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Thursday, March 11, 2004
  Frottola: Io non compro piu speranza
Marco Cara (ca. 1470-ca. 1525)
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 2 Tracks 44-46

Mr. Cara contradicts his text to great effect. Words that could discourage physical activity are set to dance music. There is no elegant ascent or climatic high note to sit and listen to. The memorable feature is the driving, syncopated six-beat pulse. Hearing his declamation of sour love, we are aware that, in spite of what the ladies may have said, our narrator's self-worth is undiminished.

This aggressive tune is helped by the two dueling viols. In this frottola, there is almost a cathartic violence as the singer seems to dance around these voices in conflict. The repetitive form is also helpful in that with each repeat we are increasingly able to anticipate the rhythms. We become more practiced and involved.

What I like about this frivolous frottola is the singer's final note. The almost absurd length of this last syllable breaks the established rhythm of the piece creating a coda section for the instrumental contingent. Most importantly, this sustained tone is our narrator's final assurance to us that he has not lost the ability to continue to dance. 

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In January 2004 I starting writing an opinion for each selection in the Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music. Now, more than a year later, I am almost finished. Soon, I will have an archive full of opinions on the music we so carelessly call "classical." And no one can stop me.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Director of the Contemporary Performer's Workshop... Music Teacher for St. Aloysius Gonzaga School... Principal 'Cellist of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra... Composer

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