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Madrigals: “Fine Knacks for Ladies” and “Madrigal de Nîmes”

It all leads–at least to this point–to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Alabama Shakes, with stops at Fats Waller, Tony Bennett and all the others along the way.

But it has to start somewhere. Madrigals were not at the very start, of course, but close enough to it. The above clip from The King’s Singers — which starts out like a Monty Python skit — offers some background on this type of music and then presents Fine Knacks for Ladies, which was written by John Dowland in about 1600. Below is a beautiful performance by students at California State University at Long Beach. I believe that the choir is singing Gabriel Fauré’s Madrigal de Nîmes. Please let me know if I have it wrong.

Here is a succinct definition of madrigals from Last.fm:

A madrigal is a secular vocal music composition, usually a partsong, of the Renaissance and early Baroque eras. Traditionally, polyphonic madrigals are unaccompanied; the number of voices varies from two to eight, and most frequently from three to six. (Continue Reading…)

It’s certainly not every day music today, but it’s important and some of it–particularly pieces such as the one below–still is quite enjoyable.