- M. Giuliani, 'Musica spirituale di Eccellentissimi autori' (1586): un itinerario devoto collettivo nel mondo del madrigale. Abstract.
- S. Dieci, Due 'Clori' di Giovanni Bononcini ritrovate. Abstract.
- D. Macchione, Attività concertistica e musica strumentale da camera a Roma (1856-1870). Abstract.
- A. Arbo, Wittgenstein e la grammatica del discorso musicale. Abstract.
- P. Gargiulo, Ancora su 'favole' e opera.
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Wittgenstein e la grammatica del discorso musicale
The references to music scattered throughout the writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein have not escaped the attention of commentators, who have often pointed out their importance in illustrating essential aspects of both his biography and the historical and cultural background. From the theoretical framework that acts as a backdrop to these references this article aims to extract those issues that are useful for clarifying the interpretative exercise innate in musicological practices. While in the reflections that accompanied the writing of the Tractatus, music amounts to little more than an analogy used to explain the functioning of language (and particularly, to confirm the theory of proposition), in his following writings, from The Big Typescript to the Philosophical Researches, Wittgenstein draws attention to the need to re-examine the terms of language with which we describe musical experience, observing the extent to which their sense can be referred to the rules implicit in their use. Investigation of the “grammar” of musical discourse translates into an analysis of notions such as “expression”, “comprehension”, “interpretation”, “sounding like”, etc. In particular, his elaboration of the concept of “linguistic play” leads him to return constantly to the theme of musical comprehension. In his formulation the suggestion is to pay attention to the responses or reactions that a work arouses within a culture and to reject the explanations founded on the criterion of introspection. No less important is his epistemological analysis of the distinction between causal explanation and aesthetic explanation: the aesthetic explanation, which rejects issues relating to the genesis of a work, resorts to the comparison between sensitive samples and is founded on an exact and shared description of the phenomenon.
Due Clori ritrovate di Giovanni Bononcini
Giovanni Bononcini's catalogue has recently been enriched by the discovery of two chamber cantatas in a private collection. The works have various features in common: the scoring for alto voice, the period of composition, the iconographic model (the nymph Clori) and the stylistic environment. Moreover, the manuscripts have been transmitted together with a fragment of an aria for alto and strings, thus suggesting that they constituted samples from a specific singer's repertoire, if not even part of a programme for a specific academy. The dominant piece is the lament Pastor d'Arcadia, è morta Clori, a work that sets its text with a strong sense of drama. Here, in fact, one notes an effective use of dissonant harmonies, while the cello part, which has a certain concertante role, exceeds the dimension of mere continuo instrument and engages in dialogue with the singer. Other distinctive elements of these cantatas are the systematic adoption of the instrumental motto in place of the vocal 'Devise', the 'classic' ordering of the various components (two arias preceded by recitative) and the affirmation of a manifestly lyrical approach. These are all features that help place these cantatas in a mature Emilian school, within which the Bononcini brothers contributed to give the genre formal stability.
'Musica spirituale di Eccellentissimi autori' (1586): un itinerario devoto collettivo nel mondo del madrigale
The Musica Spirituale of “eccellentissimi autori” for five voices (1586) is without doubt one of the most extraordinary and refined collective editions of late-16th-century sacred madrigals, both because of the strong representation of leading composers from the Venetian school and owing to the singular editorial project that generated it. By the term “collective” what is meant here is not an anthology, but an original work by various composers.
The present article assesses the environment in which it was conceived, the question of the title (already used 23 years earlier in a similar edition) and the problems concerning the lack of a dedicatory letter and the dating. Finally, it examines in detail and depth the organizational features of the remarkable underlying poetical and musical structure and outlines the intended literary project.
The originality of the Musica Spirituale consists in the fact that the 30 (+2) pieces are in fact based on a single literary canzone of 15 metrically identical stanzas, each in turn divided into two parts of seven and five lines respectively. Each part follows a clear narrative course: the 15 odd-numbered parts (1, 3, 5, etc.) develop the main themes of Christian faith according to the history of the Christian revelation; the even-numbered series rigorously are settings on the 15 mysteries of the Marian rosary. The singularity of the project is then embellished by further formal and musical details that display considerable artistry and powers of suggestion.
All of this once again indicates the level of refinement and development achieved by the Italian madrigal, here interpreted from a spiritualistic angle: a point of view that was anything but marginal in the last quarter of the 16th century!
Attività concertistica e musica strumentale da camera a Roma (1856-1870)
Music making in Rome during the fifteen years that preceded 1870 (the year of the Breach of Porta Pia that won the city for Italy) was a much more complex, “Italian” and “European” affair than has hitherto been noted. Music was played at a variety of public occasions in concerts that gradually assumed a more modern structure. This meant not only a departure from the charity concerts (with the promotion of private initiatives by genuine musical organizers) and the standard mixed-genre recipe of the “vocal and instrumental academies”, but also a departure from the predominant involvement of amateurs, who began to make way for the more refined skills of the professional musicians.
While in compositional terms the production of instrumental music in the secular sphere was hardly abundant in Rome, an awareness of instrumental culture was maturing in the environments of the two institutions (the Pontificia Congregazione ed Accademia di Santa Cecilia and the Accademia Filarmonica Romana) that organized public “esercizi” of classical music and had explicit programmatic aims.
Outside the academy environment, what particularly stands out in the 1860s is the activity of a group of instrumentalists revolving round the matinées of instrumental classical music: in particular Tullio Ramacciotti, Giovanni Sgambati, Ettore Pinelli and their collaborators. Stimulated, amongst other things, by the vital presence of Franz Liszt, who was living in Rome in these years, these musicians made bold organizational choices and adopted a very confident, open-minded approach. In cultural terms, the most important factor in the musical scene of those years was surely the establishment of fruitful links with other centres of musical activity in Italy and the contact with musicians and audiences of a broader European nature. This was in line with both the cosmopolitanism that had always a feature of the city and the gradual process of Italianization that was transforming the capital of the Papal State into the capital of the Kingdom of Italy in those very years.