Philippe Verdelot one of the composers credited with developing the Italian madrigal. Though French, he spent most of his professional life in Florence. His publications spread throughout Europe and set the model for this Renaissance vocal form.
Verdelot wrote mostly five- and six-voice madrigals. This release features some of his less-common four-voice madrigals. They were originally published in two volumes and later collected in a 1540 posthumous publication, Di Verdelotto / tutti li madrigali del primo et del secondo libro a quatro voci.
Profeti dell Quinta delivers exceptionally beautiful performances of these madrigals. And their careful study of these works let their singing reveal all of Verdelot’s subtleties.
For Verdeolot (and his followers), madrigals were about illustrating poetry. The melodies are often through-composed, with the shape, rhythm, and even intervals in service of the words.
Concepts such as darkness and light are reinforced with key choices and major or minor intervals. “Falling” might be sung over a descending scale; “halt” might bring the music to a sudden stop, and so on.
The artistry in Porfeti della Quinta lies in their ability to understand the foundation of this music. And to let that foundation inform their performances.
The result is a series of incredibly beautiful vocal quartets that beguile the ear. Texts are included in the booklet. So you can follow along and fully appreciate Verdelot’s skill at word-painting.
Or you can just listen to Porfeti della Quinta’s singing, and receive the intent of the music without understanding a word of it.
Philippe Verdelot: Madrigals for four voices
Porfeti della Quinta; Elam Rotem, director
Pan Classics PC 10422