Solo E Pensoso Analysis Essay

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Among the madrigals in Book 9, this one marks a return to the lyrical, tragic pastoral manner that Marenzio was the master of. Some of the most remarkable passages occur right at the start. Here the highest line sings what are in effect a series of inverted pedal tones: a line rising in half notes through, and eventually above, a lacy imitative texture for which it provides a stable harmonic reference point. Just as it reaches the heights of the climb, the other voices join rhythmically in an exquisite passage of purely chordal writing. We can hear that the Baroque age will soon be in bloom.

The following section of imitation brings the music towards a point of exuberance, with rattling rhythms and an inevitable upwards pull. The cadence of the section is delicately sung by the top two voices alone, in the upper part of their range, while the rest simultaneously begins the next section; the whole returns decisively to its aristocratic, melancholy calm as an elegant bird to roost.

Sometimes prosaic in its thematic content, the madrigal is yet made deeply touching by the light chromatic flavorings that pervade it, although it is only moderately dissonant at most. If comparisons need be made, then we must admit that this is one of Marenzio's most thoroughly eloquent madrigals.

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