Michele Pesenti: Complete Works

Edited by Anthony M. Cummings, Linda L. Carroll, and Alexander Dean
Recent Researches in the Music of the Renaissance, 171
liii + 218pp, $350
A-R Editions, Inc ISBN 978-1-9872-0139-0

So there are a total of 36 surviving pieces by Michele Pesenti (c. 1470-c1528), of which only three are sacred. The remainder survive as settings in four parts (mostly with only the top part texted) or for voice with lute. This excellent volume not only provides performing versions of them all, but goes to great lengths to explain how the poetry of the time works (and how that has guided the editors to underlay the text in the most appropriate fashion), as well as detailed commentaries on and translations of them all. Two of the secular pieces are Latin odes. The works with lute give both tablature and staff notation versions, making this music accessible to all performers of this neglected repertoire – it would be intriguing to hear the various settings of the same text one after the other (definitely NOT in one of these “mix and match” programmes that is de rigeur at the moment!).

This is a great example of scholars working together – thank goodness not all musicologists are as territorial as some I have encountered!

Brian Clark

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