Dapoi nocte vien la luce

Sun 28.01.24

Column

Why I’ll be there …
David Fallows

Living in Munich in the late 1960s, I often visited the Bavarian State Library music room; and almost every week one of the readers would have ordered two thick oblong volumes, instantly recognizable as the almost unique copies of Petrucci’s first nine frottola books. Nowadays of course they would never allow such books out of the locked cases; and I cannot imagine the wear and tear on these volumes in the middle years of the twentieth century. One of them was even annotated to insert a missing note in Josquin’s El grillo: the author of that annotation initialed it ‘G.C.’ (the distinguished Italian scholar Gaetano Cesari, d. 1934) as authentification.

These books were the sole record of Petrucci’s astonishing activity starting in November 1504. In the first three years of his music printing activity, starting 1501, he had already published the set of three Canti volumes, three volumes of motets, and six monographic volumes of mass cycles, by Josquin, Obrecht, Brumel, Ghiselin, La Rue, and Agricola. Now he turned for the first time to Italian music, publishing three crowded volumes of frottole over only four months. In all he printed eleven such books in the next ten years: the tenth volume seems to be lost entirely, but the rest could so easily have been lost. Most of his printed music books now survive in only a handful of copies, many in just a single copy. Only his single big book of theology, Paulus de Middelburgh’s Paulina de recta Paschae (1513), survives in many copies, probably more than fifty across the world.

But it sometimes feels as though the frottole are the least valued of Petrucci’s output, partly because at first glance they all look remarkably similar. Only at a closer look do you see the full variety of the music. That must be why there are so few concerts of the frottole and desperately few recordings. That, in any case, is why nothing could keep me away from the ReRenaissance concert of Petrucci frottole.

2024

March

Continental Connection

The Robert Dow partbooks
Sun 24.03.24

April

Ad narragoniam

Music in the ship of fools
Sun 28.04.24 Intro 17:45 Concert 18:15

Barfüsserkirche
Historical Museum Basel

May

Jouissance vous donneray

A picture comes to life
Sun 26.05.24 18:15

Barfüsserkirche
Historical Museum Basel