Pesciolini: Il Terzo Libro di Madrigali (1581)

A real discovery: musicology at its freshest, music ofthe highest standard in superb performances

Pesciolini: Il Terzo Libro di Madrigali (1581)

The enterprising record company Tactus is known for its explorations of the Renaissance and Baroque repertoire, particularly the lesser--known byways. Here is a recording of the third book of madrigals by Biagio Pesciolini, from Prato,  the outcome of a research on the figure of this composer that had begun in 2015.

Amazingly, it emerged that no work of Pesciolini's has been published in modern notation until now. So the project started with a study on the sources and with the transcription of the third book of his madrigals, the only one that has been preserved in its entirety to this day.

Pesciolini's scores are  rich in nuance, contrasts and colours. Listen to this, the very first madrigal we hear:

.. or the smooth lines of Ecco che pur:

Performances by Elia Orlando and the Tuscæ Voces Ensemble, are superb. Notice hos sometimes there's a decidedly rustic edge, as in Sospir, nato di foco:

Born in Prato in November 1535, Biagio Pesciolini moved to Voterra in 1561, where e wrote his first book of madrigals (for six voices, published in Venice). Returning to Prato, he pubished his Second Book of Madrigals. He appears to have been something of a free spirit, however, and was saced from his musical duties in his hometown. Possibly one (unauthorised and extended) trip to Venice was in connection with the Third Book of Madrigals we hear here; music that was dedicated to Fernando de' Medici. The Third Book was published in 1581 by Alessandro Gardano (and may be found in the Biblioteca Estense of Maderna).

The 29 madrigals that comprose the Third Book take the listener on a fabulous journey, supported by historical instruments where appropriate. The use of chromaticism and advanced harmonic progressions is rekarkable in some. Try Invidioso sole:

The Third Book takes about 80 minutes to perform, and in a straight-through listen one feels the vast emotional field Pesciolini evokes, from teh slow unfolding of Era il giorno un sol:

.. to the robust counterpoint of Cosa  non vada:

A real discovery: musicology at its freshest, music of the highest standard in superb performances.