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Prophecy, Harmony, And The Alchemical Transformation Of The Soul: The Key To Lasso's Chromatic Sibyls

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Chapter Summary

Orlando di Lassos Latin motet cycle Prophetiae Sibyllarum is an enduring puzzle of the Renaissance repertoire. More than a century after its discovery, the Sibyl cycles unusually pervasive chromaticism, uncommon subject, unique texts, and unconfirmed provenance continue to challenge our music-theoretical assumptions, and thwart the attempts to situate the work within the context of sixteenth-century musical culture. Peter Bergquists identification of the Italian humanist source of Lassos Latin Sibyl poems and their subsequent print history is foremost among such work. This chapter identifies new source for the Prophetiae Sibyllarums texts and the ramifications of that discovery are explored in terms of a viable speaker for the prologue, a new interpretation of the chromatic harmony, and a proposed original audience and performance context for the work.The study of Sibylline Tradition and its relationship to the cultural context of Barbieris treatise has, however, revealed an earlier source of the poems.

Keywords: chromaticism; Lassos Latin Sibyl; Prophetiae Sibyllarum



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