Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643) ranks not only as a major composer of the Early Baroque, but also as one of the most important and influential figures in music history. His madrigals — secular songs usually on the theme of love and written for a small number of voices, often unaccompanied — are now the subject of much study, recording, and performances. Recognized today for their profound effect on the transition from the polyphonic style of the late Renaissance to the declamatory homophonic style of the Baroque, they are among the greatest musical legacies from the past. The present volume presents all the madrigals from Book VIII, the last and one of the most popular books of madrigals written by Monteverdi and produced under his supervision. Originally published in Venice in 1638, it comprises two parts, Canti Guerrieri and Canti Amorosi ("pertaining to war and love"), and represents a grand retrospective of music Monteverdi composed over some 30 years. The book is reprinted here from an authoritative Italian edition and includes a new preface, new English translations of the original prefatory material (including a major theoretical statement), and the Italian texts printed in poem form facing new English line-for-line literal translations.
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