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Le Concert Secret Des Dames De Ferrare


Release Date: 02/12/2008 
Label:  Zig Zag   Catalog #: 71001   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Luzzasco LuzzaschiLodovico AgostiniGiulio Cesare Barbetta
Conductor:  Denis Raisin-Dadre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Doulce Mémoire
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



LUZZASCHI Madrigals and instrumental pieces & Denis Raisin-Dadre, dir; Doulce Mémoire (period instruments) ZIG-ZAG 71001 (58:56 Text and Translation)


& AGOSTINI Madrigals and instrumental pieces. BARBETTA Instrumental pieces


Luzzascho Luzzaschi (1547–1607) Read more came into prominence with a recording titled “Concerto delle Dame di Ferrara,” or Ensemble of the Ladies of Ferrara (9:1; CD in 9:2 and 11: 1), offering the 12 madrigals written for Duke Alfonso of Ferrara’s ensemble of three young ladies and published only after his death. It was led by Sergio Vartolo at the harpsichord and recorded in the duke’s own palace. The set had already been recorded in Italy seven years earlier, and it was recorded again by Musica Secreta for Amon Ra (not reviewed here), sung much faster, but it was Vartolo’s version that set the standard. Perhaps its release passed unnoticed, judging by the scant two years it remained in the catalog before the price was reduced. The composer’s Fifth Book of Madrigals was recorded more recently by La Venexiana for Glossa (23:4), a broader overview of the composer’s output. Luzzaschi was born in Ferrara and served not only the ducal court but the cathedral as well. The splendid court music reached its height after the duke married his third wife, Margherita Gonzaga, the sister of the duke of Mantua, in 1579. She brought with her a 15-year-old singer who was joined by another Mantuan noblewoman and a Ferrarese singer to form the ensemble, which included a lutenist and Luzzaschi at the harpsichord. The Ferrarese singer was Anna Guarina, daughter of the poet Guarini, who was savagely murdered by her husband in 1598. The music that Luzzaschi and others composed was reserved for the ensemble, not to be heard elsewhere or copied. Even admission to the concerts was limited; a German ambassador was barred as “too coarse.” Gesualdo, who had just murdered his first wife, arrived in 1594 to marry Eleonora d’Este and remained for the better part of two years. Because of the ban, most of the music written for the ensemble was lost when the duchy escheated to the Papal States upon the death of the heirless Alfonso in 1597.


Ludovico Agostini (1534–1590) was another composer who wrote for the ladies. His compositions give a different slant on their music, for he was eccentric while Luzzaschi was avant-garde, one of the pioneers of seconda prattica . I can find only a single little work of Agostini in the catalog. Oddly, the notes say not a word about Giulio Cesare Barbetta (c. 1540–c. 1603), who is represented here by only two pieces. Lindberg recorded some of his lute pieces for BIS. As for Luzzaschi, only nine of the dozen pieces published in 1601 are included; three other tracks of his music come from other sources.


Hence our view of the ladies is broadened by the realization that Luzzaschi was not alone in writing for them. It seems utterly wrongheaded that the three missing pieces among the dozen could not have been included, for the disc is far from full. That would make it unbeatable on all counts, for this is a very effectively presented program. The singing and playing are stylish, and Zig-Zag’s usual original cover art is evocative. The notes make clear how important the Ferrarese court was in the development of Baroque music at this early date. Unfortunately, all came to an end under papal rule, the scattering of the secret manuscript music only one of the losses suffered as a result. A lot of scholarship went into this recording, including correcting the modern edition of Luzzaschi and editing Agostini from the sources. The use of several instruments is closer to the original practice than Vartolo’s solo harpsichord. Despite the unfortunate omission of three pieces, this is the best program we have for a remarkable moment in music history.


FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

1. Non sa che sia dolore by Luzzasco Luzzaschi
Conductor:  Denis Raisin-Dadre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Doulce Mémoire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Ferrara, Italy 
2. Cor mio, deh non languire by Luzzasco Luzzaschi
Conductor:  Denis Raisin-Dadre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Doulce Mémoire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1601; Ferrara, Italy 
3. I'mi son giovinetta by Luzzasco Luzzaschi
Conductor:  Denis Raisin-Dadre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Doulce Mémoire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Ferrara, Italy 
4. Ecco col nostro Duca by Lodovico Agostini
Conductor:  Denis Raisin-Dadre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Doulce Mémoire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Italy 
5. Qual e maggior by Lodovico Agostini
Conductor:  Denis Raisin-Dadre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Doulce Mémoire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Italy 
6. Una si chiara luce by Lodovico Agostini
Conductor:  Denis Raisin-Dadre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Doulce Mémoire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Italy 
7. Campai contento by Giulio Cesare Barbetta
Conductor:  Denis Raisin-Dadre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Doulce Mémoire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Italy 
8. Balletto de Contadini Lombardi by Giulio Cesare Barbetta
Conductor:  Denis Raisin-Dadre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Doulce Mémoire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Italy 
9. Aura soave by Luzzasco Luzzaschi
Conductor:  Denis Raisin-Dadre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Doulce Mémoire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1601; Ferrara, Italy 
10. Stral pungente d'amore by Luzzasco Luzzaschi
Conductor:  Denis Raisin-Dadre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Doulce Mémoire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1601; Ferrara, Italy 
11. Troppo ben può by Luzzasco Luzzaschi
Conductor:  Denis Raisin-Dadre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Doulce Mémoire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Ferrara, Italy 
12. Questa ch'el cor by Lodovico Agostini
Conductor:  Denis Raisin-Dadre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Doulce Mémoire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Italy 
13. Vago augellin by Lodovico Agostini
Conductor:  Denis Raisin-Dadre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Doulce Mémoire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Italy 
14. Deh vieni ormai cor mio by Luzzasco Luzzaschi
Conductor:  Denis Raisin-Dadre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Doulce Mémoire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1601; Ferrara, Italy 

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