From our award-winning Leonardo da Vinci program, the Florentine Carnival song Canto di lanzi sonatori di rubechine. Live, 4K ultra high definition video performed by Voices of Music, Hanneke van Proosdij & David Tayler, directors. Vocal soloists: Stefanie True and Deborah Rentz-Moore. The canti carnascialeschi or Carnival songs flourished under the Medicis, in particular Lorenzo the Magnificent in the late 15th century. Lorenzo actively promoted the form, and even wrote his own verses, then required members of his court and entourage to perform them. Lorenzo often chose stories drawn from classical mythology; in contrast, the songs performed in the streets (presumably this example) were satirical, rowdy, and replete with double entendre and innuendo. After Lorenzo’s death, the radical friar Savanarola largely eradicated both the music and the musical instruments in his bonfires of the vanities, although the festivals were revived in 1498. The Canto di Lanzi is anonymous, as are most examples of the genre, but would have been familiar to Leonardo in the streets and courts of Florence, along with the related form, the frottola. The music is from our Leonardo da Vinci program. We sourced manuscripts and prints from the cities, courts and places that Leonardo lived in and travelled to from c.1452-1519. The program, “O musical Odyssey” is tied together with a narration. In some cases, we have historical records that the music was performed at an event that da Vinci planned or attended. This program won the 2017-2018 San Francisco Classical Voice “Best of the Bay” award for “Best Chamber Music” concert.
Texts Canto di lanzi sonatori di rubechine Buon maestre rubechine Queste lanzi tutte stare: Chi ascolte suo sonare Un dolceze par divine.
Queste poche istromentuze Dar dilette et gran sollaze, Tutte cuor salte et galluzze Chi ‘l tener sonande in braze. Ma se star gran rubechaze, Non può far bel calatine.
Per pigliar dolce conforte habbiàn qui nostre marite, et sonande forte forte, sappiàn far belle stanpite: non afer ma’ più sentite si ghalante coselline.
Tutte sempre in ogni loche lanzi star liete et galante, et con gaudio, festa et guoche salte, suone, balle et cante: chè ’1 ben nostre tutte quante stare in queste cotaline.
Quando è poi cordate bene, caze in pugne quest’archette; su et giù diguaze et mene, taste destre et toche nette: chi più ingegne drente mette piu dolceze sente infine.
Song of the tiny-fiddle-playing soldiers These good masters of tiny fiddles These Lanzi stay firm To those who hear their playing The sweetness seems divine
These pocket sized instruments Give delight and great comfort All hearts jump and become lively Of those who hold them in their arms to play them But if they are bass fiddles They can’t make beautiful calatine (music with a fast tempo).
To take sweet comfort We have our husbands here And playing loudly, loudly We know how to make beautiful dance music You have never heard Such gallant/romantic little things.
Always and in every place All the Lanzi are happy and romantic/gallant With joy, celebration, and games Jumping, music, dances, and songs: Because the contentment that fills all of us Is found in this little jewel case.
When the fiddle is well-strung Take this little bow in hand Pull and push it up and down Play/touch dexterously and play cleanly He who puts the most talent into it Will feel the most sweetness at the end.
Translation by Cynthia Craig Simon & David Tayler, with Lawrence Rosenwald.