GIULIO CACCINI AND HIS CIRCLE • David Bates, dir; La Nuova Musica • SOMM 83 (69:20 Text and Translation)
Works of G. CACCINI, MONTEVERDI, CASTALDI, KAPSBERGER, FRESCOBALDI, PHILIPS
Despite the list of composers, this program features only madrigals of Caccini and Monteverdi, for all the others are represented by instrumental selections, one apiece. Caccini’s solo madrigals are contrasted with the five-voice madrigals from Books 3,Read more 4, and 5 of Monteverdi, which were published around the time of Caccini’s Le nuove musiche of 1602 (1592, 1603, and 1605 to be precise). The program includes all 12 of the solo madrigals of the 1602 publication, in addition to the final chorus from an otherwise lost opera, while we hear only six madrigals chosen from Monteverdi’s three books. Oddly, only the texts of the Caccini works are printed.
Giulio Caccini (1551–1618) arrived in Florence about the time Monteverdi was born and came in the 1580s to be “in the vanguard of the development of monody,” as H. Wiley Hitchcock put it, during the height of the polyphonic madrigal. Monteverdi continued to publish five-voice madrigals until 1614, while at the same time conceiving his own seconda prattica in the manner of Caccini. The juxtaposition seems to favor Caccini, but the master can stand being in the shadow for once.
The only all-Caccini disc reviewed here was directed by Hans Ludwig Hirsch (13:3), a program that included three of these madrigals and five of the 10 arias that completed the 1602 publication. The latter are strophic rather than through composed, like the madrigals. While Hirsch’s ensemble is no match for Bates’s group, his disc remains one of the few extended presentations of Caccini’s music. Most collectors will be pleased with this new disc, which does have all 12 madrigals. The performances are stylish.