Troppo ben può

Luzzascho Luzzaschi, publ. 1601

Luzzasco Luzzaschi studied under the famous Cipriano de Rore, and his position in Ferrara as court organist and composer made him influential in turn as a teacher of many members of the so–called Roman Luzzascho Luzzaschi (ca. 1545 – 1607)
Luzzascho Luzzaschi
IMSLP Petrucci Music Libary
and Neapolitan schools. Unfortunately, little of his work survives other than his madrigals, but his affiliation with the Concerto delle donne assures him a well–deserved place in the history of music.

The written–out accompaniment of Luzzaschi’s Madrigali per cantare et sonare (“Madrigals to sing and play”) is deceptively simple, with the right hand essentially doubling the voices except for ornaments, and the left supporting with simple chords. The notation of vocal ornaments, on the other hand, is very specific. The focus of the songs was clearly the virtuosity of the singers; to show them off to best effect meant there was little room for improvisation.

Troppo ben può questo tiranno Amore

Too well able is this tyrant Love

per far soggetto un core

to subjugate a heart;

se libertà non val nè val fuggire

if freedom is useless then it is useless to flee

a chi non può soffrire.

for [those] who cannot suffer him.

–♦–

Quando penso talor com’arde, e punge

When I think sometimes how he burns and stings,

com’il suo gigo è dispietato e grave

how his yoke is heavy and grievous,

I’ dico al core sciolto:

I say to my unfettered heart:

Non l’aspettar, che fai?

don’t wait, what are you doing?

Fuggilo sì che non ti giunga mai!

flee him, that he comes to you no more!

–♦–

Ma non so come il lusinghier mi giunge

But I know not how this flatterer

e sì dolce e si vago e sì soave

so sweet and so lovely and so charming

ch’ì dico: ah core stolto

that I say: oh foolish heart

Perché fuggito l’hai?

why have you fled from him?

Fuggilo sì che non ti fugga mai.

flee him, yes, that he does not flee from you.


With three voices, there is plenty of opportunity for imitation, but Luzzaschi is careful to use it to highlight each voice in turn in echo fashion, avoiding strict counterpoint

and of course saving the most florid and spectacular passages for the finish.


⇐ Luzzaschi, Aura soave

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