Gilberto Scordari – Giulio San Pietro del Negro: Amore Langueo (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 46:03 minutes | 435 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Da Vinci Classics
There is still no consideration of the musical depth of Giulio San Pietro del Negro, an avant-garde composer of the early 17th century, Salentinian by birth (from Lecce) but Lombardian by artistic adoption. Thanks to in-depth studies conducted by Maria Giovanna Brindisino and Sarah Marianna Iacono, we have a rich and varied historical-biographical profile of del Negro: from a young age (1580-1600) the composer lived in Lecce; during those two decades, he probably studied under the direction of maestro di cappella Francesco Antonio Baseo; then, in the first decades of 17th century, he was warmly welcomed into the Lombardian artistic environment (artists and writers from the Accademia degli Inquieti in Milan and the Affidati in Pavia).Born around 1565 in a Genoese family based in Lecce, Giulio was the third of four sons of the noble man-at-arms Filippo: his older brother Giovanni Battista is Baseo’s Primo libro dei madrigali dedicatee (Venice, 1573), in which Giovanni and his brother Pasquale are praised for their musical talents and progress. At that time, Giulio was still too young and probably benefited from maestro Baseo’s teachings in the following years.
In 1634, the historian Giulio Cesare Infantino wrote the Lecce Sacra book in which he briefly outlined the biographical profile of the four del Negro brothers. He started by describing Giovanni Battista. “Giovanni Battista San Piero di Negro can certainly be regarded as a Leccese warrior, since he, like his brothers, was born in Lecce. Giovanni Battista bravely served in the Flanders and Italian wars for eleven years. He was the brother of Pasquale San Piero di Negro, who excelled in duelling and music-making. […] And the same for Giulio San Piero di Negro, an excellent musician, whose many compositions he printed himself, reflect his tremendous talent. The fourth son Agostino San Piero di Negro – gentleman and man-at-arms – is still living today”. From Infantino we therefore conclude that in 1634 Giulio is no longer alive: his death must be placed after 1620 (the year of his last printed production) and before 1634.
While Giulio’s first printed work – Gl’Amorosi pensieri (1607) – is still linked to his cultural club in Lecce, prints dated from 1613 reflect his acquaintances in the Lombardian area. More specifically, they prove that contacts were made with Carmelite Cherubino Ferrari. Ferrari was a theologian at Duke of Mantua’s court, academician of the Inquieti in Milan, and an enthusiastic commentator of Monteverdi’s Orfeo.
Furthermore, other relations with the Count of Sartirana Carlo Mercurino Arborio Gattinara are revealed (he was a promoter of the Accademia degli Affidati in Pavia). Del Negro’s contacts with the Milan virtuoso bass singer Ottavio Valera are particularly interesting, too. One of the composer’s madrigals is dedicated to Valera; the piece is in the collection Grazie et Affetti, published by Filippo Lomazzo in 1613. In those years, the singer Valera appears as the dedicatee of other madrigals by Giovanni Ghizzolo and Sigismondo d’India, all published by Lomazzo. Therefore, the latter might have had direct contact with del Negro in the same cultural circle devoted to the Seconda prattica. The same thought would apply to Francesco Rognoni Taegio, with whom del Negro shared the “alla bastarda” practice. As further confirmation of this hypothesis, the collection Grazie et Affetti contains one of the first three recurrences of the indication “in stile recitativo”; the other two appear precisely in madrigals by D’India (1609) and Ghizzolo (1610), both published by the same publisher in Milan.
The dedication to Carlo Mercurino Arborio Gattinara in the Canti accademici concertati (Venice, 1620) is not the only evidence of Giulio’s links to the environment of Pavia: some texts used in Grazie et Affetti come from a collection written by monk Ippolito Cembroni and dedicated to the Affidati. Lastly, the fifteen motets subject of this recording come from three collections – dating respectively 1621, 1624, and 1629 – promoted by Don Lorenzo Calvi, a musician of the Cathedral of Pavia: their authorship can be attributed to Del Negro thanks to Sarah Iacono’s musicological researches. Giulio’s compositions are included among those composed by “eccellentissimi autori” like Claudio Monteverdi, Tarquinio Merula, Alessandro Grandi, Giovanni Rovetta, Giovanni Ghizzolo and Nicolò Corradini.
The texts of the motets consist of partly reworked and interpolated excerpts from the Song of Songs (1, 2, 5, 8, 11). The remaining ones come from various feasts of the liturgical year: Christmas (3), Marian (4, 10) or other Saints (6, 7, 14, 15) festivities, and Eucharistic Solemnities (9, 12, 13). Worthy of note is the text of the motet Quis est hic for the feast of St. Augustine, which takes us back to Pavia: there, in the Basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro, rest Saint Augustine’s remains.
The composing style is empowered with surprising fluidity: for example, the refined textual and imitative embroidery between the voices is very interesting. Sometimes it consists of short motifs (Veniat in 1, Descendi and Veni in 2, Alleluia in 3, Audi in 5, Meruit in 10, Moriar and Tu lux in 12) and other times on whole sections of the motet (Quam pulchra es, O quam gloriosum, Fratres qui gloriatur, Cantemus Domine gloriose). Although not frequently, the homorhythmic sections are used wisely in order to emphasize the choral aspect of some texts: see, among others, the ternary Alleluia of O quam gloriosum (which rhythmically and harmonically recalls the Villancicos of Latin-Hispanic tradition), the final Amore of the ternary ‘refrain’ of Amore langueo (with its beautiful ‘not prepared’ seventh), the evocative Ave, plena gratia in the motet Ave Mater Salvatoris or the powerful four voices-incipit in Adorent sacramentum (followed by a laudes with a ‘monteverdiano’ flavour). Equally remarkable are the contrapuntal artifices used on various occasions, such as the heartbreaking en morior in the final part of Amore langueo (n. 8), the harmonic complexity of qui te gustant esuriunt in the motet n. 9, or the beautiful final interlocking of the voices in the same motet on the words O Iesu mi dulcissime. An extraordinary lyrical masterpiece is finally the motet ‘a voce sola’ Amore langueo (n. 11), with its sharp contrast between the sweetness of langueo and the advance of aperi: the whole culminates with a tender final whisper on the three morior.
These fifteen motets, authentic miniatures of the new musical taste of Seconda Prattica, testify to the value of a composer still too little known and performed. We hope that this work will help to renew this interest, as well as throw new light on a music season that is anything but dark and peripheral in Apulia and especially in the Otranto area.
1-01. Schola Cantorum Barensis – Symbolae diversorum musicorum: Veniat dilectus meus – à 2 (03:31)
1-02. Schola Cantorum Barensis – Symbolae diversorum musicorum: Descendi in hortum meum – à 2 (03:33)
1-03. Schola Cantorum Barensis – Symbolae diversorum musicorum: O laeta dies – à 2 (03:35)
1-04. Schola Cantorum Barensis – Symbolae diversorum musicorum: Quam pulchra es – à 2 (02:02)
1-05. Schola Cantorum Barensis – Symbolae diversorum musicorum: Audi soror mea – à 2 (02:19)
1-06. Schola Cantorum Barensis – Symbolae diversorum musicorum: O quam gloriosum regnum – à 3 (02:22)
1-07. Schola Cantorum Barensis – Symbolae diversorum musicorum: Fratres qui gloriatur – à 3 (02:40)
1-08. Schola Cantorum Barensis – Symbolae diversorum musicorum: Amore langueo – à 4 (03:37)
1-09. Schola Cantorum Barensis – Symbolae diversorum musicorum: O Iesu mi dulcissime – à 4 (03:33)
1-10. Schola Cantorum Barensis – Symbolae diversorum musicorum: Ave Mater Salvatoris – à 4 (03:40)
1-11. Schola Cantorum Barensis – Seconda raccolta de sacri canti: Amore langueo – à voce sola (04:03)
1-12. Schola Cantorum Barensis – Seconda raccolta de sacri canti: Dulcis amor Iesu – à 2 (03:10)
1-13. Schola Cantorum Barensis – Seconda raccolta de sacri canti: Adorent sacramentum – à 4 (02:41)
1-14. Schola Cantorum Barensis – Quarta raccolta de sacri canti: Quis est hic – à 2 (02:15)
1-15. Schola Cantorum Barensis – Quarta raccolta de sacri canti: Cantemus Domine gloriose – à 3 (02:55)