Italie, 1600 : l’aube du Baroque

Italy, 1600: The dawn of the Baroque

Florence, Cremona, Mantua: each city a hotbed of the musical revolution that occurred in the space of a decade around the year 1600 in response to philosophical and aesthetic concerns inherited directly from the Renaissance. For it was indeed in pursuit of theatrical truths of Antiquity that the poets, musicians, and great patrons had the foolhardy idea of throwing overboard four centuries of polyphonic tradition: instead, the expression of human passions (affetti) was to be entrusted to singers who again became soloists, accompanied by an ensemble of stringed instruments, the continuo group. The invention of basso continuo went nearly unremarked—when in fact it was the musical equivalent of 'the big bang.' Peri, Caccini, and of course Monteverdi and Cavalli, were the prime movers and shakers of this revolution which was dubbed 'Baroque' only in the mid-20th century.

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