“Comprando la maraviglia con l’impossibilità”: The role of music in the space of a torneo
The chivalric spectacle was a strange survival of its splendid past for the European nobility, in full crisis of identity. Giovanni Battista Mazza, the composer who set the Torneo to music in 1639, is unknown to music dictionaries such as the New Grove: for most of his life, from 1605 to 1656, he was just a singer in the Cappella di San Petronio in Bologna. The text set to music in the final part is the most important one since it gives the political meaning of the entire spectacle. The score and librettos of Furori di Venere present all the elements typical of an opera-torneo in the well-established Ferrarese style. The rarity of the fragments of instrumental music found in the dances and battles of La Contesa, the Ferrarese torneo of 1631, makes the importance of the complete sets of “balli de’ cavalieri” in the score for the Bolognese torneo of 1639 even more striking.