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READING CARNIVAL: THE CREATION OF A FLORENTINE CARNIVAL SONG

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 September 2004

WILLIAM F. PRIZER
Affiliation:
University of California, Santa Barbara

Extract

One of the most famous – and unusual – carnival songs from Renaissance Florence is ‘Dolor, pianto e penitentia’, variously entitled Carro della morte, Trionfo della morte, Canzona de' morti, or Canzone a ballo della morte. Unlike the majority of Florentine canti carnascialeschi, it is a spiritual text, so resembling a lauda spirituale that the Dominican Serafino Razzi and others could include it virtually unchanged in collections of laude. Shortly after its performance, its text was published in Florence, probably towards the end of the first decade of the Cinquecento, in the chapbook titled La canzona de' morti. This small pamphlet also included a woodcut depiction of the carro (Figure 1) and four other texts, all equally penitential: Castellano Castellani's Lauda della morte, ‘Cuor maligno e pien di fraude’, modelled on the Dies irae; a Sonetto di messer Castellano, ‘Voi che guardate a questi morti intorno’; a Canzona del carro del travaglio, ‘Perché el tempo dà e toglie’; and a lauda, ‘O mondana sapienza’, which closely imitates ‘Dolor, pianto e penitentia’, including even the word ‘penitenza’ at the end of each stanza.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2004 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

I should like to thank Professor H. Colin Slim, Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of California, Irvine; Professors Linda and George Bauer, Professors of Art History at the same institution; and Professor Patrick Macey of the Eastman School of Music for their valuable comments on an earlier draft of this study. I am also grateful to Professor Alejandro Enrique Planchart for numerous helpful suggestions, and to Dr Bonnie Blackburn and Dr Leofranc Holford-Strevens for their suggestions.
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