Radical Inwardness: Willaert's Musica nova

Susan McClary

in Modal Subjectivities

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780520234932
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929159 | DOI:
Radical Inwardness: Willaert's Musica nova

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Scholars have long acknowledged Adrian Willaert's Musica nova—a collection of motets and madrigals—as one of the great monuments of Western art. Recent research by Martha Feldman reveals that the collection seems to have been commissioned by and for a cluster of Florentine exiles living in Venice, Italy, and that the madrigal genre—especially Willaert's Petrarch-oriented compositions—served to cement cultural memory and to guarantee the continuation of their version of Florentine ideals. If the recording industry has developed a small but avid audience for the transgressive expressivity of the Mannerist repertory, it does not seem ready to nurture in this same audience a taste for the dense web of Willaert's rule-abiding polyphony. This chapter deals with Willaert's settings of three very different Petrarch sonnets. Each sonnet-based madrigal comprises two parts: the first presents the two quatrains, the second the two terzets. Both halves operate within the same mode.

Keywords: Adrian Willaert; Musica nova; motets; madrigals; Italy; Petrarch; sonnets; mode; polyphony

Chapter.  9375 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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