Cechy recytatywu Michelangelo Rossiego wErminia sul Giordano
The Features of Recitative by Michelangelo Rossi inErminia sul Giordano
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The theatrical pieceErminia sul Giordanoby Michelangelo Rossi, written for Giulio Rospigliosi's libretto, satged in Rome in 1633 and published there in 1637, is worth noting for the form of recitative parts. Rossi's recitative is special and different from recitatives by the earlier authors of dramma per musica because it contains solutions which are never or only seldom found in other authors, but also the opposite is the case: solutions used most often by other composers hardly ever appear in Rossi's work. What is characteristic is that almost all features of his recitative can be found in each scene ofErminia sul Giordano.The present analysis covered the first scene of Act One.The scene is Erminia's monologue-lament. She wakes up entirely lost in a foreign country, in the forest on the bank of the Jordan river, disguised as a knight. She has come to look at Tancred (who has just come here) at least from a distance. Erminia's situation is dramatic: she loves Tancred, who is a knight in the enemy camp, therefore he is her foe; moreover, he is in love with Clorinda. Erminia's crying-monologue is a strong complaint about the fate and an apostrophe to Nature (the forest and the Jordan river) because only She - friendly to Erminia - can sympathize with her. The states and emotions, which Erminia experiences, are very much alike. They are all centered on her situation: her terrible loneliness, nightmares, awkwardness, and even thinking about death.Rossi prepared this scene in an objective way, as if it was not Erminia who was weeping over her fate but someone else was telling about Erminia's condition and her changeable feelings without, however, undergoing these emotions by himself. Consequently, the composer used a strikingly high percentage of repetitions in this scene's recitative: consequently, the scene has a very uniform and monotonous course. Nevertheless, Erminia's emotions change, even reaching the extreme, for example her thoughts about death. These changing emotions needed to be emphasized. Along with modal variability, introduction of cadences to various sounds with different modal references, Rossi used a whole arsenal of technical means, which would be almost exactly duplicated in the next acts and scenes, with some modifications, however, depending on the emotions carried by the text.The analysis of the first scene in Act One - basically oriented towards grasping the expressive features of the recitative - comprises phenomena occurring in the modal (e.g. the role of cadences and accidences), interval and melodic structures (e.g. interpretive meanings of leaps, triadic progressions, figures of the type ofanabasisandcatabasis, exclamations and madrigalisms), in the tonal structure (e.g. illustrations by means of high and low registers, rare but expressive dissonances), and finally in the declamatory sphere (e.g. highly individual treatment of the language matter). In the presented analytical procedure there always coincide musical aspects emerging from sound forms with semantic/emotional aspects stemming from the content of the musicalized verbal text.
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