Claudio Monteverdi: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...


More interesting facts on Claudio Monteverdi

Include this on your site/blog:

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Claudio Monteverdi in 1640 by Bernardo Strozzi

Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi (15 May 1567 (baptized) – 29 November 1643) was an Italian composer, gambist, and singer.

Monteverdi's work, often regarded as revolutionary, marked the transition from the Renaissance style of music to that of the Baroque period.[1] He developed two individual styles of composition: the new basso continuo technique of the Baroque and the heritage of Renaissance polyphony.[2] Enjoying fame in his lifetime, he wrote one of the earliest operas, L'Orfeo, which is still regularly performed.

Contents

Life

Claudio Monteverdi, circa 1597, by an anonymous artist, (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford). Thought to be the earliest known image of Monteverdi, at about age 30, painted when he was still at the Gonzaga Court in Mantua.

Claudio Monteverdi was born in 1567 in Cremona, a town in Northern Italy. His father was Baldassare Monteverdi, a doctor, apothecary and surgeon.[3] He was the oldest of five children.[4] During his childhood, he was taught by Marc'Antonio Ingegneri[5], the maestro di cappella (The Maestro di capella’s job was to conduct important worship services in accordance with the liturgy books of the Roman Catholic Church.[6]), at the Cathedral of Cremona.[7] Monteverdi learned about music by being part of the cathedral choir.[8] He also studied at the University of Cremona.[9] His first music was written for publication, including some motets and sacred madrigals, in 1582 and 1583.[10] His first five compositions were: Cantiunculae Sacrae, 1582; Madrigal Spirituali, 1583; the three-part canzonets, 1584; and the five-part madrigals– Book I, 1587, and Book II, 1590.[11] By 1587, he had produced his first book of secular madrigals. Monteverdi worked for the court of Mantua first as a singer and violist, then as music director.[12] He worked at the court of Vincenzo I of Gonzaga in Mantua as a vocalist and viol player.[13] In 1602, he was working as the court conductor.[14]

In 1599 Monteverdi married the court singer Claudia Cattaneo[15], who died in September 1607.[16] He and his wife had two boys and one girl, who died shortly after birth.[17]

By 1613, he had moved to the San Marco in Venice where, as conductor[18], he quickly restored the musical standard of both the choir and the instrumentalists. The musical standard had declined due to the financial mismanagement of his predecessor, Giulio Cesare Martinengo.[19] The managers of the basilica were relieved to have such a distinguished musician in charge, as the music had been declining since the death of Giovanni Croce in 1609.[20]

In 1632, he became a priest.[21] During the last years of his life, when he was often ill, he composed his two last masterpieces: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria (The Return of Ulysses, 1641), and the historic opera L'incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea, 1642), based on the life of the Roman emperor Nero.[22] L'incoronazione especially is considered a culminating point of Monteverdi's work. It contains tragic, romantic, and comedic scenes (a new development in opera), a more realistic portrayal of the characters, and warmer melodies than previously heard.[23] It requires a smaller orchestra, and has a less prominent role for the choir. For a long period of time, Monteverdi's operas were merely regarded as a historical or musical interest. Since the 1960s, The Coronation of Poppea has re-entered the repertoire of major opera companies worldwide.

Monteverdi died in Venice on November 29, 1643[24] and was buried at the church of the Frari.[25]

Works

Monteverdi's works are split into three categories: madrigals, operas, and church-music.[26]

Advertisements

Madrigals

Problems listening to these files? See media help.

Until the age of forty, Monteverdi worked primarily on madrigals, composing a total of nine books. It took Monteverdi about four years to finish his first book of twenty-one madrigals for five voices.[27] As a whole, the first eight books of madrigals show the enormous development from Renaissance polyphonic music to the monodic style typical of Baroque music.

The titles of his Madrigal books are:

  • Book 1, 1587: Madrigali a cinque voci[28]
  • Book 2, 1590: Il secondo libro de madrigali a cinque voci
  • Book 3, 1592: Il terzo libro de madrigali a cinque voci[29]
  • Book 4, 1603: Il quarto libro de madrigali a cinque voci[30]
  • Book 5, 1605: Il quinto libro de madrigali a cinque voci[31]
  • Book 6, 1614: Il sesto libro de madrigali a cinque voci[32]
  • Book 7, 1619: Concerto. Settimo libro di madrigali[33]
  • Book 8, 1638: Madrigali guerrieri, et amorosi con alcuni opuscoli in genere rappresentativo, che saranno per brevi episodi fra i canti senza gesto.[34]
  • Book 9, 1651: Madrigali e canzonette a due e tre voci[35]

The Fifth Madrigal Book

Problems listening to this file? See media help.

The Fifth Book of Madrigals shows the shift from the late Renaissance style of music to the early Baroque.[36] The Quinto Libro (Fifth Book), published in 1605, was at the heart of the controversy between Monteverdi and Giovanni Artusi. Giovanni Artusi attacked the "crudities" and "license" of the modern style of composing, centering his attacks on madrigals (including Cruda Amarilli, composed around 1600) (See Fabbri, Monteverdi, p. 60) from the fourth book.[37] Monteverdi made his reply in the introduction to the fifth book, with a proposal of the division of musical practice into two streams, which he called prima prattica, and seconda prattica. Prima prattica was described as the previous polyphonic ideal of the sixteenth century, with flowing strict counterpoint, prepared dissonance, and equality of voices. Seconda prattica used much freer counterpoint with an increasing hierarchy of voices, emphasising soprano and bass. In Prima Prattica the harmony controls the words.[38] In Seconda Prattica the words should be in control of the harmonies.[39] This represented a move towards the new style of monody. The introduction of continuo in many of the madrigals was a further self-consciously modern feature.[40] In addition, the fifth book showed the beginnings of conscious functional tonality.

The Eighth Madrigal Book

The Ottavo Libro, published in 1638, includes the so-called Madrigali dei guerrieri ed amorosi which many consider to be the perfection of the madrigal form. The Eighth Book of Madrigals is subtitled Madrigals of War and Love.[41] While in Venice, Monteverdi also finished his sixth, seventh and eighth books of madrigals. The eighth is the largest, containing works written over a thirty-year period. Originally the work was to be dedicated to Ferdinand II, but because of his ill health in 1635 his son was made king in December 1636. When the work was first published in 1638 Monteverdi rededicated it to the new King Ferdinand III. [42]

The book is divided into sections of War and Love each containing madrigals, a piece in dramatic form (genere rappresentativo), and a ballet. In the Madrigals of War, Monteverdi has organized poetry that describes the pursuits of love through the allegory of war; the hunt for love, and the battle to find love. In the second half of the book, the Madrigals of Love, Monteverdi organized poetry that describes the unhappiness of being in love, unfaithfulness, and ungrateful lovers that feel no shame. In his previous madrigal collections, Monteverdi usually sets poetry from one or two poets that he is in contact through the court he is employed. The Book 8 Madrigals of War and Love, represents an overview of the poets the poets he has dealt with throughout his life; the classical poetry of Petrarch, poetry by his contemporaries (Tasso, Guarini, Marino, Rinuccini, Testi and Strozzi), or anonymous poets that Monteverdi found and adapted for his needs.

Madrigals of War

  1. Altri canti d’Amor tenero ariero (Let others sing about the archers love, Anonymous Sonnet)
    1. is preceded by a sinfonia introduction that is written for four violins and viola da gamba. The madrigal that follows, serves as an introduction to the piece and a dedication to Ferdinand III.
  2. Hor che’l ciel e la terre ‘l vento tace (Now that the sky, earth and wind are silent) Sonnet by Petrarch,
    1. is the first significant poetic work of the collection in which Monteverdi splits into two sections. In the first section, his poetry introduces the idea of the wars of love, in which he yearns for someone to love him.
      1. "War is my condition full of anger and grief, and only when thinking of her do I find some peace."
      2. In the second section, "Thus from a single bright and living fountain" (Cosi sol duna chiara fonte viva) the symbolism of war continues:
        1. "One hand alone cures me and stabs me. And, so that my torture may never end, a thousand times daily I die, a thousand I am born,so distant am I from my salvation."
  3. Gira il nemico insidioso Amore (The enemy insidious in love is encircling the citadel of my heart) Canzonetta by Giulio Strozzi
  4. Se vittorie si belle han le guerre d’amore (If love’s wars have such beautiful victories) madrigal by Fulvio Testi
  5. Armato il cor d’adamanina fede (My heart armed with adamantine faith) madrigal by Ottavio Rinuccini
  6. Ogni amante e guerrier: nel suo gran regno (Every lover is a warrior: in his great kingdom) madrigal by Ottavio Rinuccini
  7. Ardo, avvampo, mi struggo, ardo: accorrete (I burn, I blaze, I am consumed, I burn; come running) Anonymous Sonnet
  8. [[Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda]] (The Combat of Tancredi and Clorinda) from Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata, Canto XII
    1. was originally composed and performed at the home of Girolamo Mocenigo (1624) [43] and includes the dramatic scene in which the orchestra and voices form two separate entities, acting as counterparts. Most likely Monteverdi was inspired to try this arrangement because of the two opposite balconies in San Marco. What made this composition also stand out is the first-time use of string tremolo (fast repetition of the same tone) and pizzicato (plucking strings with fingers) for special effect in dramatic scenes.
  9. Introduzione al ballo e ballo (Introduction of the ballet, and the ballet) Sonnet by Ottavio Rinuccini

Madrigals of Love

  1. Altri canti di Marte- Due sua schiera (Let others sing of the bold assaults) Sonnet by Marino
  2. Vago augelletto che cantando vai (Lovely little bird, who are you singing about) Sonnet by Petrarch
  3. Mentre vaga angioletta (While a charming, angelic girl attracts every wellborn soul with her singing) madrigal by Guarini
  4. Ardo e scoprir, ahi lasso, io non ardisco (I burn and, alas, I do not have the courage to reveal that burning which I bear hidden in my breast) Anonymous, madrigal
  5. O sia tranquillo il mare o pien d’orgoglio (Whether the sea be still or swelled with pride) Anonymous, Sonnet
  6. Ninfa che, scalza il piede e sciolto il crine (Nymph, who with bare feet and hair undone) Anonymous madrigal
  7. Dolcissimo uscignolo (Sweetest nightingale) madrigal by Guarini
  8. Chi vol haver felice e lieto il core (Whoever wishes to have a happy joyful heart) madrigal by Guarini
  9. Non Havea Febo ancora: Lamento della ninfa (Phoebus had not yet: The Lament of the Nymph) Canzonetta by Rinuccini
  10. Perche te n fuggi, o Fillide? (Why do you run away, Phyllis?) Anonymous madrigal
  11. Non partir, ritrosetta (Do not depart, maiden averse to love) Anonymous canzonetta
  12. Su, Su, Su, pastorelli vezzosi (Come, come, come, charming shepherd lads) Anonymous Canzonetta
  13. Ballo delle ingrate (Entrance and Final ballet of the Ungrateful Women)
    1. The Ballet of the Ungrateful Women was originally composed for the 1608 wedding of Francesco Gonzaga and was revived in 1628 for a performance in Vienna. [44]

The Ninth Madrigal Book

The ninth book of madrigals, published posthumously in 1651[45], contains lighter pieces such as canzonettas which were probably composed throughout Monteverdi's lifetime representing both styles.

Operas

Frontispiece of Monteverdi's opera L'Orfeo, Venice edition, 1609.
Problems listening to this file? See media help.

Monteverdi composed at least eighteen operas, but only L'Orfeo, L'incoronazione di Poppea, Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria and the famous aria, Lamento, from his second opera L'Arianna have survived. From monody (with melodic lines, intelligible text and placid accompanying music), it was a logical step for Monteverdi to begin composing opera. In 1607, the premiere of his first opera, L'Orfeo, took place in Mantua.[46] L'Orfeo was not the first opera, but the first mature opera, or one that realized all of its potential.[47] It was normal at that time for composers to create works on demand for special occasions, and this piece was part of the ducal celebrations of carnival.[48] (Monteverdi was later to write for the first opera houses supported by ticket sales which opened in Venice). L'Orfeo has dramatic power and lively orchestration. L'Orfeo is arguably the first example of a composer assigning specific instruments to parts in operas. It is also one of the first large compositions in which the exact instrumentation of the premiere has come down to us.[49] The plot is described in vivid musical pictures and the melodies are linear and clear. With this opera, Monteverdi created an entirely new style of music, the dramma per la musica or musical drama. L'Arianna was the second opera written by Claudio Monteverdi. It is of the most influential and famous specimens of early baroque opera. It was first performed in Mantua in 1608.[50] Its subject matter was the ancient Greek legend of Ariadne and Theseus. During the last years of his life, Monteverdi was often ill. During this time, he composed his two last masterpieces: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria (The Return of Ulysses, 1641), and the historic opera, L'incoronazione di Poppea, (The Coronation of Poppea, 1642),[51] based on the life of the Roman emperor Nero. The libretto for Il ritorno d'Ulisse was by Giacomo Badoarro and for L'incoronazione di Poppea by Giovanni Busenello.[52] Five of Monteverdi's operas are lost (though the Lamento from Arianna survives, also in an arrangement by the composer as a madrigal.)

Problems listening to this file? See media help.
Problems listening to this file? See media help.
Posthumous portrait medallion of Monteverdi, etching by Barberis, (Associazione Amici della Raccolta Bertarelli, Milan).

Other Works

Monteverdi's first church music publication was the archaic Mass In illo tempore to which the Vesper Psalms of 1610 were added.[53] The Vesper Psalms of 1610 are also one of the best examples of early repetition and contrast, with many of the parts having a clear ritornello. The published work is on a very grand scale and there has been some controversy as to whether all the movements were intended to be performed in a single service. However, there are various indications of internal unity. In its scope, it foreshadows such summits of Baroque music as Handel's Messiah, and J.S. Bach's St Matthew Passion. Each part (there are twenty-five in total) is fully developed in both a musical and dramatic sense - the instrumental textures are used to precise dramatic and emotional effect, in a way that had not been seen before.

Sacred contrafacta

In 1607, Aquilino Coppini published in Milan his "Musica tolta da i Madrigali di Claudio Monteverde, e d'altri autori … e fatta spirituale" for 5 and 6 voices, in which many of Monteverdi's madrigals (especially from the third, fourth and fifth books) are presented with the original secular texts replaced with sacred Latin contrafacta carefully prepared by Coppini in order to fit the music in every aspect.

See also

References

  1. ^ Halsey, William D., ed. Collier's Encyclopedia. Vol. 16. New York: MacMillan Educational Company, 1991.[citation needed]
  2. ^ Ringer, Mark. Opera's First Master: The Musical Dramas of Claudio Monteverdi. Canada: Amadeus Press, 2006.
  3. ^ Halsey, William D., ed. Collier's Encyclopedia. Vol. 16 New York: MacMillan Educational Company, 1991.
  4. ^ Redlich, H. F. Claudio Monteverdi: Life and Work. London: Oxford University Press, 1952,.
  5. ^ Redlich, H. F. Claudio Monteverdi: Life and Work. London: Oxford University Press, 1952.
  6. ^ Whenham, John, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Monteverdi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007,.
  7. ^ Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1950,.
  8. ^ Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1950,.
  9. ^ Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1950,.
  10. ^ Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1950.
  11. ^ Halsey, William D., ed. Collier's Encyclopedia. Vol. 16. New York: MacMillan Educational Company, 1991.
  12. ^ Kamien Roger, An Appreciation of Music 4th brief edition. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2002,.
  13. ^ Cayne, Bernard S., ed. Encyclopedia Americana Deluxe Library Edition. Vol. 19. Danbury: Grolier Incorporated, 1990.
  14. ^ Cayne, Bernard S., ed. Encyclopedia Americana Deluxe Library Edition. Vol. 19. Danbury: Grolier Incorporated, 1990.
  15. ^ Whenham, John, and Richard Wistreich, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Monteverdi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  16. ^ Whenham, John, and Richard Wistreich, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Monteverdi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007,.
  17. ^ Ringer, Mark. Opera's First Master: The Musical Dramas of Claudio Monteverdi. Canada: Amadeus Press, 2006,.
  18. ^ Redlich, H. F. Claudio Monteverdi: Life and Work. London: Oxford University Press, 1952,.
  19. ^ Redlich, H. F. Claudio Monteverdi: Life and Work. London: Oxford University Press, 1952,.
  20. ^ Redlich, H. F. Claudio Monteverdi: Life and Work. London: Oxford University Press, 1952,.
  21. ^ Marthaler, Benard L., ed. New Catholic Encyclopedia 2nd ed. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2003[citation needed]
  22. ^ Arnold, Denis, and Nigel Fortune, eds. The New Monteverdi Companion. London: faber and faber, 1985,.
  23. ^ Cayne, Bernard S., ed. Encyclopedia Americana Deluxe Library Edition. Vol. 19. Danbury: Grolier Incorporated, 1990.
  24. ^ Halsey, William D., ed. Collier's Encyclopedia. Vol. 16.. New York: MacMillan Educational Company, 1991.
  25. ^ Redlich, H. F. Claudio Monteverdi: Life and Work. London: Oxford University, Press, 1952,.
  26. ^ Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1950.
  27. ^ Shcrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1950,.
  28. ^ Halsey, William D., ed. Collier's Encyclopedia. Vol. 16. New York: MacMillan Educational Company, 1991.
  29. ^ Halsey, William D., ed. Collier's Encyclopedia. Vol. 16. New York: MacMillan Educational Company, 1991.
  30. ^ Halsey, William D., ed. Collier's Encyclopedia. Vol. 16. New York: MacMillan Educational Company, 1991.
  31. ^ Arnold, Denis. Monteverdi Madrigals. London: Billing and Sons Limited, 1967.
  32. ^ Arnold, Denis. Monteverdi Madrigals. London: Billing and Sons Limited, 1967,.
  33. ^ Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company 1950,.
  34. ^ Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company 1950,.
  35. ^ Ringer, Mark. Opera's First Master: The Musical Dramas of Claudio Monteverdi. Canada: Amadeus Press, 2006.
  36. ^ Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1950.
  37. ^ Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1950,.
  38. ^ Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1950,.
  39. ^ Ringer, Mark. Opera's First Master: The Musical Dramas of Claudio Monteverdi. Canada: Amadeus Press, 2006,.
  40. ^ Arnold, Denis. Monteverdi Madrigals. London: Billing and Sons Limited, 1967.
  41. ^ Denis Arnold and Nigel Fortune, Editors. The New Monteverdi Companion. (Boston: Faber and Faber Ltd., 1985), 233.
  42. ^ Paolo Fabbri, Translated, Tim Carter. Monteverdi. (London: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 238-239
  43. ^ Paolo Fabbri, Translated, Tim Carter. Monteverdi. (London: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 238-239
  44. ^ Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1950,.
  45. ^ Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1950.
  46. ^ Whenham, John. Claudio Monteverdi Orfeo. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986,.
  47. ^ Whenham, John. Claudio Monteverdi Orfeo. Cambridge: Cambrdige University Press, 1986,.
  48. ^ Whenham, John. Claudio Monteverdi Orfeo. Cambridge: Cambrdige University Press, 1986,.
  49. ^ Ringer, Mark. Opera's First Master: The Musical Dramas of Claudio Monteverdi. Canada: Amadeus Press, 2006,.
  50. ^ Redlich, H. F. Claudio Monteveri: Life and Work. London: Oxford University Press, 1952.
  51. ^ Halsey, William D., ed. Collier's Encyclopedia. Vol. 16. New York: MacMillan Educational Company 1991.
  52. ^ Halsey, William D., ed. Collier's Encyclopedia. Vol. 16. New York: MacMillan Educational Company, 1991.

Further reading

  • Arnold, Denis (1975). Monteverdi. London, J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd. ISBN 0-460-03155-4
  • Arnold, Denis and Fortune, Nigel Editors (1985) The New Monteverdi Companion. Boston: Faber and Faber Ltd. ISBN 978-0571131488
  • Bukofzer, Manfred (1947). Music in the Baroque Era. New York, W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN 0-393-09745-5
  • Carter, Tim (1992). Music in Late Renaissance and Early Baroque Italy. Amadeus Press, 1992. ISBN 0-931340-53-5
  • Fabbri, Paolo (1994). Monteverdi. translated from Italian by Tim Carter.. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-52-135133-2. 
  • Monteverdi, Claudio (1980). The Letters of Claudio Monteverdi. ed. Denis Stevens. London. ISBN 0-52-123591-4. 
  • Schrade, Leo (1979). Monteverdi. London, Victor Gollancz Ltd. ISBN 0-575-01472-5
  • Leopold, Silke (1991). Monteverdi (Music in Transition). translated from the German by Anne Smith.. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-315248-7. 
  • Whenham, John, and Richard Wistreich (eds.) (2007). The Cambridge Companion to Monteverdi. Cambridge Companions to Music. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521875250 (cloth) ISBN 0521697980 (pbk)

External links


Simple English


Claudio Monteverdi (b.Cremona, 1567; d.Venice November 29, 1643) was the most important composer of the early Baroque period. He lived at a time of great change in musical style. The first opera ever written was composed in 1597 by a composer called Caccini who is not remembered much nowadays. Just eleven years later Monteverdi wrote an opera Orfeo which was a really great work. Other important operas of his are Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria. He wrote 9 books of madrigals. He also wrote a lot of church music including the 1610 Vespers. He was director of music at St Mark’s, Venice, which was the most important musical job in Italy.

Contents

Early life in Cremona

Monteverdi was the son of an apothecary and a doctor. He was very talented as a young boy and was only 15 when he published his first pieces of music. In the introduction to this music he says that his music teacher was Marc’ Antonio Ingegneri, the maestro di cappella of Cremona cathedral. We cannot find anything that shows that he sang in the cathedral choir. He probably had private music lessons. He learned composition, singing and how to play string instruments such as the viol and viola da braccio. He got several compositions published in Venice. By the time he got his first job he had already published two books of madrigals.

Mantua

His first job was working at the court of the Duke of Mantua. In Mantua there was a small band of excellent musicians. The musical director was the famous Giaches de Wert. Monteverdi got to know many famous poets, and there were famous singers at Ferrara which was not far away.

At first Monteverdi had a low-paid job. He married the daughter of one of the court musicians in the string band. Monteverdi soon became well-known. He sent several of his compositions to be performed at Ferrara, and he went with the duke to when his army was fighting the Turks.

The young Monteverdi was developing a new musical style. The old style was known as prima pratica (“first practice”) and the new style was called the seconda pratica (“second practice”). The prima pratica continued to be used for church music. In this style of writing the music was thought to be more important than the words. This meant that the music could be very contrapuntal, with several things going on at once so that the words could not be clearly heard. However, in the seconda pratica the words were more important than the music, i.e. it was important to be able to hear all the words clearly, and the music had to be simple enough for this to happen. This was particularly important in opera and in madrigals.

There were a lot of arguments among musicians about these two styles of composition, and this is perhaps the reason why there was a gap of 11 years between Monteverdi’s 3rd and his 4th book of madrigals. His opera Orfeo (1608) was performed at least twice at court, and several times at Salzburg. Monteverdi was becoming famous all over Europe.

Monteverdi went back to Cremona. His wife died, leaving him with their three small children. It was a terrible tragedy for Monteverdi, and he did not want to go back to Mantua, but the Duke wrote to him telling him he must come back to provide music for the wedding of Prince Francesco Gonzaga and Margharita of Savoy.

Monteverdi returned to Mantua, where he composed his opera Arianna. The performance was a great success, and the audience were moved to tears by the music Arianna’s lament. This song is the only part of the opera that has not been lost.

Although Monteverdi’s fame was increasing, there were a lot of arguments with his employer. Eventually he found another job, this time as a church musician, in the biggest church in Venice. Monteverdi had a difficult journey from Mantua to Venice. The passengers were robbed by highwaymen on the way. He arrived in Venice in October 1613.

Venice

The job of maestro (director of music) at San Marco (Saint Mark’s church) in Venice was perhaps the most important job for a church musician in the whole of Europe. However, the music was in a bad state because previous directors of music had not been very good. Monteverdi started to reorganize the music there: he bought new music for the library and got some new musicians. He had to compose music for many special feast days during the year. He was doing a good job, and in 1616 his salary was increased to 400 ducats. The duke of Mantua was probably cross that he had lost such a good musician. He still asked Monteverdi to write music for him. Monteverdi probably had to obey, as he was still a Mantuan citizen (Italy did not become one country until more than two centuries later). He wrote music for important events such as weddings and carnivals at Mantua.

By 1619 Monteverdi had published his seventh book of madrigals. However, he then started to publish less music. Perhaps it was because he was so busy, or perhaps because he no longer needed to look for fame. He probably wrote a lot of church music which is now lost.

During the 1620s continued his work in Venice, although he may have tried to get other jobs. His hobbies include alchemy. He welcomed the composer Heinrich Schütz who visited Venice for a second time. After the Duke of Mantua died in 1626 Monteverdi wrote less music for Mantua. He was supposed to receive an annual salary from them, but he often did not get it. There was a war in Mantua, a lot of buildings were destroyed and the invading armies brought the plague. Monteverdi became a priest in 1632. It is not clear whether he did this because he really was religious or whether he thought it would help his career.

In 1637 public opera was started in Venice. Monteverdi, who was now in his 70s, wrote operas for Venice. Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria (1640) and L'incoronazione di Poppea (1642) form a brilliant end to his career. After the performance of this opera he made a six-month trip to Lombard and Mantua, where again he had to argue at the court about not being paid his pension. After he returned to Venice he was ill for nine days and then died.

References

Groves Dictionary of Music Online


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message