Can be played on SATB, but several different choices of instruments for the top two voices are possible. I decided to use G alto on the Cantus (top voice), because of its greater sound in the lower part of the range. The Altus (second voice) lies well enough on F alto recorder, but could also work well on a tenor. The tempo of the recording is half note = 104. I would rate the difficulty as moderate/upper intermediate.
Palle (Italian for "balls") repeated three times is a reference to the coat-of-arms of the Medici family, Isaac's employers during the time he probably wrote this piece. Because the Medici family were so successful in the finance and moneylending industries, the three-ball symbol also came to be used as the sign for pawnbrokers.
The number three is important in this piece. It is in triple meter (3 half notes), with frequent interpolations of groups of 3 quarter notes in one or another voice. Examples are m. 3 and m. 9 in the Cantus; mm. 64-65 in Altus; and mm. 29-30 in Bassus. The Tenor voice carries a cantus firmus melody throughout, and its sections are separated by 3-bar rests during which the other 3 voices carry on with their gymnastics.
Acknowledgments: I am grateful to Adam Knight Gilbert for giving me permission to use his edition, and for helping me out with answers and advice. Also, my everlasting thanks to Win Bent for providing sound engineering, as well as unfailing encouragement.
- Susan Richter
Play-along files recorded by Susan Richter, supported by a grant from the Recorder Artist Relief Fund.