Listening Assignment - Late Renaissance Text-Painting
English Madrigal by Thomas Weelkes
"As Vesta Was from Latmos Hill
(published 1601 in The Triumphs of Oriana, madrigal anthology for Elizabeth I)
by Thomas Weelkes (c. 1575-1623)
As Vesta was from Latmos Hill descending,
She spied a maiden Queen the same ascending,
Attended on by all the shepherd's swain;
To whom Diana's darlings came running down amain
First two by two, then three by three together
Leaving their Goddess all alone, hasted thither;
And mingling with the shepherds of her train,
With mirthful tunes her presence did entertain.
Then sang the shepherds and nymphs of Diana:
Long live fair Oriana!
- TEXT: Who is Vesta? Who is the Queen? Who is Diana? Who is "the Goddess"? What exactly is going on in the above text?! Why is it the subject of such a song? Where would this piece have been heard and by whom?
- RHYTHM: What is the meter? the subdivision? Does the tempo remain the same throughout? Are there any noticeable rhythmic surprises (syncopation, hockets, etc.)?
- HARMONY: Where are the cadences? The harmony is generally pretty modern and tonal in this madrigalis there anything that sticks out as strange to you? (Maybe not.)
- Can you assess an identifiable FORMin the sense of repetition of musical materials? Or would you have to say the madrigal is unique and "through-composed"?
- MORE TEXT: Please mark in your text above, all the instances you can find, of TEXT-PAINTING or MADRIGALISM (= when the music deliberately illustrates the text). Please note how MELODY, TEXTURE, HARMONY, TIMBRE, DYNAMICS/EXPRESSION (and any other parameters you can muster) are all put into the service of the extramusical illustration.