Faà di Bruno, Giovanni Matteo [Horatio, Orazio] 83



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Festa, Sebastiano


(b Villafranca Sabauda, Piedmont, c1490–95; d Rome, 31 July 1524). Italian composer, perhaps related to Costanzo Festa. He may have received his early training in Turin, where his father Jacobinus resided in the 1520s. The first page of I-Bc Q19 has the inscription ‘1518 / a di 10 di zugno / seb. festa’ above a motet, Angele Dei, presumably by Festa (the manuscript contains two other motets by him as well as several by Costanzo Festa). The manuscript is thought to have been compiled in north-east Italy c1516–19; the extent to which Sebastiano Festa was involved with, or even copied, the entire manuscript (the first pages are an addition, preceding the index) remains a matter for speculation. Festa was active in Rome, in a circle of musicians connected with the papal court of Leo X (d 1521). In 1520 he was in the employ of Ottobono Fieschi, a young Genoese noble who was bishop of Mondovì, near Turin, who lived in Rome as protonotary for Leo X; in the same year Festa was given a canonicate at Turin Cathedral.

Festa's small output (four motets and about a dozen madrigals) suggests that he died young. He is nonetheless important as one of the earliest cultivators of the nascent madrigal, along with Carpentras and Pisano, both in Leo X's chapel; Costanzo Festa, also a member of this chapel, and Verdelot (in Rome c1520) must have known his work. His Italian pieces are written in a very simple texture of chordal declamation varied only by an occasional pre-cadential melisma. One or two show hints of frottola rhythms but on the whole the patterns are derived from the French chanson of the period. These madrigals were well known in Florence, copied into manuscripts such as I-Fn Magl.164–7 and US-NH 179 in the 1520s; during that decade Roman printers published most of them.

One piece in particular, O passi sparsi, setting a Petrarch sonnet in an unassuming and schematic way, appears in many manuscripts: in the Libro primo de la croce (RISM 15266, a reprint of a lost earlier edition), in an Attaingnant print of 1533 (Claudin de Sermisy wrote a mass based on it) and in many later 16th-century prints where it is, alas, attributed to Costanzo Festa. It was also a favourite among instrumental intabulators.

WORKS


all 4vv

Edition: Libro primo de la croce (Rome: Pasoti and Dorico, 1526): canzoni, frottole et capitoli, ed. W.F. Prizer (Madison, WI, 1978) [P]


sacred


Angele Dei (dated 10 June 1518), I-Bc Q19, ed. K. Jeppesen, Italia sacra musica, ii (Copenhagen, 1962)

Haec est illa dulcis rosa, Bc Q19

In illo tempore, Bc Q19

Virgo gloriosa, Bc Q20

secular


Amor che mi tormenti, P

Amor se vuoi ch’io torna, P

Ben mi credea passar, P

Come senza costei viver, P

L’ultimo dì di maggio, P; also ed. in Torrefranca, 486

O passi sparsi, P; also ed. in Haar, 1964, 229

Perche quel che mi trasse, P; facs. in K. Jeppesen: La frottola (Copenhagen, 1968)

Se amor qualche rimedio, 15302

Se’l pensier che mi strugge, P

Vergine sacra, P

doubtful


Amor che vedi ogni pensiero aperto, Bc Q21 (see Gallico, 13, 97f)

Amor quando fioriva mia speme, Fn Magl.XIX.164–7 (see Pannella, 7f, 42)

Nova angeletta sovra l’ale accorta, ed. in CMM, xxxii/1 (1966); see Pannella, 42

Or vedi, Amore, che giovinetta donna, ed. in CMM, xxxii/1 (1966); see Pannella, 42

Poi ch’io parti’ da cui partir, ed. in CMM, xxxii/1 (1966); see Pannella, 42

Quando el suave mio fido conforto, Fn Magl.XIX.164–7 (see Gallico, 13, 85f)

Se l’aura a l’ombra, anon. in 15302 and 153415, attrib. Festa in VogelB, 625

BIBLIOGRAPHY


F. Torrefranca: Il segreto del Quattrocento (Milan, 1939)

W.H. Rubsamen: Literary Sources of Secular Music in Italy (ca. 1500) (Berkeley, 1943/R)

A. Einstein: The Italian Madrigal (Princeton, NJ, 1949/R)

C. Gallico, ed.: Un canzoniere musicale italiano del Cinquecento (Florence, 1961)

W.H. Rubsamen: ‘Sebastian Festa and the Early Madrigal’, GfMKB, [Kassel 1962], ed. G. Reichert and M. Just (Kassel, 1963), 122–6

F.A. D’Accone: ‘Bernardo Pisano: an Introduction to his Life and Works’, MD, xvii (1963), 115–35

Chanson & Madrigal, 1480–1530 [Cambridge, MA, 1961], ed. J. Haar (Cambridge, 1964).

L. Pannella: ‘Le composizioni profane di una raccolta fiorentina del Cinquecento’, RIM, iii (1968), 3–47

K. Jeppesen: La frottola (Copenhagen, 1968–70)

I. Fenlon and J. Haar: The Italian Madrigal in the early 16th Century: Sources and Interpretation (Cambridge, 1988)

J.A. Owens, ed.: Introduction to Bologna, Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale, MS Q19 (‘The Rusconi Codex’) (New York, 1988)

R. Nosow: ‘The Dating and Provenance of Bologna, Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale, MS Q 19’, JM, ix (1991), 92–108

JAMES HAAR




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