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January 30, 2010
Francesco degli Organi, Francesco il Cieco, or Francesco da Firenze, called by later generations Francesco Landini or Landino (ca. 1,325 or 1,335 - September 2, 1,397) was an Italian composer, organist, singer, poet and instrument maker. He was one of the most famous and revered composers of the second half of the 14th century, and by far the most famous composer in Italy.
Cara mie donna (ballata)
John Potter, Rogers Covey-Crump, Paul Hillier
Landini was the foremost exponent of the Italian Trecento style, sometimes also called the "Italian ars nova". His output was almost exclusively secular. While there are records that he composed sacred music, none of it has survived. What have survived are eighty-nine ballate for two voices, forty-two ballate for three voices, and another nine which exist in both two and three-voice versions. In addition to the ballate, a smaller number of madrigals have survived. Landini is assumed to have written his own texts for many of his works. His output, preserved most completely in the Squarcialupi Codex, represents almost a quarter of all surviving 14th century Italian music.
Landini is the eponym of the Landini cadence (or Landino sixth), a cadential formula whereby the sixth degree of the scale (the submediant) is inserted between the leading note and its resolution on the tonic. However this cadence neither originated with him, nor is unique to his music; it can be found in much polyphonic music of the period, and well into the 15th century (for example in the songs of Gilles Binchois). Gherardello da Firenze is the earliest composer to use the cadence whose works have survived. Yet Landini used the formula consistently throughout his music, so the eponym—which dates from after the medieval era—is appropriate.
The ballata (plural: ballate) is an Italian poetic and musical form, which was in use from the late 13th to the 15th century. It has the musical structure AbbaA, with the first and last stanzas having the same texts. It is thus most similar to the French musical 'forme fixe' virelai (and not the ballade as the name might otherwise suggest). The first and last "A" is called a ripresa, the "b" lines are piedi (feet), while the fourth line is called a "volta". Longer ballate may be found in the form AbbaAbbaA, etc. Unlike the virelai, the two "b" lines usually have exactly the same music and only in later ballate pick up the (formerly distinctly French) first and second (open and close) endings. The term comes from the verb ballare, to dance, and the form certainly began as dance music.
The ballata was one of the most prominent secular musical forms during the trecento, the period often known as the Italian ars nova. Ballate are sung at the end of each day of Boccaccio's Decameron (only one musical setting of these poems, by Lorenzo da Firenze, survives). Early ballate, such as those found in the Rossi Codex are monophonic. Later, ballate are found for two or three voices. The most notable composer of ballate is Francesco Landini, who composed in the second half of the 14th century. Other composers of ballata include Andrea da Firenze, a contemporary of Landini, as well as Bartolino da Padova, Johannes Ciconia, and Zacara da Teramo. In the 15th century both Arnold de Lantins and Guillaume Dufay wrote ballate; they were among the last to do so.
Francesco Landini - Cara mie donna (25/25) [ballata]