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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. He developed two individual styles of composition: the new basso continuo technique of the Baroque and the heritage of Renaissance polyphony. Enjoying fame in his lifetime, he wrote one of the earliest operas, L'Orfeo, which is still regularly performed.

Life



Claudio Monteverdi was born in 1567 in Cremonamarker, a town in Northern Italy. His father was Baldassare Monteverdi, a doctor, apothecary and surgeon. He was the oldest of five children. During his childhood, he was taught by Marc'Antonio Ingegneri, 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.), at the Cathedral of Cremonamarker. Monteverdi learned about music by being part of the cathedral choir. He also studied at the University of Cremona. His first music was written for publication, including some motets and sacred madrigals, in 1582 and 1583. 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. 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.Kamien Roger, An Appreciation of Music 4th brief edition. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2002, . He worked at the court of Vincenzo I of Gonzaga in Mantuamarker as a vocalist and viol player. In 1602, he was working as the court conductor.

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

By 1613, he had moved to the San Marcomarker in Venicemarker where, as conductor, 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. 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.

In 1632, he became a priest.Marthaler, Benard L., ed. New Catholic Encyclopedia 2nd ed. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2003 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. 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 Venicemarker on November 29, 1643 and was buried at the church of the Frarimarker.

Works

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

Madrigals

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


The Fifth Madrigal Book

The Fifth Book of Madrigals shows the shift from the late Renaissance style of music to the early Baroque. 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. 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. In Seconda Prattica the words should be in control of the harmonies. 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. 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.

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, including the dramatic scene Tancredi e Clorinda (1624), 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.

The Ninth Madrigal Book

The ninth book of madrigals, published posthumously in 1651, 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.


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. L'Orfeo was not the first opera, but the first mature opera, or one that realized all of its potential. 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. (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. 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. 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), 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. Five of Monteverdi's operas are lost (though the Lamento from Arianna survives, also in an arrangement by the composer as a madrigal.)


Other Works

Monteverdi's first church music publication was the archaic Mass In illo tempore to which the Vesper Psalms of 1610 were added. 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 Milanmarker 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.
  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. Cayne, Bernard S., ed. Encyclopedia Americana Deluxe Library Edition. Vol. 19. Danbury: Grolier Incorporated, 1990.
  13. Cayne, Bernard S., ed. Encyclopedia Americana Deluxe Library Edition. Vol. 19. Danbury: Grolier Incorporated, 1990.
  14. Whenham, John, and Richard Wistreich, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Monteverdi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  15. Whenham, John, and Richard Wistreich, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Monteverdi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, .
  16. Ringer, Mark. Opera's First Master: The Musical Dramas of Claudio Monteverdi. Canada: Amadeus Press, 2006, .
  17. Redlich, H. F. Claudio Monteverdi: Life and Work. London: Oxford University Press, 1952, .
  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. Arnold, Denis, and Nigel Fortune, eds. The New Monteverdi Companion. London: faber and faber, 1985, .
  21. Cayne, Bernard S., ed. Encyclopedia Americana Deluxe Library Edition. Vol. 19. Danbury: Grolier Incorporated, 1990.
  22. Halsey, William D., ed. Collier's Encyclopedia. Vol. 16.. New York: MacMillan Educational Company, 1991.
  23. Redlich, H. F. Claudio Monteverdi: Life and Work. London: Oxford University, Press, 1952, .
  24. Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1950.
  25. Shcrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1950, .
  26. Halsey, William D., ed. Collier's Encyclopedia. Vol. 16. New York: MacMillan Educational Company, 1991.
  27. Halsey, William D., ed. Collier's Encyclopedia. Vol. 16. New York: MacMillan Educational Company, 1991.
  28. Halsey, William D., ed. Collier's Encyclopedia. Vol. 16. New York: MacMillan Educational Company, 1991.
  29. Arnold, Denis. Monteverdi Madrigals. London: Billing and Sons Limited, 1967.
  30. Arnold, Denis. Monteverdi Madrigals. London: Billing and Sons Limited, 1967, .
  31. Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company 1950, .
  32. Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company 1950, .
  33. Ringer, Mark. Opera's First Master: The Musical Dramas of Claudio Monteverdi. Canada: Amadeus Press, 2006.
  34. Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1950.
  35. Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1950, .
  36. Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1950, .
  37. Ringer, Mark. Opera's First Master: The Musical Dramas of Claudio Monteverdi. Canada: Amadeus Press, 2006, .
  38. Arnold, Denis. Monteverdi Madrigals. London: Billing and Sons Limited, 1967.
  39. Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1950, .
  40. Schrade, Leo. Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1950.
  41. Whenham, John. Claudio Monteverdi Orfeo. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986, .
  42. Whenham, John. Claudio Monteverdi Orfeo. Cambridge: Cambrdige University Press, 1986, .
  43. Whenham, John. Claudio Monteverdi Orfeo. Cambridge: Cambrdige University Press, 1986, .
  44. Ringer, Mark. Opera's First Master: The Musical Dramas of Claudio Monteverdi. Canada: Amadeus Press, 2006, .
  45. Redlich, H. F. Claudio Monteveri: Life and Work. London: Oxford University Press, 1952.
  46. Halsey, William D., ed. Collier's Encyclopedia. Vol. 16. New York: MacMillan Educational Company 1991.
  47. 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
  • 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
  • Schrade, Leo (1979). Monteverdi. London, Victor Gollancz Ltd. ISBN 0-575-01472-5
  • 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)


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