Musica Transalpina. Cantus [Altus-Tenor-Quintus-Sextus-Bassus]. Madrigales translated of foure, five and sixe parts, chosen out of divers excellent Authors, vvith the first and second part of La Verginella, made by Maister Byrd, upon two Stanz's of Ariosto, and brought to speake English with the rest.
by YONGE, Nicholas, ed.
Published by N. Yonge, in favour of such as take pleasure in Musick of voices. Titles within elaborate typographical border, full-page woodcut coat-of-arms of Gilbert Lord Talbot on verso of titles (tail of rampant lion at outer edge cropped in each vol.), & woodcut initials throughout. Six vols. Small 4to, fine 19th-cent. green morocco, signed "Bound by F. Bedford," sides lettered & panelled in gilt, gilt device in center, gilt fleurons in corners, a.e.g. London: "Imprinted at London by Thomas East, the assignè of William Byrd, 1588." [with]:--. Musica Transalpina. Cantus [Altus-Tenor-Quintus-Sextus-Bassus]. The Second Booke of Madrigalles, to 5. & 6. voices: translated out of sundrie Italian Authors & newly published by Nicolas Yonge. Titles within typographical border, full-page woodcut coat-of-arms of Sir Henry Lennard on verso of titles, & woodcut initials throughout. Six vols. Small 4to, bindings as above. London: Printed by Thomas Este, 1597. First editions and very rare; the Locker-Lampson (bookplate) -- E.D. Church -- W.A. White (?) -- John Whipple Frothingham (bookplate) copies. These two madrigal anthologies of Yonge (d. 1619), "are important because they popularized the form in England and laid the foundations for an indigenous madrigal school by providing continental models for Elizabethan composers to imitate... "Yonge is best remembered today as the editor of two anthologies of mostly Italian vocal music published, with English texts, as Musica transalpina in 1588 and 1597. The first volume, containing fifty-seven 'madrigals' -- the first recorded English use of the term, and applied here not only to true madrigals, but also to chansons, canzonets, and other forms--was international in scope. It none the less betrayed a certain local bias: of its eighteen composers, the most liberally represented was Alfonso Ferrabosco the elder, who had lived in England from 1562 to 1578. Yonge also included William Byrd's English setting of Ariosto's 'La verginella', the first stanza of which had appeared in Italian some months earlier in the composer's own Psalmes, Sonets & Songs. In the dedication, addressed to Lord Gilbert Talbot, Yonge suggested that the publication grew out of the need to supply suitable material for friends to sing at daily music meetings in his home. As the repertory provided was mostly Italian, and those unfamiliar with the language either did not participate or did so 'with litle delight', he sought more music in the vernacular. Finding few suitable native compositions, he borrowed English versions of pieces translated by 'a Gentleman', and these and others like them proved so popular that he was eventually persuaded to publish a selection. A third of the pieces were drawn from madrigal anthologies issued in 1583 and 1585 by Pierre Phalèse of Antwerp. The success of Yonge's first collection led to its reprinting in 1593 or 1594. His 1597 volume, containing only twenty-four items by eleven composers, was less influential, though six of its lyrics were reset by later composers, a higher proportion than the nine reset from the first volume."-ODNB. Provenance note: Frothingham (1878-1935), who at the time of his marriage in 1921 lived just up the street at 375 West End Avenue, was the nephew of William Augustus White (1843-1927), the great collector of Elizabethan literature and William Blake. Following his uncle's death, Frothingham inherited a portion of White's library which he removed to France and where it remained until very recently. Fine, complete, and handsome set. We can trace no copies being sold at auction since the 1930s and only one copy in the trade (William Schab's Cat. 14 in 1950, $1200). This is not the set listed in Bartlett's 1914 and 1926 catalogues of White's library. ❧ Grove, Vol. 20, p. 574. Locker-Lampson, The Rowfant Library, II (1886), p. 134. Pforzheimer 1104 & 1105 (both incomplete). Steele, Bibliography of English Music, 112 & 155. . (Inventory #: HillBibl-4919)
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