Paradigma Medioevo: Music from 14h-century Italy

Paradigma Medioevo: Music from 14h-century Italy
Composer Andrea da Firenze, Antonio Zacara da Teramo, Francesco Landini
Artist Aquila Altera
Format 1 CD
Cat. number 96922
EAN code 5028421969220
Release January 2024

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About this release

Polyphonic 14th-century Italian secular music seems to emerge out of nowhere in the history of music. Nevertheless, this tradition – which often goes by the name Ars Nova – fits seamlessly into the history of Italian culture. Our knowledge of it has been pieced together from relatively few sources, which nevertheless reveal three distinct phases. In its first phase, Italian Ars Nova spread out from universities, including those of Padua and Bologna, which had strong links with the dominant and contemporaneous French Ars Nova. In the second phase, the centre of 14th-century Italian polyphony seems to shift markedly to Florence. The final phase, which bridged the late 1300s and early 1400s, shows the influence of intense cultural exchange brought about by an international circulation of musicians and poets caused by the political instability of the papacy’s return from Avignon to Rome and the consequent heightened mobility among the various courts and their entourages.
This phase is reflected in such sources as the renowned Squarcialupi Codex. Compiled in Florence around 1415, it contains over 350 compositions (madrigals, ballate and cacce) and is the source of the majority of the tracks on this album. Francesco Landini (c.1325/35–1397) is represented by five of his 141 ballate and the virelai ‘Adiu, adiu dous dame’. Also from the Codex are one ballata by Andrea da Firenze (c.1350–1415) and two ballate and a caccia by Antonio ‘Zacara’ da Teramo (1355–1416). Three instrumental tracks complete the album, two of them from the ‘London’ Manuscript (British Library) compiled in Florence, probably in Medici circles. In addition to mostly polyphonic music by Landini and other Florentine composers, this tome features several anonymous instrumental works including the lively dances ‘Chominciamento di gioia’ and ‘Tre fontane’. The madrigal ‘Aquila altera’ has a different background entirely: the version presented here is the instrumental arrangement found in the Codex Faenza, a unique volume assembled in the early 15th century containing around 50 Italian and French polyphonic compositions for organ.

Other information:
- Recorded May 2022 in Ocre, Italy
- Bilingual booklet in English and Italian contains liner notes by Arnaldo Morelli and a profile of the ensemble

- This original program, titled Paradigma Medioevo, aims at highlighting the cultural and creative liveliness of the Italian medieval music scene between the 14th and 15th centuries.
- In the Middle Ages, cultural connections were intense and manifold, reflecting a society that was not self-referential and closed in on itself, but which, on the contrary, had a strong sense of relationships and exchange. Apart from some well known names we find also compositions by anonymous musicians whose music has been handed down to us but unfortunately whose names have not. Nonetheless they greatly contributed to enriching the Medieval musical heritage. Included in the program are Francesco Landini, Antonio Zacara da Teramo, Andrea da Firenze and the anonymous musicians of the Rossi, Squarcialupi, London and Faenza codice.
- The program consists of vocal music on secular texts, often dealing with courtly love, its delights and despairs. The instrumental accompaniment is rich and include tamburello, tammorra, fiddle, lute, recorder, flauto doppio, ceccola, triangle, harp and organ. The name of the group is Aquila Altera.


Track list

Disk 1

  1. Francesco Landini: Ecco la primavera
  2. Antonio Zacara da Teramo: Dicovi per certança
  3. Andrea da Firenze: Dolce speranza d’amoroso foco
  4. Anonymous: Chominciamento di gioia instrumental
  5. Francesco Landini: I’ priego amor e la vostra biltate
  6. Francesco Landini: Ochi dolenti miei che pur piangete
  7. Francesco Landini: Questa fanciull’Amor, fallami pia
  8. Antonio Zacara da Teramo: Non voler, donna
  9. Anonymous: Aquila altera
  10. Francesco Landini: Adiu, adiu dous dame
  11. Anonymous: Amor mi fa cantar
  12. Francesco Landini: Non creder donna
  13. Anonymous: Tre fontane
  14. Antonio Zacara da Teramo: Cacciando per gustar/Ay cinci, ay toppi