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Styles: Madrigal basics

Thank you all for your help!!

you can try the "Triumphs of Oriana", a collection of English madrigals
written for the Queen by John Bennet, and also Claudio Monteverdi's Fourth
Book of Madrigals that contains a lot of famous salections like Si chio
vorrei morire, che se tu se'il cor mio, anima mia perdona, etc. What I can
still suggest is that you purchase cd's especially the one recorded by the
King's singers, containing very famous works from the Renaissance era. This
will give you a jumpstart in your career as a madrigal specialist.

By far the best resource for madrigals (that are reachable to young people)
is the King's Singers Book of Madrigals (vol. 1-6?) they also have a great CD
called Madrigal History Tour. Other volumes you can find by composers such
as Palestrina, Gibbons, di Lasso. Good Luck

Easy madrigals for beginning group:
Fast, four-part: Fair Phyllis I saw, Farmer; Matona mia cara
Slow, four-part: Weep, O Mine Eyes, Bennet; Adieu sweet Amaryllis, Wilbye
Fast, five-part: Sing we and Chant it, Now is the month of Maying (a favorite every time I do it), and My Bonnie
Lass she smileth. A little harder but always loved by my students: Hark, All Ye Lovely Saints, Weelkes

The Oxford collection of English Madrigals is by far the best source I know
of this literature. I am sure you can get it in many music stores--even I
believe through Borders Bookstores!
There is also a French and Italian collection from the same publisher

Exultate Deo (Giovanni Pierluigi de Palestrina)
Sicut Cervus (Palestrina) -Also good for a Chamber Chorale of no more than
35 voices-
O Admirabile Commercium (Thomas Stoltzer)
Il est bel et bon (Passereau)
Sing We and Chant It (Thomas Morley)
Now is the Month of Maying (Morley)
April is in my Mistress' Face (Morley)
Fire, Fire My Heart (Morley)
Shoot, False Love I Care Not (Morley)
What Saith My Dainty Darling? (Morley)
To the Shady Woods (Thomas Tomkins)
****Try Finding Compositions of Giovanni Gastoldi-I'm not good at
remembering the Italian names of his works; he has a set of fifteen
madrigals in Italian****
Hey, Ho The Wind and the Rain (Frackenpohl)
Rest Sweet Nymphs (Francis Pilkington)
Matona Mia Cara (Orlando di Lasso)
Il Bianco E Dolce Cigno (Orazio Vecchi)
Il Bianco E Dolce Cigno (Arcadelt)
O Admirabile Commercium (Jacob Handl)
O Magnum Mysterium (Handl)
O Magnum Mysterium (Tomas Luis De Victoria)
Ave Maria (Victoria)
O Sacrum Convivium (Victoria)
If Ye Love Me (Thomas Tallis)
Five Settings of Herrick (John Clements) -These five pieces are out of print
but are well worth the effort of finding them if you can. The most
circulated is No.3: His Covenant or Protestation to Julia-
Three American Folksongs (Kirke Mechem)
Trois Chansons (Claude Debussy)
Reincarnations Op.16 (Samuel Barber): Mary Hynes, Anthony O'Daly, The Coolin
Le Chant de Oyseaux (Clement Janequin)
T'Amo Mia Vita (Carlo Gesualdo)
Hodie Christus Natus Est (Jan Petersen Sweelink)
Hodie Christus Natus Est (Palestrina)
Wassail Song (Ralph Vaughan Williams)
Five Newfoundland Folksongs (Harry Somers) -Includes the ever popular Si
Javai le Bateau and Feller From Fortune-
The Paper Reeds by the Brook (Randall Thompson) -From the larger work The
Peaceable Kingdom-

Look into the "Oxford Book of English Madrigals." Great, doable literature.
Also MOST of Arcadelt's madrigals (including, but not limited to "Il bianco
e dolce cigno") are doable and wonderful.

I am fond of Thomas Morley's "You that wont to my pipe's sound", "Now is the
month of maying", "Fair Phyllis I saw sitting all alone" (by John Farmer I
think) and Bennett's "Weep O mine eyes".
I suggest you buy a copy of the Oxford Book of English Madrigals published
by Oxford University Press. It's great!

I would recommend "The A Cappella Singer" to you. It is THE classic
collection first published in 1936 containing 30 works of varying degrees of
difficulty for 4 to 8 mixed voices. It is published by the E.C.Schirmer
Music Company (No. 1682) and costs about $12. The publisher's phone number
is 617-236-1935. In about 3 weeks (August 15), my professional chorale will
release the world-premiere recording of "The A Cappella Singer" on CD,
including all 30 works and a 28-page booklet of program notes and updated
translations -- so you can discover them all! It will be available for
purchase on our Web site, by mail, and in select retail stores.

Pick up "Invitation to Madrigals". There are 5 or 6 books of varying
voicings. They are classics and will serve you well.
Buy every King's Singers CD you can get.

I suggest the Boulder Early Music Store (they have a web site) for
ordering music. Robert Keep will also take your order by phone! They
are very accommodating, very low key, and will try their darnedest to
find stuff for you!
Okay - here goes:
1. Clough-Leighter: The Acapella Singer, published by E.C. Schirmer,
Should actually be a part of every choral library, IMHO!
In this collection the easiest songs are:
*O eyes of my beloved - di Lasso
*April is in my Mistress' face - Morley
*Ah, could my eyes behold thee - di Lasso
*My heart doth beg you'll not forget - di Lasso
*So well I know who's happy - Vecchi
Medium level songs in this collection:
*Sing we and chant it - Morley
*Now is the month of maying - Morley
*Shoot false love I care not - Morley
*Adieu sweet Amaryllis - Wilbye
*Grace my lovely one - Weelkes
*I thought that love had been a boy - Byrd
*I know a young maiden - di Lasso
*Good day, dear heart - di Lasso
Medium difficult:
*I vostr' acuti dardi - Verdelot
*Let go why do you stay me - Bennett
The real "boners" in this group are
*Matona, mia cara - di Lasso
*The Silver Swan - Gibbons
Although they are standard rep, audiences do not like them.
Another delightful, usable collection is:
Dart: Invitation to Madrigals II, published by Stainer and Bell, London.
It contains some very simple, accessible pieces:
*Since first I saw your face - Ford
*April is in my mistress' face - Morley
*Never weather-beaten sail - Campian
*I have ere this time - Whythorne
*Wilt thou, unkind - Dowland
*Lock up fair lids - Peerson
*Fairwell, dear love - Jones
These are seven out of twenty in the book. The remaining pieces are
medium difficulty, with one difficult (Fair Phyllis I saw sitting - by
Farmer, great piece but takes a lot of work to get memorized!)
Dart: Invitation to Madrigals, Book 5, E.C. Schirmer, does not have as
many "usable" madrigals.
The Oxford books of Madrigals (English, French, Italian, German)
generally have more difficult pieces and run about $20 a book. There are
no English lyrics in the French, Italian, and German.
The Chester Books of Madrigals have a variety but those songs in foreign
languages have no translations to sing. I also find that the interest
level of the madrigals rather boring.
Individual pieces.
Do check the Choral Public Domain Library and do a
search under renaissance. There are several pieces there, mostly sacred,
but plenty of secular to get you started. Besides, they are truly public
domain and therefore, FREE!
*A Babe is Born - 14th c. arr. Spencer - Mercury Music (may be out of
*Fine Knacks for Ladies - Dowland (I have my own arrangement of this
which I am willing to share)
*Fa Una Canzone - Vecchi arr. Alice Parker, Lawson-Gould
*El Grillo - des Pres - Lawson Gould but also available on CPDL
*It was a lover and his lass - Morley (my arrangement which I am willing
to share)
*Je ne l'ose dire - Certon (my arrangement and translation which I am
willing to share)
*A little white hen - Scandello arr. Greyson - Bourne Co (May be out of
print, medium difficulty but audiences love it!!!!!)
*Say, Love - Dowland, ed. Leavitt, Hal Leonard
Some "out of period" fun stuff that "sounds" madrigally or early music:
*Banquet Fugue - Rutter
*Bourée - Bach, arr. Swingle
*Art of the Ground Round - P.D.Q. Bach - Theodore Presser
*Alfred Burt Carols (set II is my favorite) - Shawnee Press
*From an Unknown Past - Rorem, Southern Music (Medium to Difficult:
Gorgeous pieces which deserve more public exposure. I had a high school
madrigal group perform them at a madrigal fest and they received a lot of
positive attention for them!)
*When Love and Beauty - Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert and Sullivan) Medium
difficult, but worth the time to learn- Broude Brothers
I have three pieces I have written in the Renaissance style
*Go, Lovely Rose
*Sigh no more, ladies
*Twelfth night Carol
PLUS I have an arrangement of the Chastity Belt. It is bawdy, so you
might not use it with H.S. kids. (Although I sang Dowland's "Come Again"
in H.S. and had no idea what I was singing about!)

you cant go wrong with the EC Schirmer collection - The A Cappella
Singer....a good starting place.

Look in the collections edited by the late Thurston Dart, published by
Stainer & Bell. Oxford has published three very good anthologies (Italian
madrigals, English madrigals, and French chansons). Many 16th-century
madrigals are for a five-part ensemble (usually SATTB or SSATB or SAATB),
some for more or fewer voices. By all means start listening to good recordings of the
madrigal repertoire. The King's Singers popularized quite a few pieces (not
"songs" by the way), and published collections of the pieces they recorded.
Those anthologies might be worth a look.

Get The Acappella Singer (Schirmer, I think), the basic bible of English and
European madrigals. It will keep your group busy and give you time to
explore other sources

There are many madrigal collections, chief among them "Oxford Book of English
Madrigals" ed by Philip Ledger, "The Flower of the Italian Madrigal"
(multi-volume) ed by Jermoe Roche, a series published by Chester (on War,
Love, Marriage, etc.), and Thurston Dart's "Invitation to Madrigals (on
Galaxy). Also look at the Silver Age of English madrigals from the late 17th
through 18th c England -- small collections with notes edetied by Bush and
Hurd on Stainer & Bell.

Now Is the Month of Maying
Je Le Vouz Dirae - Pierre Certon (pretty easy SATB)
O Eyes of My Beloved - Orlando Di Lasso?
April is in My Mistress' Face
My Bonnie Lass She Smileth
Fair Phyllis (I Saw Sitting All Alone) - John Farmer
Weep O Mine Eyes - John Bennett

For fun:
Throw the Yule Log On, Uncle John - Peter Schiekle (PDQ Bach)
Old Horatius Had a Farm - Z. Randall Stroope (GREAT PIECE - good musically too)

Thank you

"Your talent is God's gift to you.
What you do with it is your gift back to God."

Ronald Soja

on September 25, 2006 10:00pm

Thanks for so many great madrigal ideas! I have an adult chamber choir and I'm considering a "Fractured Valentine's Day" program for them. I'd love to have a copy of your arrangement of The Chastity Belt, if you've got it available and are willing to share it.

Thanks much --

Becky Patterson
on January 10, 2008 10:00pm
is there a french translation of "Five knacks" available ?