Quinto part from Del gran tuonante

Andrea Gabrieli
6 minutes

A magnificent large-scale madrigal. Martin Morell has provided the following note: The piece was previously published by Merritt, in Vol. 12 of the Complete Madrigals, and Merritt provides what seems to me to be a reasonably accurate translation of its rather convoluted sonnet-form text. (See below). The "sorella e moglie" of the "gran Tuonante" is of course Juno/Hera, and it seems that she is attempting to launch a pre-emptive strike, as it were, on an unnamed rival who is journeying on the high seas. To this end she enlists the aid of Aeolus, who unleashes Circius, the north-west wind. The scheme is foiled, however, by Nereus, and Juno is obliged to "cede the palm." Although Juno certainly had a reputation for being nasty when her jealousy was aroused, the story recounted in the sonnet has no parallel in classical mythology that I am aware of. This makes me suspect that the madrigal is an "occasional" piece, commemorating the arrival in Venice of some illustrious (and, no doubt, still queasy) female personage after a not-so-uneventful voyage. ("How about a cup of tea and a nice madrigal or two to calm your nerves, dear?")

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