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Renzo Cresti

The idea of a “sonorous voice” is resumed by Giulio Caccini (even though the term “sonorous” we find before and after him) and means that the voice must become pure sound, through the total use of the upper resonance, just as following the historic truth Nella Anfuso is able to do; being a profound expert that she is, understands well the neo-platonic aesthetics of the Italian Humanism that connects the expression of sound to that of concepts, together with the affections.

The Italian song is therefore the phonetic amplification of the phonemes, that is of the word and this determines the peculiar characteristics of the sound that is: pure, clear, aerial, rounded, homogeneous, rich (with harmonics), easy (without forcing), extensive (three octaves), natural (not unnatural or artificial), sweet and virtuoso.

The poetic-musical song from a humanistic point of view, that develops in the North-east of Italy between the second half of the XV century and beginning of the next one and formed in Florence Rome and Venice, enjoys a central texture medium-grave that implies a particularly refined emission; it is necessary “portar la voce” in a way that the resonance is very pure resulting in a perfect equilibrium between the register of the chest and the head voice. So we can obtain the three octaves and therefore, a sole register (that for the texture can be distinct in contralto and soprano), a uniform extension that the singers of this period performed naturally, basing themselves always on the sound of the word. It is this type of poetic-musical singing and the way of realizing this that is punctually performed by Nella Anfuso in this extraordinary collection that runs through the entire history of the great School of the Italian song. The sonorous anthology here proposed is a kind of indispensable handbook for anyone that wants to get near to the historic truth of the song that has its origins in the superb Courts of the Italian Four-hundreds, continues in the Medicean Florence with the Camerata de’ Bardi, perfecting this with Monteverdi, propagating in the Opera Theatres and Cantatas of Six-Seven-Hundred, to arrive at first Romanticism, fatal moment for the prevailing Wagnerian movement and verism.

It is a question of fusion for the neo-Platonic Renaissance aesthetics, it is not a balanced relationship, but a union, meaning only one thing: “musical values in words and not relationships between sound and words (…) assigning to the poetry-music, an expressive oneness, the value of an ethic act (art capable of producing ethos) (…) following Damone we have music of the language, that is Melody in a Platonic sense, the phonetic expression of thoughts”. (1) The musician-singer and improviser is born out of this context and is a phenomena typically Italian: to sing ad lyram or ad citharam…, are also indicative the many pictorial representations of Orfeo singer with the lyra da braccio (one is also in the arcade of the Villa Medicea in Artimino, where the premises of the Foundation Centro Studi Rinascimento Musicale and the Museum “Annibale Gianuario” are found). One of the examples in this period is the Florentine environment of Lorenzo the Magnificent, who sings together with Marsilio Ficino, Domenico Benivieni, Antonio Naldi and Baccio Ugolini (the last of which, considered a great singer who accompanied himself with the lyra da braccio, was the principal interpreter of Orfeo by Angelo Poliziano, in 1480 at Mantua). The poet Vincenzo Calmeta, operating in the court of the Magnificent, testifies to the popular costume on behalf of the poets and humanists to sing their own verses accompanied by a stringed instrument; Calmeta states: “sono da essere stimati di sommo giudizio coloro che cantando mettono tutto lo sforzo in esprimer bene le parole (…) facendo non gli affetti e le sentenze della musica, ma la musica delle sentenze e degli affetti esser ministra” (We appraise immensely the singers that strain themselves to pronounce well the words… so that the affections and the sentences should predominate and not be subservient to the music, but rather that the music should be subordinate to the words and the emotions). So triumphs a type of music based on the clear perception of the words, which are pronounced/sung by a sole cantor. One of the first examples of virtuoso, contested by the courts, is Pietro Bono “del chitarrino”, that in the second half of four-hundred, affirms an improvised style of which, unfortunately, little has remained, only a few elaborations converge in heterogeneous styles like Frottola, Strambotto, Giustiniana, Canzone, Barzelletta, Ode, Serenata, Villotta, Villanella and other minor forms, experiences in which the relationship between poets and musicians are very close, indeed so concentrated to be the same person, as the poet - singers Bernardo Accolti and Gasparo Visconti.

The rediscovery of the classical world implemented by the humanists proposes again with force the idea of a more direct musical communication, entrusted with “simple” means, able to implicate the listener to the sweetness of the sound and clearness of the contents in the text. We see therefore how this methodology of song at the Court of Gonzaga in Mantua (where Anfuso had set her splendid DVD Monteverdi, Poiesis) and that of Isabella d’Este in Ferrara, and in the Florentine court of Medici, anticipate stylistic features that will assert themselves during the Cinquecento. We must remember and resume what has already been stated, that in Mantua in 1425 Vittorino da Feltre had founded an important humanistic Schola where the music was taught, and that at Ferrara, the Duke Ercole I in 1471 had founded a musical Chapel among the finest organized in Europe (only the Chapel in the Dome of Milan and the Schola Acolytorum of Verona could compete, in Italy, with the Chapel of Ferrara). From the Schola of Verona emerge most of the protagonists of the Italian four-hundred renewal, from Tromboncino, Cara, Pesenti until Martinengo, Ruffo, Asola, Ingegneri etc. This method of singing excludes the falsettista and insists on the perfect fusion of registers, on the pureness and homogeneity of emission, on the declamation of the text. It is a way to sing that, in the first Four-hundred, privileges the texture “of the chest”, but already in the late Four-hundred had arrived at a sonorous fullness and refinement of “legato”, that will find complete realization in the century after in the expressive song in the style of Caccini.

The interpretation by Anfuso in Zephiro spira and Tu dormi by Tromboncino, as in Ben venga Maggio on words by Poliziano, author of Fabula di Orfeo that is considered the prototype of the future forms in music for theatre, are perfect examples on how to confront the relationship between word-sound that constitutes the foundation of these new musical aesthetics, where the music has to be “transparent”, in a way that renders intelligible the text. The creation of sense is the higher aim.

The recognition of the musicality in the word, that, as Doni writes “has not been realized since after the Greek-Latin antiquity”, it is one of the strong ideals of the Renaissance that, knowing Plato, Aristotle, Filodemo, Archita, Cicero, Aristosseno, possess the documentation to understand how poetry and music were all one. To arrive at these objectives we utilise antique metrics, from Bernardo Tasso to Cesare Monteverdi, to Tolomei, Trissino, Chiabrera…until the efforts of Pléiade. It is clear, therefore, that the recourse to Greek origins or to bring to light other antique stylistic features, is not sufficient to create an unicum concept-word- sound (it is for this reason that Pléiade remains suspended at half way). The research in the sonority of the word, in the ideals of the poets-cantors and monody, in conformity with the teachings of the Greeks, is studied with attention from a technical point a view, for the first time, in the Dialogo della musica antica et della moderna by Vincenzo Galilei, that writes a thesis less known but never the less of the same importance, Discorso intorno all’uso delle dissonanze, text studied and investigated for the first time by Annibale Gianuario and states that Galilei “intends to investigate the soul of the harmony, that is on concepts of the words with regards to a phonetic-semantic concept of these, in contraposition and also to completion of the cognition about the body of harmony that represents the technical context of the ordinary procedure of different sounds and voices. The essential point of the disquisition by Galilei is the research of expressive reason of the harmonic matter that expressive result manifests itself in the Dissonance; the treatment of which and use are little used by the musicians of the First practice, drawn above all to the themes of the Consonance (…) existence of a cultural trend that with Cipriano de Rore from Vicentino, Gesualdo da Venosa, Giulio Caccini, Jacopo Peri and Monteverdi refers to the Greek-Latin Poetics” (2). Monteverdi will use these dissonances for the dynamic manifestations of his music, realizing the Platonic vision of the concept expressed in sound.

The performances that Nella Anfuso treats us to in the Canzone of Machiavelli, Quanto sia lieto, in the IV Intermedio by Giovanni de’ Bardi, Miseri habitator, from the Comedy “La Pellegrina” by Scipione Bargagli, the Hymn by Francesca Caccini, Iesu Corona Virginum, so like the works of Jacopo Peri Tutto‘l dì piango, and of various Tuscan authors Mirate in sul mattin (Piero Benedetti), Tu piangi al mio partire (Lorenzo Allegri), Oimè ché troppo è vero (Vincenzo Calestani), È morto il tuo signore (Giovanbattista da Gagliano), costitute beautiful examples of the Tuscan Monody, to which have to be added the madrigals O Primavera e Aura soave by Luzzasco Luzzaschi. We can well perceive how in the singing by Nella Anfuso the idea that the text wants to express, is realized in the adherence of the music to the words: the messa di voce (the augmenting and diminishing of the voice), the exclamation languid or humorous, the cascading (volatine), the expressive effects of legato and the trill (imitating the bird’s song, so Caccini would say) and all the other elements that constitute the Sprezzatura (modulating free movement to follow the arsis and the thesis of the word) they are then in function of the poetic expression and can only be realized if one is in possession of a natural “sonorous voice” obtained by the perfect fusion of the two registers. In “modulating the spoken syllable”, as Caccini wants, we must conserve the tonic accents and vocal characteristics.

The Renaissance Song is characterized essentially by a praxis of the diminution, but, thanks to the Florentines and in particular to Giulio Romano, undertake a new direction in the field of passeggiare: “the diminution is enriched by elements like the exclamation, the trill prepared or non, the accents etc. (…) the monody , born from the dictates of the new aesthetics, presents a richness and variety of accents really exceptional, varieties that from a performing point of view are realized with dynamic liberty (sprezzatura) and of expression (phonetic accentuation). These vocal effects find their explanation, the existence of a chromatic minor semitone of which speaks Doni or the hardness on a harmonic level” (3). In a letter dated 1633 Monteverdi explains the difference between harmony founded on the reason of the First Practice where the text is adapted to the music, and that based on the Second Practice that is the realization of the sound of the emotive diction of the poetic expression in which, following the indications of Plato have to be chosen for their spiritual value. From this difference was initiated the argument of Artusi, that in 1600 had published L’Artusi ovvero delle imperfetioni della moderna musica, in which he accused Monteverdi of “procedures that offend the ear”, because realized not in the name of reason purely musical, but in the name of that of the text, therefore for Artusi the music had its own rules, meanwhile for Monteverdi the “perfection of the modern music consists in following the oration” (so he writes in the Preface of the Fifth book of Madrigals, in 1607). Many times underlined by Annibale Gianuario, great expert of this period, for Monteverdi the Second Practice is therefore a return to the concepts of the music as the realization of the poetry in their unitary three elements: the significance, rhythm and the sound, elements that the musician moulds following the representation of the affections.

In his study on the Modalità e realtà fonetica nel “Lamento di Arianna” di Monteverdi (4), Gianuario makes a interesting consideration on the harmony and states: “we could analyse the modality of the “Lamento” based on the continued bass, that is considering indicative the final of the bass itself (…) we do not think this a credible solution, in so far as the modality is determined by the verse and the continued bass is to be considered of particular “harmonic” revelation highlighted by the diction that also determines these harmonic components that Monteverdi notates on the bass”. It is therefore the individualization of the vocalic and syllabic sound that determines the expression and of consequence the modality (as in the music of the antique Greeks recalled by the humanists); the mode therefore had to be determined by the sonority of the phrase, in a phonetic semantic unity, articulated with accents and timber. It is the how in the way to express the emotion that the text provokes that determines the mese and finalis that at last is the way to be of the harmony.

The new proposition of the Lamento d’Arianna, of the most significant moments of the female personages of Orfeo, that is Ninfa, Speranza, Messaggera and Proserpina, of the Lamento di Penelope recuperated in the philological musicological and dramatic truthfulness, and of the Due Lettere Amorose, in which only the first “Se i languidi miei sguardi” is presented to the hearer, the new proposition therefore of Monteverdi to the exact awareness of the aesthetics of the time, render these CD’s even more precious, also because the modern editions of compositions by Monteverdi betray often the original work, setting in the harmonic system outlined after Monteverdi’s epoch: ignoring the poiesis and the musical notation of Monteverdi, and giving life to a vocal interpretation that does not understand the phonetic flections derived from the verbal expression and producing historic falsehoods. We believe today to know Monteverdi, but in reality on account of to many historic falsifications, we listen to a different music, adapted to the mode of early music.

From a singing point of view, the extreme pureness and fragility of the poetic- sound requires the same perfection of emission that permits the realization of the spiccato (typical of the virtuous execution) that needs to underline well every sound-syllable and to realize this pronunciation we need to create this sound utilizing to the maximum the upper-laryngeal resonators that are situated in the nasal cavity and the paranasal sinus, hardly heard of today. As Nella Anfuso writes in her most complete book on the art of Italian song (5) the total resonance therefore (the sonorous voice of Caccini) is possible only through the mechanism of the appoggio that permits the fusion of the two registers and realizes the only register and therefore the homogeneity and the pureness of intonation (a few facial conformations can help the good resonance). There is a great “secret” to arrive at a great vocal perfection and it is to consider the existence of a unique point in the support for all the sounds of the musical scale (no antique Italian text, which is significant, mentions the so called “passages of registers”). Besides, the emission has to be realized on the breath, so creating a live vibrant sound and permits the portar la voce actuating the particular chromatic effects typical of the affectionate song. The crescere and scemare of the voice, so like the exclamation, messa di voce and other effects have to be based on excellent respiration.

The Didone by Cavalli in which we have superb interpretation of the scene of the suicide “Porgetemi la spada” is a work that can be considered the most similar in style to Monteverdi by this great pupil. The dramatic excitement typical of the Second Practice finds in Nella Anfuso an extraordinary tragic actress. On an aesthetic level the “representation of the affections” requires an investigative style, penetrating the world and exalts the numerous possibilities of declamation. The natural expressiveness makes practice and wise use of the pauses that have to follow the breathing and give meaning to the sensibility of the interpreter. The representative style is not such because it realizes a scenic vision of the text, but because it represents the affections, emotionally modulating the voice, therefore as Gianuario states, “we are far away from the Melodrama and Operismo and very far away from the virtuoso song for its own ends for which we can invent diminution, elaborated accompaniments and…. orchestrations” (6).

Also in the Venetian Canzoni of seven hundred, of a popular character, remain traces of the higher School. Venice is a city very rich in music where “they sing in the square, in the streets and on the canals. The merchants sing showing their wares, the workers sing living their job, the gondoliers sing waiting for their masters”, so described Goldoni the singing climate in his Mémoires (published at Paris in 1787). The anonymous Venetian Songs of the XVIII century are based on a vocal writing that put into evidence the typical qualities of the song in that period: “pureness and lightness of emission, perfection of the intonation, extension and homogeneity” (7). Quei oci me fa guerra e Sento che’l cuor me manca are very beautiful Venetian Songs.

In the period of Vivaldi, the fundamentals of vocalism do not move away from the basics above mentioned, even in the so called “golden era”, particularly virtuosic of the song, the fusion of the two registers of chest and head voice create a sole register (excluding therefore the falsettisti): “if the union of the registers is not perfect the voice will be of more registers and consequently losses its beauty”, writes Tosi in his Opinioni de’ Cantori Antichi e Moderni and states: “il Maestro deve insegnar quel moto leggerissimo della voce in cui le note che lo compongono siano tutte articolate con ugual proporzione e moderato distaccamento, affinchè il Passaggio non sia nè troppo attaccato, nè battuto soverchio (…) tutta la bellezza del Passaggio consiste nell’esser perfettamente intonato, battuto, granito, eguale, rotto e veloce (…) chi ha un bellissimo Trillo gode sempre il vantaggio di condursi senza disgusto alla Cadenze” (The Maestro has to teach the very light way of the voice in such a way that the notes are articulated with proportion and moderated detachment (…) All the beauty of this passage constitutes in being perfectly intonated, measured, detached, similar, broken and quick (…) he who has a beautiful Trill always enjoys the advantage to behave without shame in the Cadences). The Trill is considered the predominant element of vocalism (the 25 trills by Farinello on a sole breath are a fantastic example and today Anfuso is the sole person that knows how to reproduce this). In the case of Vivaldi we need to remember that his music had been conceived for the virtuoso singers of the Hospital of the Pietà (we know the names of a few); for them are written the Airs, in three part form, in which in the first part the singer has to perform simply the Air, except for a few appoggiaturas and trills; in the second part they begin to embellish with thrift; the final section (Da Capo) had to be embellished in abundantiam. The virtuoso elements have to be rigorously performed after having studied the documents of this period that tell us how to interpret the messe di voce, simple and double trills raising and falling, the turns and appoggiaturas, the volatinas and the cantar di sbalzo, agilità spiccata and agilità martellata the various Farinello, Faustina Bordoni and Cuzzoni etc ..: “This type of agility is very difficult to perform (…) it is necessary to hold the breath, and be capable of letting go and holding it again without effort; one must possess a very clear intonation, so that every note martellata is distinctly intonated” Mancini wrote with regards to the agilità martellata (8). Once again, it is the perfect symbiosis of the registers that literally determines the Italian vocal art, “therefore the proposal of this vocalism on behalf of voices non operational in perfect fusion, as that of the falsettisti today in vogue under the name of counter-tenor, haute-contre etc., has no sense on a vocal aesthetical and historical level”.(9)

Of Vivaldi, the Airs taken from the Cantate and Motets together with the Hallelujah, final part of “O qui coeli”, that Nella Anfuso has chosen, following an homogeneous line and perfectly documented by the great School of Singing in Italy in the XV-XVIII centuries, are the continuous representation of the vocal aesthetic principles also in religious circle, even though we must recognize that the sacred interpreted by the composers of opera is sui generis, often made spectacular as in processions.

In Rome at the Barberini theatre in the Palace of the Quattro Fontane, constructed on the project of Maderno and Bernini, is the historic site where Roman Opera was born. Nephews of pope Urbano VIII, the Barberini assume many times plentiful financial obligations to organize opera performances, genre that encounters the favour of the Roman aristocracy, stimulating the preference for the spectacular pomp and for the absorbing contents, mythological and religious. Supported by Cardinal Rospigliosi (from 1667 Pope with the name Clemente IX), the Roman Opera maintains for a long time the characteristics of the court spectacle, organized above all for the patrician fests, during the Carnival period.

In his Rappresentazione di Anima et di Corpo, Emilio de’ Cavalieri recommends that the singer needs a beautiful voice, well tuned, held well and sings with affection and in particular expresses well the words, well pronounced”. On the same aesthetical and technical level also the Roman Ottavio Durante that, in his Avvertimenti ai Cantori (1608), expatiates upon how to perform the affectionate singing: “the singers have to understand well what they are singing (…) to sing slowly, to sing with grace and to pronounce distinctly the words”. Pietro Della Valle, in a document of 1640 entitled Della musica della età nostra  says of the voices: “our teachers, do not use subtle artifices, but base themselves on what is song (…) the falsettisti cannot be compared with the natural voices of the sopranos or the castrati”. To exalt the natural expressiveness, obtained by the fusion of the two registers, that around the middle of the XVI century in the churches the falsettisti are eliminated.

Tenaglia, with Se fosse così, as in other environments, but internally to the same vocal aesthetics, Scarlatti with the Airs taken from the Cantatas Rimirai and Bella Rosa, Porpora, Farinello and Riccardo Broschi demonstrate, through the interpretation of the correct historical and aesthetical use by Anfuso, as today (at least from the seventies) from a technical point of view, the basic problem is that the singers do not know how to utilize the upper resonances.

The great Italian school from Maffei to Caccini, to Tosi, Fedi, Pistocchi, Brivio, Peli, Redi, Amadori until Porpora keeps still firm those principles that Giambattista Mancini reassumed in his Riflessioni pratiche sul Canto figurato and that is: the acquisition of the portamento of the voice that is the passage, binding the sounds, one note to the other; messa di voce that is the action of attaching one note on pianissimo, augmenting the sonority until fortissimo and to return to pianissimo utilizing always the same breath and terminating, if the expression demands, with a trill; the trill (that has to be equal, beaten, detached and moderately quick); the appoggiatura simple or double is the accentuation on one or more notes held on descending (one tone) and ascending (semitone); the mordent is a real note in which the repetition is given to the inferior note of semitone; the cadence is a very important execution and is an expressive creation of the interpreter. Mancini writes that “the voices, even though adaptable to the expression, cannot perform anything else but the song of the notes and words”. It is a very pertinent observation that does not leave any doubt on the reality of the song in the centuries that interest us, in opposition to the song that from the XIX century will be prone to the Veristic expression, following an aesthetic completely different from the “representation of affections”. Already in the calling to the “verisimilitude” of the cultural Enlightenment we have seen the passage from the myth to epos, a change that will have progressive repercussions on the dramaturgy and on the way to describe through the song personages and situations. We loose contact with the word in favour of the scene, the subtle emotive transfigurations expressed by musical “sayings” become crass sentimental shouting, the vocal refinements become vulgar, following a popular sense of misunderstanding. We stray from principles that have their roots in the great School that begins with Caccini and we come close to the Veristic formulation that is based on aesthetical strong signals, very different to those that move the affections, and even more so with Wagner.

The great School still persists until the first Romanticism, as demonstrates the text in 1847 by Manuel Garcia, Traité complet de l’art du chant (work in two volumes, the second almost unknown in Italy!) but, simultaneously, had began her decline, indeed Garcia subdivides the voice into three registers! Indeed Rossini in 1858 verifies the absence of singers suitable to the operas of Cimarosa, Bellini and his own. A few years later the lament of Rossini is repeated, in a letter to the son of Vaccai in 1864. The same Verdi, many times, declares that his song is based on the golden rules of the antique school. Bellini results being a sort of watershed, but he is also part of the great school.

“The vocal ideal of Mozart, that between 1774 and 1775 had studied in London with the castrato Giovanni Manzuoli, completely mirrors the good Italian School; in his letters he affirms that which counts in vocalism the pureness and homogeneity” (10), or those qualities that permit the “spiccato” of which Burney and Chopin speak. The fusion of registers and the fioritura are indispensable characteristics to perform correctly Mozart, but also Bellini, Donizetti, Mercadante, Paganini and the Opera composers at the beginning of Eight-hundred until Angelica Catalani, before that practice of grand cri in the French style (that in 1839 horrified Liszt), the Romantic Verism and Wagnerian style asserted itself.

The fiorituras of the Operas by Bellini, the cadences in those by Donizetti and the correct messa di voce are realized by singers like Crescentini, Rubini, Cinti-Damoreau, Malibran, Catalani etc. that demonstrate virtuosity and expressive capabilities.

Nella Anfuso has been capable of preserving the expressive song of Italian School, thanks to her youthful studies with Guglielmina Rosati Ricci, that had studied with Cotogni and that, through oral tradition, mastered again those principles in the antique style of singing that we had lost (11). Even more reason today, after the disaster brought about in the last thirty years by Early music, it is necessary a recall to the correctness, if we do not want to risk irreparable damage, in the disappearance of the great Italian School of Singing. We must again fight with great force that which Malipiero called the rectifiers of antique music”. In the last years, with respect to the first Nine-hundred, the understanding is better from a historical, aesthetical and technical level; it is a matter of documents and reflections published by the Foundation Centro Studi Rinascimento Musicale, but above all by the irreplaceable Collection of recordings (CD, video and DVD) of the sonorous voice by Nella Anfuso, all this is deliberately ignored or cynically subdued to personal interests. The continuous misunderstanding made of Early music derive not only through ignorance but principally are realized on purpose, following a commercial logic.

We need to work on important musical documents, following the line of the great School, that can be a guide to every conscientious singer. The hope is that we recuperate, with honesty and rigor, the great traditional Italian song, so giving an indispensable point of reference to scholars and students, analysing and reporting the musical facts with those cultural and especially aesthetical, defending what Monteverdi called the just.


1)  Cfr. N. Anfuso - A. Gianuario, Preparazione alla Interpretazione della Poiesis Monteverdiana, Firenze 1971. Il tema della “musicalità del dire” è stato affrontato anche nei Convegni del 2002 alla  Villa Medicea “La Ferdinanda” di Artimino ed a Palazzo Barberini a Roma, e in quello recente del 2003 su Monteverdi, ancora nella Villa Medicea di Artimino, organizzati dalla Fondazione Centro Studi Rinascimento Musicale. Cfr. Atti del Seminario straordinario L’età d’oro del Canto italiano: la Scuola romana, Regione Lazio e Fondazione Centro Studi Rinascimento Musicale; e Atti del Convegno L’età d’oro del Canto Italiano: prospettive di rinascita, sempre a cura della Fondazione medesima, il primo volume pubblicato nell’Inverno e il secondo nella Primavera del 2002.

2)  A. Gianuario, Vincenzo Galilei, la dissonanza e la seconda pratica, in Atti del Convegno su Vincenzo Galilei, a cura di D. Bertoldi e R. Cresti, Santa Maria a Monte (Pisa) 1988. Cfr. la recente pubblicazione della Fondazione Centro Studi Rinascimento Musicale, Artimino 2002, dove vengono raccolte alcune testimonianze su Gianuario, il suo scritto su Vincenzo Galilei, la dissonanza e la seconda pratica e il Discorso di Vincenzo Galilei intorno all’uso delle dissonanze (Ms. di Firenze) commentato dallo stesso Gianuario.

3)  N. Anfuso, Tecnica di canto e monodia di seconda pratica, in “Poesia e musica nell’estetica del XVI e XVII secolo”, a cura del Centro Studi Rinascimento Musicale, Artimino 1976.

4)  A. Gianuario, Modalità e realtà fonetica nel “Lamento d’Arianna” di Claudio Monteverdi, Fondazione Centro Studi Rinascimento Musicale, Artimino 1999.

5)  N. Anfuso, L’età d’oro del Canto (XV-XVIII sec.). Dei Princìpi e degli Stili, Fondazione Centro Studi Rinascimento Musicale, Artimino 2002

6)  A. Gianuario, La monodia di Giulio Caccini, la sua realtà artistica e le manomissioni in atto, Centro Studi Rinascimento Musicale, Firenze 1979

7)  A. Gianuario, Saggio musicologico al CD Stilnovo 8803, Nella Anfuso, Canzoni veneziane.

8)  G. Mancini, Riflessioni pratiche sul Canto Figurato, Milano 1777.

9) A. Gianuario, Saggio musicologico al CD Stilnovo SN 8807, Nella Anfuso, Antonio Vivaldi, Cantate.

10) Cfr. CD Stilnovo SN 8806, Nella Anfuso Il canto figurato da Mozart a Bellini.

11) “Per capire l’importanza della scuola del Cotogni e di Guglielmina Rosati Ricci è essenziale il fatto che la Signora non conosceva i testi antichi, poiché il suo repertorio era quello a lei contemporaneo. Alla sottoscritta, che le faceva conoscere i testi antichi e le leggeva i passi più importanti (esecuzione spiccata dei passaggi, volatine ecc. trillo battuto, granito ecc.) rispondeva con un cenno del capo dicendo: “è quello che voglio anch’io, vedrai ci arriveremo”. E quando sono riuscita ad avere il mio strumento vocale perfetto, “con tanta fatica e lungo tempo” come dice il Tosi, ho capito che avevo trovato la corrispondenza fra la teoria (gli scritti antichi) e la pratica (la scuola della mia maestra)”(To understand the importance of the school of Cotogni and Guglielmina Rosati Ricci it is essential the fact that the lady did not know the antique texts, because her repertoire was contemporaneous. To the undersigned, that brought to her knowledge the antique texts and read the most important passages (the spiccata execution of the passages, volatine etc. repeated trills, granitic etc.) she replied with a nod of the head saying: “ it is what I want myself, you will see we shall arrive”. And when I have obtained my perfect vocal instrumen”, with great fatigue  and long time” as Tosi stated, I understood that I had found the correspondence between the theory (the antique writings) and the practice (the school of my teacher) da Incontro con Nella Anfuso di R. Cresti, in “Piano time”, Roma Marzo 2003.


(Firenze, 1953) ha scritto o curato 40 libri (importanti sono soprattutto i suoi scritti sulla musica contemporanea), è anche operatore culturale e didatta, docente di ruolo di Storia della Musica presso il Conservatorio “Luigi Boccherini” di Lucca.

Ha studiato al Conservatorio di Firenze (chitarra e contrabbasso) e all'Università di Bologna, prima laureandosi al DAMS, poi al Corso superiore di musicologia, con due tesi incentrate sulla figura di Wagner (dalle quali deriva il libro Wagner oggi, Padova 1983, seconda edizione con prefazione di Luigi Rognoni).

Negli anni Settanta fonda il Centro Musicale Fiorentino e la Rivista Prisma, scrivendo numerosi articoli su problematiche culturali. Compie anche diverse esperienze strumentali, toccando vari generi musicali.

Ha collaborato con numerose Università, anche estere (Cincinnati negli U.S.A., Tours in Francia, Vienna), Enti Lirici, Teatri di tradizione, Conservatori, Accademie, Associazioni internazionali, Istituzioni Culturali, Biennale di Venezia, Chigiana di Siena, RAI ecc. Ha curato Mostre e Convegni.

È stato collaboratore stabile di numerose Riviste musicali, fra cui “Piano Time”, “1985 La Musica”, “Sonus”, “Musica e dossier”, “Antologia del Gabinetto Viessuex”, e di Riviste culturali come “Luna nuova”, “Il martello”, “La Ballata” ecc. Dal 1988 è titolare della Rubrica I fatti della Musica su “Il Grandevetro” (Rivista per la quale ha organizzato numerose iniziative musicali). Collabora regolarmente alle Riviste “FaLaUt”, “Konsequenz”, “Angeli e Poeti”, “Erba d’Arno” e “feria” (quest’ultima gli ha dedicato, nel 2001, un libro, “Il cuore del suono”, che raccoglie tutti i suoi saggi scritti per la Rivista). Ha inoltre scritto per molte altre Riviste, anche straniere, e ha fatto parte della Direzione della Rivista “Musica Attuale”, per la quale ha curato numerosi Quaderni monografici su aspetti della musica del Novecento.

Suoi articoli sono stati tradotti in inglese, francese, tedesco e spagnolo.

Fra i suoi libri sono da citare quelli didattici, tra cui “Per una nuova storia della musica” (tre edizioni, ultima Eximia Forma, Roma 1994) ora in una nuovissima versione che utilizza la metodologia ipertestuale, edita da Feeria col titolo “Ipertesto di Storia della Musica”. Numerosi libri su vari musicisti, come il citato “Wagner Oggi”, “Giacomo Puccini, l’intimismo fatto spettacolo” (Fucecchio 1995, tradotto in inglese, Lucca 1998), Vincenzo Galilei (Santa Maria a Monte 1985), Franco Calabrese (Lucca 1997).


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