Monteverdi’s eighth book of Madrigals, Madrigali guerrieri, et amorosi (Madrigals of War and Love) was the final collection published in his lifetime and contains many of his greatest works from the previous 20 years.
Published in 1638 when Monteverdi was 71 years old, the madrigals of the Eighth Book are madrigals in name only. They represent the culmination of the remarkable evolution in musical composition that occurred during Monteverdi’s lifetime. Completely redefining the polyphonic genre of the Renaissance, these exceptional works use a most diverse range of voices, while also calling for instruments, heralding the baroque cantata and its expression that so closely approaches the operatic form.
The poetry adapted by Monteverdi for the Eighth Book of Madrigals exploits the theme of “guerrieri et amorosi”, or the pursuit of love as expressed through the allegory of war: its assaults, its conquests, and its ravages of the heart. Combining these dramatic metaphors with some of the most exciting musical devices of the period, the Eighth Book retains the power to challenge performers and to move listeners, even today.
In collaboration with the Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, CAMMAC presents a lecture with Andrew McAnerney, director of the SMAM, on Wednesday January 20, 2021, at 7:30 p.m. Mr. McAnerney will explore the history of the collection and discuss the reasons why the music is so interesting and highly regarded. Works covered will include Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and the extraordinary Lamento della Ninfa.
Then on Sunday January 24 at 3 p.m., the SMAM will perform GUERRE D’AMOUR, Excerpts of the Eighth Book of Madrigals by Monteverdi, broadcast live from the Salle Bourgie in Montreal. The concert will be available to watch live, or you will be able to watch on-demand until Sunday January 31.