Music in the 17th Century:
Other Italian Composers
musical art had reached a high point in Italy during the 16th
Century and this excellence continued during the 17th. In
addition to the achievements of the composers in Venice and
Bologna, there was much taking place elsewhere.
da Viadana (1560 - 1627)
Lodovico Grossi da Viadana was a composer, teacher and Franciscan friar born near Parma.
The facts of his life are sketchy. He is thought to have
studied with Costanzo Porta, but this has not been proven. He became
masestro di cappella at the Mantua Cathedral in 1594. In 1597 he went to Rome.
years later history records that he was holding the position of maestro di cappella
the convent of San Luca at Cremona, then during 1608 and 1609, he
was at the cathedral at Concordia, near Venice.
During the years
1610 through 1612 we apparently find him at the Fario Cathedral. In
1614 his religious order appointed him diffinitor of the
province of Bologna, where he moved and for the three years of
1614 through 1617. He held a
position that covered the entire province of Bologna, Ferrara,
Mantua, and . By
1623 he had moved to , where he worked at the convent of Santa Andrea. He
died in Gualtieri, near Parma in 1627.
His Cento concerti ecclesiastici con il basso continuo (One
Hundred Church Concerto with Basso Continuo) is recognized as one
of the earliest works to employs basso
claims that he invented the technique are unfounded. This means that
not only did he write a staff of music for bass, but he also
applied the numbering system to
the staff that enabled a keyboard player to realize the chords
that should be played in the accompaniment of solo voices.
He composed twenty-two volumes of sacred music. His earlier music
was written in the old style (stile antico) called Renaissance a cappella
polyphonic music, and his works composed after the new century
had begun were mostly
in the new style (stile
concertato). His beautiful lamentations and responses for Holy
week were published in 1609.
recordings of Viadana's masterpiece Salmi a quattro chori (Psalms
for four choirs) were released on three different CDs in Italy in
or around 1995. Until this time, it is unknown if any recordings
existed of Viadana's music.
Viadana was an important composer and a
composer of inspired, beautiful sacred music.
Collegium Vocale Nova Ars Cantandi
Stradivarius STR 33444
Vespri di San Luca
Coro Dell'ACCADEMIA Roveretana di Musica Antica
Fonè 94 F 09
L'Assumzione della Beata Vergine
Fonè 92 F08 CDE
Stradivarius STR 22430
Salmi À Quatro
Cappella Breda, Manncke
Erasmus - #169
Benevoli was a
choirboy at San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome from 1617 to 1623. In or
around 1624 he was elected maestro di cappella at one of the
Vatican churches and he served there until 1630. After that he
up other positions in Rome. In 1644 he left Rome for Vienna to
become Kapellmeister to Archduke Leopold Wilhelm, but returned two years later when he was offered the position of maestro di cappella at San
Maria Maggiore. He was not there long, however, as shortly he moved to the Cappella Giulia, where he died in 1672.
Jean Lionnet Février, during his lifetime, and for fifty years
after his death, Orazio Benevoli was considered to be one of the
worthiest successors of Palestrina.
In his writing about Benevoli, Février stated he was amazed that
this composer had become almost completely forgotten today: a fine Italian composer of
music in both the old
and new style. Benevoli was especially known
for polyphonic choral compositions that employed as many as six
All of Benevoli's music, some in the old
style and some in the new, was sacred amonst his pupils, family
and friends, and little of it was
actually published. His large-scale works are among those not
they were so well respected that they survived none the less.
Giuseppe Ottavio Pitoni, one of his successors at the Cappella
Giulia and a famous teacher, had the scores of a series of
compositions for two, three, four and six choirs restored for his
pupils to study as models of the genre. Some of these study scores were still extant in the
twentieth century and were published from 1950 onwards by the
Reverend Lorenzo Feininger. Benevoli's other surviving work is
scattered in Europe in various libraries.
For a long
time, the fairly well known 53-part Missa salisbugensis was attributed to
Benevoli, but it has since been determined that it is not a work
composed by Benevoli.
Bukofzer explains the Benevoli phenomenum this way:
Venice was the center of progress in sacred music, Rome was the
bulwark of traditionalism. The followers of the Roman school such
as Paolo Agostini, Abbatini, Benevoli, Domenico and Virgilio
Mazzocchi, Massaini, and Crivelli took over the polychoral style
of the Venetian school, but expanded it to unprecedented
dimensions in compositions for four, six, and sometimes even twelve
and more choruses that have justly been called the "colossal
baroque" in analogy with the architecture of the time."
The colossal baroque attempted to graft the polychoral techniques
of the grand concertato on the stile antico. The resulting hybrid
style was typical of the Roman conservatism."
lost composer of magnificent music who needs to return to this
new century, who must find its feet after the upheaval that has
just transpired in classical music,
the music of
the 20th Century.
Azzolina, Magnificat and Dixit Dominus
Carissimi was the most important Italian composer of oratorios and
cantatas of his day, but very little is known of his life. He was
educated in Rome and became masestro di cappella at Assisi.
In 1628, he moved to the church of St. Apollinaris in Rome. It was
while he was the masestro di cappella at the Collegio Germanico Hungarico
in Rome that he taught both Kerll and Charpentier.
He also taught Alessandro Scarlatti.
Carissimi is considered the father of the
modern oratorio, as his were the models on which Bach and Handel
continued the tradition. Many of his works have been lost, but the
manuscripts for Le mauvais rich and Jonas are located in
the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, and a collection of works are
stored in the library of Christ Church College at Oxford. A setting of
the vesper psalm Nisi Dominus and the sequence Lauda Sion
are preserved in the Santini Library in Rome.
for Three Voices and six motets
Historia di Jepthe and two motets
Early Music Portal