Publication details

‘Amico, hai vinto: io ti perdon.’: Agonal elements in the depiction of war in Monteverdi’s eighth book of madrigals



Year of publication 2012
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Muzikološki zbornik - Musicological Annual
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords combat, war, genere concitato, agonal, play
Description Monteverdi’s seventh and eighth books of madrigals start to include a warlike theme. In the eighth book (published 1638 in Venice), Monteverdi also included his earlier compositions, e.g. Combattimento di Tancredi et Clorinda, which was premiered in 1624. This work was composed in the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War. The question is whether it reflects the real atmosphere of that time. This analyses leads to a conclusion that in Monteverdi’s depiction of war, two opposing principles collide. On the one hand, the sphere of troubadour lyrical poetry appears, with courtly love and the display of courteousness towards the enemy. According to Johan Huizinga (Homo ludens), these elements are characteristic for the agonal way of combat. On the other hand, this knightly mode of fight is disrupted by the realism of modern war with its agessivity, hysteria and hatred towards the opponent. These features are characteristic of genere concitato (an agitated style). In Combattimento di Tancredi et Clorinda, Monteverdi for the first time used this investigation for expressing combat and interrupted speech, and he further employed it in the eighth book of madrigals.

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