. 12 utilizes the Urate effect of Usper’s work (Ex. 19a-b). The overriding principle which seems to govern the construction of these compositions is the desire for stark, almost histrionic, contrast. This love of dramatic and startling alternations of mood, most marked in Castello’s works, manifests itself in the ever-changing textures, tempos, and dynamic levels, and


Regional Developments

above all in the fluid and flexible forms, of the ‘patchwork’ sonata. Castello juxtaposes passages of the most diverse nature, and unlike in Usper and Riccio, these subsections are frequently continuous. This not only accentuates the abruptness of transition, but allows for a far more satisfactory grouping into larger units, and most of Castello’s Sonatas actually consist of three to five of these complexes, each clearly divided by a fermata. The first composite movement of Sonata 4 a2 soprani (1629O, for example, opens with an ‘adasio’ section which suddenly errupts into a vivacious ‘alegra’ in triple metre, just as abruptly curtailed by the sudden displacement of metrical accent at the ‘adasio’ coda (Ex. 20). The effectiveness of this passage relies not a little on the impelling sequence in the violins, but also on the impetus created by the chordal progressions around the cycle of fifths (E-A-D-G-C-F). This strong sense of harmonic drive accounts in no small measure for the essential dynamism and ebullience which so characterizes the Venetian repertory and separates it from much music composed elsewhere. The manipulation of tonal resources is reflected in the work as a whole, for the entire sonata is arranged around a simple but effective tonal, scheme. The first composite cadences on the dominant (a), while the second by a circuitous route restores the tonic (d). The third, which is given over entirely to alternate solos, acts as a tonal parenthesis eventually coming to rest on the flat seventh (C), and this allows for a dramatic juxtaposition of major chords with roots a third apart (C/A) to initiate the finale. Instead of availing himself of the opportunity to return directly to the ‘tonic’, Castello moves through a series of characteristic chromaticisms to the dominant, in which key the final fugato is introduced. The inner coherence of these mosaic-like structures therefore relies on the adroit handling of tonal resources, but this awareness of the cohesive force of ‘tonality’ in no way conflicts with the underlying conception of mode as it operated in the seventeenth century, for with very few exceptions Castello follows the established hierarchy of internal cadences governed by his choice of ‘tone’. All four ‘a’ compositions, for example, strongly favour the subdominant and relative, with a further option of the flat seventh, and approach their final plagal cadences characteristically as if in modern terms it were an imperfect cadence in D minor. There is never so much as a passing hint of the dominant. This may not accord with the practices of a later era, but is entirely consistent with current usage at this period.9 Such multisectional structures have often been construed as a succession of incipient ‘movements’, each awaiting expansion as the problems of long-term rhythmic and tonal planning were mastered, and thus contributing to the 9 For a thorough investigation into modal cadencing patterns see D. M. Beswick, ‘The Problem of Tonality in Seventeenth-Century Music’ (Ph.D. Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1950).

The Stil Moderno



eventual broad cycle of the Corellian Sonata. In reality7, the very7 concept of overall form as a fairly predictable arrangement of complementary selfcontained movement-types was wholly incompatible with the essential spirit of the stil moderno sonata which sought to overwhelm the listener in a welter of conflicting emotions. Each subsection should not be construed as a brief yet independent entity but as a subordinate part of a larger unity which is skilfully organized around a carefully planned tonal scheme. Castello’s conception of ‘movement’ is therefore diametrically opposed to the one which prevails in the Corellian Sonata, since it involves striking and unpredictable changes of mood within a single unit as a matter of course.10 Besides the consistency of tonal language, Venetian ‘trio’ sonatas share many features which differentiate them from developments elsewhere. Perhaps the most obvious of these was the emphasis on virtuosity7. Dario Castello—the most extreme of all his contemporaries—drew attention to this aspect of the stil moderno sonata in the letter to the reader of the reprint of his Book I (see p. 33), but this merely built upon the tradition of improvised embellishments as set down in the divisionist manuals of the previous century. The treatises of Dalla Casa and Bassano represent the direct forerunners of the instrumental techniques of the stil moderno, from which it derived its large repertory7 of stock figurations and vivacious roulades that required such an astonishingly high level of manual dexterity and virtuosity'. But if these passaggi notated improvisatory practices, this would presumably represent a change in attitude on the part of the composer, denying the performer the option of free embellishment. The Venetians were unusually precise in their notation, not only of specific instrumental idioms, such as bowing slurs and tonguings, but even the addition of standard graces such as gruppi, and trilli, while the fully written out passaggi suggest an attitude similar to that of G. P. Cima who firmly requested the player to perform his music as it stood (see p. 44). The tendency towards virtuosity7 is most pronounced in the many solo sections included in the Venetian sonata. The first twenty-three bars of Riccio’s La Rizza (1620b) are given over to alternate solos, while it is characteristic of Castello to set aside an entire section for technical display. In his Sonatas a2 the solo is usually given alternately by each melodic instrument, as in the Sonata 4 (16290, but in the Sonatas aj it is always allotted to the concertante bass, where 10 I. Daverio, in ‘Formal Design and Terminology in the Pre-Corellian “Sonata” and Related Instrumental Forms in the Printed Sources’ (Ph.D. Boston Univ. Graduate School, 1983), 101-5, divides Castello’s Sonata 4 into three sections by denying the finality' of the cadence on the dominant at the first fermata. This accords with his assertion that a ‘movement’ must be tonally stable, i.e. begin and end in the same tonality', and also reflects his suspicion of visual symbols such as the fermata and double barline as means of structural articulation. Castello is entirely consistent in the use of the fermata at the main structural divisions throughout his two books, and such tonal stability was clearly not to him a prerequisite in his works.


Regional Developments

it forms part of a larger composite section, perhaps incorporating the typically Venetian feature of a ritornello. Many of these solos follow a consistent pattern derived from divisionist practices. Each begins with a relatively slow introduct¬ ory passage (occasionally marked ‘adasio’ in Castello’s works) after which rhythmic motives of increasing complexity and ever shorter note values culminate in a cascade of semiquavers or even demisemiquavers (Ex. 21). It is self-evident that the prime method of melodic extension in this type of solo is sequential repetition of short motives, which underlies the construction of so much Venetian melody. It must be acknowledged that the tendency to overwork motives is an ever present problem, and this is indeed particularly evident in the works of Giovanni Picchi. Not only does his preoccupation with dotted figures become almost a mannerism, but the reliance on sequential repetition often replaces real inspiration—particularly apparent in the alternate solos of Canzon 5 U2 (Ex. 22). In Castello’s solos, however, this represents only one melodic style, and elsewhere he chooses a less mechanical and more rhapsodical idiom which breathes the improvisatory freedom and rhapsodical intensity of the stile espressivo of vocal music (Ex. 2). Closely related to these solo sections are the cadenza-like codas which frequently conclude large sections or entire sonatas. These again continue the practice of Giovanni Gabrieli, and throughout the period there is a basic consistency of style, although once more Castello surpasses his contemporaries in the outlandishness of his technical demands. Such cadenzas are frequently constructed over long pedal points in the bass, above which the melody instruments engage in vigorous scalic runs and motivic dialogues, or extended canons at the unison in which, after the initial imitation, violins simply interlock in thirds. Castello’s cadenzas often contain a rhetorical change of tempo from ‘adasio’ to ‘presto’, concluding with an impulsive rising sequence to a high note, and a stepwise descent in successions of trills (Ex. 23), perhaps with a meticulously notated cadential gruppo. One of many features of the stil moderno sonata originating in the specific idioms of the polychoral canzona was a tradition of canzonas in ecco stemming from those of Gabrieli. Riccio included one such Canzona in his 1614 collection while his La Grileta a doi violini in ecco (1620b) consists almost entirely of forte statements by the first violin and echo responses by the second. The most ambitious work in this direction is in fact the Sonata aj violini in ecco from Biagio Marini’s Op. VIII, 1626m (published while he was at the court of Neuberg), in which the composer actually specifies that the second and third violins are to be hidden from view. Echo canzonas as such were only an occasional if long-lived contribution to the Venetian repertory, but all Venetian composers frequently incorporated echoes as part of a longer composition. These may occur in

The Stil Moderno Sonata


dialogue between several voices as in Castello’s Book I No. 9, which actually requires three dynamic levels (forte, pian, and pianin), may be confined to a single part by varying its dynamic (f p), or may repeat the entire cadential phrase as a conclusion to a section. Composers of sonatas aj also adapted the opposition of high and low choirs of the polychoral canzona. In Castello’s works when a solo is given to the bass instrument, the surrounding sections may be scored for ‘doi soprani’, thus emphasizing the contrast of registers. Within sections themselves, paired treble instruments frequently dialogue with the bass, but obviously such opposition could not be adapted to the sonata a2. Most of these features are to be found in all Venetian composers of the period, but other aspects apply only to the more radical developments. During the 1620s the sonata began to incorporate the overtly emotional style characteristic of the finest contemporary vocal monody and this resulted in a general enlargement of its expressive range. The preoccupation with the ‘affections’ was of course a principal concern of composers of vocal music, not least Monteverdi, who seemed curiously unattracted by the possibilities of lengthy abstract instrumental compositions. There was certainly nothing new in the idea that instruments alone could arouse the passions, for Ganassi suggests that the manner of playing a madrigal should express the meaning of the words even when the performance was entirely instrumental!11 The affective aspect of the stil moderno was most pronounced in the slow sections which took over a radical harmonic idiom akin to that of the contemporary madrigal. The second section of Castello’s Book I No. 3, combining unprepared dissonance with a progression of augmented and diminished triads, is actually marked ‘affetto’ (Ex. 1 oa) but by far the most extreme of these experiments is the slow movement of Book II No. 10. Here dissonance, chromaticism, augmented triads, and false relations all contribute to its astonishing intensity, rivalling the eccentricities of some contemporary vocal music (Ex. 24). In contrast to these harmonically conceived slow sections, many compositions contain passages marked ‘adasio’ which seem stylistically indistinguishable from quick movements, including motivic dialogues, florid runs in semiquavers, and stricter imitative passages, which will in future be categorized as ‘figurated’ slow movements (Ex. 25). These considerations are most pronounced in a2 compositions and those aj works which dispense with a fugal movement, such as Usper’s Sonata. The more conservative line of development in Venetian instrumental music is represented by those sonatas aj which make some pretence at more formal fugal designs and this applies to no less than six of the eight Sonate concertate aj of 11 Opera intitulata Fontegara: A Treatise on the Art of Playing the Recorder and of Free Ornamentation, ed. H. Peter, trans. D. Swainson (Berlin, 1959), ch. 1. For the relationship of voices and instruments see H. M. Brown, Embellishing Sixteenth-Century Music (Early Music Series, 1; London, 1976), 61-71.


Regional Developments

Castello, and furthermore three of these actually retain the da capo structure of Gabrieli’s conservative Canzonas in the Raverij collection (i6o8f).12 The more traditional aspects of these movements are the retention of the rather oldfashioned melodic formulas bearing a kinship with the canzona francese and the fact that the continuo now functions as a basso seguente rather than a harmonic accompaniment. These traits serve to differentiate the a2 and aj media in Venetian instrumental music, yet compared with other developments even the latter clearly reflect the stil moderno’s rejection of contrapuntal textures. In most expositions, for example, the material is not combined contrapuntally, retying mainly on alternate playing with just enough cadential overlapping to ensure continuity. On the one occasion that Castello employs a consistent counter¬ subject (Book II No. 12), the predominant texture consists only of two parts and is soon replaced by antiphonal dialogues between the trombone and paired treble instruments. Similarly, Rovetta’s Canzon 2 03 confines its exposition to two-part counterpoint, while the first section of his Canzon 1 aj contains hardly a bar of linear counterpoint throughout its twenty-five bars. Stricter contra¬ puntal textures are far more germane to the two four-voiced Canzonas contained in this collection, for in so far as it was cultivated at all, this medium still seemed to call for more conservative textures. Only in the two Canzonas 03 of Giovanni Picchi (1625b) is there more continuous three-part writing, but even here upper parts are often paired. The Canzon 5 a2 of this set is also most unusual in that it simulates the 03 style by using the harmonic continuo thematically as the third melodic instrument (Ex. 26)—and there is indeed at least a suggestion of this exceptional practice in the first section of Castello’s Book I No. 3—by far the most contrapuntal movement of his a2 works despite its fourteen-bar alternate presentation of the subject and answer. By 1630, the Venetian sonata for small ensembles had displaced larger groupings in printed editions, and had developed its own individual and very distinctive style. Drawing on the city’s long tradition of instrumental virtuosity it achieved a technical excellence in some respects unequalled throughout the remainder of the century. In combination with the opposition of forces in the polychoral works of Gabrieli, this led to the soloistic conception of the ‘trio’ media—perhaps the most widespread and long-lasting Venetian contribution to the sonata. From contemporary developments in vocal music it acquired a new passion and intensity in the ostentatious display of the affections, reflected in its unorthodox harmonic idiom. As in vocal music, the newly awakened interest in the monodic principle led to a notable decline in interest in strict linear counterpoint, in favour of more transparent antiphonal textures, most acute in 12 L. E. Bartholomew, ‘Alessandro Raverij’s Collection of “Canzoni per Sonare” (Venice, 1608)’ (Ph.D. Univ. ofMichigan, 1963).

The StilModerno Sonata


a2 compositions but also apparent in aj works. The exuberant extroversion of the Venetian style is attained through the emphasis on virtuosity and display, its wide - vocabulary of dynamic sequentially repeated rhythmic patterns, and unerring sense of harmonic motion, while its unexpected changes of mood, rhetorical outbursts, and formal unpredictability of its mosaic-like structures produced a style almost theatrical in its implications.

The Veneto The impact of these radical idioms was strongest on the Brescian composers, Marini and Fontana. The close musical ties between Venice and Brescia, itself part of the Veneto, were established long before the turn of the seventeenthcentury. Claudio Merulo had served as organist at the Duomo between 1556 and 1557, immediately preceding his appointment at San Marco. His successor in Brescia was Fiorentio Maschera, who worked for some time at the Venetian church of the Santo Spirito, and whose C'anzoni da sonare (repr. 1584a) were among the most admired and copied ensemble works in Venice itself before the advent of Gabrieli’s polvchoral compositions. Marini of course participated in the first flowering of the Venetian stil moderno sonata, although he had returned to Brescia by 1620. Giovanni Battista Fontana had also apparently spent much time in Venice, for his fame as a violinist in the city is mentioned in the dedication of Cesario Gussago’s Sonate (1608)'), while the editor of Fontana’s own posthumous collection of Sonatas (1641b) compares his fame there with that of Orpheus at Thebes. These close musical ties evidently continued into the mid-century, for Massimiliano Neri was a member of the well-known Brescian Academy, the Errand. However much these composers were drawn into the Venetian orbit, they still retained stylistic features deriving from their Brescian heritage.

Biagio Marini Marini’s provincial origins are even apparent in the contents of his Affetti musicali (1617c), despite the fact that it was published during his service in Venice. It was not customary for Venetian composers to publish music of such a pronounced da camera nature as the balletti and aria, nor did they often include short Sinfonie in collections of free sonatas—a feature associated more with the Mantuan composers, Rossi and Buonamente. Furthermore, sets of variations on standard bass patterns, such as the Romanesca, and on popular tunes like ‘La Monica’ and ‘Fuggi dolente cor’ represent some of his most ambitious compositions, and these are notable for their absence from collections by native


Regional Developments

Venetians. In fact, of the 130 or so pieces in Marini’s known instrumental publications, less than twenty have direct relevance to the development of the free sonata, although they do confirm the growing popularity of the small ensemble during his lifetime.13 Marini’s indebtedness to the Venetian idiom is at once apparent in the overall structure of many of his sonatas. The da capo of La Foscarina aj (1617c) and the use of a homophonic ritornello in Sonata 3 (1626m) are distinctly Venetian rather than Brescian traits but, above all, the through-composed patchworks of short contrasting sections which provide the framework for many compositions of Opp. I and VIII reveal an essential kinship with the Venetian sonata. These most resemble the Venetian idiom in the composite movements made up of short sharply differentiated subsections, and on occasion the abruptness of the changes of mood certainly aligns Marini with the more impetuous and rhetorical aspects of the stil moderno. His penchant for dramatic effects is perhaps most pronounced in La Foscarina in which an impulsive cadenza over a pedal leads with relentless drive upwards to halt on a dominant fermata. After a pregnant general pause the section ends with a passage requesting tremolo con I’arco—the first instance of such a marking in the sonata repertory.14 The emphasis on contrast is also very noticeable in the many passages alternating solo and tutti, and in the preoccupation with dynamics, as in the various compositions in ecco. These factors reveal a sympathetic understanding of the Venetian idiom, yet it is precisely this desire for stark contrasts—so essential a feature of the stil moderno—that becomes increasingly less important in Marini’s development. In the first place, contrast of metre was never so crucial a feature in Brescia as in Venice, and neither La Agguzona (1617c) nor Sonatas 2, 5, and 13 of Op. VIII contain a section in triple metre. This is entirely in accord with Brescian practice, for even in those Canzonas which post-date Gabrieli’s Sacrae symphoniae (1597c) such as Canale’s collection (i6ood) triplas occur in less than half the compositions. Nor does Marini employ the frequent changes of tempo which characterize the most adventurous of Venetian sonatas of the 1620s and also his own solo sonatas. The Sonata senza cadenza (1626m) alone contains a single ‘tardo’ indication. Furthermore, these works lack the ostentatious display of the affections and emotional intensity of Castello’s Sonatas. Even the passage marked ‘affetti’ in Sonata 1 (1626m) does not match the harmonic experimentation of Castello (Ex. 10d). Nor indeed is the emphasis on virtuosity at all comparable with the most extreme Venetian practices. In the internal 13 Marini’s three instrumental collections are transcribed in Einstein, MS Collection. For a useful modern edn. see String Sonatas from Op. i and Op. 8, ed. T. D. Dunn (Madison, Wis., 1981). Facs. edn. of Op. I (Florence, 1978). 14 This passage is quoted in Newman, SBE 103.

The Stil Moderno Sonata


composite movements Marini never indulges in the lengthy alternate solos of the Sonata concertata, and when he does include extensive solos in Sonatas i and 3 (1626m) the emphasis is more on lyrical beauty than a display of technique (Ex. 27). Nor does he usually end with the cadenza-like flourishes which provide so telling a climax to many Venetian compositions. Except in the most unusual circumstances, such as the double-stopping in the Capriccio (1626m) in which each violin plays two parts, Marini clearly did not conceive the ‘trio’ sonata as a vehicle for his renowned prowess as a violinist demonstrated by his solo compositions. In this he differed from the Venetians who concentrated their most lavish technical displays as much in ensemble as in the few printed solo sonatas. Marini’s melodic idiom also reveals an individuality of approach not always compatible with the Venetians. Instead of their rhapsodical or brilliantly exuberant figurations, he favours a smooth-flowing lyrical melody made up of expansive melodic periods less prone to internal division by unequivocal cadences. Much Venetian melody is built up from a nucleus of a single rhythmic cell, whereas the structural unit of Marini’s melodies tends to be longer—often about one bar (Ex. 28). Imitative points may be surprisingly restricted in both melodic range and rhythmic compass, perhaps progressing throughout in even, stepwise quavers (particularly prominent in the frequent lirate sections resembling Usper’s imitation of the lira da gamba). This predominantly conjunct motion then contrasts with the occasional wide leaps across strings—one of the most individual features of the violin writing (Ex. ic). Marini’s cultivation of variation also influenced his approach to the free sonata. Even some of the short Sinfonie of Op. I such as La Giustiniani15 and La Gambara employ explicit variation techniques, while Sonatas 2 and 5 develop their material through progressive variation (Ex. 29). The application of such methods results in a melodic consistency common to much Brescian instrumental music but foreign to the Venetian idiom, since it mitigates against the essential spirit of dynamic contrast. The preference for more continuous melodic lines fundamentally affects the texture of Marini’s sonatas: instead of the preponderance of motivic dialogues of Riccio’s Canzonas, motives are combined into much lengthier periods. This greater continuity may be used to create an impression of linear counterpoint, but with the exception of the uniquely complex Sonata 2 (1626m), which consistently uses double counterpoint, Marini shared in the Venetian a2 sonata’s general rejection of fugal forms. Instead, he preferred a limited number of

15 Modern edn. R. P. Block and D. Stuart (London, 1983).


Regional Developments

simple textures. The commonest is the ‘exchange sequence’ which may best be described graphically: 1 2

2 i

i 2

2 i

i 2

in which i and 2 are short contrasting ideas passed between each violin as in Example 28, and the ‘exchange passage’ where an entire melodic period is repeated with violin parts exchanged (Ex. 30). Marini much favours an extended ‘hocket’ dialogue between the violins (Ex. 31), and this may even be constructed as a free canon. Indeed, canonic writing—usually at the distance of a single beat—is a prominent feature of his style (Ex. 32). These, together with alternate playing and solos (amounting to no less than forty of the first fifty-eight bars of Sonata 3, (1626m)), constitute by far the most prominent textures in Marini’s sonatas, and even parallel movement is not quite so important as in some Venetian composers. Many of these stylistic divergencies depend on a fundamentally different attitude to harmonic progression. On the one hand Marini constructs sequences around the cycle of fifths almost as extensive as those of the Venetians, yet this directional approach is tempered by a much less dynamic idiom which prevails throughout fairly substantial portions of the music. The incompatibility of these two styles is well demonstrated in the composite section of Sonata 1 (1626m), despite its overt imitation of the Venetian style. In complete contrast to Castello, Marini seems to take delight in harmonizing would-be dominants with progressions of minor chords, thus depriving them of a strong sense of tonal direction (Ex. 33). This is particularly noticeable in the avoidance of any clearcut definition of the ‘key’ of a piece at its outset.16 Sonata 4 (1626m) commences with a characteristic chain of minor chords and the first cadence in the tonic does not occur until bars 13-14 (Ex. 28), whereas Castello’s Sonata 4 (16290 begins with an unequivocal cadential progression emphasizing the ‘tonic’. As a bi-product of this harmonic idiom, Marini’s compositions frequently contain many incidental cross-relations, and this constitutes one of the chief means of harmonic variety, rather than the more affective and dissonant combinations of Castello. The simple colouristic device of fluctuation between tonic major and minor is a prominent feature in such sonatas as La Foscarina, and several compositions actually start in one mode and end in another (a criticism not infrequently aimed at ‘modern’ composers of the day). His treatment of the modes is therefore rather less disciplined and uniform than that of many of his contemporaries. According to R. W. Wienpahl, ‘Modality, Monality and Tonality in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries l\ML 52 (1971), 409, this is one of the chief distinguishing factors of‘non-tonal’ music of this period.

The Stil Moderno


Marini’s later extant contribution to the abstract ‘trio’ sonata amounts only to the Sonata per due violini and the Sonata 2 aj included among the twenty-five pieces in his Diversi generi di sonate, Op. XXII (1655a).17 Four sonatas for two violins were included in the Corona melodica, Op. XV (1644c), of which only the basso continuo survives, and it is not unreasonable to suppose that at least one of the six lost collections of these years would have contained some instrumental music.18 The Sonatas of 1655 have often been cited as indicative of the trend towards independent movements, foreshadowing the Corellian Sonata, since several are divided into distinct ‘parti’. Marini had indeed abandoned the patchwork structures of his youth, yet his concept of parte is not entirely synonymous with that normally implied by ‘movement’, since the ‘prima parte’ of Sonata 2 aj consists of two lengthy independent units in contrasting metres, firmly separated by a double bar. Nor is the content particularly redolent of Corelli’s Sonatas aj, for the ‘fugal’ allegro merely reiterates a short point for ten bars before dissolving into passagework, while its tonality harks , back to the non-tonal experimentation of some early works in that it actually ends in the submediant major key (A). The emphasis is now firmly on lyrical beaut)7 rather than virtuoso display—well demonstrated by the dolcemente melody presented alternately in the Sonata a2 (Ex. 34)—and there is barely a vestige of the flamboyancy of his youthful collections. Of all the composers of instrumental music of this period. Marini has attracted the most attention from historians. As early as 1930, Dora J. Iselin produced a monograph devoted to his instrumental music19 and since then a further doctoral thesis has appeared.20 His most important achievements undoubtedly lie in the development of violin technique in the works for solo violin and continuo during a period when that medium is poorly represented in extant Italian sources. Yet these progressive works exist side by side with Canzonas of the utmost conservatism owing much to his Brescian origins, and most ‘trio’ compositions generally form a compromise between these two extremes. There is no reason to suppose that his particular approach to formal 17 The first is included in Wasielewski, Instrumentahaze vow Ernie des XVI. bis Ernie des XVII. jfakrhunderts, no. XXI, and the second in the supplement to Dora J. Iselin, Biagio Marini, sein Leben und seine Instmmentalwerke (Hildburghausen, 1930), 16-20. Most of the collection appears in a dubious transcription ed. Luigi Torchi, AMI 7 (Milan, 1907). 18 Since Op. XXII is designated as Libro terzo it is unlikely that any of these lost collections consist entirely of instrumental music, as presumably Opp. I and VIII are Bks. I and II. It is extremely improbable that the collection originally consisted of 3 vols., the first two of which have been lost, as suggested by T. D. Dunn, ‘The Sonatas of Biagio Marini’, MR 36 (1975), 175-6. If this were the case it would be a unique occurrence in anv i7th-cent. publication. 19 Cited inn. 17. 20 T. D. Dunn, ‘The Instrumental Music of Biagio Marini’, 2 vols. (Ph.D. Yale Univ., 1969).


Regional Developments

structure in any substantial way influenced the development of the Corellian Sonata, nor indeed are there many stylistic correspondences, for Marini’s sonatas are very much those of an instrumentalist while organists were responsible for most of the lasting developments of this period. Furthermore, as more recent research has emphasized, he was not even primarily a composer of instrumental music since twelve of Marini’s known fifteen collections are devoted mainly to vocal music.21

Giovanni Battista Fontana The eighteen surviving Sonatas contained in Fontana’s posthumous collection of 1641b are all scored for one to three melody instruments and continuo, but only eight are for ‘trio’ ensembles.22 As in the works of his compatriot, Marini, these represent a fusion of both Brescian and Venetian characteristics. In Fontana’s case passages of extreme conservatism occur side by side with aggressive modernisms which illustrate beyond any doubt his affinity with the Sonate concertate of Castello. From the Venetian stil moderno he took the extreme emphasis on virtuosity as manifested in the very extensive solos and the cadenza¬ like codas, which at times rival those of Castello in their audaciousness. The lengthy coda to Sonata 11 has a vigorous interplay of short motives, florid scalic passaggi, occasional echoes, an abundance of dotted rhythms, and the inevitable interlocking semiquaver canons over a dominant pedal, which are all staple fare of the Venetian sonata. If Fontana’s style differs at all it is in the greater rhythmic complexity, especially in his predilection for syncopations, and in this respect the intricacy of the figurations in the cadenza of Sonata 11 surpasses any of the Venetians (Ex. 35). Solo sections, however, never quite achieve the flights of virtuosity of Castello, but since both composers share a common heritage of divisionist figurations there may be considerable similarity of style, as in the particular combination of semiquaver scale and dotted descending figure in Sonata 14 (Ex. 36^). Castello’s opposition of registers in aj compositions is exploited in the central bassoon solo with ensuing homophonic duet for two violins in Sonata 13. Some solos still rely on the older practice of mechanical reiteration of a single motive, but in others the metrical flexibility and rhapsodical freedom align Fontana with the most novel of contemporary styles—similar to that of the trombone solo of Castello’s Book II No. 12 (Ex. 36 b). Despite these very obvious correspondences, in other respects Fontana’s conception of the medium differs substantially from that of most Venetians, 21 See W. B. Clark, ‘The Vocal Music of Biagio Marini’, 2 vols. (Ph.D. Yale Univ., 1966). 22 Modern edns. Sonata 8 ci2, ed. Wasielewski, Instrumentalsaze, xn. Sonata 14 aj, ed. E. Schenk (Vienna, 1969). Sonatas 7, 8, and 11, ed. G. Braun (Celle, 1984). Sonata 7, ed. H. Schaller (Vienna, 1986).

The StilModernoSVwata


since his attitude towards overall structure is as much conditioned by the Brescian Canzona as by the stil moderno sonata. The patchwork principle is much, in evidence, for each Sonata consists of an amalgam of contrasting sections—homophonic and imitative, duple and triple metres, solos and cadenzas—ranging in length from a few bars to over fifty. There is in fact even less predictability in their arrangement than in the works of Castello, for the number and placing of solo sections varies considerably from one composition to another and even the initial fugue of the Sonata aj is retained in only two of the five pieces. Furthermore, neither the da capo nor the through-composed structures of so many Venetian compositions held much appeal for Fontana, who in the majority of cases preferred to base the formal organization of these very extensive compositions on some scheme of sectional repetition. This may range from a simple homophonic frame (Sonata 17) to the elaborate arch form of Sonata 18 (ABCBA). Moreover, like Marini, Fontana seeks to provide a more fundamental degree of unification by using subtle melodic tranformations and cross-references, thus providing the thematic homogeneity so typical of the Brescian Canzona (Ex. 37). Fontana’s conception of the two ‘trio’ media is less clearly defined than that of the Venetians, and this is reflected in the role of the continuo. As opposed to its entirely non-thematic function in such Sonatas a2 as Castello’s Book II No. 4, Fontana frequently calls upon the harmonic instrument to provide a third melodic strand of equal thematic importance to the two treble instruments. Sonata 7 a2 contains one section of thirty-five bars in which the violins and continuo bass elaborate on a double subject. Again, in some Sonatas aj the continuo departs from its normal role of basso seguente to provide independent imitations. The first movement of Sonata 18 aj almost seems to transfer the old fugal idioms of the canzona 04 direct to the aj medium, and at one point the typical late sixteenth-century device of opposing treble and bass pairs is simulated by using the continuo as fourth part (Ex. 38). Later in this sonata, Fontana includes a duet for violin and continuo the imitative texture of which resembles the old bicinium as much as the newer seventeenth-century styles, and lengthy contrapuntal duets occur with much greater frequency than in the Venetian sonata. Conversely, solos account for almost half of Sonata 14 aj, and even its fugue prefers alternate statements of the subject and two-part writing to a strict three-voiced texture. Such inconsistencies arise from the combination of two dissimilar regional practices. Despite the brilliance of the solos and the antiphonal dialogues, and the vitality of the rhythmic figurations, the stylistic balance is definitely weighted in favour of a less ebullient but more lyrical melodic idiom. This suggests an obvious affinity with Biagio Marini and both composers share that liking for a


Regional Developments

serene and non-affective melody which contrasts with the more rumbustious and emotional Venetian idiom. The ability to construct expansive gracefully arched melodies is indeed among the most appealing features of Fontana’s style. As in Marini, it may even replace the customary display of virtuosity considered so essential in the Castellian solo. The austere alternate solos with which Sonata 11 u2 begins would be unthinkable in Castello’s Sonate concertate (Ex. 39). This style also provides the basis for many of the hymnic slow sections which occur with some frequency. The introduction of Sonata 17 perhaps sheds some light on the origins of this highly distinctive style, for it bears a notable similarity to the composition actually entitled La Fontana from the Sonate (1608)) of the Brescian composer Cesario Gussago, and may therefore represent another indigenous Brescian trait (Ex. 40^-^). The conservative aspects of Fontana’s Sonatas are naturally strongest in the strictly imitative or fugal movements. In this respect the opening movement of Sonata 18 still strongly recalls the vocally inspired melodies of the canzona francese (Ex. 38), with the predominance of repeated note patterns and restrained rhythmic vocabulary, but the essential incompatibility with the Venetian idiom is above all apparent in the desire for melodic continuity and the disinterest in sequence as the fundamental mode of melodic extension. This effortless continuity is dependent on a harmonic idiom which studiously avoids any progression that could possibly be construed as a point of repose, and the first unequivocal cadence in the ‘tonic’ (a) does not occur until bar 36. Ultimately, the Venetian idiom seeks to emphasize formal structure through cadential articulation, while Fontana wishes to obscure obvious definitions through cadential avoidance. Despite his familiarity with and respect for the Venetian idiom, Fonatana’s Sonatas represent the incorporation of modern elements into the basically conservative idioms of the Brescian Canzona. His soloistic conception of the ‘trio’ sonata is in itself proof of his indebtedness to the Venetians, but this influence is tempered by the use of repetition schemes and continual recourse to variation. Although soloistic and antiphonal writing is an indispensable part of his style, even motivic dialogue is much less pervasive, and echo dialogues hardly ever occur. The greater interest in linear counterpoint and the more continuous textures that this involves arise from a melodic construction which is more openended and relies much less on simple sequential extension of motives, and this is supported by a less goal-directed harmonic idiom.

The StilModernOvSVwato:


Stefano Bernardi Independent instrumental compositions form only a small part of the substantial body of sacred and secular music of the Veronese composer, Stefano Bernardi (cm585-1636). These are included as adjuncts to collections of vocal music published between 1613 and 1624 and generally favour larger ensembles with a preference for six voices. However, the Madrigaletti, Op. XII (162if), published while he was maestro di cappella at Verona Cathedral, contains seven Sonatas for two violins and bassoon.23 These works are indicative of the conservative reaction to the radical Venetian idioms which prevailed elsewhere in the Veneto. The two constant factors uniting these various centres are the patchwork structure and the contrast of solo and tutti. Bernardi’s works are mostly made up of a succession of short sections of ten to twenty bars alternating solo and tutti. Canzon 2 ends with a true da capo and 1 and 7 recall the themes of the first sections in their finales, but as in Canzon 3, overall unity normally relies on the same systematic application of variation and thematic cross-references as that encountered in the works of the Brescian composers (Ex. 41). Such techniques are far removed from the almost insatiable desire for contrast in the Venetian stil moderno sonata, and clearly indicate that contrast for its own sake, save that provided by solo and tutti, was by no means as obsessive a preoccupation for Bernardi. This is further emphasized by the fact that a change of metre occurs in only three of the seven compositions. Apart from the presence of solo sections, Bernardi’s Canzonas bear little enough relationship to the extravagant and virtuosic style of Castello, for only the bass solos (specified for liuto 0 fagoto) contain divisions—almost entirely in quavers—while the solos for treble instruments rarely include note values even of this duration (Ex. 42). It is of course open to speculation how much additional ornamentation has to be added. Whether solo or tutti, the melodic style is always steeped in the traditions of the canzona francese, coupled with an extremely conservative harmonic idiom, and this results in a non-affective style in which such distinctive Venetian features as motivic dialogue, dotted figurations, and echoes are almost entirely lacking. Despite this more linear approach, strict contrapuntal textures represent only one possibility within Bernardi’s Canzonas, for even when tuttis consist of a fugal exposition the counterpoint is often of the type which preserves melodic but not rhythmic independence of parts. Together with the tendency to pair upper voices against the bass, this produces that ‘homophonic counterpoint’, based on a predominantly consonant harmonic vocabulary in which dissonance is reserved mainly for the stock cadential formulas, so typical of the early 23 Modern edn. by R. P. Block, Canzonas 2, 3, and 5 (London, 1983).


Regional Developments

seventeenth century (Ex. 43). As the composer of much stile antico church music and author of a treatise on counterpoint, the Porta musicale (1615)24 interest in counterpoint is by no means entirely absent. The exceptional Canzon 6 in fact consists mainly of an extended fugue in which the last section combines the subjects of the first two expositions (Ex. 44). As in his vocal music, Bernardi was therefore not unwilling to attempt some mild experimentation with the new instrumental styles, but only within very circumscribed limits.

Pellegrino Possenti While Bernardi’s Canzonas suggest an awareness, if not a wholehearted acceptance of the Venetian idiom, the Concentus armonici (i628h) of Pellegrino Possenti (apparently active in Venice and Vicenza) were largely unaffected by the new styles.25 Of the eighteen works in this collection, ten are for ‘trio’ combinations—one a2 and nine aj. The only indications of any affinity with the stil moderno are the occasional echoes and one tremolo movement in La Ubalda aj. Rather than patchwork designs, Possenti orders each composition as a consistent arrangement of independent movements: fugue

tripla (3, 3/2)

da capo

While more homophonic sections and passages do occur, especially in the triplas, the basis of Possenti’s style is fairly strict linear counterpoint, as demonstrated by the self-contained fugal movement with which nearly all the pieces begin. The nature of the thematic material immediately suggests a conservative orientation since it rarely shows any hint of the idiomatic instrumental writing cultivated by Castello and others (Ex. 45). The fugue therefore occupies a position of prime importance, but despite its apparent fluency, the part-writing is prone to elementary inaccuracies such as consecutives and crude passing dissonances. The finale takes the form of an exact repeat of the first movement in only two works, and normally consists of a brief resume lasting perhaps ten bars. Compared with the substantial virtuosic rhapsodies of Castello and Fontana, Possenti’s works may appear unpretentious, not to say unimpressive, but the historical significance of this type of composition should not be underestimated. In the first place, the conception of movements as self-contained entities based on thematically related (or at least stylistically similar) material accords more with later practices than do the continuous or patchwork designs cultivated in 24 See J. Roche, North Italian Church Music in the Age of Monteverdi (Oxford, 1984), 106. 25 This collection is incomplete in its extant sources, both of which lack the basso continuo, but at least one copy of each of the melodic part-books survives.

The StilModerno»So^«to


Venice. The underlying trend towards uniformity in the arrangement of these movements was already under way, for the fugue-tripla grouping together with the da capo established themselves as the most consistent and widespread structural arrangements in Italian instrumental music of the first half of the seventeenth century. In these respects Possenti was by no means unique, but formed part of the mainstream developments which led directly to the type of sonata cultivated in Bologna from the 1660s onwards.

The Ducal Courts Mantua Despite the ample orchestral forces and extensive use of instruments in the various theatrical entertainments at the Gonzaga court of Mantua, its contribution to the development of free instrumental music in the first three decades of the century was relatively small. Even Salamon Rossi was but little concerned with the development of the free sonata. Of the 130 or so pieces contained in his four collections of instrumental music, only seven are free compositions of any length, while the major part of each set is taken up by short Sinfonias and dances—evidently more in keeping with the requirements of a secular court. In any case, the most ambitious and extended writing is contained not in the free sonatas, but in the eleven sets of variations included in Books III and IV (1613k, 1622b). It is these two collections that also contain the seven abstract ‘trio’ sonatas. This modicum of relevant compositions may not represent the sum total of the Mantuan contribution during this period, for Giovanni Battista Buonamente also produced three volumes of instrumental music before his departure for the Imperial court in 1626. Unfortunately, no edition survives before his Book IV (i626d), but as this still favours those genres cultivated by Rossi (Sinfonias, dances, and six substantial sets of variations), while free Sonatas account for only four works, there would appear to be no reason to suppose that his earlier collections would have added much to this number. Book V (1629a) contains only Sinfonias, dances, and arias, but the Sonate et canzoni. . . Libro sesto (1636), published after his appointment as maestro di cappella at San Francesco in Assisi, is Buonamente’s first surviving collection to consist entirely of free instrumental compositions. However, it is also the first to depart from the aj scoring of all the other sets, and includes twelve compositions for larger ensembles of four to six voices. Of the remaining eleven works seven are for ‘trio’ combinations. Finally, in the following year, the Venetian publisher Alessandro Vincenti compiled a further set of eighteen aj works, eight of which are directly relevant. The Mantuan monk, Giuseppe Scarani, is also included in the group, although his one collection of Sonate concertate (1630b) was produced during a

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term of office as a singer at San Marco in Venice from 1629. Of the eighteen Sonatas a2 and aj twelve are for ‘trio’ combinations. Despite his blatant attempt to ‘trade on Castello’s success with the same title’,1 and his assimilation of certain obvious features of the Venetian idiom, his basic conceptions of instrumental composition relate more to Buonamente than to any Venetian composer. All three composers associated with Mantua share the common interest in variation which fundamentally separates them from the Venetian school. This branch of composition (neglected by the Venetians) provides some of their most impressive compositions, whether based on popular tunes or standard bass patterns. Sets of variations still formed a major part of the output ol instrumentalist composers as late as the Canzone (1650a) of Andrea Falconiero, but their numerical decline was fairly rapid in the seventeenth century. This is demonstrated in the successive collections of Buonamente, for eight of the twelve Sonatas of Book IV are variations, while there are only three in the remaining three books. Of course, many composers continued to cultivate the variation during the remainder of the century, but its actual numerical contribution was minimal compared with the ever-increasing number of free sonatas. The discipline acquired through the cultivation of the variation to a considerable extent conditioned the approach of these composers to the free sonata. The characteristic methods of melodic extension through the perpetual evolution of melodic material produced a coherence and homogeneity not present in the more diffuse stil moderno sonata, and this associates them more with the practices of the Brescian school. Similarly, the application of regular divisions based on the reiteration of rhythmic motives, and the almost mechanical increase in rhythmic complexity between adjacent sections results in a predictability in the manipulation of climax out of keeping with the Venetian love of contrast. These factors are of major importance in the free compositions of all three composers. Salamon Rossi Rossi has long been accorded a place of considerable importance in the history of music, on the grounds that his Sinfonie et gagliarde of 1607c and i6o8h are the earliest known publications of instrumental music consisting mainly of compositions for the ‘trio’ medium.2 Riemann considered him to be a pioneer 1 E. Selfridge-Field, Venetian Instrumental Music from Gabrieli to Vivaldi (Oxford, 1975), 14°2 Modem edns. of both books by Fritz Rikko and Joel Newman (New York, 1965 and 1971). Facs. edn. of Bk. I (Florence, 1980).


Regional Developments

almost on a par with the early monodists as a harbinger of the Generalbassepoche,3 while Bukofzer asserted that these works actually ‘established’ the trio as the classical medium of Baroque chamber music.4 Yet one wonders whether Rossi would not have been a little surprised at the exalted position in the history of music accorded to these unpretentious little pieces, the shortest of which is only eleven bars while most rarely exceed thirty, not including repeats. It is even unlikely that compositions of such modest proportions were intended for independent performance but that they were merely introductions and ritornelli to vocal compositions, and therefore hardly warrant inclusion in a study of the free sonata. Moreover, they were the least popular of Rossi’s collections, neither being reprinted, whereas Book III (1613k) appeared in no less than four editions and Book IV (1622b) was reprinted in 1642.5 And far from the trio medium being ‘established’, four remained the most popular combination of instruments for a decade or more. Moreover, Rossi’s choice of an ensemble which includes a chitarrone as the foundation instrument is exceedingly rare, if not unique at this period. A third of the Sinfonias consist only of a single section, but the majority have two parts, each bounded by a double barline and repeat signs. These are equally divided between those without contrast of metre (in which case each section may be similar in style), and those which change from duple to triple metre. The commonest format is to commence with a duple first section on an imitative point (rarely sustained beyond the initial statements) followed by a tripla. This is often enlarged by a further change back to duple metre in the course of the second section. Some Sinfonias prefer a more homophonic texture—especially in triplas—and others of a more expressive nature move in slower note values similar to the Sinfonia grave of Marini’s Op. I. The similarity of approach between these two composers is also noticeable in Sinfonia 7 which, like Marini’s La Gambara, applies systematic divisions to successive phrases of the melody (Ex. 46). The sources of such a style are clearly not to be found in the fugal expositions of the canzona francese but perhaps relate more to the slighter forms of the vocal canzonetta then popular in Mantua (a genre to which Rossi himself contributed) and to the gagliarda, with its tuneful melody and hemiola cadence patterns, many examples of which are included in these two books. The four ‘trio’ Sonatas of 1622 are closely related stylistically to the early Sinfonias but each is now enlarged into roughly five sections, the first of which is usually self-contained, but the remainder may be continuous. Compared with

3 4

Handbuch derMusikgeschichte, ii (Leipzig, 1912), 86. MBEs 3.

5 All four collections are surveyed in F. Piperno, ‘I quattro libri di musica strumentale di Salomone Rossi’, NRMI13 (1979), 337-57.

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the Sonatas of Fontana and Castello these works achieve only modest proportions, but are often prolonged simply by the use of repeats. Although exact restatement never occurs, thematic homogeneity still plays an important part in preserving a sense of organic unity, and Rossi further maintains coherence by a consistency of texture favouring a loosely contrapuntal idiom in which an initial imitation soon gives way to free counterpoint, as in the earlier Sinfonias (Ex. 47). Even the movements in triple metre now prefer this texture to the more homophonic style deriving from his own gagliarde. True homophony does occasionally break up this predominant texture, but even in the more harmonically orientated sections the liberal use of passing notes creates the impression of a more linear style. Equally, short passages in thirds between the two violins may be included within the body ol the Sonata and several contain more extensive parallel movement in the climactic final sections, but then this is often combined with some independent movement in the bass. The building of climaxes through a gradual increase in speed and rhythmic complexity is as salient as in the sets of variations. All this is far removed either from the old canzona francese or the Venetian stil rnoderno sonata. Rossi had included three Canzonas 04 in his Secondo libro, and La Casalasca (1613k) transfers this stricter imitative treatment to the smaller ensemble, particularly in its first movement which proceeds as a succession of expositions on melodic variants of a canzona-like subject (Ex. 48). Such compositions, however, occupy a small part of his output. As to the Venetians, there are few grounds to suppose any stylistic affinity. The mild degree of contrast within Rossi’s Sonatas in no way parallels their dramatic changes of mood, and the sudden alterations of tempo are never used. Nor was he particularly concerned with technical display, for these free Sonatas never match the virtuosity of his own sets of variations. Even semiquavers are used very sparingly and such features as solo sections and elaborate cadenzas with florid written out passaggi find no place in his style. Neither is there any anticipation of the more extreme practices such as tremoli, programmatic effects, and passages marked ‘affetto’. The harmonic experimentation of Castello is totally lacking, and Rossi’s furthest concession to the new harmonic idioms is a mild play on the augmented chord and an occasional chromaticism or unprepared seventh. In common with Marini and Fontana, his central preoccupation is with lyrical melody sustained over lengthy periods, and the disintegration of the melodic line into motivic dialogues holds a very subordinate place. If Rossi showed any interest at all in experimentation it was in the two compositions from Book III entitled La Moderna and La Viena in dialogo. The 6 Modern edn. by Werner Danckert (Kassel, 1955)- Also complete in Riemann, ‘Die Triosonaten der Generalbass-Epoche’,Praeludien undStudien, iii (Munich, 1901), 135-8-


Regional Developments

former, with its patchwork structure, expressive mess a da voce opening, rapid dotted figurations, and abrupt changes of metre and texture, alone of all Rossi’s free Sonatas captures some of the impetuosity and unpredictability of the stil moderno sonata. One ‘modernism’ of La Viena is the dialogue itself in which each instrument alternates in long solos before joining together for the final section. This did in fact have a forerunner in the Canzona francese a risposta a41 included in the Cento concerti ecclesiastici (1602a) of Lodovico Viadana, then maestro di cappella at the ducal chapel of Santa Barbara, but while Viadana’s composition is steeped in the melodic conventions of the canzona francese, La Viena breaths an improvisatory freedom and metrical flexibility—especially in its rhapsodical opening phrase over a tonic pedal—which can only suggest a kinship with contemporary vocal music (Ex. 49). This melodic idiom well demonstrates Rossi’s expressive spontaneity while at the same time exhibiting a subtle and sophisticated sense of organic unity, achieved mainly through the manipulation of a few melodic and rhythmic fragments throughout the composition. This ‘instrumental monody’ as Riemann called it, with its wholesale rejection of contrapuntal processes in favour of a simple texture of melody and harmonic accompaniment, represents Rossi’s furthest approximation to the radical new idioms of the third decade of the century. The alleged significance of Rossi’s works relies on his cultivation of ‘music made for a pair of treble instruments competing over the solid foundation provided by a fundamental instrument’.8 Rossi was one of the first composers to follow the example of the early monodists, including six solo madrigals with chitarrone accompaniment in his Pritno libro de madrigali (1600 and providing a basso continuo part to the Secondo libro of 1602—the same year that Viadana published his Concerti ecclesiastici with its explicit account of the practice of continuo playing. However, the mere presence of a continuo part has long ceased to be regarded as an automatic assurance of modernity, and as far as the provision of figures is concerned his works are primitive in the extreme, since none occur in any set before 1613. Neither does the character of the basso continuo in many of Rossi’s compositions bear much relationship to the true instrumental monodies of the Venetian sonata a2. Not only does it often supply a rhythmically independent and melodically interesting part, but it occasionally joins in the imitation of the upper voices. This ambiguity of function produces a bass-line markedly different from the almost totally non-thematic parts of Venetian ‘instrumental monodies’. Even in vocal music his general conservatism is apparent in the retention of the five-part madrigal as late as 1622, and it was not until 1628 that he turned his attention to the chamber duet with continuo. 7 Riemann quotes the opening of both works in Handbuch, ii. 86-7. h Joel Newman, ‘The Madrigals of Salamon de’ Rossi’ (Ph.D. Colombia Univ., 1962).

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Joel Newman’s assessment of Rossi’s historical position with regards vocal music applies equally to his instrumental music: ‘For reasons of special pleading he has suffered more than his fair share of over-exaggerated adulation. But there is no need to discover him as ‘the father’ of any one of these genres’.9

Giovanni Battista Buonamente The precise relationship between Rossi and Buonamente must remain a matter of conjecture in the absence of the latter’s first three collections. Their conception of the medium of the ‘trio’ ensemble differed substantially from that of most of their contemporaries in Venice and this again is especially reflected in the role of the bass. Buonamente’s Books IV and VII contain the only known free Sonatas aj not to require a harmonic continuo instrument and the basso di viola must therefore provide a stable foundation as well as participating in the thematic material.10 However, by the later set, although the viola is sometimes involved in the imitation, the former function clearly predominates and for lengthy periods it is entirely non-thematic. Furthermore, it is rarely required to contribute to the florid divisions and dialogues of the upper parts and its technical demands remain relatively limited. In the Book VI Sonatas with keyboard continuo, however, the third melodic voice in the Sonatas aj is given an equal share of the semiquaver divisions. Presumably any influence of Rossi upon Buonamente would have been strongest in those types of composition which both composers cultivated extensively—dances, sinfonias, sets of variations. The influence of variation is as strong in the free Sonatas of Buonamente as in those of Rossi and this again produces a homogeneity of thematic material foreign to the Venetian idiom. In such works as Sonata 3 (i626d) the variation techniques are used as a conscious compositional device, while Sonata 1 02 (1636) combines this with a progressive diminution of note values throughout the work—a method used in many variations (Ex. 50). These simple procedures are common to both composers, but in one set of variations based on Le tanto tempo ormai (16266) Buonamente took the unusual step of incorporating in the finale the melody of the first variation, combined with motives taken from the fourth and fifth variations, and this was to prove decisive for his later development of the free sonata. In some isolated cases the overall designs suggest a passing similarity with Venetian forms. Sonata 2 02 (1636) employs a da capo, while Sonata 1 a2 (1636) is a rondo with a short homophonic refrain, and Sonata 5 a2 (1636) is a rare 9 Ibid., p.v. 10 All four surviving sets are transcribed in Einstein, MS Collection. Facs. edn. of Bk. IV (Florence, 1982). Modern edn. of Sonata 1 (1636), ed. Lajos Rovatkav (Wolfenbuttel, 1976).


Regional Developments

example of a through-composed succession of subsections. However, from his earliest surviving collection, Buonamente’s concern was with an ever-increasing integration based on systematic thematic cross-reference. Sonata i (i626d), for example consists of five sections unified by a simple scheme of thematic recurrence (ABCDBC). In common with a number of later Sonatas, there is a single break before the slow section (C) which provides some measure of contrast within the work. This approach is not comparable with that of the Brescians, nor Giovanni Rovetta (whom Buonamente acknowledged in a dedication), for those composers preferred sectional repetition to thematic cross-reference. Sonata 2 of this set demonstrates in primitive form the technique used in Le tanto tempo ormai which was to predominate in the later collections. The piece consists of a single ‘movement’ of sixty bars divided thematically into four continuous sections. In order to create a sense of overall coherence the last of these combines a new subject with those of the first two (Ex. 51). From this tentative attempt at achieving a closer thematic integration Buonamente developed a system of cross-reference which in the final collection of 1637 attained a complexity unequalled throughout the rest of the century, producing works of a length which may equal a Sonata of Corelli. Like the earlier Sonata 2, Sonatas 2 and 3 (1636) consist of a single ‘movement’ and each is dominated by a principal subject which is combined with a variety of countersubjects during the course of the piece, some of which may be reused later. Both works contain one contrasting section of relief from the main theme which then returns without additional accompaniments to conclude the Sonatas. But it is the Sonatas of 1637 that contain the most ambitious attempts in this direction.11 As no easily accessible edition exists, the thematic entabulation of Sonata 7 will help to demonstrate the intricacy of this approach (Ex. 52).12 In common with his earlier Sonatas, Buonamente still favours a bipartite structure with central division before the grave, and the principal theme once more returns alone to conclude the work. It is perhaps surprising that so novel an approach has largely been overlooked by modern historians. Paul Nettl referred in passing to Buonamente’s ‘dualistic use of themes’ in the 1626 set, but his main concern was with the composer’s influence on the development of the suite in Germany and Austria.13 Newman saw rondo structures as the most consistent overall form, without differentiating Newman claims (SBE 113-4) that this set may have been composed by 1627 on the basis of evidence supplied by Nettl (‘Giovanni Battista Buonamente’, ZM 9 (1926-7), 542). However, this refers only to one set of variations. 12 Only the Canto i° now survives, and Einstein’s transcriptions are therefore the only complete record of these works. 13 ‘Buonamente’, 534.

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betw een the very occasional use of a true refrain in the Venetian sense and the use of a complex system of melodic recurrence. Further, he ascribed the success of these forms to Buonamente’s ‘sure feeling for major/minor tonality and the essentials of modulation, at least in short passages’.14 It is certainly true that on occasion Buonamente could construct most effective modulatory sequences around the cycle of fifths, as in Newman’s example 16, and of particular interest is his manipulation of chromaticism to that end, but like Rossi, the predominant harmonic idiom is generally conservative. Any composer who could commence a Sonata with so circuitous an approach to the first tonic cadence as that of Sonata 2 (1636) could surely not be in the forefront of the development of late seventeenth-century tonality (Ex. 53^). Such gambits are indeed quite normal, and even when the sense of tonal progression seems more direct, as in Sonata 7 (163yd), Buonamente chooses to cloud the issue with deliberate false relations—a characteristic feature of his harmonic idiom (Ex. 53#). Tonality may well be established in short passages, but it is the thematic working which provides the main means of unification. At this period it is almost axiomatic that any composer preferring the ‘G’ tone in a ratio of two to one over any other mode is unlikely to favour unequivocal tonal progressions. Of all those in customary use, this tone least resembles the practices associated with the ‘tonal era’. Compared with the other ‘major’ modes in current use (C, F), the species of diatessaron lacks an automatically sharpened leading note and this results in an inherent conflict between melodic considerations and the necessity to form authentic cadences on the tonic. Many ‘G’ compositions therefore exhibit an inbuilt ambiguity caused by the frequent fluctuation of the Ftj and F# and this may become so invasive as to undermine the tonicity of the final in favour of the subdominant (C), as in the da capo and coda of Sonata 3 a2 (1636) (Ex. 54). A further concomitant is the tendency to stress the dominant minor rather than major in internal cadences, and in Sonatas 7 and 8 (1637) this becomes the principal contrasting internal cadence. These characteristics are among the most consistent of those associated with any mode at this period and persisted well into the second half of the century.15 The development of Buonamente’s technique of thematic recurrence fundamentally affected the melodic idiom. Books IV and VI still retain some melodic formulas obviously related to the canzona francese and this was clearly an important element in the formation of his own style (Ex. 55a). Elsewhere, he employs the slow-moving expansive melodic periods reminiscent of the lyrical style of Marini and Fontana. More rapid passages rely on diminution patterns 14 SBE 115. 15 See D. M. Beswick, ‘The Problem of Tonality in Seventeenth-Century Music’ (Ph.D. Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1950).


Regional Developments

based on the reiteration of rhythmic motives similar to those of the late sixteenth century (Ex. 55^), and despite the adventurousness in the use of high positions, rarely demonstrate the angular type of violin writing already cultivated in the works of some of his contemporaries. In those sonatas of 163yd where the motivic working is most ambitious the more continuous and long-breathed melodic idiom of the conservative styles gives way to one made up of an amalgamation of thematic fragments. Sonata 7 (163yd) contains one principal and at least ten subsidiary themes in the course of 105 bars, and even the first melodic period presents three important ideas successively (Ex. 55c). In extreme cases such as Sonata 4 there is indeed no attempt to fuse these units into a single line and each fragment is divided from the next by a rest, producing a curiously disjointed violin part. These changes in structure automatically influenced the texture of Buonamente’s Sonatas. Like Rossi he preferred a predominantly contrapuntal web even in the Sonatas a2 and this applies irrespective of metre, for although it is common to begin a tripla with a homophonic phrase the more imitative style is soon resumed. In fact the only extensive homophony occurs in slow sections which provide a measure of internal contrast not found in the works of Rossi. However, such chordal sections as the ajfetto movement of the 1636 Sonata 4 (Ex. loe) are quite exceptional, and most prefer the sham polyphony of Rossi’s slow Sinfonie. As it happens, neither slow sections nor triplas are as essential as they are in the stil moderno sonata and some works have neither. Nor did these Mantuan composers show more than a passing interest in the stricter fugal forms of the canzona firancese, although Buonamente did include some canonic compositions in his Books VI and VII. Instead, such movements as the allegro of Sonata 3 (1636) merely reiterate a short subject incessantly on a variety of pitch levels. Motivic dialogue also constitutes an important element, and in this respect at least Buonamente appears to have more in common with the Venetians than with Rossi. Alternate solos do occur occasionally but their importance is minimal compared with the Venetian sonata. Of all the composers of his generation, Buonamente was perhaps least concerned with the creation of the separate movement types of the late seventeenth century, for his preoccupation with continuous organic structures was diametrically opposed to current trends towards the establishment of the formal stereotypes of the Corellian Sonata. In addition, he showed little interest in the fugal designs which remained the most consistent and abiding element in the main line of development, and for this reason the distinction between the two trio media is less marked than in the works of some composers elsewhere. With very few exceptions, Buonamente’s methods of structural organization were not followed up, although some of his less extreme practices may well have influenced his probable pupil, Marco Uccellini.

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Giuseppe Scarani Buonamente’s Sonatas also bear some relationship to the Sonate concertate (1630b) of the Mantuan monk, Giuseppe Scarani, although these provide abundant proof that he was much impressed with Castello’s flamboyant style which he must have encountered during his period at San Marco in Venice. This latter influence is clearest in the cadenza-like codas which take over the typical Venetian devices of motivic dialogues, rapid scale passages, descending trill figurations, Urate bowing styles, and short interlocking canonic passages at the unison (Ex. 56). At times, Scarani evokes the overt emotionalism of the stil moderno, especially in the experimental harmonies of the slow sections marked affetto (Ex. 10c), and also in the abrupt changes from ‘adasio’ to ‘presto’ and back again in the course of a section. It is therefore a little surprising that some other obvious features of the idiom are totally lacking. The copious use of dynamic markings, and the almost obsessive love of echo effects common to all native Venetians hardly ever occur, nor is the degree of virtuosity as pronounced as in the Venetian sonata. There are no lengthy solos to test the agility of the instrumentalists, and alternate playing is even less in evidence than in the works of Buonamente. Scarani’s Sonate concertate in fact reveal features of a more conservative tradition, such as the restrained style of many of the fugal subjects (Ex. 57) and the insistence on a relatively contrapuntal texture, irrespective of medium. Even in the a2 Sonatas, where the bass is still almost entirely non-thematic, the upper parts engage in counterpoints as elaborate as in his Sonatas aj. Imitative movements are the most consistent and extensive constituents of these Sonatas, and in contrast to the loose fugati of Buonamente, these use such erudite devices as augmentation, diminution, retrograde motion, and inversion—techniques hardly ever associated with the Italian ‘trio’ sonata in the seventeenth century' (Ex. 58). This penchant for counterpoint is also noticeable in the triplas and slow sections and indeed there are no homophonic types similar to the gravi of Buonamente, for most slow movements either consist of points of imitation in relatively long note values or differ very little stylistically from the fast movements as in the figurated slow sections of Castello. Scarani’s affinity with Buonamente is most striking in his attitude to overall form, which once more reflects the influence of variation techniques. The collection actually contains several sets of variations, based on the hexachord (Sonatas 4 and 6) and on popular tunes, while Selfridge-Field points out that Sonata 13 uses the incipit of the plainsong, lucis creator optime, often employing its retrograde inversion, and this is certainly a most unusual occurrence at this period.16 In all these sets of variations the principal subject appears in various 16

Venetian Instrumental Music,



Regional Developments

guises—diminutions, canons, metrical transformations, and in combination with a variety of countersubjects—and, with the exception of Sonata 15, Scarani’s free Sonatas also employ similar methods. In several sonatas (1, 16, 17) the simple ABA' structure is considerably less elaborate than in the variations, but more ambitious schemes occur in Sonatas 3,5, and 14. However, it is to the less extreme forms of Buonamente that these works relate, and this involves rather fewer thematic ideas than in Buonamente’s Sonata 7 (i637d). As in the latter’s 1636 collection, a single theme dominates but is combined with a number of non-recurrent countersubjects. Sectional divisions are more marked in Scarani’s works, although these are far from the clear-cut separation into movements of the late seventeenth-century sonata. The basic principle of unifying a work thematically, and the constant reliance on variation techniques aligns these compositions with those of Buonamente, while at the same time separating them from most developments elsewhere. There are, however, very substantial differences between each composer. Scarani’s overriding interest in strict and erudite contrapuntal techniques was not shared by Buonamente and indeed was most unusual during this period. Their combination with some of the more modern instrumental' idioms of the Venetians produced works of remarkable individuality, but which seem out of accord with most contemporary trends. Scarani’s instrumental music therefore presents a curious amalgam of regional styles, and graphically illustrates the diversity of approaches to instrumental composition in the early seventeenth century.

Modena Marco Uccellini As violinist, composer, and priest at the Estense court of Modena for over twenty years, Marco Uccellini (1610-80) is amongst the most prolific instrumental composers of the century. No copy survives of his Book I, but each of the seven extant collections published between 1639b and i667g may contain as many as thirty free sonatas, not to mention the substantial body of dances and the like.17 Uccellini was among the most adventurous of the violin virtuosi of his day, especially as regards the use of high positions, and it is therefore not surprising that he cultivated the solo Sonata extensively. The Sonate over canzoni, Op. V 17 Pajerski, ‘Marco Uccellini (i610-1680) and His Music’, 2 vols. (Ph.D. New York Univ., 1979), ii, contains a substantial number of transcriptions. Torchi,AMI-j includes Op. IV, Sonatas 16 and 17. ‘Sinfonia a tre’, Op. IX No. 7, ed. E. Schenk (Vienna, 1969). Facs. edn. of Op. IV (Florence, 1984).

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(1649b) is actually the first collection to consist almost entirely of works for violin and continuo, although there is one composition for two violins. Most of the thirty-seven short pieces contained in the Sinfonie boscarecie (repr. i66gd/ 61?) were also clearly conceived as solos, despite the optional second and third violin parts. ‘Trio’ sonatas are also well represented, accounting for almost sixty relevant works, and the later increase in compositions 04 and a$ may be attributed directly to the requirements of the court of Parma, to where Uccellini moved in 1665. Uccellini’s output naturally reflects similar preoccupations to those of the other court composers, but his relationship to Buonamente might well have been more than fortuitous, for there is good reason to suppose that he was actually taught by him in Assisi. The notary who compiled his will mentions that Marco ‘perfected the most pleasing ability of playing and singing in Assisi’—the only known reference to his training.18 Buonamente had been employed at San Francesco since 1633 and remained there as maestro until his death in 1642, precisely the period of Uccellini’s apprenticeship. Furthermore, one Sonata of the 1642 collection actually bears a dedication to Buonamente. It could be that Book II was composed while he was still resident there, for it is dedicated to the bishop of Todi, a town not many miles distant. Apart from this circumstantial evidence, there are certain fundamental similarities of approach between the two composers, although Uccellini never attempted the more abstruse thematic working of Buonamente’s late Sonatas. Both shared a common interest in variation which greatly influenced their attitudes to the free Sontata. On several occasions they based variations on the same popular tunes (‘La Scatola’ and ‘Quest’ e quel loco’) and Uccellini included compositions on bass patterns such as the Ciaconna and Bergamasca. His 1642 collection also contains an interesting puzzle canon in which the third violin extracts a cantus firmus on the hymn ‘Iste confessor’ from the first violin part.19 At its most direct, the influence of variation on the abstract Sonatas can be seen in the use of simple metrical transformations from duple into triple metres, and in Op. VII No. 8 (i66od) this not only provides the first two movements, but the opening fifteen bars of the finale consist of a straightforward diminution of the opening adagio (Ex. 59). Sonata 30 (1645O is as much a variation Sonata as any of those so entitled, for (apart from a brief ‘adasio’) the initial theme pervades the entire 116 bars, being altered rhythmically, transformed into triple metre, given in diminution, or simply retained in relatively intact form in combination with various countersubjects—all tech¬ niques deriving directly from the sets of variations. 18 The entire text is given in Pajerski, ‘Uccellini’, i, as app. 19 Transcribed ibid, ii, ex. 25, 158-64.


no. 16, 174-8.


Regional Developments

As in the Sonatas of Rossi, Scarani, and Buonamente, these procedures result in a melodic consistency which provides an important means of overall unification. In Uccellini’s works this may simply result from his predilection for descending scale passages, but on many occasions both within and between sections the process of melodic metamorphosis is obviously consciously applied. In Sonata 19 (1645!) adjacent passages use the time-honoured method of progressive diminution culminating in a compelling climax at the change into triple metre (Ex. 60). Sonata 10 (1642a), on the other hand, uses a freer but more extensive melodic metamorphosis throughout much of its eighty-seven bars (Ex. 61). In the sonatas of Books II and III such methods may indeed provide the main means of structural coherence, but over the thirty years of his career he more than once modified his attitude to overall design. These early Sonatas relate formally to Buonamente’s compositions in that they usually consist of a fluid and unbroken succession of diverse subsections, usually with one single break. The only consistencies appear to be that the first large composite is likely to be in duple metre, while the second is a tripla, and each Sonata ends with an imitative movement in duple metre. With the gift of hindsight it is also possible to detect even from the earliest collection a slight tendency to follow the tripla with a contrasting slow section. Within this framework, few generalizations about the number, ordering, or length of the internal subsections may be made. Sonata 8 (1639b), for example, consists of a canzona-like imitative section, linked by a characteristic ‘hocket’ dialogue of the type used by Marini to a most unusual chromatic section, which leads directly into a lengthy tripla on a short point, thus concluding the first large composite. Then follows an adagio by way of contrast which introduces an imitative finale, itself a pot-pourri of different ideas. While these structures still predominate in Book III several Sonatas anticipate the changes of direction of the later sets. Sonata 5 contains a da capo, while 19 repeats part of the first section as its coda, and 13 reuses the theme of its first section at a later stage, combining it with a new countersubject, and this type of treatment can only suggest the methods of Buonamente. The following collection (1645!), however, exchanges this thematic cross-reference for sectional repetition which ranges from a cursory few bars to the fairly substantial recapitulation of the initial adagio and half the ensuing allegro in Sonata 27. Sonata 18 also contains an extremely novel compound movement with no less than nine alternations of a tripla and an adagio. The two collections of 1642a and i645f reveal important changes in the structuring of the individual composites towards more restriction of the amount of thematic material. In such Sonatas as La Torella and La Trasformata (1642a) the length of the subsections has been reduced and each complex now consists

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of a somewhat amorphous amalgam of brief contrasting passages, resulting in a hotchpotch of diverse melodic and textural details. On the other hand, the first twenty-seven bars of La Marcella (1642a) are dominated entirely by its principal theme, while Sonatas 5 and 11 use Buonamente’s technique of combining a principal subject with one or more countersubjects in the course of the movement. Similar considerations also apply to the thematic material itself for La Torella and La Trasformata consist of a loose succession of unrelated fragments, whereas La Marcella forms a single self-contained unit (Ex. 62a-b). Similar developments are also noticeable in the triplas of these two sets, for those of 1642 still tend to contain a multiplicity of ideas, while those of the later collection impose some scheme of repetition on the overall design, varying from simple ternary forms to the more elaborate cross-reference of Sonata 17 (ABC B+DDB+D). This interest in mechanical methods of unification was to be short-lived, for neither Opp. VII or IX use them. Instead, Uccellini turned his attention to the pervasive trends of some other centres towards the creation of formal stereotypes. Five sonatas of the i645f collection commence with alternate solos of about eight bars each (a practice anticipated in Op. Ill No. 9) after which follows a dialogue section, often on material drawn from the solo, and this leads into the tripla. A limited interest in separation of movements only becomes detectable in the Sonatas of Op. VII, and not until the final collection of i667g is the continuity of the earlier collections replaced by firmer structural divisions. The basic pattern which emerges as the most consistent in the i645f and i667g sets is that of Sinfonia 5: C alternate solos/dialogues


C slow

C imitative finale and coda

This standardization applies only to the sonatas a2, for compositions aj remain far less predictable. The Sinfonias aj of i667g in fact show less uniformity than the Sonatas aj of 1642a. At least in the earlier set the ordering imitative movement/tripla is maintained, whereas two of the three Sinfonias aj contain no tripla, and the third consists of only two sections. Throughout the corpus of his works, Uccellini relies on a small number of basic textures and techniques. In the Sonatas a2, motivic dialogue is almost as prevalent as in the Venetians, but as many sections simply reiterate a point of imitation of about a bar’s duration at a variety of pitch levels over extended periods. This technique of thematic reiteration constitutes the commonest means by which instrumentalist composers such as Uccellini and Buonamente implied a contrapuntal idiom without recourse to formal fugal designs. Motivic dialogue and thematic reiteration account for the first sixty-four bars of Op. II No. 3 (Ex. 63) and form a major constituent of many others, although by the end


Regional Developments

of Uccellini’s career the latter type predominates over the former. Triplas in particular are often given over to seemingly endless thematic reiteration, but interest may be sustained by the usual methods of variation and inversion. In the more continuous textures, Uccellini often resorts to the use of short canons (surely deriving from Buonamente) and one Sonata of the 1642 collection is in canon throughout, while a tripla of i66yg bears the inscription ‘canon fino al fine’ (Ex. 64). Most frequently the second voice enters at the distance of a single beat and in triplas this may give rise to the continual displacement of metrical accent observable in Marini (Ex. 32). Such canonic passages can create contrapuntal lines of an unusual complexity for sonatas a2, although on many occasions the effect is still that of simple dialogue. In contrast to these textures, like so many other composers, Uccellini often indulges in the lush sonority of parallel movement which may either temporarily interrupt the predominant imitative interplay or itself provide an extended section. In one tripla from La Cinaglia (1645O, violins move in thirds for twenty-three bars. Sections exploiting imitative textures are frequently punctuated by broad cadential passages of evocative harmonies, and more extensive slow sections, usually marked ‘grave’ or ‘adagio’, are an important element, especially in a2 compositions. Whichever medium, these are remarkably consistent throughout his career. The largest category are the harmonically oriented movements either in white note values or the repeated quavers of the tremolo sections, both of which exploit closely placed dissonances in the violin parts (Ex. 65). In contrast to these, other slow movements prefer a more tuneful melodic idiom, moving mainly in crotchets and perhaps quavers. These tend to function as the first unit in a larger complex, but those of Sonata 19 (1645!) and Sinfonia 12 actually provide the entire first movements of thirty and twenty-seven bars respectively. One other type, regrettably occurring only in the 1639b collection, combines an expansive and soaring melodic line with the poignant harmonic idiom of the gravi to produce an emotive power and expressive force unusual in the mid¬ century (Ex. 66). The presence of solo sections and cadenzas is a rare indication of an affinity with the Venetian style. Apart from the unique embellishments of Sinfonia 5 (Ex. 6b), Uccellini’s violin idiom is in fact closer to the mechanical diminutions of Fontana and Marini than to the freer rhapsodical style of Castello (Ex. 67a), and he also makes use of the serenely lyrical and non-technical types of the two Brescian composers (Ex. 60). Increasingly, however, the melodic material becomes distinctly violinistic, incorporating semiquaver scale passages, slurred either in pairs or groups of four, and a compendium of rapid figurations clearly based on standard graces—especially as part of the concluding section of a sonata (Ex. 67b). Throughout his career, much of the more idiomatic melodic

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writing relies heavily on sequential repetition of a rhythmic motive and by the late Sinfonias sequential extension may dominate the entire proceedings (Ex. 67c). Cadenzas are in fact rare in the earlier sets, as Uccellini generally prefers a sonorous slow coda, but those of Op. VIII are perhaps the most distinctive contribution of this set to the history of the sonata in the seventeenth century. Sonata 9 ends with an astonishing forty-four bar flourish, stylistically related to the symphonia La Gran Battaglia Op. VIII (i669d/6i?),2° both of which exchange trumpet-like fanfares between the violins over a D pedal (Ex. 68). Such flights of virtuosity are much more a part of the Sonatas a2 than aj, for Uccellini distinguishes between the ‘trio’ media, although in a less extreme form than some of his contemporaries. In general the melodic idiom of the aj works exhibits an air of austerity and this to some extent explains the lack of motivic dialogue. Some Sonatas hardly contain a single semiquaver roulade while none include the demisemiquaver figurations of the a2 works. The predominant texture is that of the more continuous melodic lines of the thematic reiteration sections, based on extremely restrained subjects (Ex. 69). As usual the distinction of medium is most apparent in the emphasis placed on fugal designs, for many aj compositions retain the initial fugue, and the heritage of the canzona francese is immediately recognizable in the retrospective nature of the thematic material. The counter-exposition is reinstated as the main structural determin¬ ant and, apart from an occasional codetta, there is little episodic expansion. Uccellini still avails himself of variation techniques, often replacing the original subject with a loose inversion, while the second exposition of Sonata 28 (1645O is a diminution of the first (Ex. 70). These generalizations certainly account for the majority of aj compositions, but each set contains one or two exceptional works—perhaps dispensing with the fugue, or like La Vendramina (1642a) concluding with a lengthy section of motivic dialogue. Only one of the three Sinfonias aj (i66-jg) retains any vestige of this older style, while the other mo represent the culmination of Uccellini’s growing reliance on sequence as almost the sole means of extension. This latter development is inextricably bound up with the striking changes in tonal practice during the course of Uccellini’s lifetime. The early Sonatas resemble those of Buonamente in their combination of markedly tonal passages within a basically non-tonal idiom. Despite its violinistic melody, the first movement of La Marcella (‘d’) contains no Cjt until bar 25, and the ensuing tripla none before its final cadence. ‘G’ compositions such as Sonata 3 (1639b) maintain the constant fluctuation of the leading note from the very outset of the composition (Ex. 63), creating much tonal ambiguity, and the insistence on the minor dominant chord in no small measure accounts for the lack of tonal 20

Modern edn. bv J. W. von Wasielewski, Instmmentalsaze, no. xxix.


Regional Developments

direction between cadences. This is invariably the language of the conservative aj compositions, whatever the mode. Against this, even the earliest compositions show a particular aptitude at handling long sequences of cadential progressions around the cycle of fifths and these provide the harmonic framework for the motivic dialogues and thematic reiteration sections. Uccellini increasingly relies on simple repetition of entire periods in contrasting tonalities and in such late works as the Sinfonia 5 (i667g), after the initial solos, the first movement progresses as a series of repeats of a five-bar period cadencing on Bb, g, Eb, and back to the tonic (V). Tonal variety now replaces the extensive melodic variety of the early compositions. Such devices account for the strong sense of harmonic direction in the later works, but this does not entirely accord with the ‘tonal’ system established in the Bolognese sonata from the 1660s onwards. The ease and facility with which Uccellini moves around the cycle of fifths may lead him further afield than the closely related keys circumscribed by late seventeenthcentury harmonic practice. Sonata 7 (i66od), for example, commences with a slow introduction consisting of four statements of a five-and-a-half bar period cadencing on A, D, G, and C, so that its final phrase approaches the cadence not in the original key of A major, but A minor. In one respect, Uccellini appears ahead of his time, for his choice of‘keys’ is considerably wider than that of any previous composer. Book III is actually arranged through the octave according to final except that the d and of course the b modes are omitted (G, a, C, e, F, g). The presence of an ‘e’ composition was still unusual at this date, and three more are included in the later collections, although they are less uniform in their choice of internal cadences than the other modes. Later collections contain the first ‘c’, ‘Bb ’, ‘Eb ’, ‘b’, and ‘A’ compositions encountered. This adventurousness is not matched by his choice of ‘key’ signatures for Uccellini never employs more than one accidental. Uccellini’s Sonatas are among the most individual of the century, yet they do not seem to have contributed to any lasting line of development. Like those of Buonamente, most are conceived not as a series of independent complementary units but rather as a continuous succession of subsections. However, these never really resemble the mosaic patchwork designs of the Venetians, for the reliance on variation, progressive diminution, and occasional sectional repetition provides a homogeneity not associated with that style. Despite the fact that the late Sinfonias do finally follow the predominant trend towards clear-cut separation of movements, these works bear less relationship to the Corellian Sonata than do some of the early Sonatas aj which at least preserve the fugal element. By i667g (the date of Vitali’s Op. II) the process of reconcilation between the a2 and aj media was already under way, but Uccellini’s Sinfonias reverse this trend. The first movements in particular still rely heavily on

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alternate presentation of material and the subsequent treatment is even less ‘fugal’ than some earlier works. For all its originality and charm, Uccellini’s melodic idiom is compounded of fairly conservative elements deriving from the divisionist figurations and the old-fashioned melodic formulas of the canzona francese. The more progressive features of his violin idiom, such as the use of high positions and arpeggios, in fact occur remarkably rarely in the ‘trio’ sonatas. Perhaps Uccellini’s years at Modena served to isolate him from other musical developments, which might help account for his striking individuality. It remains to be seen whether this very personal style influenced his younger contempor¬ aries at Modena.

Naples Little information survives about the sonata at other Italian courts, but one large collection of instrumental music for one to three voices was produced in Naples, the Primo libro di canzone, sinfonie, fantasie, capricci . . . (1650a) of the lutenist Andrea Falconiero.21 Although Neapolitan by birth, Falconiero had long¬ standing connections with the courts of Parma and Modena, and had travelled widely in Spain and France before taking up an appointment in the Royal Chapel at Naples, and he Anally succeeded to the directorship in 1647. The contents of this set, like the majority of those of the other court composers, has a pronounced da camera emphasis, including not only a variety of dances, but programmatic and genre pieces such as the lengthy Battaglia de Barabaso yerno de Satanas, La Desiderata, and L ’Ermosa Celia. The use ol Spanish terms and titles, together with dedications to the ruling family, might suggest Spanish rather than Italian influence, and certainly any direct relationship to the canzona francese traditions of Northern Italy is negligible. If there is any point of comparison at all, it is to the 1642 collection of Marco Uccellini, and it may not have been coincidental that in the very same year Falconiero was given leave of absence to visit his wife who was then living in Modena. Structurally, these compositions vary from single movement forms (restricted to a2 compositions) to as many as four self-contained units, but the commonest comprises a lengthy movement in duple metre followed by a shorter tripla, often concluding with a coda in common time. Like those of Uccellini’s 1642 collection, the Arst movements consist of an amalgam of short, loosely related sections. Overall coherence often depends on the general similarity of contour, but less frequently Falconiero employs some more tangible thematic working or motivic cross-reference (Ex. 71). Much of the writing of both composers is based on thematic reiteration which may quickly become tedious, and therefore 21 AMI 7 contains a selection from this collection.


Regional Developments

Falconiero particularly favours the use of two themes, usually in alternation, but occasionally in combination (Ex. 72). If some greater degree of contrast seems desirable, this is supplied by brief passages of a more harmonic character, frequently employing chains of suspensions or a procession of 5/3-673 chords over a scalic bass. Another much used device is a hocket between the violins— an obvious point of comparison with Uccellini—but the reliance on motivic dialogue is far less pervasive. Nor does he ever incorporate either the grave and tremolo sections or the serene hymnic style of Uccellini’s solos. Falconiero’s melodic idiom, like that of Uccellini, derives from rather conservative sources. Each period is built up as an accumulation of melodic fragments and there is little evidence of the balanced and well-defined phraseology which became so pronounced a feature of the next decade. Both composers share a common vocabulary of idiomatic devices: scalic runs which rarely exceed an octave, passages of even semiquavers usually proceeding by step or skip of a third, and use of fast dactylic rhythms and dotted patterns. Falconiero, however, still offers the alternative of any suitable instrument on the title-page, and heads the treble part-books as canto, in effect limiting the compass of these parts, and there is nothing approaching the soaring melody and wide-ranging arpeggios of Uccellini’s Sonata 8 (1642a). In fact, the technical requirements are fairly limited, and there is no evidence of the soloistic treatment fundamental to Uccellini’s conception of the medium. These compositions are generally of modest dimensions and some of the single-movement a2 compositions scarcely exceed fifty bars—hardly compar¬ able with the much more substantial works of Buonamente and Uccellini. This is partly due to the disinterest in the internal grave of those two composers, for only La Valente aj contains an independent harmonic slow section of the type cultivated in the North. Together with the limitations of instrument technique and absence of the soloistic element, this produces works of a much more restricted palette. Nevertheless, Falconiero’s style obviously stems from the same sources, blending divisionist figurations with the extensive motivic working so fundamental to the instrumentalist tradition. The effectiveness of many of these compositions rests largely on their incisive rhythmic drive. This collection bears more relevance to the development of the genre piece and other primarily chamber forms than to the Corellian Sonata. Despite the inevitable statements to the contrary, there seems little reason to suppose that any of these composers associated with specific courts contributed directly to the type of sonata cultivated in Bologna and Rome during Corelli’s lifetime. Neither Buonamente nor Uccellini conceived the sonata as a succession of independent units and while Falconiero’s structural articulation may be firmer in those pieces consisting of more than one section, his

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‘movements’ may also contain much diverse material. Nor is there much evidence of any connection with the Venetian stil moderno with its emphasis on contrast and chiaroscuro effects, and it is significant that none of the court composers produced any echo sonatas. Techniques of variation informed their attitudes to overall structure and melodic extension and led them to experiment with methods of unification out of keeping with most other developments. Nor did they show more than a passing interest in the self-contained fugue—so essential a part of the Corellian Sonata—for this was far more germane to the traditions of the organist composers than to those of the instrumental virtuosi.

7 The Central Development The canzona for four or more instruments of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries encompasses a considerable variety of styles from the conservative chanson-based repetition schemes of the Brescians to the elaborate through-composed patchwork structures of the Venetians, and the approach of each regional centre to the new media of the small ensemble was naturally very much conditioned by these prevailing preconceptions. The line of development from the canzona francese a4 to the Corellian Sonata is indeed remarkably persistent, but it stems not so much from the foregoing regional schools as from the much less researched type cultivated by the Cremonese organist Tarquinio Merula in the early seventeenth century. The group of composers in whose works this transition is most direct consists largely of organists whose main employment was as maestri di cappella at religious establishments, and as it happens, three of the principal exponents—Merula, Cazzati, and Legrenzi—all served at one time or another at the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo. These constitute a core of mutually influential composers whose works provided both the framework and the essential constituents of the late seventeenth-century sonata, although Legrenzi ultimately pursued more in¬ dependent paths.

Tarquinio Merula Of all the composers working in the aftermath of the cataclysm of 1630, Tarquinio Merula may well claim to be the most influential. This extremely versatile and prolific composer contributed almost a hundred instrumental ensemble pieces, mainly contained in the four books of canzonas (i6i5d, 16390/32?, 1637a, and 1651a), but two solo and two aj compositions are included in vocal collections of i62qd and i628g.r His Primo libro delle canzoni is scored for the 04 ensemble—still the most popular combination in 1615—but all the later collections favour the ‘trio’ media, fairly equally divided between a2 and aj. These works span the crucial period of nearly forty7 years which saw the formulation of many of the concepts that were to govern the sonata of the late


See the Bibliography for full details of modern edns. of Merula’s works.

The Central Development


seventeenth century, and the singular importance of Merula’s contribution lies in the fact that he was one of the few composers to cultivate both the old ‘Canzona d’aria francese a4’, as he himself describes the contents of his Book I in the letter of dedication, and the newer media a2 and aj. It is therefore possible to trace this entire development in the works of one composer. Merula’s Canzoni 04 have received little attention from historians, partly because they have been overshadowed by the much more sensational polychoral works of Gabrieli published in the same year, but also because no complete set of part-books survives.2 These late examples of the canzona francese bear very little relationship to contemporary Venetian instrumental music, nor for that matter do they much resemble those of the early Brescian school. This latter type must have seemed very old-fashioned to most composers, if ever-popular with the general public, wEile the former, however much they may have been admired, were not widely copied in Italy outside Venice and its immediate sphere of influence. In both form and content Merula’s Canzoni 04 are closer to the sonata aj of the mid-century and beyond than those of any other regional centre. Merula’s instrumental works follow consistent structural patterns throughout his career, which never attain absolute uniformity but nevertheless demonstrate a continuing process of standardization. The great majority of aj and 04 compositions commence with a fugue in duple metre, followed by a tripla. This initial fugue/tripla grouping is the most widespread and consistent structural norm, uniting such diverse regional locations as Venice, Bergamo, and Modena, and surviving well into the second half of the century. Even from Book I, half the canzonas continue with a duple section implying a slower tempo which leads into a fast imitative finale. Canzonas 04 conclude with a coda perhaps recalling the theme of the fugue, but the aj works prefer a more substantial recapitulation involving at least the original exposition. The da capo is therefore established as the most prevalent structural principle from the early seventeenth century and it survived until the end of this period. Such repetition provides a simple means of overall coherence, but some canzonas achieve a thematic integration almost on a par with the old variation canzona in that the tripla is also derived from the previous fugue (Ex. 73). In the early set the inner sections may be continuous, but by Book II the majority form clear structural divisions. There is still some degree of flexibility in these central composites since after the tripla they may include either a slow section or a fast imitative section or both. The da capo is retained in most of the Canzonas. Book IV imposes a greater level of uniformity and, as it clearly derives from the 1615 collection, it is evident that the trend 2 Fortunately, the Pelplin Tahulature contains a complete transcription for keyboard. Modern edn. by Adam Sutkowski,AntiquitatesMusicae in Polonia, viii (W arsaw, 1970), 232-96.


Regional Developments

towards standardization was already under way before the rise to popularity of the new media. The Canzoni aj follow the same pattern as the 1615 Canzoni 04, although opting more consistently for the third section than in the earlier set. There tends to be a thematic relationship between the fugue and the coda. fugue


C homophonic/sequential

C imitative


This structure would still apply to some sonatas of composers working in the 1660s, but the relationship is not altogether straightforward since the overall plan also includes a consistent pattern of repetition by which the entire central composite is repeated as a single unit—as it is clearly intended to be regarded. Compared with these aj Canzonas, the a2 compositions of Book III exhibit an almost total uniformity, since nearly all consist of a simple tripartite arrangement of imitative (not fugal) movement, tripla, and da capo, while those of Book IV include a penultimate fast imitative section. It was to La Gallina a2 (1637a) that Apel referred in support of the theory that ‘beginning about 1635, the sections tend to decrease in number and increase in length, thus acquiring the character of “movements” ’.3 Merula’s development as a whole would actually suggest the reverse process, since the 1615 Canzonas can achieve far greater proportions than those of 1637 and even equal in size a Sonata of Corelli. Although a few short internal components hardly merit the status of‘movement’, most are not incipient prototypes awaiting expansion in the course of the century, but lengthy (if not always independent) units. The earliest Canzonas already contain all the basic constituents of the later sonata—fugue, tripla, contrasting slow section, and free imitative finale—and not only are they consistently arranged within the work as a whole, but each basic movement-type encompasses compositional techniques which were to remain in force through¬ out the entire century. From Merula’s first collection the primacy of the self-contained fugue is firmly established, by virtue of its placing and substance, and the derivation of the aj Canzonas from the canzona francese a4 is at once apparent in the retention of this all-important fugal movement with its emphasis on linear counterpoint. There is no question of regarding these as primitive types awaiting expansion, for the longest, La Ciria (1613d) achieves no less than sixty-three bars. They already demonstrate the two most fundamental approaches to fugal construction of the period, the densely thematic and the episodic. La Ciria (1613d) epitomizes the former, based on the counter-exposition in which the subject or its closely related continuation are almost never absent, apart from the coda. More compact monothematic types such as La Benaglia (1639C/32?) may consist of little else but an exposition with a few additional statements, while others such 3 ‘Sonata’ in the Harvard Dictionary of Music. All references are to the 2nd edn. (Cambridge, Mass., 1969).

The Central Development


as La Malombra from the same collection reiterate their subjects unremittingly throughout. As opposed to this subject-dominated variety, more expansive fugues may prefer a form in which occasional thematic restatements intersperse with substantial episodic sequences, not necessarily thematically related— accounting for the last thirty bars of La Chremascha (i 615d). In Book I even the first exposition may be so enlarged, usually by delaying the entries of the lower two voices (by as much as twenty-two bars in La Piva), and it must be admitted that there is a tendency to ramble in these early episodic fugues and by the following set such a delay rarely exceeds three bars. Episodic fugues are now very much in the minority, being replaced by the densely thematic approach which relies for extent largely on the succession of as many as four counter¬ expositions. This gives rise to such typical adaptions as La Vincenza (16390/32?), in which the second section consists of a partial exposition in two parts while the third adds a new counter-melody. Regardless of design, Merula’s treatment of thematic material is extremely flexible, and even the answer may be slightly varied. Lengthy subjects are always much curtailed after the first exposition, while many are so constructed as to allow for simple subdivision into two in the course of the movement, and often the head-motive does duty for the whole subject in subsequent expositions. There is little interest in the more cerebral aspects of fugal craftmanship, although La Livia (1613d) does employ inversion and augmentation in a mild form. Some subjects of Book II are remarkable for the severe and retrospective nature of their thematic material, more so than those of Book I. That of La Benaglia epitomizes this aspect of the second set, with its dactylic incipit, predominantly stepwise melodic line, restrained rhythmic patterns, and lack of internal division into distinct motives and phrases, so different from the instrumentally conceived themes of the Venetians (Ex. 74). Fugal forms remained strictly the domain of the Canzonas aj, while the Sonate concertate a2 (1637a) emphatically rejected the contrapuntal idioms of the old canzona francese a4. The title itself suggests an acquaintance with the works of Dario Castello, and Merula’s knowledge of the Venetian idiom is confirmed both by dedications to Monteverdi (1613d, 1651a) and more directly by his La Cattarina which quotes material used by G. B. Grillo.4 Like Gabrieli’s Canzon in echo, this represents an unequivocal transference of the polychoral style to the ‘trio’ sonata, for the interplay of choirs is simulated by the use of alternate statement between violins (Ex. 75)- While these works totally reject the patchwork designs of the stil moderno, Merula nevertheless shared with the Venetians the belief that the 02 medium was not by its nature ideally suited to contrapuntal forms and textures. Instead of the continuous web of equal-voiced 4 Canzona 4 a8, Sacri concentus (\ enice, 1618).


Regional Developments

polyphony, the Sonata concertata a2 exploits the concept of harmonically accompanied melody. Nearly every Sonata begins with a solo phrase given alternately by each violin and continues as a series of dialogues with cadential overlapping to maintain continuity, while the continuo provides an entirely nonthematic harmonic support (Ex. 76). Even in tuttis, real counterpoint is replaced by motivic dialogues and movement in thirds on the treble instruments, especially as a sequential climax to round off a movement. Like their Venetian counterparts, these compositions may rely on imitative techniques, but can hardly be considered contrapuntal. In the later compositions a2 the amount of alternate statement has been drastically reduced but this in no way leads to a re-establishment of the fugal structures of Book II, for despite their pretence at more continuous counter¬ point, the texture remains relatively transparent. The most common method of extension again relies almost entirely on sequence rather than the accumulation of expositions, and the most usual device is the simple exchange sequence similar to that used by Marini (Ex. 77). The thoroughgoing rejection of counterpoint of the 1637 collection has therefore to some extent been mitigated, but the predominant textures are still immediately recognizable as belonging specifically to the a2 medium. This crucial distinction between a2 and aj compositions applies not only to the textures but also governs the melodic styles. In complete contrast to the remarkably retrospective style of La Benaglia (Ex. 74), the Sonate concertate prefer a succession of well-articulated phrases, nicely rounded off by clear-cut cadences. Melodic periods no longer aim at effortless continuity but are often broken up by rests, which also help to accentuate the internal structural divisions. Sequential repetition of short rhythmic motives achieves a status almost on a par with the Venetian idiom, especially in the passages of motivic dialogue. The rhythmic vocabulary' is greatly enlarged, incorporating a considerable variety of dotted note patterns and rapid figurations, and the thoroughly idiomatic nature of the instrumental writing is apparent in the extended scale passages and arpeggio figurations (Ex. 78a). Again these characteristics may suggest a style akin to the stil moderno sonata, but Merula never aspires to the same degree of virtuosity' or ventures into the more impassioned and rhapsodical realms of Castello. On the contrary, the amusingly programmatic La Gallina (The Hen), with its clucking repeated quavers, and the captivating charm of La Beilina are quite out of keeping with the emotional intensity of the Venetians lEx. 78b-c). This disparity' of melodic style is matched by a similar inconsistency of harmonic idiom. The melodic conservatism of La Benaglia (Ex. 74) automatically

The Central Development


necessitates a harmonic language which is among the most retrospective of the period. Throughout the entire fugal section not a single major dominant chord appears in the tonic until the final cadence. The entries of the subject and answer are of course governed by strict modal conventions, the ‘a’ tone requiring an answer on the subdominant, and as would be expected this is also the ‘key’ of the only other internal cadence, which is itself merely suggested in passing since a feeling of finality is avoided by the overlapping of melodic periods. Of course, such recourse to the terminology of tonality7 is hardly justified except for expediency, since there is no unequivocal establishment of key, and even the seemingly obvious implications of the initial leap in the subject from dominant to tonic is never utilized in a manner consistent with later tonal practice. This accords with Merula’s prime aim of maintaining an uninhibited melodic flow, which automatically excludes the creation of strong harmonic drive towards any clearly marked point of repose. The divergence of harmonic idiom between this retrospective style and that of the Sonata concertata is particularly well demonstrated by La Loda, since it alone of the a2 compositions of 1637 reverts to a more conservative melodic idiom and like La Benaglia (to which it bears certain obvious melodic similarities) it is set in the ‘a’ tone (Ex. 79). From the outset of this composition there is no possibility of tonal ambiguity. Instead of the austere unaccompanied entries of the earlier work, the continuo provides an unequivocal harmonic basis, and the initial progression is in fact one of the commonest gambits employed by Merula to establish the tonic. Furthermore, each melodic period is punctuated by a firm harmonic cadence, either on the tonic or subdominant. It is of fundamental importance that this more ‘tonal’ harmonic idiom in no way conflicts or alters the basic concept of mode, for both works observe the standard cadencing scheme favouring the subdominant normal in ‘a’ compositions. The survival of modal practices is particularly evident in ‘G’ compositions where the constant fluctuation of the leading note results in cross-relations. In La Canossa (1651a), for example, Merula exploits this effect to add a certain piquancy to an otherwise predictable tonal sequence (Ex. 77). Far more crucial is the characteristic ambiguity between tonic and subdominant which occurs to such an extent as to obscure the actual ‘tonic’. The opening of La Ghisa a2 (Ex. 76) stresses the subdominant, with subsequent cadences on the supertonic (a) and the dominant minor (d), while the first cadence on G does not occur until bar 19! This accords entirely with the normal modal practice of the period, but in no way does it imply a retrospective harmonic idiom, for the strength of ‘positive motion’ towards the cadences is as marked as in any other Sonata concertata ca. The crucial factor in the development of the late seventeenth-century


Regional Developments

tonality was the strength of harmonic progression towards clearly defined tonal goals, but this was conceived within a consistent modal framework of established cadencing patterns. In fact, Merula’s conception of modality would appear to be fairly typical of this period, judging from the Sinfonie di tutti gli tuoni contained in his Qiiarto libro (1651a). This system is comprised of only eight tones rather than the twelve listed by Zarlino (Table 3). These are identical to those given by Adriano Banchieri in his Cartella musicale (Venice, 1614) and would therefore appear to have achieved both practical and theoretical status. However, Merula actually makes use of only tones I, II, III, V, and VIII, not even employing the F tone. In comparison with the contemporary works of Uccellini, there is some reluctance to explore a wider range of transpositions—a conservatism typical of many composers of the period. Table 3. Tones of Merida’s Sinfonie di tutti gli tuoni Tone



d g a e C F d G

Signature _

\> —

\> l?

The extreme contrast between Merula’s Books II and III, published within the space of a few years, presents a distinction almost as marked as that between the antico and moderno styles of sacred vocal music. For composers of his generation the stile antico did not represent a deliberate reversion to past practices in the spirit of historicism, as it came to be regarded in later years, but as a viable contemporary method of composition. The preoccupation of historians with stylistic change has tended to obscure the importance of conservative lines of development which were both more widespread and more persistent. The general conservatism of many centres outside Venice is well illustrated by the various inventories of choir books at Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo around the time of Merula’s appointment there.5 When Alessandro 5 Jerome Roche, ‘An Inventory of Choir Books at Santa Maria Maggiore, Bergamo, January' 1628’, RMARC

5 (1965), 47-50.

The Central Development


Grandi became maestro di cappella in 1628, the repertory still relied heavily on the works of Palestrina, Victoria, and Lassus, and even when more modern music by Monteverdi and others was acquired, this still favoured large-scale compositions. Few-voiced compositions, then so popular in Venice, were not represented at all, despite the fact that Grandi himself had written several collections of them. No inventory exists for Merula’s term of office, but it appears that only after Cazzati’s arrival did the church invest in a substantial body of music for small ensembles. Unfortunately no reference to instrumental music survives before 1648, but it seems likely that this would have been equally conservative since Merula’s Book II probably dates from his short term of employment at the church. The thoroughly retrospective style of La Benaglia does not apply to all the Canzonas of Book II, and others such as the ‘battaglia’ first movement of La Fontana and the more violinistic La Cancelliera anticipate trends in his later aj works. By Book IV the process of reconciliation between the two media already observed in the a2 works has affected the a3 compositions. Subjects now employ more animated rhythms and faster note values, and prefer a more clear-cut phrase structure which necessitates reciprocal changes in the harmonic language (Ex. 80), facilitated by the presence of a harmonic accompaniment to the fugal entries in several of the Canzonas of 1651a. Extent is achieved not by thematic restatement or counter-expositions but by sequential development of some aspect of the subject. The initial exposition of La Loda, for instance, is enlarged for twelve bars by passage-work based on the head-motive. Such techniques are fundamental to a composer well versed in the art of variation, and indeed sets of variations on popular tunes and standard bass patterns such as the Ruggiero and Chaconne are an important part of Merula’s output. La Lugarina demonstrates the direct application of these practices to the abstract sonata, involving metrical transformation and a variety of ingenious counter-melodies against a given subject (Ex. 73). Despite this less formal treatment, most late 03 compositions occupy a relatively conservative position in comparison with the Canzonas «2, chiefly noticeable in the afs stricter contrapuntal textures which betray the influence of the late canzona 04. The continuity of this development and its relationship with the Corellian Sonata is especially apparent in Merula’s slow sections, which throughout his career serve the function of providing some measure of contrast to the more animated imitative sections. The first collection provides no indication of tempo and the additional duple sections can only be considered slow by implication, yet in a very unequivocal way they exploit compositional techniques which came to be associated specifically with the harmonically conceived slow movements of later sonatas. La Marcha consists simply of a hymnic four-bar phrase repeated

13 4

Regional Developments

in related tonalities (d-G, G-C, F-d) and this pattern is continued in such later slow sections as the tremolo of La Cancelliera (16390/32?) which then concludes characteristically with a series of suspensions. This latter movement has some resemblance to Buonamente’s grave of 1636 and indicates that there was nothing particularly remarkable in such tonal orientation by that date. Repetition of the initial phrase in a contrasting tonality was to become one of the most frequent gambits of the Corellian Sonata, and when in La Lusignola (1613d) this is followed by long chains of 675-5/3 chords over a quaver bass, Merula’s legacy to later generations is unquestionable (Ex. 81). Such sections epitomize the austere grave style common to composers of other centres, but in keeping with contemporary trends, the later Canzonas aj employ a slightly more melodic style in shorter note values, perhaps incorporating an element of dialogue. All these types essentially belong to the Canzona aj, for the additional sections in the 1651a Canzonas a2 almost never take on the characteristics of a slow movement but prefer loosely imitative textures or sequential passage-work, both of which would appear to warrant a faster tempo. Triplas also follow consistent procedures throughout Merula’s works. These may be divided into homophonic and imitative categories. Of the former, the pattern of La Memla (1615d) and La Strada (1637a), which alternate 3/2 and 6/4 metres in vigorous cross-rhythms, was to be much copied by the later composers with whom Merula associated, especially Cazzati and Legrenzi (Ex. 82). Imitative types (unless, like La Benaglia, the movement is a metrical transformation of the first fugue) correspond closest to the thematic reiteration sections of Uccellini and others. L’Orbina (1613d) combines both categories, with a tuneful twelve-bar homophonic section followed by a monumental thematic reiteration section of forty-two bars, and this combination was to become increasingly common by the mid-century. Here the sole method of extension is a melodic and harmonic sequence around the cycle of fifths from B\> to E, and although this might seem fairly advanced at this period, it is not entirely unexpected, for triplas were more prone to such treatment than any other type of movement. Triplas 02 follow the pattern of their first movements, employing alternate statement and antiphonal dialogue in the earlier set, modified to produce a more continuous texture in Book IV. Merula’s reliance on sequential exchanges as the most fundamental compositional procedure is as apparent as in the late aj compositions. Most of these techniques were widely shared by composers elsewhere, but some triplas follow more independent paths. La Merula (16390/32?) and La Cattarina (1637a) both employ a serenely graceful melodic idiom similar to the bel canto arias of contemporary vocal music as practised by such composers as Benedetto Ferrari, with whom Merula collaborated in the opera, La Finta Savia,

The Central Development

13 5

produced in Venice in 1643 (Ex. 83). The middle movement of La Treccha (1637a) actually employs a two-bar non-modulatory ground previously used in his aria in cecona (1633). Riemann pointed out its similarity to Ferrari’s Voglio di vita uscir from the Vane musiche (1637), on which he claimed the instrumental version was modelled, although there seems little melodic similarity.6 The incorporation of vocal styles was to become a preoccupation of some later composers, while this is the first instance of the use of a ground bass in a tripla a persistent if infrequent practice during the remainder ot the period. The melodic sequences which form such a salient feature of Merula’s style frequently occur in conjunction with extensive harmonic sequences. More than any other composer of his generation, he utilizes consistent harmonizations of recurrent bass patterns as an important compositional device. The commonest are those formed upon scalic basses, typically chains of 5/3-6/3 chords in rising passages (Ex. 84a) and, slightly less usual, a series of 7-6 suspensions on a descending bass. In La Ferrara (1651a) the latter progression accounts for twenty-one of the twenty-four bars of the tripla and therefore almost assumes the regularity’ of a ground (Ex. 84/7). In this late collection a chain of 6/3 chords also becomes an option for the harmonization of a descending scale. Another much used bass pattern alternates a rising second with a descending skip of a third—almost invariably harmonized with a series of 6/5 5^3 chords (Ex. 84^)These formulas, which occur in both fast and slow movements, of course became the staple fare of the late seventeenth century, but before Merula they are remarkably rare, and their consistent use constitutes one of his most significant contributions. In both form and content Merula’s works epitomize many of the most significant trends of the first half of the seventeenth century. At no time in his career is there any indication of an affinity with the patchwork designs of the Venetians, and nor did the formal methods of the Mantuan composers appeal to him, despite the fact that he, too, shared their interest in variation. Instead, his main concern was for a more or less predetermined sequence of circumscribed components, and in this he anticipated the format of many later sonatas. The disposition of elements places the most substantial fugal movement at the beginning of the work; rhythmic impetus then increases into the tripla which nearly always implies a faster tempo; the slow section provides a moment of respite before the short but vigorous finale and coda on first-mocement mateiial. This plan, already inherent in the earliest collection of 1615d, belongs essentially to the aj compositions which safeguarded the heritage of strict fugal working of the old canzona 04. The clear-cut division of the tw o trio groupings o

Handbuch derMusikgeschichte

(Leipzig, 1912), ii. 56-61.


Regional Developments

represents a conception of the media readily accepted by the other mainstream composers with whom Merula came into contact. At its most extreme, this distinction implies an antithesis almost as marked as that of antico and moderno in contemporary vocal music—one which actually survived into the Corellian era.

Maurizio Cazzati As for so many composers of the seventeenth century, posterity has elected to base Cazzati’s reputation on his instrumental music, despite the fact that it represents a relatively small part of his prodigious output—ten instrumental collections out of a total of almost seventy opera. Of these, four are of direct relevance, the Canzoni aj, Op. II (1642c), the Secondo libro delle sonate, Op. VIII (1648), the Suonate a2 violini, Op XVIII (1656c), and the Sonate, Op. XXXV (1665a).7 One other collection, the Varii e diversi capricci, Op. L (1669a), also consists of trio compositions but these comprise a distinct category falling outside the composer’s main line of development. Cazzati’s career divides conveniently into two halves—before and after his appointment at San Petronio in 1657. By then he had already produced three important instrumental publications, the most popular of which, the Suonate (1656c), ran into four editions by 1679, being reprinted both in Italy and abroad, and it was therefore on these that his international reputation was based. Very little is known of Cazzati’s training as a composer and the early influences on his style are largely conjectural. A possible clue is the dedication of the finale of La Maltese 04 (1648) to Buonamente whose music he may perhaps have known through their mutual associations with the Gonzaga family. The archives of Santa Maria Maggiore, Bergamo, provide two further sources of information: an inventory of 1654 which mentions Sonate by Uccellini and a list of music acquired by Cazzati in 1656.8 Among the fifteen vocal collections are two sets of instrumental music listed as the Sonate 03 of Tarquinio Merula and the Sonate 02, 3, e 4 of Marco Antonio Ferro. There is little doubt that Merula’s a2 compositions were a major influence on Cazzati’s Op. XVIII, while Ferro’s collection of 1649, written during his service in Vienna, is stylistically closer than any set of Uccellini or Buonamente. Merula and Cazzati shared the underlying conception of the sonata as a succession of stylistically predictable complementary units drawing upon the 7 J. G. Suess, ‘Giovanni Battista Vitali and the Sonata da chiesa’ (Ph.D. Yale Univ., 1963), ii contains Op. II Nos. 1, 5, 6, 7, Op. VIII Nos 1, 3, 4, 9, Op. XVIII Nos. 1, 2, 5, 7, 9, 11, Op. XXXV Nos. 1. 2. 4. 6. W. Klenz, Giovanni Maria Bononcini of Modena (Durham NC, 1962), includes Op. VIII No. 1, Op. XVIII No. 7, Op! XXXV, La Casala. Modern edn. LaMartinenga (Kassel, 1964). 8 Bowman ‘Musical Information in the Archives of the Church of S. Maria Maggiore, Bergamo, 16491720’, in I. Bent (ed.), Source Materials and the Interpretation of Music (London, 1981), 337, 338.

The Central Development


basic movement types already well-established by the mid-century. The element of contrast is an important consideration in the overall planning, but this should not be confused with the far more exaggerated desire for dramatic and startling changes of mood in the stil moderno sonata. Only rarely is there any indication of an awareness of the spontaneous and improvisatory character of the Venetians, mainly confined to the 1642c collection. In these early Canzonas it is more common to link the last two sections than in later works, but both La Mauritia and La Falcona attempt a more continuous flow of subsections. The former certainly captures some of the old impetuosity when the upward sequence of the presto conclusion to the tripla is abruptly terminated by the cadenza-like dialogues of the coda leading directly into the fugal finale (Ex. 85). La Falcona is similar to the old patchwork designs in its succession of short contrasting sections, although the fact that five of the eight of these are melodically related would be most unlikely in any Venetian sonata. Such thematic interrelationship is in fact quite prominent in this collection. The overall structures of these two works are quite exceptional and represent the remnant of styles soon discarded. No less than six of the eight Canzonas of Op. II conclude with a da capo, and there definitely appears to be a basic format underlying the structures of most of the compositions of this set: fugue


slow section

da capo

This resembles the 1651a Canzonas of Merula. One infrequent but, in view of later developments, extremely significant addition is the slow introduction to two Canzonas. At no time does Cazzati show any interest in the systematic repetition of Merula, and such repeats as there are seem random by comparison. The Sonatas of Op. VIII, while preserving the basic movement types, introduce some highly consistent modifications which bear directly on future developments. First, in all but La Lucilla (a late example of the variation canzona in which three of the four movements are related), the da capo has been abandoned. Instead, the sonata now ends either with a brief coda in duple metre after the tripla or a short imitative finale, producing respectively a three- or fourmovement form. Secondly, the internal ordering of movements has been reversed, the grave preceeding the tripla. This is symptomatic of a third important change, for now the slow section is freed from its previous function as a cursory introduction to the finale and tends to form an independent entity, usually of about thirteen bars. A corollary of this is that most movements are clearly separated by double barlines and linking occurs only twice. If the Op VIII Sonatas still present at least a limited amount of choice in overall structure, those of Op. XVIII (1656c) follow the trend of Merula’s ^2 compositions towards standardization. Of the twelve sonatas, eight begin with a


Regional Developments

fugal movement, the second section is a grave in nine sonatas, nine continue with a tripla, and ten conclude with a loosely imitative movement. The da capo is retained only in La Ferdinanda, which combines a new theme with the original subject. A four-movement format is therefore emphatically established as the norm: C (Imitative)

C (grave)

3 (fast)

C (imitative)

In his fugal movements, Cazzati preserves the distinctions of texture and design between the two ‘trio’ combinations already observed in Merula’s works, but without accepting the antico implications of some of the latter’s more retrospective aj Canzonas. An occasional survival of the canzona incipit is encountered in several works, and La Greca (1642c) is a rare example of the use of a chanson theme in a ‘trio’ sonata, being based on the famous old tune, ‘Estce mars’. Normally, each subject is a well-articulated unit, often divisible into separate phrases and clearly outlined by strong dominant/tonic progressions— especially apparent in those which utilize a rising tetrachord (Ex. 86). The even succession of crotchets and quavers found in Merula’s conservative fugues is replaced by subjects of much greater rhythmic variety, and up-beat motives and arpeggios contribute to the increased angularity. These aj fugues generally prefer the subject-dominated structures based on the counter-exposition, and a short fugue such as La Soda (1642c) may consist only of an exposition, clearly defined counter-exposition reversing the tonal order of entries (an indication of Cazzati’s greater awareness of tonal planning than Merula), and one or two further entries of the subject, producing a movement of about twenty bars. This simple plan may be enlarged to double these proportions in several main ways. The commonest is by the inclusion of further entries of the subject (perhaps in an abbreviated form) after each exposition. Next in importance is the addition of a substantial coda on material only loosely related to the subject. These codas represent one of the few survivals of the Venetian practices of the 1620s and possess many of the hallmarks of that style—motivic dialogues, lengthy passages of interlocking semiquavers, long dominant pedals, perhaps terminating in a fully notated cadential grnppo (Ex. 87). Much rarer is the inclusion of extensive episodes in the body of the fugue. Both La Fatorina (1642c) and LAltiera (1642c) contain central sections of seven bars on unrelated material, while La Bonga (1648) inserts episodes based on the counter-motive after each of the two expositions. It is significant that both the inclusion of unrelated material and the addition of cadenza-like codas are more common in the first than the second set, for by 1648 the direction of his development in aj fugues was towards a dense thematic approach with only a limited amount of episodic expansion. The first movements of the Op. XVIII a2 Sonatas, on the other hand, rarely exceed twenty bars, and often consist of little more than an exposition and one or

The Central Development


two subsequent entries of the subject—perhaps separated by a short bridge passage. Any longer movement is likely to be of the episodic type in which single statements alternate with fairly lengthy episodes. These episodes form a strong contrast with the thematic material, often using semiquaver figurations in dialogue between the violins, and their recurrence is a major unifying factor. Cadenza-like codas no longer appear to be an option in first movements. Very occasionally a stricter fugal design is employed, the most elaborate being that of La Varana which uses an episodic design similar to that of La Bonga (1648), and which appears most unusually as the finale. The success of these movements, like those of Merula’s Sonate concertate, relies not on any formal subtlety or contrapuntal intricacy but on the melodic charm and rhythmic vitality of the thematic material. La Calcagnina owes much to Merula, with its sequences of descending scales (Ex. 88«) and several subjects still preserve the repeated note patterns of the canzona francese. Others such as La Bevilacqua anticipate the popular idiom of the succeeding generation. This forms a closed period of four bars cadencing at the entry of the answer. Its clearcut phrase structure is emphasized by a central cadence on the dominant, which also serves to differentiate the bold arpeggio head-motive of the antecedent from the sequential consequent (Ex. 88h). In half the sonatas the subject and answ er are still presented alternately (frequently at the unison) as in Merula s 1637a set, and parallel writing and motivic dialogue still account for much of each movement. The role of the continuo is once more that of discreet harmonic accompaniment, although the keyboard is occasionally required to conti ibute a short motivic exchange with the upper voices. Cazzati’s conception of the texture of the ‘trio sonata therefore corresponds closely with that of Merula. Sonatas a2 rejected strict contrapuntal procedures, while sonatas aj call for more formal fugal treatment. But Cazzati’s primary musical impulses were not the generative processes of equal-voiced polyphony, and even the sonatas aj may at any moment abandon imitation for extensive movement in thirds. Moreover, it certainly appears that he lacked Merula’s grounding in the more erudite contrapuntal skills, despite the use of a double subject in La Lucilla (1648). All too often the fugal writing shows evidence of mediocre workmanship, especially in such elementary matters as the avoidance of consecutives, and this was to become one of the main issues in the pamphlet war with the Bolognese organist, Giulio Cesare Arresti. Many of these grievances were concerned with the esoteric and at times seemingly arbitrary rules of a cappella choral music, , but other criticisms applied to the obvious inaccuracies which occur with some frequency in both his vocal and instrumental music. In fairness it must be admitted that Cazzati’s first mo instrumental collections are among the most inexact of all the publications of the period, but some of the more glaring errors can hardly be explained away at the


Regional Developments

expense of the printers. The blatant consecutives in the first fugue of La Gonzaga (1642c), or the crude passing notes in La Bonga which are presumably intended to ‘save’ the octaves, are precisely the kind of licence which so incensed his Bolognese contemporaries (Ex. 89a-b). Cazzati attempted to justify his apparent insensitivity to consecutives in his lengthy Risposta alle oppositioni (Bologna, 1663), and his reply may also be taken to apply to his instrumental music: I am very well aware that among the first rules that teachers might give is precisely that of not making the afore-mentioned two fifths and I myself have always forbidden my pupils from making two fifths or octaves, as I know full well that all the Authors forbid them. But everything wants its distinction, and consequently the authority of a master is different from the obligations of the student, so that if a master makes two fifths, either inadvertently or on purpose, you should not attribute a very notable error to him, there being many compositions of famous men in which there are two fifths; and if I have made two fifths I declare that I have not made them inadvertently but because I wanted that effect...9

Cazzati’s characteristic rhythmic verve and dynamism is perhaps exploited to its best advantage in the movements in triple metre. These fall into categories similar to those of Merula. The first, more common in the early sets, are those which are almost entirely homophonic throughout, and their ancestry in Merula’s canzonas is most apparent when they contrast cross-rhythms and syncopations (Ex. 90). Included in this group are the two triplas {La Greca and La Varana) requiring a slow tempo—a rare occurrence before the 1660s. The next category comprises the large number of movements which begin with an imitative point, but where the texture is almost never contrapuntal and soon dissolves into parallel movement, or at the most a short dialogue pairing trebles against bass. The third category combines both types, beginning with a homophonic introduction but continuing with an imitative section (actually marked with a change of tempo from largo to allegro in La Bonga, 1648), again suggesting the influence of Merula. Finally, a few triplas do maintain some semblance of linear counterpoint, and even make use of fugal designs. La Lucilla (1648) actually reuses the double subject of the first fugue. As already noted, there is a tendency to diffusiveness in Cazzati’s first set and a number of triplas consist of a succession of only loosely related sections, whereas the later collections tend to confine themselves to less thematic material. La Galeazza (1648), however, seems to hark back to the earlier set in its chain of unrelated ideas, but the third section unexpectedly combines the subjects of the previous 9 A trans- of the entire text of the Risposta is included in U. Brett, ‘Music and Ideas in Seventeenth-Centurv Italy’ (Ph.D. London Univ., 1986).

The Central Development


sections—one of the few occasions that might suggest the influence of Buonamente. In Cazzati’s sonatas the role of the slow movement is considerably expanded, forming an indispensable element not only in the sonatas aj but also in the sonatas into its well-known subject (Est-ce mars) and until the final cadence fluctuates between F and Bl>.

The Central Development


Similarly, Cazzati’s attitude to dissonance is somewhat freer and less disciplined than that of Merula. Chains of sequential progressions over specific bass patterns are much less frequent, although it is noteworthy that La Strozza (1656c) contains a succession of five 7-6 suspensions in the continuo alone— still relatively unusual at the time. Rising resolutions of the seventh are quite common, while the unprepared seventh at the cadence is already a cliche (Ex. 91 a, b). In view of the richness of the harmonic language in the slow sections, it is perhaps surprising to encounter fast movements almost totally devoid of a single dissonance except at cadences. This predominantly consonant harmonic vocabulary prevails in much music of the mid-century and, without the piquancy of the false relations so skilfully exploited by Merula, these movements may exhibit a blandness for which Cazzati’s rhythmic vitality and strength of tonal progression hardly compensate. Cazzati’s first three collections of free sonatas contain music of very uneven quality and, as one of the most prolific composers of his day, there is some reason to suspect that quantity rather than quality was a major consideration. He lacked the melodic grace and witticism of Merula and the contrapuntal craftsmanship and formal subtlety of Legrenzi, but at best his compositions do exude an undeniable energy and zest and this no doubt accounted for their considerable popularity. His attitude to composition was a simple one, emphasizing immediate effectiveness rather than any esoteric or intellectual approach to the art: Know, O Reader, that the rules of Music are not Divine Precepts, but diverse human opinions, as one sees from the publications of so many Virtuosi, who have nevertheless not been accused of committing errors, since it is necessary to observe whether a composition pleases, and if it does not please, however much it may comply with the rules, it is not good, since music is made to be enjoyed rather than otherwise.10

Cazzati evidently believed that his vindication lay in the lasting popularity of his music with the public at large, in spite of his failure to convince the Bolognese musical intelligentsia of his merits.

Giovanni Legrenzi The third member of the triology of composers working at Santa Maria Maggiore, Giovanni Legrenzi (1626-90), produced two collections of Sonatas during his eleven years as organist at the church, the Sonate a2 e j, Op. II, (1655c) and the Suonate da chiesa, da camera, Op. IV (i656d). His next volume, the 10 Risposta alle oppositioni (Bologna, 1663), 6.


Regional Developments

Sonate, Op. VIII (1663b), appeared during his period of office at the Accademia dello Spirito Santo in Ferrara, and by the publication of La Cetra, Op. X (1673)), he had moved to Venice, in which context they should properly be discussed.11 His output as a whole strongly favours ‘trio’ ensembles which account for thirtyseven of the fifty-four sonatas, but unlike many of his contemporaries, his preference was for the aj rather than the a2 medium and this is indicative of fundamental differences of approach from his associates at Bergamo. Legrenzi’s Sonatas are amongst the most individual and hardest to classify of the sixth decade of the century. Even between the first two sets, published within the space of a year, there are substantial differences of style. The general tone of the first collection is austere and learned, perhaps reflecting the demands of the ‘prestigious Academy’ for which they were written, while the Op. IV sonatas are much less severely contrapuntal and lighter in style. Despite his rugged individualism, as a young man working within the orbit of Merula and Cazzati it was perhaps inevitable that these older composers would have left an impression on him. The main formative influence on his early works seems to have been Merula (certainly more so than the single composition by ‘Giovanni Maria Legrenzi, padre del autore’ included in Legrenzi’s Op. 2) and on occasions this even amounts to direct quotation (Ex. 93). But of far greater importance is the adoption of Merula’s differentiation between the a2 and aj media, immediately apparent in the a2 works by the nature of the continuo part, the typical antiphonal texure with its alternate presentation of subject material and reliance on dialogues, and the melodic style which tends to prefer lengthy self-contained periods to the open-ended themes of the aj compositions. It is in the a2 medium that violinistic idioms are most exploited, and the nature of these figurations demonstrates a close affinity with Merula’s a2 compositions (Ex. 94a-b). The use of arpeggios is perhaps the most distinctive feature of the violin writing— later used as the basis for an entire Sonata, LaMosta, Op. VIII. Legrenzi’s indebtedness to his older contemporaries is particularly noticeable in the structures of his early compositions. Eight of the fourteen ‘trio’ sonatas of Op. II preserve the Merulian da capo, whereas it is retained in only two Sonatas of the later sets. Like those of Merula these may consist simply of a brief resume of first-movement material or, in common with Cazzati’s La Ferdinanda (1656c), may introduce some subtlety, such as the addition of a new countersubject. The rapid decline of the da capo coda may well be attributable to Cazzati’s influence, since this long-established practice had largely been discarded in his 1648 collection. The similarity in the outer framework of the Sonata nevertheless masks some fundamental internal disparities between Legrenzi’s works and those of Cazzati. There is no evidence of the formal clarification so conspicuous


See Bibliography for full details of modern edns. of Legrenzi’s works.

The Central Development


in both Merula and Cazzati, and later collections tend to show less uniformity than the earlier ones. Even the initial fugue may be replaced by a lengthy slow movement, perhaps in triple metre (La Pezzoli, i656d), while a slow section may actually be substituted for the fast imitative finale. Conversely, internal slow movements of any length are by no means indispensable, for the six Sonatas of Op. IV contain only one substantial adagio. The most persistent variations occur in the central sections, which recall those of Merula’s Book II Canzonas (16390/32?) before the process of clarification had set in. These form composite units of from two to four short subsections, often of extreme contrast, all bounded by repeat signs. La Bonacossa (1663b), for example, still maintains the outer framework of first-movement fugue and modified da capo, but the inner composite comprises a six-bar imitative adagio, a 3/4 allegro on a short subject and countersubject, leading directly into a presto in duple metre, abandoned after thirteen bars for a homophonic adagio tripla. This entire composite is then repeated. As in Castello’s composites, the effectiveness and coherence of this succession of diverse elements relies to a considerable extent on Legrenzi’s resourceful manipulation of tonality which exhibits a scope and ambitiousness unequalled by any of his contemporaries. It is in fact unusual for internal sections to begin in the tonic, and instead Legrenzi explores a variety of related tonal areas. Here these are based around the relative minor (‘e’) and its dominant, and as usual Legrenzi wishes to emphasize the tonal transition by striking chordal juxtaposition—characteristically involving major chords with roots a third apart (G/B). La Bevilacqua (1663b) demonstrates the underlying tonal planning which counteracts the divisiveness of this sectionalism (see Table 4). Despite this apparent diversity, Legrenzi’s overall designs reveal some fundamental consistencies. In the first place, most Sonatas aj resemble those of Castello in that they are divisible into three or four main units, whatever the complexity of the internal composites. Not only is a fugue in duple metre by far Table 4. Tonal planning in Legrenzi’s La Bevilacqua (1663b) Bar



1-29 30-8

Fugue 3/2 adaggio- allegro C adaggio presto 3/4 allegro

g-d-g Eb chord-Bb -

38-45 45-58 58-73 73-i°8

Bb -gg-c

C-g-C-Bb Bb -g-d-Bb -c-g


Regional Developments

the commonest initial movement, but the next substantial component is likely to be a tripla, although it may now be preceded by a short slow section. These transitional slow sections of only a few bars’ duration are obviously intended as introductions to more substantial quick movements, and as such often form the link between two contrasting tonal areas {La Col Alta, 1655 c) or dramatize some essentially simple tonal relationship (Ex. 95). This frequently involves an unusual chordal juxtaposition, such as tonic to mediant or submediant, but always incorporated into a larger tonal design. Slow/fast groupings of this kind seem to be the basis of many compound movements. The emphasis on striking changes of mood within these composite sections would suggest that Legrenzi was already attracted by the Venetian idiom long before he took up residence there, and this is corroborated by certain other features of his style. Several Sonatas of Op. IV reinstate the central solo sections common in Venetian works of the 1620s. In La Pezzoli there is a marked contrast between the cantabile of the short opening ‘adaggio’ and the more angular sequential melody of the allegro, and this corresponds (in much diluted form) to the division between the rhapsodical and the mechanical figurations of Castello (Ex. 96). La Tassa even frames its alternate solos within a ritornello— an unmistakable inheritance from the Venetian stil moderno sonata. Very occasionally a composition ends with a cadenza-like coda consisting of canonic writing over a pedal, again recalling a common practice of the third decade, although the influence here might as easily have come from Cazzati. Legrenzi’s Sonatas also differ from those of most mid-century composers in the complexity of their contrapuntal working, and this explains his preference for the ag medium, although a2 Sonatas are not altogether exempt from his unusually rigorous treatment. Monothematic fugues of the type cultivated by Cazzati rarely occur, and instead Legrenzi particularly favoured movements on at least two and sometimes three subjects. Both La Manina and La Savorgnana of Op. II are based on three themes which intertwine in a complex contrapuntal fabric. The latter effectively opposes an angular diatonic subject with a sinuous chromatic point and a crisp rhythmic motive (Ex. 97), and the chromaticism supplies a link with the tripla and finale. Others employ double subjects announced simultaneously {La Tassa, i656d), or employ a consistent counter¬ subject which rivals the first subject in importance. Nor is this complexity confined to the initial fugues. In the finales of Op. II, the simple Merulian abbreviated da capo occurs only in La Torriana and La CoTAlta, and instead the entry of the original theme is normally preceded by a new subject—nowhere more effectively than in the combination of simple and compound metres in La

MontAlbana, 1655c (Ex. 98). One highly unusual slow section in La Benaglia (1656b) actually employs three distinct themes in invertible counterpoint (Ex. 99)!

The Central Development


The treatment of thematic material displays a subtlety and variety quite out of keeping with the trend towards simplicity which prevailed during the mid¬ century. The first fugue of La Valvasona (1655c) is based on a bipartite subject of which the second part is a diminution of the first, and the retrograde version of the first part figures prominently in the body of the fugue (Ex. 100a). Frequently the subject material is constructed as a succession of distinct motives each of which becomes isolated in the course of the movement. The initial sixbar period of the first violin in La Strasolda a2 yields no less than four principal motives, and these generate a series of ingenious episodic passages (Ex. 100b). Motive (2) provides a typical antiphonal exchange, while (3) in a slightly elongated version forms an extensive episode (16-22) returning at bar 39, and even intervenes in the one thematically unrelated passage (29-34). The cadential










unification. Furthermore, the subject itself undergoes an interesting melodic evolution at bar 22 .La Cornara also demonstrates the technique of progressive variation, each successive counter-exposition being based on a variant of the preceding subject, and this process is continued into the following tripla (Ex. iooc). The rigorous use of thematically derived motives acts not only as a means of extension but also as a means of overall integration, and is among Legrenzi’s most distinctive contributions to the development of fugal composition. These techniques produce fugal designs of considerably greater variety than the more stereotyped plans of Cazzati. The counter-exposition (either single or occasionally double) is still often discernible as the underlying principle, but Legrenzi is far more concerned with continuity through careful dovetailing and overlapping, and Cazzati’s hiatus and reduction of parts usually occurs only as the final section. In fugues on multiple subjects sufficient material is already available to achieve both variety and extent without the need for episodic expansion, and relief is commonly provided simply by dropping the first subject temporarily in favour of the others. Those on fewer thematic ideas generally contain at least one substantial episode, and Legrenzi’s particular methods of thematic fragmentation provide ideal material for motivic working in extended sequences. Another much used technique is to base the internal expansion on the consequent of the subject, which therefore invariably contains a sequential element, but the reliance on such methods is rarely as thoroughgoing as in Merula’s late fugues. Most of these generalizations apply mainly to the aj Sonatas of Op. II and VIII, for Op. IV is far less concerned with complexities. In the hrst place the fugal subjects reject the rather austere style of the previous collection in favour of the more forthright and tuneful idiom of Cazzati (Ex. 100d). The continuo accompaniment to the initial exposition ensures that there is never any uncertainty of tonal basis, as there had occasionally been in the earlier works.


Regional Developments

Since these fugues tend to restrict themselves to less thematic material there is a greater need for contrasting episodes—almost invariably based on some outstanding feature of the subject or countersubject. In La Brembata, for example, the subject recurs only once after the exposition, and even the short La

Tassa devotes no fewer than ten of its twenty-one bars to episodic expansion. Nor is the texture so unremittingly contrapuntal, for in La B vent oat a there is much parallel movement between the violins, while La Benagha appears to be attempting the ‘homophonic counterpoint’ of some of Cazzati’s works which is particularly suited to its trumpet-like idiom. These changes of style are also carried over into the finales. Many of these characteristics might well suggest a kinship with the sonatas a2, but Legrenzi never aims at the antiphonal and open textures favoured in his own works in that medium, preferring greater continuity with less clear-cut divisions of phrase structure. In his triplas Legrenzi shows the same debt to Merula and Cazzati, coupled with an individuality of design already encountered in the other movements. One formal plan common to all three composers is to begin homophonically but continue with an imitative section, while the vigorous syncopations of the homophonic La Manina (1665c) can only recall Cazzati’s energetic style (Ex. 101) . On the other hand the lengthy exchange sequences over scalic basses in La

MontAlbana (1655c) and La Pia (1663b) are equally indebted to Merula (Ex. 102) . One important factor is the increased use of compound metre, mainly restricted


outer rather than inner movements.




movements which adopt the binary form of dance music—more a feature of the Roman simfonia than the northern sonata—and at least in La Bevilaccjua (1663b) the melodic style does to some extent resemble that of the corrente (Ex. 103) . In common with his contemporaries, Legrenzi does not aim at the contrapuntal complexities of duple movements, even in ‘imitative’ triplas, although La Boiarda (1663b) contains a 3/4 ‘adasio’ in which the final section amalgamates the three themes of the previous sections, as Cazzati had done in his La Galeazza (1648). Legrenzi contributed significantly to the development of the slow tripla which began to replace the more usual quick movement after the mid-century. These undoubtedly owe much to the expressive bel canto laments of contemporary vocal music, and their increasing importance in his Sonatas may well have coincided with a growing interest in opera. The parallel is especially apt in La Torriana (1665c), with its rich harmonic idiom stressing the diminished chord and its sarabanda-like rhythm, and from bar 20 to 31 a four-bar ground consisting of a descending tetrachord is introduced (Ex. 104). The association of this bass pattern with the operatic lament became particularly prominent from the 1640s and its incorporation into instrumental music together with the affective

The Central Development


harmonies and stressed second beat is perhaps the most direct transference of vocal styles into the abstract sonata to date.12 Other slow triplas employ a much less pathetic style, characterized by ingratiating tunes in smooth-flowing successions of well-balanced melodic phrases (Ex. 105). These slow triplas can achieve monumental proportions, but the longest occur as the first movements (extending to no less than fifty-five bars in La Spilemberger, 1655c) or finales, rather than as part of a larger complex. It is this emphasis on the slow tripla which perhaps accounts for the surprising lack of extended slow movements in duple metre. In fact the longest duple adagio is the remarkably intense thirty-two bar imitative first movement of La

Secca Soarda (i656d) which replaces the fugue. Purely introductory slow sections are indeed very rare, and only La ColAlta a2 (1655c) bears any relationship to those of Cazzati. The seven-bar ‘adaggio’ with which La Tassa begins, for example, attains a harmonic intensity quite out of keeping with the more restrained style of the Cazzatian introduction, and its construction as a single melodic period without internal cadences contrasts strongly with the short, well-articulated functional phrases of Cazzati (Ex. 106). Purely harmonic movements are remarkably infrequent (except in the short tremolo sections in which Legrenzi surpasses his contemporaries in harmonic boldness) and indeed the designation ‘grave’ is never used. Instead, it is in the combination of a highly charged melodic line with powerfully emotive harmonies that Legrenzi achieves an intensity unequalled in the

contemporary sonata.

Chromaticism is a

distinctive feature of Legrenzi’s style, exploited to great effect in such slow sections as La Boiarda where it produces a series of most unusual progressions (Ex. 107). This enrichment of harmonic language is naturally most pronounced in the more pathetic movements, but an extremely significant trend of the third quarter of the century was the intensification of the fast movements, which to some degree took over the more dissonant vocabulary of the adagios. Some quick fugal movements do suggest the consonant idiom of Cazzati but others employ the chains of suspensions and harmonic sequences hitherto reserved mainly for the slow movements. La Benaglia (i6s6d), for example, combines both styles, contrasting the largely consonant harmonies of the expositions with long sequences of suspensions in the episodes. The manipulation of these harmonic patterns, in whatever type of movement, serves to create the unerring sense of tonal direction continually present in all but the most conservative of the 03 Sonatas of Op. II. To this end, the drive to the cadence may be accentuated by chromatic harmonies utilizing such approach chords as the Neapolitan sixth and diminished seventh on the leading note, and a free use of the unprepared 12 See Ellen Rosand, ‘The Descending Tetrachord: An Emblem of Lament’, MQ 65 (1979). 346-59-

i -o

Regional Developments

dominant seventh—still remarkably rare in the works of Legrenzi’s contempor¬ aries. Having created this powerful sense of momentum, he frequently side¬ steps the cadence by some unexpected harmonic twist and such deferment becomes a prime means of extension. This skilful exploitation ot tonal resources also manifests itself in the increased number of subsidiary cadences within each section, especially noticeable in the ‘modulatory sequences around the c\cle of fifths



together with






mentioned, results in a tonal scope far beyond that of Merula or Cazzati.

Table 5. Legrenzi’s Op. II ‘trio’Sonatas, arranged according to mode Final Signature a2


La Cornara La Spilemberger La Frangipana La Strasolda La Col’Alta La Rasponsa La Zabarella La Mont’Albana La Porcia La Valvasona La Querini La Torriana La Manina Lajfustiniana La Savorgnana

d g a C D G d g a e C c G G d

— — # — —

h —

— b —

— —


One unusual aspect of Legrenzi’s Op. II ‘trio’ Sonatas is their arrangement according to mode (Table 5). These are similar to the tones listed by Banchieri and Merula already outlined (except for the use of a sharp rather than flat signature in tone VII). The absence of a composition in the sixth tone (F) is not entirely surprising for in violin music it was the least popular of all the tones in common use, and indeed was never used by either Merula or Legrenzi. Legrenzi’s works, like those of Cazzati, form part of the trend towards the eventual obliteration of the specific characteristics of each mode. The relatively conservative aj composition La Manina (1655c) retains the typical fluctuation between tonic (G) and subdominant, but by Op. VIII the one ‘G’ sonata, La

The Central Development


Bonacossa, now favours the dominant. Similarly, La Tassa (i656d) still prefers the subdominant, but La Frangipana (1655c) is one of the first ‘a’ compositions in which the principal contrasting tonality is the dominant, and this tendency to replace the former by the latter is also noticeable in ‘G’ compositions. La Porcia (1665c) may also show the influence of Cazzati’s La Bonga since it wavers between ‘A’ and ‘a’. Legrenzi includes one ‘e’ composition in Op. II (still very little used) and as this accords with his later practice, it is possible to classify some of its distinctive modal features. The most outstanding characteristic is that, despite the final on ‘e’, the predominant tonal centre throughout is ‘a’ and indeed the plagal cadence which concludes the work lacks any strong feeling of finality. Although perfect cadences on ‘e’ do occur within the piece, the next ‘key’ in the tonal hierarchy after ‘a’ is in fact ‘d’. These very distinctive characteristics are endorsed by the works of other composers such as Uccellini. The origins of Legrenzi’s sty le would appear to lie in the works of Merula and to a lesser extent, Cazzati. The former’s influence is strongest in the conception of the medium itself, and in the utilization of sequential harmonic patterns as demonstrated by Legrenzi’s plagiarization of the Canzon I (16390/32?). This collection may also have suggested the use of the da capo framework with a fluid succession of internal sections, although it is significant that he did not follow the trend towards structural uniformity of Merula’s later books. Cazzati may have bequeathed the more forthright melodic idioms and less severely linear type of counterpoint particularly cultivated in Op. IV but also used to a limited extent in the other collections. These formative influences are perhaps most pronounced in La Col’Alta a2 (1655c), with its Cazzatian slow introduction, self-contained fugal subject presented alternately by each violin, distinctively Merulian tripla on a scalic point, and da capo. On the basis of the single Sonata included in Legrenzi’s Op. II, it is impossible to assess the precise influence of his father, but the fugal movement of La jfustiniana does demonstrate the combination of two thematic ideas, albeit in primitive form, while its sequences of dissonances, particularly in the fast movements may well indicate the source of Legrenzi’s own acerbic idiom. Despite these legacies, from his earliest publication Legrenzi’s Sonatas display an individuality7 and originality which sets him apart from his older contemporaries. No other composer achieves the affective intensity of his slow movements, especially in the triple metre adagios in lamento style. Nor could they match his acute awareness and ambitious exploitation of key relationships, and his adventurousness in this respect becomes even more marked in comparison with the rather restricted schemes of the early Bologna School. Perhaps more than any other composer, his natural mode of expression was strictly contrapuntal, and the rigorous application of contrapuntal procedures, as

Regional Developments


demonstrated by the ‘learned’ Op. II Sonatas, appears at times almost eclectic. The thematic manipulation in these movements is of a variety and thoroughness seldom encountered in the trio sonatas of the period. Even Merula showed little interest in such an intellectual working out of his material, while Cazzati, with his insistence on immediate intelligibility, displays a temperament diametrically opposed to that of Legrenzi.

Giovanni Battista Mazzaferrata The position of maestro di cappella at the Accademia della Morte in Ferrara was taken by the organist, Giovanni Battista Mazzaferrata (d. 1691). Although his Primo libro delle sonate, Op. V (i674d), contains his only known instrumental compositions, they were popular and widely disseminated works, being reprinted three times.13 On the title-page of his Sacri concerti, Op. I (1661), the composer declared himself to have been a pupil of Merula and the Sonatas provide a particularly clear insight into the continuity of development and, conversely, the essential modifications to Merula’s style by the late seventeenth century. At the same time, the scoring for two violins and ‘bassetto viola se piace’ recalls that other hybrid collection by another former maestro at the Accademia, Cazzati’s

Suonate, Op. XVIII (1656c). His conception of the ‘trio’ medium therefore falls midway between the two customary groupings,

for vestiges

of alternate

statement are readily discernible and antiphonal and dialogue textures still predominate over linear counterpoint, while the bass often functions largely as harmonic support, yet in some fugal movements the ‘optional’ bassetto viola is drawn so thoroughly into the imitative fabric as to make its presence obligatory. These represent the extremes and the commonest approach is to exclude the bass from thematic participation in the fugal exposition but to include it later in the movement, when it may often share in the more florid dialogues between the instruments. These Sonatas, like those of Cazzati’s Op. XVIII, are all cast in four movements and mainly follow well-established if not entirely uniform arrange¬ ments. A fugue is almost invariably the first main component, but following contemporary trends this may be preceded by a slow introduction, in which case either the internal slow movement or tripla will be omitted. The presence of a slow movement as an almost obligatory constituent was not fully established in Merula’s canzonas a2 but Mazzaferrata’s works confirm the trend of the third quarter of the century to increase the affective element within the sonata. Thematic links between movements occur occasionally, usually by a metrical 13

See Bibliography for details of modern edns. of Mazzaferrata’s works.

The Central Development


transformation of the subject, and in Sonata 8 this provides a tentative survival of the old da capo principle (Ex. 108). Normally, however, the finale takes the form of a free imitative movement, often of substantial length. Another noticeable tendency of the times was to increase the number of triplas, and these account for three of the four movements in Sonata 8 and all four of Sonata 12, in both cases favouring compound metres. Incidentally, there is no indication of any preference for the supposed ‘classic’ cycle of SFSF tempos which occurs only twice, and indeed all four movements of Sonata 12 (clearly intended as a grand finale to the set) are fast. The re-emergence of more contrapuntal textures in the sonata a2—if of a very distinctive kind—also involved a re-establishment of fugal designs akin to those of the sonata aj. One aspect of this development in Mazzaferrata’s works is the decline of the monothematic fugue in favour of multiple subject types. This involves the use of distinctive countersubjects which contrast sharply with the original subject, and additional countersubjects are frequently incorporated later in the movement. To facilitate this, subjects follow the well-established construction of an antecedent in broken chords and a sequential consequent against which new melodic sequences may be formed later (Ex. 109). Normally, the answer is at the unison (another survival of the Merulian sonata 02) and the first counter-exposition will therefore present the subject at the fourth or fifth. Extension relies on a few recurrent techniques, most of which are dependent on sequential expansion, and the Merulian invertible sequence is so pervasive as almost to suggest parody on some occasions (Ex. 11 o). In the finale of Sonata 12, for instance, the end of the subject is taken up as antiphonal dialogues by all parts and this accounts for no less than fifteen of its entire twenty' bars (Ex. 111). In both the first movement and finale of Sonata 10 it is the consequent of the subject which predominates, providing stretto entries and sequential dialogues, but generally these are based on the head-motive. Further fragmentation in the manner of Legrenzi is relatively rare, but the short subject of the finale of Sonata 5 actually provides three distinct motives for subsequent treatment. Most fugues contain at least one substantial episode, but in essence the fugal style still relies on thematic restatement with variety provided by accompanying countersubjects. The originally sparse texture of the Sonata concertata a2 had now consolidated itself into an imitative fabric of constantly shifting focuses of interest, creating a pointillist impression of true polyphony, and this began to permeate not only the fugues but also the slow movements and triplas. Mazzaferrata never employs the old-fashioned white-note gravi of Cazzati’s early works but prefers more melodious adagios and largos. Even the hymnic opening with repetition in a related tonality is used only once, although the harmonically conceived tremolo section still survives in two Sonatas. Instead, most slow sections make use ot

x ^4

Regional Developments

motivic subjects, interspersed with sequences of suspensions, and on se\eral occasions the material is presented almost with the formality of a fugue (Ex. 112). Triplas may now usurp the position of introduction, internal slow movement, finale, and even the first fugue. In fact, the opening 3/2 largo of Sonata 7 uses the double subject technique with additional third thematic motive from bar 36 to produce the longest movement in the entire set (seventy-three bars). Most triplas use similar methods, although in varying degrees of complexity, but many still incline towards the distinctive type of homophonic counterpoint through the extensive pairing of voices which prevails in many imitative triplas throughout the century. A minority use simpler designs, and in particular the Cazzatian homophonic gambit followed by an imitative section or chain of ideas is still present in several Sonatas. Mazzaferrata’s tuneful be! canto triple metre styles (especially in compound metres) were of his time, but his melody always has a penchant for angularity, usually based on the arpeggio, as opposed to the more conjunct lines of Vitali and others. Several 3/2 largos also resemble the pathetic

lamento styles in their greater use of dissonance, and Sonata 6 at least is unusually intense in its combination of chromaticism and dissonance, but a Legrenzian preoccupation with the darker emotions is generally as foreign to Mazzaferrata’s outlook as it was to that of his teacher, Merula. By the 1670s, the predominantly consonant harmonic vocabulary of the mid¬ century had given way to a richer idiom based on dissonant harmonic sequences. In Mazzaferrata’s works this is most evident in those movements where the subject material itself has a prominent sequential chain of dissonances, as in Example 109, while Sonata n contains series of 4/2 chords and suspensions over a cycle of fifths bass. Nevertheless, the majority of quick movements overwhelmingly prefer a basically consonant idiom with cadential dissonance— the almost inevitable outcome of a melodic style based so firmly on arpeggios and broken chords. In the context of other contemporary developments this must be regarded as a conservative aspect, recalling the past history of the a2 medium, yet it has been regarded by some modern writers as anticipating the early Classical style.14 Of far more significance to later developments is the modification of the traditional modal cadencing patterns—well preserved in the works of Merula but declining in both Cazzati and Legrenzi. As it happens, the one ‘G’ composition still follows the practice of constant fluctuation between tonic and subdominant, with the usual hint of dominant minor, but the sonata in ‘a’ overwhelmingly favours the dominant, with only occasional references to D minor. The ‘e’ composition, incidentally, once more favours the subdominant to 14 Newman, SBE 149.

The Central Development


the exclusion of the tonic in the inner movements, although there are few points of comparison with the uncompromising modality of Legrenzi’s La Valvasona (1655c). For those seeking a direct connection with the key relationships of Classical tonality7, one disconcerting feature of the third quarter of the century is the rise in the number of works favouring the subdominant rather than the dominant in modes which had traditionally preferred the latter, and this includes Sonatas with finals on d, g, c, and F, while several others strongly favour the relative rather than the dominant. The widening of the range of internal cadences is especially apparent in the fugues, for at some centres in Italy and particularly in Rome it was still not unusual to confine these almost solely to tonic and dominant. Mazzaferrata, however, normally includes the relative, supertonic, and subdominant in major movements and the relative and flat seventh in minor keys. Simple repetition of adjacent passages and wholesale transpositions of paragraphs are by now basic methods of extension. Mazzaferrata’s Sonatas therefore follow the lines established in Merula’s a2 compositions. As in the latter’s Book IV, the sparse alternate textures of the earlier Sonate concertate had given way to more continuous contrapuntal lines without losing the transparent antiphonal quality, and this coincides with the re¬ establishment of stricter fugal designs. Like Cazzati’s Op. XVIII, this collection presents a highly consistent conception of the sonata as a succession of four independent and largely predetermined constituents, yet with scope for some variation within the basic pattern. The widespread dissemination of this style in Northern Italy once more attests to the abiding influence of Merula on the younger generation of Italian composers—not that Mazzaferrata’s sonatas are derivative parodies of his master’s works, even if the origins of his style are often apparent. Their considerable popularity no doubt stems from their engaging light-hearted melodies and rhythmic vitality, in a simple yet effective instru¬ mental style—qualities which would no doubt appeal to performers and audiences alike.

Emilia and the Romagna Bologna Despite the city’s long and illustrious musical tradition, the appointment of Maurizio Cazzati as maestro di cappella at San Petronio in 1657 is generally regarded as the decisive catalyst in the formation of the Bologna school, and there is certainly little direct evidence of any great interest in the ‘trio’ sonata much before the 1660s. The contribution of Adriano Banchieri (1568-1634) almost appears to have been by default in the optional a2 scoring of the Moderna

armonia di canzoni alia francese (see p. 28) and his only Sonata aj is a set of variations on the ‘aria del Gran Duca’. A prolific composer of instrumental music, his main interests were with the old canzona francese a4 which he cultivated assiduously before the rise to popularity of the small ensemble. Banchieri no doubt exerted considerable influence on musical taste in Bologna through his many publications, theoretical writings, and activities in the academies, but in this sphere his outlook appears to have been generally conservative. The cultivation of retrospective styles was to remain an important factor in Bolognese musical life, even after the mid-century. To judge from the three Sonatas aj contained in the Sacri concerti (1635c) of Guglielmo

Lipparino, which represent the



of assessing the

Bolognese contribution of that decade, this liking for the old-fashioned was well entrenched. The exaggerated rhetoric of the stil moderno evidently had no appeal for him, and only La Bolognetta actually contains any semiquavers. Rapid changes of mood, tempo, and texture hold no place in his style and La Malvezza alone includes a change of metre. Nor is there the remotest indication of the trend of the mainstream composers towards separation and definition of basic movement types so fundamental to the evolution of the Corellian Sonata, since two of the three compositions are continuous, relying simply on melodic consistency or an occasional cross-reference to maintain unity.

Each is

comprised of a succession of loosely related fugal expositions which demonstrate a competent (if not always inspired) handling of counterpoint evident in the answer by inversion in La Pepoli (Ex. 113). The restrained character of this thematic material might almost belong to another age, and it seems hardly

Emilia and the Romagna

15 7

feasible that works as conservative as these could have provided a fertile environment for the developments of the 1660s. From the 1620s, however, there is evidence of a more progressive line of development centring around the prestigious school of virtuoso violin playing in Bologna under the leadership of Camillo Cortellini and Alfonso Pagani, both of whom served in the Concerto Palatino (see p. 6). Although no sonatas survive by either of these violinists, some insight into the nature of their instruction may presumably be gained from the few extant compositions of their pupils. The most significant of these are the Sonate, Op. II (i628d), of Ottaviomaria Grandi, a pupil of Pagani, published while he was organist at the cathedral and at the church of the Miraculous Madonna at Reggio nell’Emilia. The importance of this collection in the history of violin playing was noted by Beckmann before the destruction of most of the part-books during the Second World War. Even from the incomplete sources that survive, it is obvious that these works represent the Bolognese equivalent of the stil moderno sonata, showing a marked affinity7 with Fontana and Marini.1 None of the eight ‘trios’ employ the double stops or higher positions of the ‘solo’ sonatas, but the range A-c') indicates that these were indeed intended for the violin, despite the vague heading of soprano over the parts. Several pieces contain bowing slurs similar to the Urate of Usper, but the most demanding writing occurs in Sonata 3 a2 which closely parodies the Northern Sonata concertata. Grandi fully accepted the ‘monodic’ conception of the a2 medium, based on alternate statement and antiphonal dialogue (all clearly apparent from the rests in the second soprano part), and there is a solo section of no less than thirty-one bars. These alternate solos share all the vitality and exuberance of the stil moderno, although the rhythmic vocabulary of dotted figurations and syncopations, together with the regularity of the divisions, are perhaps closer to Fontana than Castello (Ex. 114). Cadenza-like codas are also a prominent feature of the Sonatas a2. Sonata 3 concludes with a most effective flourish probably implying parallel movement between the violins (Ex. 115). Others prefer the motivic dialogues as used by Riccio. No ag composition includes a solo section (although alternate statement and dialogue may still be present) and as elsewhere this combination may also contain stricter contrapuntal textures based on more restrained melodic material (Ex. 116). Each piece incorporates much diverse material but, as in Marini, changes of metre are by no means essential since none occur in five of the eight Sonatas, and rapid changes of tempo are also unusual. This associates Grandi with the less extreme interpretations of the stil moderno rather than the exaggerated ’ Gustav Beckmann, Das Violinspiel in Deutschland voriyoo (Leipzig, 1918), 19 and Anhang no. 4.

x -8

Regional Developments

theatricality of the Venetians. Furthermore, both the treatment and organization of material again resemble Fontana rather than Castello. Sonata 12, for instance, is surrounded by a homophonic frame as in Fontana’s Sonata 17, and repetition of short passages at extended intervals may also provide a useful method of overall unification. As in the Brescian sonata, it is the subtle process of melodic metamorphosis throughout a piece which underpins the structural framework. Sonatas 5 and 11 unfold as a series of free fantasies held together by the varied return of the opening theme throughout the composition; even the solo section of the Castellian Sonata 3 a2 is related melodically to the opening of the piece— hardly likely in any Sonata concertata. Variation techniques are also applied in a more obvious way to the triplas of Sonata 6. These techniques lend themsleves to the creation of forms aiming at greater continuity than the cursory sectionalism of Riccio and Usper, and on the whole there are fewer clear-cut divisions. It would seem that violinist composers in Emilia were well aware of the more sensational developments of the period, and were quite willing to incorporate them into their own works, but not without some modification. Perhaps Grandi’s most individual contributions are the substantial slow sections with which several Sonatas begin. That of Sonata 4 02 is not only remarkable for its direction ‘sonate come sta’ but for the richness of its harmonic idiom, culminating in an impressive chain of suspensions before a brief change of tempo to presto (Ex. 117). The combination of this slow-moving lyricism and evocative dissonances suggest the early works of Uccellini (some ten years later), and it could be significant that Grandi’s collection bears a dedication to the latter’s patron and pupil, Francesco d’Este. Later in this composition a short adagio tripla evinces some quite severe chromaticism (another characteristic of Grandi’s style) and the cadential phrase includes an early example of the diminished seventh on the sharpened fourth much favoured by Cazzati. Another notable collection from this decade appeared in the following year, the Sinfonie ai-j (i62qd) of Bartolomeo Mont’Albano da Bologna who was then working in Palermo. The solo Sinfonias owe much to Marini, even using the latter’s unusual terminology, ‘tardo’, but the four ‘trio’ compositions are more original, if of fairly modest proportions. Three are continuous, and there is some uniformity of structure since all commence with a fugato in duple metre followed by a tripla and all but one refer back to opening material in the last section. Apart from the florid final cadenza of La Castelletti,2 there seems little connection either with the Venetian style or with Ottaviomaria Grandi, since none contain solos, antiphonal statements, or motivic dialogue. Sections tend to commence imitatively but the subject is abandoned soon after its initial 2 Transcription, ed. Wasielewski, I minimentalsaze, no. xiv.

Emilia and the Romagna


presentations, being replaced by quite extensive parallel movement—especially in those triplas which use the cross-rhythms so popular at the period. Short passages in longer note values are also common, and that of Sinfonia 8 is designated as ‘tardo’. Like Uccellini and Falconiero, Mont’Albano cultivated a melodic style in which periods consist of an amalgam of brief rather diffuse ideas, without internal division into clearly defined phrase structures, and with very little reliance on sequence (Ex. 118). None of these sonatas by composers in some way connected with Bologna, if not actually resident there, anticipated in any fundamental way the types of sonata cultivated in Bologna from the middle of the 1660s, since none was concerned with the establishment of the formal stereotypes which provided the basis of the Corellian Sonata, and indeed the concept of form based on a succession of predetermined self-contained elements was never one to which they subscribed. It was not until 1665 that another set of instrumental music by a Bolognese composer appeared, the Sonate of Giulio Cesare Arresti (16191701), Cazzati’s opponent in the bitter dispute which eventually led to his dismissal from his post as maestro at San Petronio.

Giulio Cesare Arresti Arresti’s ensemble works are mainly contained in the Sonate a2, & aj con la parte del violoncello a beneplacido, Op. IV (1665c), and a single Sonata for mo violins is also included in the Messe, Op. II (1663a). The choice of optional bass would seem to suggest the a2 conception of Cazzati’s Op. XVIII, but as the part is often thematic it really is essential. These works are unrelated to Northern developments and have little in common with the Bolognese idiom adopted by Corelli. Each consists of three or four movements, the most consistent feature of which is the final Aria, nearly always in triple metre. The customary fugal or imitative first movement now occupies second position, preceded by intro¬ ductory movements of considerable diversity and length. Those Sonatas with four movements include a Grave before the final Aria. Arresti’s first movements involve a far wider range of styles than those encountered further north. Several do resemble Cazzati’s hymnic introductions, with their gambit phrase repeated in a related tonality and concluding suspension sequence, and in two others (2 and 9) the point of comparison would appear to be Legrenzi’s La Pezzoli (1656b) since both begin with a slow expressive movement in 3/2. Of the remaining first movements, Sonata 12 bears an allegro tempo indication and it is quite clear that others also require a fast tempo. These are characterized by their lively rhythms and largely homophonic textures, and there can be little doubt that they relate not to the ‘canzona’


Regional Developments

tradition but to the dance. In fact, there is a certain rhythmic similarity between the opening of Sonata 3 and Legrenzi’s Balletto 3 (i656d) (Ex. 119a—b). This broader conception of the first movement suggests a connection with the contemporary Roman school rather than the traditions to which Cazzati and Merula belonged. The second movements likewise vary greatly in size and style but, apart from Sonata 6, favour a free fugato of as little as ten bars rather than a more formal fugal design. Often Arresti drastically curtails, substantially varies, and even abandons his subjects entirely in the course of a movement, or introduces extensive unrelated episodes which far outweigh the amount of thematic restatement. He was clearly not interested in the esoteric working out of his material but relied largely on sequential extension (Ex. 120). Nor is he particularly concerned with contrapuntal textures, often choosing an alternate presentation of subject and answer, and then including long passages of parallel movement in the violins, or even dispensing with an imitative movement entirely. The considerable charm of many of these movements therefore arises from their rhythmic drive and interesting violinistic figurations, or some novelty such as the battaglia of Sonata 5 with its attractive final trill (Ex. 121), rather than from any intellectual quality. The most original feature of the collection is the Aria with which all the Sonatas conclude, later adopted by other Emilian composers such as Pietro Degli Antonii (1676c) and Gioseffo Placuzzi (1667a). Despite considerable variation in length, the form is fairly consistent. Each begins with a lengthy solo for the first violin, which then provides an accompaniment ranging from brief cadential echos to elaborate counter-melodies as the second violin restates the solo. Sometimes the plan is enlarged by repetition of the entire movement with violin parts exchanged, while three Sonatas are organized into substantial binary movements with repeats. As the title ‘Aria’ suggests, most of these movements adopt the lyrical mid-century be! canto vocal idiom—especially apparent in the sighing appoggiatura figures, messe da voce, and careful balance of irregular melodic periods (Ex. 122). Such a style had occasionally been used by Merula and Legrenzi, but the wholesale adoption of this tuneful vocal idiom is again much more typical of the Roman simfonia of this period. Each of the twelve sonatas are identified by modal designations from ‘primo tono’ to ‘dodicessimo tono’ (identified by capital Roman numerals in Table 6). A system based on twelve rather than eight tones, of course, has long historical precedent, and it was the one outlined in the Musico prattico (1673) of Arresti’s fellow academician, G. M. Bononcini, with which it will be compared later. The disintegration of modal distinctions is well under way in these Sonatas, with the

Emilia and the Romagna


Table 6. System of twelve tones used in Arresti’s Sonatas Sonata i

2 3 4 5

6 7

8 9 IO

11 I2




d g a e C F D G d A E c


b ft

\> tttt it tttt

t> \>

notable exception of the G tone which still fluctuates continually between tonic and subdominant. The Sonata in the third tone now prefers the relative major, except in the final Aria which forms its cadences on the dominant, and in several pieces there is an equivalence between dominant and subdominant. The ‘e’ tone shows none of the characteristics observed in the works of Uccellini and Legrenzi, preferring relative major, then dominant, with only one strong cadence on the subdominant. At least in instrumental music, Arresti was not the conservative pedant presented by some later historians. His insistence on strict adherence to the ‘rules’ applied only to the a cappella works—that highly specialized branch of musical composition—and as far as the Sonatas are concerned, he was a composer of originality and inventiveness, being among the first of the Bolognese to incorporate overtly secular features—a trend which became increasingly important in the latter part of the century. It is equally obvious that his musical style did not develop from the traditions of the canzona fvancese, nor does it relate directly to the later compositions of Vitali and Corelli. On the other hand there are important points of comparison with the contemporary Roman simfonia. Despite the high regard in which he was held by his colleagues in Bologna who elected him Prince of the Accademia Filarmonica, Arresti exerted little influence on subsequent developments there, and his works were more idiosyncratic than seminal.


Regional Developments

Cazzati ’s Late Sonatas Of the twelve Sonatas comprising Cazzati’s Op. XXXV (1665a) only six call for ‘trio’ combinations—two a2 and four aj—the remainder being scored for larger ensembles including three for four-part strings and trumpet, presumably for use at San Petronio.3 In many respects these continue the trends of his earlier collections, but there is still considerable scope for flexibility within the existing conventions. The overall structures are somewhat less uniform than those of Op. XVIII yet preserve the basic outlines already established. The ordering fugue—grave—tripla remains predominant and in two Sonatas this constitutes the entire composition, recalling the three-movement forms of Op. VIII. As La Marescota also concludes with a tripla, half the finales are now in triple metre. Of the others, two retain the more usual brief imitative section, while La Casala actually reverts to a da capo. There is only one slow introduction, but La Marescota begins with an unusual ‘prelude’ consisting of D minor arpeggios over a tonic pedal. Several exceptional practices of earlier sets are also retained, such as the inclusion of a tremolo section linked to the tripla, as found in La Fatorina (1642c) and La Strozzi (1656c). La Tanara, incidentally, contains the unique feature of an unmistakable reference to the subject of the fugue in its slow movement (Ex. 123). One other influential modification is the addition of a short penultimate slow section in both Sonatas a2, and this has its precedent in the primitive internal gravi of Op. II. These are not substantial enough to be regarded as independent movements but act as modulatory transitions to the finales. In La Tanara, for instance, the eight-bar grave effects a link from the dominant cadence of the previous movement to the subdominant, on which the finale starts, and this provides some measure of contrast within the rather restricted tonal schemes typical of this collection. Such contrast remains the prerogative of the slow sections, but only La Casala attempts anything at all dramatic, achieved as in La Lucilla (1648) by the adroit handling of the ‘thirds’ relationship (G/E). The degree of standardization of basic movement types is as marked as in previous collections. There is indeed remarkably little difference between the slow introduction of La Gonzaga of 1642 and that of 1665 (Ex. 124), while the tremolo movements are still associated with the familiar chains of dissonances, by now a hallmark of that style. Fugues retain the division between a2 and aj, the former preferring a free episodic structure while the latter are mainly of the subject-dominated variety. Of the triplas, two follow the common pattern of 3 J. G. Suess, ‘Giovanni Battista Vitali and the Sonata da chiesa’ (Ph.D. Yale Univ., 1963), ii, contains transcriptions of La Gonzaga a2, La Tanara 02, La Casala aj, and La Marescota aj. La Casala is also included in W. Klenz, Giovanni Maria Bononcini of Modena (Durham, NC, 1962).

Emilia and the Romagna


homophonic gambit phrases followed by an imitative section (emphasized by a change of tempo from largo to presto in Sonata 1). Others begin imitatively but make little attempt at any independence of parts, while in the finale of La Marescota violins move in parallel thirds for the greater part of the movement. In contrast to these, the finale of La Lachenetta, which extends to no less than eighty-eight bars, maintains an unusually severe contrapuntal texture based on two subjects and a countersubject, and only at the end does Cazzati abandon the thematic working in favour of a powerful sequence of dissonances and an imaginative switch to the major mode for the ‘echo’ cadence (Ex. 125). Despite this fundamental consistency, the Sonatas of Op. XXXV do break new ground in several important respects. First, the influence of Legrenzi’s La Tassa and La Pezzoli (i656d) is evident in the inclusion of alternate solos. Secondly, a number of movements are constructed over formal ground basses. Both the fugue of La Gonzaga and the tripla of La Tanara employ non¬ modulating grounds consisting of a descending tetrachord, and La Casala uses as its basic compositional technique melodic sequences over a series of 5/3-6/3 chords built upon a rising mixolydian scale (Ex. 126). The use of ostinato basses of course has its precedent in works by Merula, and indeed Cazzati himself, but must still be regarded as a most unusual occurrence at this period. Perhaps the most surprising departure from the style of the earlier sets is the reinstatement of the clear-cut division between antico and moderno which becomes as sharply defined as between Merula’s collections of r.1632 and 1637. Before the publication of his Op. XXXV, Cazzati had shown little interest in these thoroughly retrospective idioms, and his particular talents seemed hardly suited to them. This change of direction affects the thematic material which differs markedly from his usual harmonically conceived and frankly tuneful style. The subject of La Marescota, with its initial repeated notes, and limited melodic and rhythmic compass, recalls the old canzonas of the previous century (Ex. 127). The studious avoidance of any cadence on the tonic throughout the entire movement before its conclusion creates an ambiguity of tonal centre and lack of harmonic impetus quite out of keeping with his normal strongly directional idiom. This is even more marked in La Lachenetta since throughout the thirtytwo bars of the first fugue only two sharpened leading notes occur in the tonic (‘d’). These are the most unremittingly contrapuntal of all Cazzati’s sonatas, maintaining considerable independence of parts in a dense thematic counter¬ point. What prompted this sudden reversion to old-fashioned idioms is a matter for speculation. There can be no suggestion of ecclesiastical restrictions imposed by the authorities of San Petronio, for the set also contains overtly modern music such as the important trumpet Sonatas. The answer must lie in the great revival


Regional Developments

of interest in the austere a cappella style in sacred vocal music in Bologna, with which the dispute with Arresti was directly concerned. Perhaps Cazzati was deliberately trying to acquit himself from the charges of professional imcompetence in his handling of the more learned contrapuntal forms. This may also explain the astonishingly ‘pure’ modality of the first movement of La Casala, which maintains its mixolydian scale doggedly for twenty-one of its thirty-two bars, almost with an air of academicism, leaving the listener unprepared for the sudden shift to the major dominant at bar 22. Cazzati’s principal legacy to the younger generation was his desire for formal clarity and simplicity within an essentially non-technical violinistic idiom. If not entirely stereotyped, his sonatas nevertheless established fairly consistent structural norms, and such experimentation as there is operates within welldefined limits. These constituents derive ultimately from the late canzona firancese as practised by Merula. Cazzati’s main innovation was the reversal of the internal ordering, thus breaking the long-standing monopoly of the fugue/tripla grouping. The occasional inclusion of a hymnic slow introduction obviously stands in the direct line of development of the Corellian Sonata. Cazzati’s forthright and uncomplicated melody, with its rhythmic drive and vitality, provided the model for his pupil, Giovanni Battista Vitali, and even Corelli was not averse to borrowing material from him occasionally. Viewed as a whole, his work is of uneven quality, but this does not detract from his historical importance as a transmitter of styles.

Giovanni Battista Vitali The feud between Cazzati and Arresti undoubtedly had the effect of dividing the musical circles of Bologna into two factions, especially after the establish¬ ment of the Accademia Filarmonica in 1666. The serious allegations of incompetence directed towards the maestro di cappella of San Petronio must have provided an endless source of heated debate within that society, which almost appears to have been set up in direct opposition to him. Nevertheless, its founder and benefactor, Count Vincenzo Carrati, was not averse to receiving the dedication of Cazzati’s Canzonette (1667), while one of its most distinguished and respected members, Giovanni Battista Vitali, publicly acknowledged Cazzati as his teacher in the letter to the reader of his Op. I, the Correnti, e balletti da camera, 1666a. Like most of his contemporaries in Bologna, the larger part of his output consists of dance music, and his free instrumental Sonatas are mainly contained in three publications, the Sonate a due violini, Op. II (1667c), the Sonate a due, tre, quattro, e cinque, Op. V (166gf), and the Sonate da chiesa a due violini, Op. IX (1684), the last of which was published after his removal to the

Emilia and the Romagna


court of Modena and will be discussed in that context.4 Of the thirty-six Sonatas in these collections, twenty-nine are scored for two violins and continuo, four for two violins, violone, and continuo, and only three for the larger combinations of four and five instruments, thus confirming the overwhelming popularity of the a2 medium in the third quarter of the century before the phenomenal success of Corelli’s Sonatas brought the aj combination into vogue. Vitali’s first two collections follow the trend towards structural uniformity already apparent in Cazzati’s works. His indebtedness to his teacher is evident in the preference for the ordering fugue-grave-tripla, and in six of the twenty-one ‘trio’ Sonatas there is a slow introduction. One perplexing complication in Op. II is the presence of several movements with abrupt changes of tempo after only a few bars, seen at its most extreme in Sonata 2. The precise meaning of the single grave chord preceding the presto is hard to determine, and as such movements do not occur in the later sets it could be that his contemporaries also found them puzzling. By Op. V, Vitali had arrived at a fairly consistent arrangement of standard types in which the four-movement plan had been enlarged by the inclusion of a slow introduction to the finale, as in Cazzati’s La Tanara (1665a). The commonest format, applied to both Sonatas a2 and aj, is therefore, Allegro (fugue)


3/2 largo


There is no evidence of any particular preference for alternate fast and slow tempos, and it is not unusual for three slow sections to be grouped together. Thematic links between movements as used by Cazzati also occur in Vitali’s Sonatas, most extensively in Op. II No. 1 where all movements except the two gravi are derived from the initial subject (Ex. 128), but usually such crossreference is confined to the first fugue and finale the last \ estige of the old da capo. Such obvious compositional devices should not be confused with the more nebulous relationships of movements which have a general similarity of rhythm and melodic contour. Unlike Cazzati, Vitali’s main interests and inclinations were towards a contrapuntal working out of his material, even in the Sonatas a2. One manuscript of biographies of members of the Accademia Filarmonica specific¬ ally mentions that he was ‘advanced in counterpoint’,5 and towards the end of his life he contributed a set of contrapuntal puzzles and canons to the repertory of similar compositions by the Modenese court composers, the Artificii musicali (i68gi). His cultivation of the sonata a2 may appear unusual in view of its traditional rejection of elaborate counterpoint, but one of the most significant features of the third quarter of the century was the gradual increase in 4 All these collections are transcribed in Suess, ‘Vitali’, ii. Modern edns. are listed in the Bibliography. 5 Uncatalogued folio in the Biblioteca Comunale, Bologna.


Regional Developments

contrapuntal complexity in a2 compositions, and in this Vitali was a prime instigator. The origins of this medium are nevertheless apparent, for while alternate statement and extensive parallel movement occur but rarely, the prime function of the bass is harmonic, although, as in Cazzati’s works, it is more and more called upon to join in the imitations of the upper parts, especially in finales. Sonatas 2, 10, and 11 of Op. II, however, attempt a much more thorough amalgamation of the two media. In these the continuo is required to provide a third melodic strand of equal importance to the upper parts, producing a texture in every respect comparable with the Sonatas aj of Op. V. These three works represent Vitali’s only attempt at such a transference and the distinctions of media are restored in the second set. As a corollary of this merging of genres, only three of the fugal movements employ the episodic designs normally associated with Cazzati’s l)\bJA 17 (1940), 26-38. P. C., ‘Problems of Ascription in the Roman Simfonia of the Late Seventeenth Century: Colista and Lonati’, MR 50/1 (1989), 34-44. -‘The Role of the Stringed Bass as a Continuo Instrument in Italian SeventeenthCentury Instrumental Music’, Journal of the Viola da Gamba Society, 8 (1978-9), 31-7. -‘Secular Influences in the Bolognese Sonata da chiesa’, PRMA 104 (1977-8), 89Allsop,

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MUSICAL EXAMPLES In the transcriptions, the following conventions have been observed. Clefs have been modernized. The original time signatures have been retained. In order to provide a consistent unit of measurement, barring has been regularized—duple metre by the semibreve and triple metre according to the most consistent internal rhythmic pattern. The original note values have been retained except where the addition of barlines necessitates the use of ties. Coloration is also retained. In the interests of economy, the melodic bass and continuo bass in aj compositions are condensed onto a single stave, except where this would result in lack of clarity. Accidentals conform to modern practice and apply throughout the bar. Cancelling accidentals have been added where necessary. The natural sign is used to cancel sharps and flats. Editorial accidentals appears above the stave. The figured bass is placed below rather than above the stave in accordance with modern usage. Directions such as tempo indications usually appear only above the upper part in the score. Very obvious errors have been corrected without comment. The instrumentation has not been specified when this is obvious from the context.



Music Examples \a-2


Ex. la. Marco Uccellini, La Torella a2 (1642); b. Carlo Ambrogio Lonati, Simfonia A9 al; c. Biagio Marini, Sonata 4 a2 (1626); d. Tarquinio Merula, La Caravaggia a2 (1637).



r r r f f r:E




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p. j d-H— —d-zhd—d-z^-d—.nr ~i—1 n AA2m 4 j I J - -#-L