Purpose and Intent
The music of the Renaissance, being primarily known for its vocal works, is a relatively untapped resource for the modern-day flutist. This quartet arrangement serves the purpose of introducing flutists to a style and genre of music to which they would not otherwise be exposed. This quartet, which is rooted in the vocal tradition, provides a pedagogical tool for teaching chord tuning, pitch control, and phrasing to high school and college flutists. For the professional flutist, this quartet also serves as contrast to the standard flute quartet repertoire. It can be performed on its own or paired with other Renaissance flute quartets.
Jacques Arcadelt (ca. 1507-1568) was a composer from the Franco-Flemish tradition who lived and composed in Italy. In 1539, he published a book of madrigals containing Il bianco e dolce cigno. This madrigal is a quintessential example of the early madrigal style containing homorhythmic and imitative textures, as well as word painting.
The white and sweet swan
dies singing, and I,
weeping, reach the end of my life.
Strange and different fate,
that he dies disconsolate
and I die a blessed death,
which in dying fills me
full of joy and desire.
If in dying, were I to feel no other pain,
I would be content to die a thousand deaths a day.