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mjhurst  mjhurst is offline
Join Date: 24 Jul 2003
Location: California, U.S.A.
Posts: 316
Triumph of Death: A Carnival Song

I just encountered the abstract of a 2004 journal article by William F. Prizer, from Early Music History (v.23, pages 185-252) and thought it worth passing along. I'll check out the article itself on my next library visit, but the abstract seemed worthwhile in its own right and a good excuse for posting a passage from Vasari (and mentioning Burckhardt again).

Reading Carnival: The Creation Of A Florentine Carnival Song
William F. Prizer
University of California, Santa Barbara

One of the most famous – and unusual – carnival songs from Renaissance Florence is ‘Dolor, pianto e penitentia’, variously entitled Carro della morte, Trionfo della morte, Canzona de' morti, or Canzone a ballo della morte. Unlike the majority of Florentine canti carnascialeschi, it is a spiritual text, so resembling a lauda spirituale that the Dominican Serafino Razzi and others could include it virtually unchanged in collections of laude. Shortly after its performance, its text was published in Florence, probably towards the end of the first decade of the Cinquecento, in the chapbook titled La canzona de' morti. This small pamphlet also included a woodcut depiction of the carro (Figure 1) and four other texts, all equally penitential: Castellano Castellani's Lauda della morte, ‘Cuor maligno e pien di fraude’, modelled on the Dies irae; a Sonetto di messer Castellano, ‘Voi che guardate a questi morti intorno’; a Canzona del carro del travaglio, ‘Perché el tempo dà e toglie’; and a lauda, ‘O mondana sapienza’, which closely imitates ‘Dolor, pianto e penitentia’, including even the word ‘penitenza’ at the end of each stanza.
This appears to be the woodcut he mentioned, which I captured from Google Books display of Il mago, il santo, la morte, la festa: forme religiose nella cultura popolare (1988), by Annamaria Rivera.

The general context for this is probably best described by Burckhardt's chapter on Festivals.

The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy

Best regards,
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