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Bawdy Banchieri

July 29, 2009

I hadn't heard of the Italian Renaissance composer Adriano Banchieri (1567 -- 1634) until the directors of the early music ensemble with which I perform decided to mount one of the Italian Renaissance composer's pioneering madrigal comedies, Festino nella sera del giovedì grasso ("Entertainment for the eve of Carnival Thursday") this summer. A madrigal comedy is a collection of madrigals strung together to present a comical story.

And the Festino is pretty nuts. In one of the movements, we all make different animal noises. I'm not talking about the flittering, rhythmic birdsong of a Janequin chanson that makes the listener think of owls and sparrows and cuckoos, but could just as easily not be about birds at all. I'm talking full-on dogs barking and cats meowing right in the middle of a piece of music.

Local music scholar Jospeh Sargent wrote a sweet little preview article about our concerts for San Francisco Classical Voice. Click here to read it. And click here to buy tickets to come and see/hear San Francisco Renaissance Voices perform Banchieri's carnivalesque Festino on August 8 (at San Francisco's 7th Avenue Performances in the Inner Sunset) and August 9 (at Alameda Presbyterian Church).


  • I remember this composition from the days when I had the seven-record (vinyl) collection of New York Pro Musica performances (still available, in vinyl, on It was, without a doubt, the wittiest part of the entire collection! My only regret is that I shall be out of town when these performances take place.

    By Blogger Stephen Smoliar, At July 29, 2009 at 12:49 PM  

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