Gelosia, ch'a poco a poco
Editor: a critical performing edition;Edited by Barbara Sachs
for soprano and continuo
Gelosia, ch’a poco a poco, on a text by Domenico Benigni, is one of two Rossi pieces published in 1646 in a volume with works by Domenico Mazzocchi, Giacomo Carissimi, Giovanni Marciani and the book’s compiler, Florido de Silvestris.
Robert R. Holzer, in Grove 7, writes:
‘........complex, and powerful, are such works as Gelosia, ch'a poco a poco. ... One of Rossi's most popular … this canzonetta ably portrays a mind unhinged by jealousy. Striking harmonic shifts, virtuoso melismas and purposely distorted scansion are complemented by the syntactic and semantic parallelism between the three strophes of Benigni’s poem, each of two stanzas (a quatrain and a sextain).’
The protagonist, of either gender, vowing not to succumb to Jealousy, implores her to leave: an ever varying inner battle. This dramatic inner monologue is therefore a sort of “mad song” in which conflicting aspects of the speaker’s personality are evoked and addressed. The three strophes present only minor musical variants up to the refrain, which then has substantially different florid passages. The recurring injunction Lasciami (addressing Jealousy) inevitably recalls the heart-rending opening of Arianna’s lament, Lasciatemi. Here it resolves the protagonist’s defiant and exasperated inner conflict, additionally wrenching with its Monteverdian syncopation and its unexpected d flats in a dark B flat minor chord.