Around My Idol: Piece II

Daphne and Apollo


Marco Da Gagliano

born May 1, 1582, Florence [Italy]
died Feb. 25, 1643, Florence
Gagliano worked in Florence as chapelmaster at the cathedral (1608–25) and as chapelmaster at the Medici court (1609–25), primarily in service to Cosimo II; about 1625 illness curtailed his work, but he remained affiliated with those institutions for the rest of his life. He staged his first opera, Dafne, at Mantua in 1608. Il Medoro (1619), composed with Jacopo Peri (Peri Jacopo), is lost; La Flora was produced in 1628. Peri indicated that Gagliano’s way of setting text to music came closer to actual speech than any other, therefore accomplishing the aim of the Florentine Camerata* of decades before, who sought to recapture that (supposed) aspect of ancient Greek music.Gagliano followed the monodic recitative (melodic, half-spoken, half-sung) style established by the Florentine intellectuals who sought to revive ancient Greek music and drama and produced early operas. His recitative is musically richer than that of his contemporaries Peri and Giulio Caccini (Caccini, Giulio), and he provides a greater variety of set numbers. His works were eclipsed, however, by Claudio Monteverdi (Montverdi’s) Orfeo. He also composed sacred music and madrigals; some of this work was published between 1594 and 1630, but most survived in manuscript form.He was important in the early history of opera and the development of the solo and concerted madrigal.
* Florentine Camerata
Florentine Camerata, Early Opera, Castrati, and Early 19th Century Opera Florentine Camerata Name is derived from Caccini’s score for L’Euridice, which dedicated the work to Count Bardi Also known as “Camerata de’ Bardi” Met at January 14, 1573 Early Renaissance – Florence ~1570 – 1590 Gathered by Giovanni de’ Bardi and met at his house Eureka! Group of humanists, musicians, poets, and intellectuals Talked about and guided trends in the arts – music and drama especially Frequent members include Giulio Caccini and Vincenzo Galilei (who is the father of Galileo, famous astronomer) Girolamo Mei also heavily participated during 1572 – 1578 Unified because they believed that music had become corrupt, so they returned to the forms and styles of ancient Greeks o Art of music could be improved = society improved Musical experiments led to stile rapressentativo; “dramatic style” o Influenced by Girolamo Mei, who is an ancient Greek scholar
 – Greek drama was spoken rather than sung
o Emilio de’ Cavalieri first to employ it
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Gagliano was one of the most important early opera composers — he wrote several apart from Dafne that do not survive complete. He also wrote an oratorio, six books of 5-part madrigals, a volume of Musiche(monodies, secular duets and trios) and a quantity of sacred music including thirty-eight motets. In Dafne he supplements the recitative of Peri and Caccini with arias and polyphonic choruses, giving a more varied whole. In the song Valli profonde he uses an arresting variety of moods to produce one of the finest monodies of the early Baroque. Gagliano’s madrigals are more conventional, however, and his church music is distinctly old-fashioned.
Gagliano was extremely influential in his time, as could be expected of the Medici’s own appointed head of all musical activities at their court; however his popularity waned after his death, and his music has since been overshadowed by contemporaries such as Monteverdi.
Other music by Gagliano includes secular monodies* and numerous madrigals*. While the monody was a Baroque stylistic innovation, most of the madrigals are a cappella, and written in a style reminiscent of the late Renaissance (in the first decades of the 17th century, the continuo madrigal was becoming predominant, for example in the works of Monteverdi). This mix of progressive and conservative trends can be seen throughout his music: some of his sacred music is a cappella, again in the prima prattica* style of the previous century, while other pieces show influence of the Venetian School.
* secular monody-
Monody is a term with a definite historical origin. The 16th century madrigal was a polyphonic secular song form, with melodic interest shared between the (most frequently 5) voices. In the development of the more soloistic style which was one of the driving forces in the origin of the Baroque, and with it modern tonality, emphasis was shifted to a single upper line for melodic interest as accompanied by instrumental parts to fill a harmonic texture. In a prototypical example, the latter could be chords on a lute. Monody was the name given to this style. From this perspective, one might note that even recent orchestral music is frequently monodic: i.e., a primary melody in the upper range accompanied harmonically. There is some lingering overlap between the terms homophony and monody. The term monody emphasizes the distinct or soloistic role of the main melody, while the term homophony emphasizes the concord and alignment between voices in the texture. In practice, it may be difficult to give many sections of “common practice” music one label or the other. The quodlibet is frequently in quintessential homophonic form, as is the later “barber shop” music.
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A petite histoire of secular monody in Europe:
* Madrigal-
madrigal, name for two different forms of Italian music, one related to the poetic madrigal in the 14th cent., the other the most common form of secular vocal music in the 16th cent. The poetic madrigal is a lyric consisting of one to four strophes of three lines followed by a two-line strophe called a ritornello. The most important 14th-century madrigal composers were Giovanni da Cascia (also known as Giovanni da Florentia) and Jacopo da Bologna (both fl. c.1350). Their madrigals are usually for two voices in long and florid melodic lines. The 16th-century madrigal is poetically a free imitation of its earlier counterpart; musically, it is unrelated. The earliest of these madrigals were usually homophonic in four and sometimes three parts, emotionally restrained, and lyric in spirit. The classic madrigals of Cipriano da Rore (1516–65), Andrea Gabrieli, Orlando di Lasso, and Filippo da Monte (1521–1603) were usually for five voices in a polyphonic and imitative style, the expression closely allied to the text. In the last part of the 16th cent. composers such as Luca Marenzio, Carlo Gesualdo (c.1560–1613), and Monteverdi intensified the expression of the text by the use of chromaticism, word painting, and declamatory effects. In the 17th cent. madrigal was used to designate certain expressive solo songs. In England the polyphonic madrigal had a late flowering in the Elizabethan era. Celebrated English madrigal composers include Byrd, Morley, Orlando Gibbons, Weelkes, and Wilbye.

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Daphne Libretto:


Prologue: Ovid evokes the metamorphosis of Dafne nymph laurel, the power that love has on men and Apollo, who, despite his divinity, was a victim of Love and mourned the loss of Dafne.


Scene I: it depicts the god Apollo, the chorus of nymphs and shepherds Python and the terrible dragon persecutes them by decimating their flocks and sterilizing their fields. A prayer nymphs and shepherds addressed to God for being released from the horrible monster follows the clash between Apollo and the dragon is killed.


Scene II: Venus, accompanied by her son Love, Apollo encounter wandering in the woods. The god used to taunt the son of Venus, claiming that because of his blindness he even manages to distinguish targets qu’atteignent his darts, while he Apollon managed to overcome the cruel monster. Venus then warn that it is dangerous to make fun of her son as well and love to swear that he will know peace after having successfully reached its features and Apollo have seen crying in pain.


Scene III: it opens in the presence of the beautiful Dafne, huntress nymph who asked the shepherds what happened from the terrible beast. Shepherds to reply Apollo killed her after a valiant fight. Apollo and Dafne then meets remains subdued. He asks her if she is goddess or nymph; the Dafne response that informs it is deadly, Apollo is definitely affected by the stroke of Love. After mentioning how he killed the monster, pointing to the still blood-stained field at the end of the fight, he offers to become his hunting companion. After a short time, the nymph suddenly fled recalling that intangible law forbids him to have a god companion.


Scene IV: she sees Love triumphant Apollo cries of passion, pierced by the arrow. Dafne has also been the target of the arc of the son of Venus, since it is forced to flee the god of advances. Venus appears and after a meeting with his son, invited him to go back with him among the gods.


Scene V: it evokes the destiny of Dafne who, to escape Apollo, has been transformed into a laurel. Tirsi, making messenger function of this sad event, tells the nymphs and shepherds how Dafne was transformed before his eyes. At this news, all start crying the disappearance of the nymph.


Scene VI: Apollo joins the nymphs and shepherds to mourn the death of his beloved.

Author: mmartel

"If he's honest, he'll steal; if he's human, he'll murder; if he's faithful, he'll deceive. Being at a loss to resolve these questions, I am resolved to leave them without any resolution." I have so much to say to you that I am afraid I shall tell you nothing."

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