Five Saliences in Marco da Gagliano's Earliest Madrigals

Strainchamps, Edmond

In the summer of 1602, Marco da Gagliano's Primo libra de madrigali a cinque vociwas printed in Venice by Angelo Gardano, Italy's leading publisher of madrigals. It was the first of Gagliano's six books in the genre, published between 1602 and 1617; in fact, it was the earliest publication of any of his music.! In 1606, the same firm reprinted the First Book.2 Evidently the publisher thought a new printing would be commercially viable. Such a conviction very likely arose from the Florentine composer's having become, in the interim, more widely known and apparently admired through the issuing of his Second and Third madrigal books. As the work of a twenty-year-old composer, the Primo libra is remarkable in particular for its range and mastery of musical techniques and for its variety of musical type and expressive character, all of which are accomplished with perfect control. Gagliano followed the tradition of Florentine madrigalists both in his dis-criminating choice of poetry and in his fondness for homophony or near-homophony, although there is well-made polyphony in the volume as well.


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August 18, 2022