My choir is about to start rehearsal for Banchieri's cheeky Madrigal Comedy Il Festino. It's full of old fashioned nonsense. robust, cheeky, fun and a good sing! It's a great work for community choirs.
I am setting English words for us. I thought this would allow both the performers and the audience to have immediate access to the frivolity of the piece. I'm not going to fret over trying to be particularly Elizabethan. I'm no scholar of language of that period.
I am also rearranging parts to suit our needs (which I suspect are similar to most community choir needs) such as making sure alto parts aren't too high.
There are twenty pieces so for the next few weeks I'll share the songs as I write them. I will just write the choir parts to start with and then make some charts for musos. If you want it accompanied I think it would more authentic and playful with guitar (or mandolin or lute if you have one) than piano.
Enjoy! I don't know if my choir will learn all 20 songs in our time frame. If we don't get to them all, we could cut some and/or get smaller ensembles to sing some. I will work in order of songs we will definitely do, and add more as we learn more. I'm going to publish them here as I go, so they wont be in numeric order.
We are going to start with songs 11 and 12. Song 11 introduces song number 12 so they make a lovely pair that could stand alone in a concert. I started here because it's performed by animals and looks like fun.
UPDATE: I've added a few more since then - picking ones that look fun and are evenly-ish spaced out in the work so if we end up with smaller ensembles the tutti songs will be well spaced in the performance.
Song 11 - Caprice For Three Voices
I have made a few changes in order to accommodate the comfortable range of altos in community choirs. So there isn't a wide gap between alto and sop, I moved the sops quite low too. If you have altos who can sing E's with ease, you may prefer the original. Edit: When we started rehearsing this I changed back some of my changes which meant the altos sing quite high at bar 26 and 27. My altos were fine but I've put in alternate notes if your altos require them.
Song 12 - The Animals In Counterpoint
This is hilarious. With apologies to any old men who are decent and honest!
I have Anglicised the animal noises but you may prefer the original - they aren't very different.
Song 17 - The Feasters
Song 6 - Masquerade of the Lovers
I didn't change the words for this one.
The performance instructions are to sing like a lute that sounds like a spinet.
For your inspiration:
Song 1 - Modern Pleasures Makes An Introduction
Like many community choirs, we have some wonderful female tenors. In this piece I've added some alternative tenor notes for them when the tenor part went real low.
The original Italian words have clever rhyming. I have sung enough terrible English translations that have sacrificed all dignity to find rhymes that I have decided to only do it when I don't have to use ridiculous words to do so.
There are a few wordsmiths in my choir so we may workshop some rhymier ideas during rehearsal. I'll be sure to let you know!