Canti C

In the labyrinth of revolution
Sun 26.02.23 Intro 17:45 Concert 18:15

Basel Historical Museum

"Canti C"


anti C was published in Venice in 1503 and was the twelfth volume written by the most famous music printer of his time. After the books dedicated to the masses of Josquin, Obrecht, Brumel, Ghiselin and Pierre de la Rue, Petrucci prepared a new mixture of French, Italian, Flemish and Latin songs for printing. He sought out rarer works, including songs dating back to the 1460s. In addition to these wonderful classics, the ensemble interprets some Flemish songs and other new, daring arrangements such as Comme femme desconfortee, J’ay pris amours, Le serviteur, Se congié prendz.

Miriam Trevisan – vocals | Claire Piganiol – harp, organetto | Elizabeth Rumsey – Renaissance viola da gamba | Brian Franklin – Renaissance viola da gamba | Baptiste Romain – Renaissance violin, bagpipes, conducting

Brian Franklin, Liz Rumsey,, Baptiste Romain, Claire Piganiol, Miriam Trevisan Photo Andrew Burn


Why I’ll be there…  by David Fallows

Petrucci seems to have led a life of bold experiments. His first book, the Odhecaton of 1501, was famously a massive risk and a massive innovation.

A year later he broke with the choirbook pattern he had used for his earliest books and moved to partbooks with Misse Josquin an enormously harder business because you had to provide four roughly equal sized books with a limited number of pages in each, making it all work out with the eight-page gatherings that he used in all his books. But that turned out to be stunning success: Misse Josquin went into at least four editions and was followed by monographic mass books by almost all the other famous composers of the time, always in sets of little partbooks. Two years after that he boldly opened his frottola series, which ran to eleven volumes. And in 1507 he started in with lute tablatures, which may have been slightly less successful, because it ran to only six volumes.

But the one that seems to have been a disaster was Canti C, which was his attempt at a seriously big collection, 168 leaves containing 139 pieces. This was more than double the size of any of his other publications. And he never tried it again. The limits of its success can also be seen in the dearth of manuscript or printed copies of materials in Canti C compared with, for example the Odhecaton and Canti B or Misse Josquin: all three were mercilessly pirated by later publishers for example, but not Canti C.

Not that the contents had any less power. Canti C positively bursts with marvellous music, much of it well known from earlier copies. And most of it is less well known today than the music of those other three volumes. That is a great pity; and I am correspondingly hungry to hear this concert.




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Historical Museum Basel


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Historical Museum Basel