Musical covers have a long tradition and the programme of this CD makes this clear. The cover artist even at
the end of the Renaissance was not as well known as the original artist. Was it a tribute when the lesser
gods of music used their famous colleagues as the starting point for new compositions or was this
considered a lack of originality or inspiration? What can one say about real plagiarism? In those days
author's copyright were not an issue.
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c1525-1594) is above all known as the master of sacred music and a
figurehead of the Counter-reformation, however, early in his career, a selection of four-part secular madrigals
were published. In the preface to his collection of motets (Cantica Canticorum, which he dedicates to Pope
Gregorius XIII), Palestrina appears to be hypocritical, writing in 1584, that he felt ashamed to have been
occupied with something as frivolous as madrigals previously. This however didn't stop him from publishing a
new collection of four-part madrigals two years later. In the end it never resulted in a whole collection of fivepart
madrigals but throughout his life Palestrina often contributed to other collections of madrigals.
Two of the five-part madrigals attracted particular attention and became hits: Vestiva i colli and Io son ferito,
the latter being the madrigal central to this CD. Io son ferito was first published in an anthology of madrigals,
the Terzo libro delle Muse (Venice 1561). In this collection, Palestrina's madrigals are represented more than
those of any other composer. In fact Io son ferito was added to at least five other anthologies, even after
Numerous Italian and many foreign musicians took note of the piece. Orlando di Lasso used the madrigal as
a base for his Missa Io son ferito (Munich 1589). Palestrina himself made a cover of his own madrigal in a
mass in his posthumously published eleventh collection of masses, however, it was named Missa Petra
Sancta, without referring to the original text. Monteverdi’s Mantuan colleague Amante Franzoni and the
Roman, Giuseppe Giamberti are two of the lesser known composers that offered their take on Io son ferito.
The South German organist Christian Erbach even combined both of these popular pieces together in his
Ricercar noni toni sopra le fuge io son ferito, hai lasso e vestiva i colli.
As is the case with many madrigals, the lyricist of Io son ferito is unknown. The question is also whether or
not the text (a lament of an abandoned lover) was the reason for its popularity. Maybe it is due to the relative
simplicity and the balanced harmonic structure of the musical setting which asks for more and more
ornamentation. Due to the addition of often very virtuoso ornaments (diminutions), many instrumental
arrangements of the last decade of the 16th century paved the way for Baroque music by pushing the typical
Renaissance polyphonic structure into the background so that one voice would become overladen with