"George K. Halsell" wrote:
>I also have heard that certain madrigals often referred to sex and sex acts,
>though in "code" words, such as "to die" meaning to climax. Unfortunately, I
>have no one in the know to verify this, so I'm wondering if anyone on the
>list can guide me to a good resource or recommend madrigals that would be
>appropriate for the subject at hand.
Yes, indeed, this is correct. One of the finest examples is Arcadelt's Il
bianco, which ends with the line " di mille mort e'il di sare contento" or
to die a thousand times each day would well content me. See Grove article
on madrigals to find out more.
>The class is a freshman college-level class. I think it's going to be a
>blast to give my spiel, but I'd particularly like to find more pre-20th
>century music. I'm sure there are plenty of operas that deal with sex in
>some way, but my knowledge of opera is fairly limited.
There is the marvelous French chanson by (I think) Clement Jannequin about
"teton" which of course is disguised as mountains in the song. Rabelais
was famous for his bawdy lyrics and many of the nastiest of this era come
from the French literature. Consult a music library to find out more about
the poet Rabelais and his circle.