Domenico Massenzio da Ronciglione – Opera omnia

The monumental critical edition of the Opera Omnia of Domenico Massenzio, an early baroque composer from the Rome area, was edited by Claudio Dall’Albero and Mauro Bacherini, laid out in six fine volumes, in 25 x 32 cm format binding, and featuring details from a painting of the period on the dustjackets. The first two volumes contain the five books of motets and the third, fourth and fifth volumes the psalms, while the sixth volume contains the Compline, the madrigals and the compositions appearing in various locations, among them some new discoveries of works hitherto unknown or considered partly lost.
«I should like to point out that, thanks to the great attention paid to practical objectives, the music is rendered clear and readily performable, with none but essential graphical additions to ordinary modern notation. On the other hand, the meticulous and exhaustive apparatus criticus in each volume makes the edition impeccable from a scientific and philological point of view. Moreover, instances of 17th-century Roman musicians’ opera omnia are rare, so that the undertaking is of great interest not only for performers but also for researchers into this extraordinary historical period. The publication is laid out in six volumes».
(Agostino Ziino, from the Preface)



Carlo Milanuzzi da Santa Natoglia. Sacred music

«Gianni Rugginenti publishes the complex work of a scholar, Claudio Dall’Albero, whose philological expertise surprises us. … A critical apparatus perfection that is rare to find in foreign publications, and including also the collaborations of other scholars, Dinko Fabris and Pino Bartocci, Antonella Nigro, Marcello Candela, David Mitchell, Flavio Gatti, associated with Dall’Albero in the enterprise, to which it is not hyperbolic, for once, recognizing excellence».
(Quirino Principe, Il Sole 24 ore)

«The volume contains also an accurate biographical note by Pino Bartocci and a concise but exhaustive compendium by Dall’Albero; it illustrates, with scientific rigor, the early seventeenth century sacred polyphonic music history of notation and performance practice aspects».
(Giovanni Tasso, Il Giornale della Musica)

«It is thanks to the musical and musicological professionality of Claudio Dall’Albero and to the tenacious researches pursued with a passion by Pino Bartocci that the figure of Carlo Milanuzzi and his music can today at last emerge from the shadows of oblivion and achieve a highly respected place in the current panorama of rediscovery of early Italian music. In this volume are to be found, transcribed for the first time in almost four hundred years, four of the ten sacred works printed by Milanuzzi in the years following 1619, when he had just made his definitive move to Venice».
(Dinko Fabris, from the Preface)

Famous ancient arias (Celebri arie antiche)

«Proper acquaintance with ancient music and related performance practice, now common both in the profession and among mere enthusiasts who are not specialists, has disqualified from use certain vocal anthologies compiled fifty to a hundred years ago in accordance with criteria of transcription and interpretation which - without impugning the good taste of the selections - oscillated between the arbitrary and the willing but approximate. Claudio Dall’Albero and Marcello Candela have rinsed all these materials in the waters of a philological scrupulousness always conjoined with musicality. For each aria, they have gone back to its source (carrying out a collation where these sources were several), restoring melody lines, formal, rhythmic and harmonic structures, tonality etc. to their original setting, producing correct transcriptions of musical and poetic texts, and shaping the bass realisations by criteria of historical correctness and simplicity. This initiative fills a gap in publication and in teaching, and provides a useful aid for the propaedeutics of ancient vocal style».
(Giovanni Carli Ballola, musicologist)

«The collection of Celebri Arie Antiche examined afresh by Claudio Dall’Albero and Marcello Candela is a book of singular value, which I recommend to singing students and professionals alike. This work, devised at it has been, in fact represents an excellent training-ground, not only for developing and maintaining vocal technique and musicality, but also for refining taste.
It is precisely in this repertory that the roots of our beautiful tradition of song are located; rediscovering them in their original and pure form will be of sure benefit to whoever wishes to approach them.
(Franco Corelli, tenore)

«The realisation of the basso continuo in the baroque repertory should, in my judgment, be extemporised, as was the practice at the time. With a few exceptions, it is unfortunately not common today for this to be done to a high standard, at least in Italy.
From this point of view, it is indeed true that the work of Claudio Dall’Albero and Marcello Candela distances itself deliberately from historical performance practice. But from another point of view, it constitutes an excellent tool for making better known this splendid repertory, restored to its original guise, as well as a sound basis suggestive of the road to be followed by anyone who wishes to engage in a deeper study of 17th-century Italian continuo style and technique, and come closer to the improvisatory practice typical of the period».
(Alan Curtis, harpsichordist)

«The publication Celebri Arie Antiche makes a precise and authoritative contribution just where philological rigour was seriously wanting, enabling the best-known arias of the early baroque to flower again in their purest attire, thanks to the authors’ paying the greatest and most scrupulous attention to the authentic harmonisation procedures of the period and an always simple pianism, harpsichord-like in character, and untouched by the developments that were to follow.
All of this makes Celebri Arie Antiche a production of the highest quality and of wise balance, and entitles it to represent everywhere and without any restriction our musical patrimony from the early baroque period».
(Ennio Morricone, composer)

«The programmes of the Italian conservatories call, in a variety of situations, for the study and performance of the so-called ‘arie antiche’. From the early years of the 20th century until today, the arie have become famous, particularly those of the 17th and 18th centuries included in various anthologies, which were, however, realised in a harmonic guise out of keeping with the original stylistic parameters.
While recognising without any question the evident merit of Claudio Dall’Albero and Marcello Candela in concluding a work of high artistic and philological integrity, someone might judge superfluous a new edition of these compositions, especially considering the numerous reprints of those obsolete versions that are in existence. I deem it, on the contrary, most important that the authors should have decided to reexamine precisely this music, famous as it is; cleaned of the markings acquired from an outmoded 19th-century tradition, they have at last reappeared under their most authentic aspect».
(Irma Ravinale, director of the Conservatorio Santa Cecilia in Rome)

«I have much appreciated this work, Celebri Arie Antiche, especially for the original flavour that has been restored to this music. In particular, the harmonic choices that have been made, as being faithful to the style of the period, recreate a profoundly fascinating sound-world, suspended between modality and tonality.
I commend the study and performance of these arie to composers, singers and musicians in general, so that they may deepen their acquaintance with the language of the baroque, and thus acquire a musical culture which will prove useful also in the interpretation of the music of the following centuries».
(Wolfgang Sawallisch, direttore d’orchestra)

«Some of these songs have found a place in the anthologies of ancient arias, others are less known by non-specialists. What characterizes this edition, compared to others, is the care and rigor that have been lent to the musicological aspect, care and rigor that are concretized in a series of essays placed in the premise and occupying forty pages. Added to those dedicated to the real arias, they form a total of considerable consistency. We find particularly appreciable the part of the premise dedicated to the execution of embellishments and divisions in baroque music, with practical examples applied to an aria by Falconieri, and the philological rigor of the transcriptions».
(Giovanni Gioanola,

Ancient Arias of good taste
«A delightful editorial by the Rugginenti publishing house has presented, carefully revised by Claudio Dall’Albero and Marcello Candela, an anthology of 31 of the most famous Italian arias, played in Palaces as well a in Baroque stages. Introduced by an interesting historical overview by Antonella Nigro on singers and vocal techniques from the 16th century to the present day, the pages dedicated to the unhappy “castrato singers” –, completed by a schematic exposition of the criteria for the realization of what (embellishments and accompaniments) the original editions limited themselves to suggesting, accompanied by an extensive bibliography on the subject and a detailed list of handwritten and printed sources, the work of the editors is endorsed on the inside cover by a series of authoritative signatures. Irma Ravinale, director of the Conservatory, and a professional like Franco Corelli remind us how this operation restores to good taste a repertoire that has never been completely forgotten by the training practice of singers, but reached us through the filter of stylistic parameters of later periods; musicians with different skills, Alan Curtis, Wolfgang Sawallisch and Ennio Morricone applaud the rapprochement of these music to improvisational practice, to a characteristic harmonic garment suspended between modalities and tonalities, and to the popularizing function of this collection towards a slice of our musical heritage. But it is perhaps with the words of Giovanni Carli Ballola that we can briefly explain the meaning of the work of Candela and Dall’Albero, of which the musicologist appreciates the “philological conscientiousness not separated from musicality”: a way of inviting students, professionals, and enthusiastic amateurs (including Anglophones, given the scrupulous dual text of the volume) to verity the theory of these staves without forgetting to enjoy themselves».
(Sergio Bonino, Il Giornale della Musica)

«The starting point for the student singer, the repertoire of ancient arias is often mortified by a distracted didactic practice, anchored to outdated principles. The so-called ‘easy’ arias circulate in editions made many years ago, when studies on ancient performance practice had not yet developed and contemporary taste heavily modified the original writing. To give back to the most famous ancient Italian arias a philologically reliable guise is the intent of this volume, edited by Claudio Dall’Albero and Marcello Candela. After a long work of collating and researching the originals, the curators have created a valuable anthology in several respects.
Elements such as alterations, appoggiature, dynamics, harmonies, were treated based on criteria based on the treatises of the period: the harmonic elaboration of the basso continuo is for the harpsichord and secondly for the positive organ (not excluding a piano use for didactic): extensive documentation is provided on the selected implementation criteria, the sources of printed music and manuscripts. A particular space was also dedicated to considerations on the technique of Italian singing from the sixteenth century to the present day in which the author, Antonella Nigro, in a documented way addresses the delicate issues of vibrato, the function of castrati, the change of the vocal style from the early nineteenth century onwards.
Thirty-one arias included in the collection, including the famous Amarilli mia bella by Caccini, Vezzosette e care pupillette by Falconieri, Lamento d’Arianna by Monteverdi. There are widely represented authors such as Bononcini, Caccini, Caproli, Carissimi, Cavalli, Sestio, Legrenzi, Peri, Stradella, Tenaglia; each aria has been preceded by the incipit in the graphic aspect of the original so that the performer can be aware of the transcription criteria implemented. Particular mention goes to the editorial production of the volume, valuable for the care of the layout, for the clarity of the musical print, for the iconographic choices. In the flaps on the cover (a splendid reproduction of the painting by Gerrit van Honthorst, Un Concerto), the positive judgments of authoritative personalities from the musical world (including Giovanni Carli Ballola, Franco Corelli, Alan Curtis, Wolfgang Sawallisch) were reported regarding a volume that deserves to meet the favor of singers, teachers, students and scholars».
(Carla Di Lena, Piano Time)


Ma che parlo arabo?!? (‘Do you think I’m speaking Arabic?!? 60 Readings for Learning Arabic or Italian’)

«Arabic, a difficult language? So they say. So let’s learn it while having fun. This is the purpose of this original and funny manual: to make the general rules of grammar digestible, together with a widely used lexicon and phraseology, through a series of tasty stories that paint a smile on the serious atmosphere that prevails during the sessions of study of this varied and sometimes difficult language.
The sequence of modules of each lesson is interesting, which first see the Arabic text of the story, followed immediately by the Italian translation. The phraseological part that follows is of good practical use, together with the exhaustive glossary relating to the text of the story, a valid aid to the young Arabist’s translation tests.
Antonella Nigro’s valuable graphic work is very beautiful and artistically effective, which enlivens the work with its strong colors and whimsical creativity. A separate specialized section consists of the three initial essays, covering different disciplines: phonetics, prosody and sociology.
They complement the work of the lists of verbs wisely divided into categories. Other lists of adverbs, prepositions and conjunctions complete a work worthy of attention and for which there is the hope of its diffusion among the freshmen of arabistics who will undoubtedly benefit from it in their way of learning the language of dad ».
(Eros Baldissera, from the Preface)

«A tribute to a culture full of humor - an aspect totally ignored by the Western media, interested only in reporting war, drama and tragedy. In this colorful volume, the reader who wants to deepen their knowledge of Arabic will find 60 fun readings to practice on. Real jokes proposed in bilingual version but with a very exhaustive apparatus of grammar and language. Not just words and verbs, but also useful phrases for everyday life.
And the pronunciation? Ah, that is the master throughout the first part of the book. That addresses the difficulties of Arabic pronunciation from a professional, in-depth and innovative point of view, linking the articulation of the characteristic sounds of Arabic and the “articulatory phonetics” that teaches the correct diction to singers: both in Western, lyric and choral singing, both in that of traditional Arab music ».
(Angela Codacci Pisanelli, L’Espresso)

«Studying Arabic is certainly not a joke, or... a funny story. Yet this new text proposes learning the Arabic language through jokes. The authors, Claudio Dall’Albero and Maher Victor Karam, propose an unprecedented path that, after real essays on the phonology of Arabic, Arab humor and musicology, offers dozens of funny stories and real jokes to those who, already with a notional and lexical basis, intends to continue studying the language of dâd.
Each joke, as well as translated, is deepened starting from the relative lexicon, which is found in a special final list with all occurrences in the text. An idea, that of the two authors, which will not fail to interest even established Arabists.
The book, with hard cover, all in color and richly illustrated, is published by Edizioni Mediterranee of Rome and has a cover price of 48 euros, which may seem too much, but, given all its merits and the undoubted competence of the authors, we can say that it is worth them all».