A Songbook for Isabella


Signum Records is delighted to announce the release of A Songbook for Isabella.

Isabella d’Este was brought up in the midst of an extremely active musical court. After her marriage in 1490 to Francesco Gonzaga Duke of Mantua she began to remodel the Duke’s relatively modest musical establishment in imitation of that of her father, Hercule. She was herself a gifted musician and favoured above all the viol. Not only was the viol the favourite vehicle for aristocratic instrumental performance, but it was the ideal accompaniment to the voice.

Under Isabella’s patronage the tradition of improvised song accompanied by the singer on a lira da braccio developed into the frottola, shared between two, three or even four viols. In employing Italian composers, and herself performing their music, Isabella played a key role in the development of this new music, and of the consort of viole which developed alongside it.

This disc presents a selection of music from the circle of Isabella. The repertoire is centred around the Milliare Songbook – a hand written songbook compiled in 1502 by, or for, one Ludovico Milliare. This contains a wonderfully rich cross section of the vocal and instrumental repertoire loved by the d’Este family of Mantua. An attractive feature of the collection is the inclusion of sacred pieces, mostly non-liturgical and apparently intended for private devotional use.

The instruments used for this recording have been thoroughly researched by examining documented and iconographic evidence – for example contemporary paintings of the period. The custom-made viols are cannot be called “copies”; they are recreations using the best information and scholarship available. This CD offers a rare opportunity to hear the very different sound these instruments make – rather different from their more modern counterparts from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

A very satisfying compilation combining scholarship with sensuous pleasure – Musical Pointers

A very civilized disc with music to charm and excitement – Ludwig Van Web

Pleasurable and abundant discoveries await the more adventurous listener – MusicWeb International

 iTUNES  Spotify

Musica Antiqua

Clare Wilkinson vocals

Philip Thorby director

RELEASE DATE: 19/05/2003
BARCODE: 635212003923

La fortuna

1. Or su corere a 4

2. Fortuna desperata a 4

3. Facia ognon in fin che po a 4

Prenez sur moy vostre example

4. Prenez sur moy a 3

5. Helas que pora advenire a 3

6. Or che son di pregion a 4

A la cazza

7. A la pesca a 4

8. [Gagliarda] Peschatore

9. A la cazza a 4

Kyrie Eleison

10. Kyrie Eleison a 4

11. Colomba senza fielle

12. Pavana regia

Carmine sine verbis I

13. El poive a 3

14. Si dedero a 3, a 4

15. Ave Maris Stella: Ave Maris Stella a 3

La Mi La Sol

16. La mi a 4

17. La mi la sol la mi gia vol a 4

Viva el Grand Hercule!

18. O triumphanle diamante a 4

19. Tente alora a 4

In Festo Natalis Domini

20. Verbum caro factus est a 3

21. Ne la digna stalla a 2

22. Reccerchar di Benedictus

23. Benedictus

Carmine sine Verbis II

24. Absque verbis a 3

25. Gratis acceptistis a 4

26. La Mora a 3, a 4

La Speranza

27. In te Domine speravi a 4

28. [Salterelli] Zorzi, Giorgio

29. Forte cosa e la speranza a 5

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