Jablonski, Marek (Michael)

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2. Works.

34 works can be attributed confidently to Jacopo: 25 two-voice madrigals, seven three-voice madrigals and cacce, a lauda-ballata and a motet. To these may be added several madrigals of doubtful authenticity, and a motet fragment (Laudibus dignis merito, see PMFC, xiii, 1987) which is very probably Jacopo’s and whose text incorporates an acrostic on the name of ‘Luchinus dux’. Jacopo’s works were in very wide circulation; they are found in northern Italian as well as Tuscan sources. The richest sources for his music are I-Fl 87 (27 pieces), Fn 26 (22 pieces) and F-Pn 6771 (20 pieces, of which at least 18 occur together in the first fascicle). The continuing popularity of Jacopo’s works in the first two decades of the 15th century is attested by the citation of at least two works in Prudenzani’s Saporetto (see Debenedetti) and of five intabulated pieces in I-FZc 117. The appearance in Italian literary sources of the Quattrocento of many poems set by Jacopo also testifies to this popularity.

Jacopo’s compositional technique has its starting-point in the early Trecento pieces of I-Rvat Rossi 215 and the works of Giovanni da Cascia and Piero. The madrigals are always fully texted in all voices. In the two-voice pieces there is no crossing of parts – with the exception of the caccia-madrigal Giunge’l bel tempo (which may have been written in association with Piero’s Cavalcando). Parallel 5ths and octaves abound in those madrigals which can be regarded as early works (e.g. Con gran furor, Entrava Febo, In su’ be’ fiori, Quando veg’io). The tenor is still barely independent in these pieces and often has passages of long sustained notes. In the later works of Jacopo these features disappear. Musical construction and handling of texts are such that the improvisatory elements still to be found in Giovanni’s works give way increasingly to an overall shape that is governed by text. The tendency is evident in tonal structure, for more than half of Jacopo’s pieces begin and end on the same pitch; it is equally evident in the increasingly independent shaping of the tenor and in the growing motivic relationship between voices which came about through imitation, strict or free (as in Fenice fu’). The simultaneous enunciation of syllables found in the older madrigal is thus broken in places (see ex.1). Characteristic of Jacopo are the monophonic transitional phrases between two lines of text; these feature later, too, in the early works of Landini. The fact that change of mensuration occurs only between strophe and ritornello serves to underline a unified formal conception. The specifically Italian divisiones of octonaria and duodenaria are predominant.

The three-voice non-canonic madrigals that make their first appearance with Jacopo fall into two stylistic groups apparently representing two distinct stages of development. In verde prato perhaps represents a first attempt at three-voice writing. The two upper voices, moving above the tenor, display frequent parallel movement in perfect consonances; the text is underlaid so that almost every syllable falls on the upbeat of the bar. I’ senti’ zà and Sì comal canto are rather more progressively written. It is no accident that these three works survive in two- as well as three-voice versions. Quite another matter are two of Jacopo’s late works, the madrigals Aquila altera (composed to three separate texts under the influence of the French motet) and Sotto l’imperio, which survive exclusively in three-voice form. Here too the two upper voices, clearly following the model of the caccia, move above the tenor; but each voice moves independently, through the occasional use of imitation. From Jacopo comes the first known polyphonic lauda-ballata (Nel mio parlar); it survives in two- and three-voice versions with textless tenor. His three-voice motet Lux purpurata is distinguished by a particularly Italianate euphony and by the way in which its tonality is restricted almost entirely to the area d–a–d. The textual clarity of the upper voices is striking; they present much of the texts in alternation over the tenor.

Jacopo’s stylistic development was the product of a highly conscious and theoretically schooled artistry. This finds expression not least in the texts of the madrigals referred to above as autobiographical, reflecting as they do a certain degree of selfconsciousness. Jacopo’s ideal of musical style – not unlike that of Petrarch – was a ‘suave dolce melodia’, which he contrasted with the ‘gridar forte’ that he opposed (see Oselleto salvazo). His works exerted a fundamental influence on the styles of both Landini and Bartolino da Padova, and with his allegorical madrigals he founded a new genre that was also cultivated by Bartolino and Johannes Ciconia.


Editions: The Music of Jacopo da Bologna, ed. W.T. Marrocco (Berkeley, 1954) [M]The Music of Fourteenth-century Italy, ed. N. Pirrotta, CMM, viii/2 (1960) [P ii]; viii/4 (1963) [P iv]Italian Secular Music, ed. W.T. Marrocco, PMFC, vi (1967/R) [W]

all except motet and doubtful works ed. in M, P iv and W

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