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In 1588, in Brescia, Italy, one Marc'-Antonio Martinengo, Count of Villachiara, composed the text and music for a madrigal titled L'Amorosa Ero. He then commissioned seventeen other Italian musicians to compose on the same text and, "pleased with the results" (according to the preface), he had the collection printed. For students of the history of the Italian madrigal and the development of its style, L'Amorosa Ero offers a rare opportunity for comparison of a group of composers from different parts of Italy at the height of the Renaissance all writing music for the same text.
The only surviving set of part books of the original madrigal collection is found today in the Vallicella Library in Rome in a curious reworking of the text to change its secular meaning to a religious one. This effort was carried out by Padre Giovanale Ancina (1545-1604) who was responsible for preparation of music material for performances in the Oratorio of the Vallicella Church under the direction of the famous St. Philip Neri. In his contrafactum the original poem telling of the mythological story of Hero beholding her beloved Leander in the water is changed to the biblical story of Peter beholding Christ upon the water.
Working from these original part books, Professor Lincoln has transcribed all eighteen madrigals into modern four-part voice, making them available to present-day singing groups. For the scholar, the madrigals display a wide range of styles and include the work of major and minor composers from both northern and southern Italy. The arrangement of clefs and voice ranges offers a possible confirmation of the theory of chiavette, which is briefly discussed. The complete edition is prepared for both musicologists and performers and offers attractive materials for both study and performance.
Harry B. Lincoln graduated from Macalester College and took his Ph. D. at Northwestern University. Since 1951 he has been at the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he is now professor of music.
Research for his Ph. D. thesis took him to Rome in 1949-1950, and during a return visit on a sabbatical in 1962 he prepared the materials for the present book.
His interest in research has led him to investigate the computer as a tool in musicological research, and he has published several articles on this subject, with particular emphasis on the thematic index. A U. S. Office of Education grant is presently supporting his further work in this area, and in 1968 the American Institute for Musicology Education will publish his three-volume Seventeenth-Century Keyboard Music in the Vatican Library Chigi Manuscripts.