San Petronio Cappella Musicale Orchestra
Vecchi was associated at various times with other leading composers of the time. In 1579 he contributed to a celebratory collection, Trionfo di Musica, for the marriage of the Grand Duke Francesco, with Merulo and Andrea Gabrieli, and published the first of his own sets of Canzonette in 1580. His madrigal-comedy L'Amfiparnaso was first performed in 1594 and published in 1597. The text was the work of the Bologna poet Giulio Cesare Croce and is presented in a series of madrigal scenes. These offer a narrative that involves characters from the commedia dell'arte, the old man Pantalone, the ridiculous bumbling Doctor Graziano from Bologna, the bragging spaniard Capitan Cardone, the courtesan Hortensia, the comic servants, the chorus of Jews, and the more serious characters of the young lovers Lucio and Isabella, shepherd and shepherdess. The twin peaks of Mount Pamassus signified in the title are those of music and comic poetry, the first in a technically accomplished polyphonic style more naturally associated with relatively serious subjects and the latter in a style derived from the poet Francesco Berni, in contrast to the pure and elevated style of Petrarch. The madrigals that make up the juxtaposed scenes in a structure that leaves dramatic coherence to the listener are scored for five voices, with the exception of Doctor Graziano' s four-part serenade, a parody of a madrigal by Cipriano da Rore. Within the five-voice texture a contrasting group of three voices is used. The result is distinct from anything like opera, in which there was contemporary experiment. L'Amfiparnaso is for the listener rather than the spectator.
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