The University of Mississippi

Music 502: Baroque Music

Summary of Monteverdi, L'Orfeo

Toccata: fanfare

Prologo: strophic recitative--5 vss with ritornelli a 5

Act 1, the wedding
  A. Wedding             B. Ballet               C. Sacrifice
   shep. recit.            Cho. Lasciate;rit a 5   shep; rit a 5 (3/2)
   Cho. Vieni Imeneo       shep, Orf, Eur (recit)  duet; rit a 5 (3/2)
   nymph recit.            Cho. Lasciate;rit a 5   trio; rit a 5 (3/2)
                            reprise Cho. Vieni     Cho. Ecco Orfeo

Act 2, the death of Euridice
  A. Song 1:sym. a 5     B. Song 2      C. Recit. scene   D. Final chorus
      Orf;rit a 3 (run)    Orfeo's song     messenger (Ahi)   Cho. Ahi
      shep;rit a 3 (run)    (4 vss, each  shep (Ahi)         messenger
      shep;rit a 3 (sal)    preceded by   Orfeo:              sym (chrom)
      duet;rit a 3 (sal)    rit a 5)       Tu se morta       duet
      duet;rit a 3 (run)                                    Cho. Ahi
      duet;rit a 3 (run)                                     duet
      Cho. Dunque fa degno                                  Cho. Ahi

Act 3, the road to Hades (brass insts., male chorus of spirits)
  A. Hope, and Charon    B. Orfeo's plea     C. Charon's sleep
     Rit (from prolog)     Sym a 5 (canzona)   Orf continues (recit)
     Sym a 7 (canzona)     "Possente spirto":  Symphonia a 7 (canzona)
     Orf & Speranza(recit)    vs 1 violins       Cho.(greatness of man)
     Charon's challenge       vs 2 cornetts    Symphonia a 7 (canzona)
                              vs 3 harps
                              vs 4 string trio
                              vs 5 simply, acc.
                           Charon's reply (recit)
                           Sym a 5 (canzona)

Act 4, the road from Hades
  A. Proserpina intercedes  B. The Walk      C. Choral commentary
      Pros, Pluto &          Orf. walking aria    Symphonia a 7 (loud)
      spirits (recit)          rit a 3, vs 1      Cho. (self-control)
      Cho.(triumph of Love)    rit a 3, vs 2      Symphonia a 7 (loud)
                               rit a 3, vs 3
                             Change to recit
                               (doubt, defiance)
                             The Look: Orf, Eur, spirit

Act 5, the rescue (return to strings, mixed chorus (shepherds & nymphs)
  A. Orfeo alone          B. Apollo appears   C. Conclusion
    Rit. from prolog          Symphonia a 5     Ritornello a 5
    Orf & Echo (recit)         (from Possente)  Cho. Vanne Orfeo (2 vss)
                              Duet (ornamented)  Moresca a 5

Warren Steel

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