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Renaissance Music


1561 Persecution of Huguenots in France stopped by Edict of Orleans. French religious wars begin again with massacre of Huguenots at Vassy. St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre—thousands of Huguenots murdered (1572). Amnesty granted (1573). Persecution continues periodically until Edict of Nantes (1598) gives Huguenots religious freedom (until 1685).
c. 1562 Pieter Brueghel the Elder, The Triumph of Death.

1568 Protestant Netherlands revolts against Catholic Spain; independence will be acknowledged by Spain in 1648.

John Millais. Huguenot Lovers on St. Bartholomew's Day.

Orlando di Lasso made court Kapellmeister in Munich.
Louis Bourgeois dies. 
Carlo Gesualdo, Italian composer, born.
Peter Philips, English composer, born
Jacopo Peri, Italian composer, born.
Gasparo Bertolotti da Salo moves to Brescia to become first great Italian violin maker. 
Gasparo da Salò (May 20, 1542, Salò - April 14, 1609) is the name given to Gasparo Bertolotti, one of the earliest violin makers and an expert double bass player. Around 80 of his instruments are still in existence: violins (small and large), alto and tenor violas, viols, violones and double basses, violas with only a pair of corners, ceteras.

John Bull, English organist and composer, born.
c. 1562
Hans Leo Hassler, German composer, born.
Jan Sweelinck, Dutch composer and organist, born. 
Adrian Willaert, Flemish composer, dies.
c 1562
Jehan Titelouze, French composer, poet and organist, born.
William Byrd made organist at Lincoln Cathedral.
John DowlandEnglish composer, born.
One of Andrea Amati's first violins made.
Lodvico Grossi Viadana, Italian composer, born. 
Joachim Burmeister, German composer and music theorist, born.

Giovanni Pierluigi da Pelestrina: "Missa Papae Marcelli".
Cyprien de Rore, Dutch composer dies.
c 1565
William Leighton, English composer and editor, born.
c 1565
Duarte Lobo, Portuguese composer, born.
Richard Edwards, English composer and poet, dies. 
Antonio de Cabezon, Spanish composer, dies.
c 1566
Lucia Quinciani, Italian composer, born.
Claudio MonteverdiItalian composer, born.
Thomas Campion,  English composer, born.
c 1567
Giovanni Francesco Anerio, Italian composer, born.
Adriano Banchieri, Italian composer, music theorist, organist and poet, born.
Johann Walther dies. 
Earliest known music festival to honor St Cecilia, in Normandy.
Culminating point of vocal polyphonic a cappella style (Palestrina, Orlando di Lasso).
c. 1570
Salomone Rossi Italian Jewish composer, born.
c. 1570
Giovanni Paolo Cima, Italian composer and organist, born.
Paul Peuerl, German organist, organ builder and composer, born.
c. 1570
John Coprario
English composer, viol player and lutenist, born.

c. 1570
Pier Francesco Valentini, Italian composer and music theorist, born.

Carlo Gesualdo

(b. prob. Naples, ca. 1561; d. Gesualdo, September 8, 1613)

Italian composer whose extraordinary chromatic inventiveness anticipated centuries of musical development.

He came from an aristocratic family and upon his father's death in 1591 succeeded to the tide of Prince of Venosa. Astonishing as his music was, Gesualdo is also notorious for the double murder he committed on October 16, 1590, when he surprised his wife, Maria d'Avalos, in bed with her lover, Don Fabrizio Carafa, Duke of Andria. The execution-style slay-  ing, using swords and pistols, was   carried out with the help of three   men hired by Gesualdo, who, by virtue of his station and because he had indeed caught his wife in flagrante delicto, went unpunished for the deed.
Gesualdo wrote dozens of motets, most of them for five or six voices, and six books of madrigals, the last three of which are filled with lavish chromaticism, irregular and unresolved dissonances, and surprising juxtapositions of unrelated harmonies, all intended mainly for his own delectation. The boldness and extravagance of these pieces, though not characteristic of all of his work, have led to his being admired in modern times as the composer of a polyphony of "inspired disorder."


Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa - Tristis est anima mea

Carlo Gesualdo - Se la mia Morte Brami

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck

(b. Deventer, May 1562; d. Amsterdam, October 16, 1621)

Dutch composer, organist, and teacher.

He received his early musical training from his father, Pieter, who was organist for the Oude Kerk (Old Church) in Amsterdam. Sweelinck succeeded his father around 1577; upon his death the position passed to his son, Dirck Janszoon (1591-1652), also an excellent organist. Sweelinck was the preeminent composer and most influential keyboard artist of his day in the Netherlands. He was renowned as a teacher and referred to as a "maker of organists." Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654), one of the most important organist-composers of the following generation.was his student, and the influence of Sweelinck reaches even into the 18th century through Handel and J. S. Bach. From Sweelinck the composer, 254 vocal worksurvive, ranging from lighthearted secular settings to deeply felt sacred ones. He observed the traditional imitative practice of the Renaissance in most of his vocal writing. In his keyboard works he made the break toward a more modern idiom, with contrapuntal techniques that would become well established in Baroque instrumental music. His 72 known instrumental compositions, all for the organ or harpsichord, testify to a remarkably innovative genius. Among these influential works are fantasias, echo fantasias, toccatas, and variations. In the toccatas Sweelinck brought the elements of display to an unprecedented level of brilliance; the fantasias, worked out in countrapuntal style, foreshadow the keyboard fugues of the later 17th and early 18th centuries.

Oude Kerk, the Amsterdam church where Sweelinck worked almost his entire life.

Though he spent his entire life in or near Amsterdam, Sweelinck was greatly admired by the English virginalists (John Bull wrote a lament upon his death), and manuscripts of his works have been found in England, France, Germany, Italy, even Hungary. His contributions to the development of the fugue and the chorale variation were part of the foundation on which subsequent musical architects, including J. S. Bach, would build in the century following his death.


Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck - Ricercar

Jacopo Peri

Jacopo Peri (Zazzerino) (20 August 1561 – 12 August 1633) was an Italian composer and singer of the transitional period between the Renaissance and Baroque styles, and is often called the inventor of opera. He wrote the first work to be called an opera today, Dafne (around 1597), and also the first opera to have survived to the present day, Euridice (1600).





Peri was born in Rome, but studied in Florence with Cristofano Malvezzi, and went on to work in a number of churches there, both as an organist and as a singer. He subsequently began to work in the Medici court, first as a tenor singer and keyboard player, and later as a composer. His earliest works were incidental music for playsintermedi and madrigals.

In the 1590s, Peri became associated with Jacopo Corsi, the leading patron of music in Florence. They believed contemporary art was inferior to classical Greek and Roman works, and decided to attempt to recreate Greek tragedy, as they understood it. Their work added to that of the Florentine Camerata of the previous decade, which produced the first experiments in monody, the solo song style over continuo bass which eventually developed into recitative and aria. Peri and Corsi brought in the poet Ottavio Rinuccini to write a text, and the result, Dafne, though nowadays thought to be a long way from anything the Greeks would have recognised, is seen as the first work in a new form, opera.

Jacopo Peri - Tu dormi, e 'l dolce sonno

Rinuccini and Peri next collaborated on Euridice. This was first performed on 6 October 1600 at the Palazzo Pitti. Unlike Dafne, it has survived to the present day (though it is hardly ever staged, and then only as an historical curio). The work made use of recitatives, a new development which went between the arias and choruses and served to move the action along.

Peri produced a number of other operas, often in collaboration with other composers (such as La Flora with Marco da Gagliano), and also wrote a number of other pieces for various court entertainments. Few of his pieces are still performed today, and even by the time of his death his operatic style was looking rather old-fashioned when compared to the work of relatively younger reformist composers such as Claudio Monteverdi. Peri's influence on those later composers, however, was large.

John Bull

John Bull (1562 or 1563 – 15 March 1628) was an English composer, musician and organ builder. He was a renowned keyboard performer of the virginalist school and most of his compositions were written for this medium.



Bull's place of birth is shrouded in uncertainty. In an article published in 1952, Thurston Dart presumed that Bull's family originated in Somerset, where it is possible the composer was born. It was the 17th century antiquarian Anthony Wood who first proposed that he was related to the Bull family of Peglich, Somerset, but in 1959 Dart wrote that Bull was probably the son of a London goldsmith…. Then, in the second edition of his Calendar of the Life of John Bull, Dart proposed Hereford as a third possibility. More recent research by Susi Jeans suggests that Bull was born in the Radnorshire parish of Old Radnor within the diocese of Hereford, although no birth records have yet been discovered. Bull's appointment as organist of Hereford Cathedral in 1582 lends credence to this diocese being his place of birth: it was customary at this time for organists to return to their home cathedrals after training in London (cf: Thomas Morley).

In 1573 he joined the choir at Hereford Cathedral, and the next year joined the Children of the Chapel Royal in London, where he studied with John Blitheman and William Hunnis; in addition to singing he learned to play the organ at this time. After being appointed to the Merchant Taylor's Company in 1577–78, Bull received his first appointment as organist of Hereford Cathedral in 1582, and then became Master of the Children there.

In 1586 he received his degree from Oxford, and he became a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal that same year. In 1591, following the death of John Blitheman, he became organist at the Chapel Royal; in 1592 he received his doctorate from Oxford, and in 1596 he became the first professor of music at Gresham College on the recommendation of Queen Elizabeth, who admired him. There is some evidence that she sent Bull on espionage missions: his eighteen-month trip to the continent in 1601-2, ostensibly for health reasons, has never been satisfactorily explained, and his whereabouts there, apart from a visit to Brussels, remain a mystery. On the death of Elizabeth, he entered into the service of King James, establishing a reputation as a skilled composer, keyboard performer and improviser.

However, in addition to his virtuosity as a keyboard performer and composer, Bull was also skilled at getting into trouble. In 1597 his appointment to Gresham College required him to obey the committee's ordinances, lodge at Gresham House, and give an inaugural lecture during the second week of June in the presence of the mayor, the aldermen, the Bishop of London and the master and warden of the Mercers Company. Fearful of losing his readership because his assigned rooms were still occupied by Thomas Gresham's stepson, William Reade, he forced an entry to the rooms by engaging a mason to help him break down a wall, which led to an action against Bull in Star Chamber. The outcome of this case is not known. Ten years later, he was forced to leave his post at Gresham College on 20 December 1607, after he fathered a child pre-maritally with an Elizabeth Walter, thus losing his best source of income as well as his quarters. Even though he filed a petition for a marriage licence two days after he lost his job, he never returned to the college. He married Elizabeth Walter in 1607, by whom he had a daughter.

Just after publishing seven keyboard pieces in Parthenia, Bull left England for good, secretly and with great haste in October 1613, fleeing the wrath of George AbbotArchbishop of Canterbury, and King James himself; the charge this time was adultery. William Trumbull, the English envoy in the Low Countries, after first attempting to cover for him – but later fearing for his own position if he continued to do so – wrote to the King in early 1614,

... Bull did not leave your Majesties service for any wrong done unto him, or for matter of religion, under which fained pretext he now sought to wrong the reputation of your Majesties justice, but did in that dishonest matter steal out of England through the guilt of a corrupt conscience, to escape the punishment, which notoriously he had deserved, and was designed to have been inflicted on him by the hand of justice, for his incontinence, fornication, adultery, and other grievious crimes.

The Archbishop of Canterbury had said of him the previous year: the man hath more music than honesty and is as famous for marring of virginity as he is for fingering of organs and virginals.


Bull remained in Flanders, where it seems he stayed out of trouble. In 1615 Antwerp Cathedral appointed him as assistant organist, and as principal organist in 1617. Bull wrote a series of letters while in Flanders, including one to the mayor of Antwerp, claiming that the reason he left England was to escape religious persecution.

He seems to have been believed, for he was never extradited back to England in spite of Trumbull's complaining to the Archduke. While in Antwerp he most probably met Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, the most influential keyboard composer of the age.

In the 1620s he continued his career as an organist, organ builder and consultant. He died in Antwerp on 15 March 1628 and was buried in the cemetery next to the cathedral.

John Bull - Fantasy for keyboard



Bull was one of the most famous composers of keyboard music of the early 17th century, exceeded only by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck in the Netherlands, Girolamo Frescobaldi in Italy, and, some would say, by his countryman and elder, the celebrated William Byrd. He left many compositions for keyboard, some of which were collected in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book.

His first (and only) publication, in 1612 or 1613, was a contribution of seven pieces forming part of a collection of virginal music entitled Parthenia, or the Maydenhead of the First Musicke That Ever Was Printed for the Virginalls, dedicated to the 15-year-old Princess Elizabeth, who was his student, on the occasion of her betrothal to Frederick V, Elector Palatine of the Rhine. The other contributors to Parthenia were Bull's contemporaries William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons, among the most famous composers of the age. Bull also wrote an anthem, God the father, God the son, for the wedding in 1613 of the princess and the Elector Palatine.

In addition to his keyboard compositions, he wrote verse anthemscanons and other works.

His 5 part anthem Almighty God, which by the Leading of a Star, known colloquially as the Star Anthem, was the most popular Jacobean verse anthem, occurring in more contemporary sources than any other.

Much of his music was lost when he fled England; some was destroyed, and some was stolen by other composers, though occasionally such misattributions can be corrected today based on stylistic grounds. One of the most unusual collections of music from the period is his book of 120 canons, an astonishing display of contrapuntal skill worthy of Ockeghem or J.S. Bach. Of the 120 canons, 116 are based on the Miserere.

He is sometimes credited with the composition of God Save the King, the British national anthem.

John Dowland

(b. prob. London, 1563; d. London, February 20, 1626)

Englich   composer-lutenist.  

A   close contemporary of Shakespeare, he received his bachelor's degree in music from Oxford in 1588, the year of the Spanish Armada. He spent much of his life abroad—first in France (1580-84), later in Germany and Italy (1594-96; while in Italy he sought out the famed madrigal composer Luca Marenzio), and finally in Denmark (1598-1606), where he served as lutenist to King Christian IV. His life's ambition was to find preferment at the English court, which finally materialized in 1612, when he was named to a minor position as one of the King's Lutes; thereafter he composed little of any importance. Dowland's works are about evenly divided between songs and solo compositions for lute. His Firste Booke of Songes or Ayres, a collection of 21 songs—including some for solo voice with lute accompaniment, and some for four voices, mostly without accompaniment—appeared in 1597. His Second Booke was published in 1600, and his Third and Last Booke in 1603. As a song writer and performer on a "gentleman's" instrument, Dowland was, in effect, a pop musician.

                                   Dowland – Lachrimae

But the expressive content of his music is serious, and in most of his songs darker sentiments predominate. His early songs were strophic, patterned on dance types, and influenced by the madrigal styles of Marenzio and others. In his later works, of which fewer are strophic, he gradually moved away from madrigalistic word-painting toward a freer and more subtle style closely attuned to the rhythms of speech, and marked by a keen, often biting, expressiveness.


John Dowland - Lute Music

Lodovico Grossi da Viadana

Lodovico Grossi da Viadana (usually Lodovico Viadana, though his family name was Grossi; c. 1560 – 2 May 1627) was an Italian composer, teacher, and Franciscan friar of the Order of Friars Minor Observants. He was the first significant figure to make use of the newly developed technique of figured bass, one of the musical devices which was to define the end of the Renaissance and beginning of the Baroque eras in music.





He was born in Viadana, a town in the province of Mantua (Italy). According to a document dating from about 150 years after his death, he was a member of the Grossi family but took the name of his birth city, Viadana, when he entered the order of the Minor Observants prior to 1588 (Mompellio 2001). Though there is no contemporary evidence, it has been claimed that he studied with Costanzo Porta (Mompellio 2001), becoming choirmaster at the cathedral in Mantua by 1594. In 1597 he went to Rome, and in 1602 he became choirmaster at the cathedral of San Luca in Mantua. He held a succession of posts at various cathedrals in Italy, including Concordia (near Venice), and Fano, on the east coast of Italy, where he was maestro di cappella from 1610 to 1612 (Mompellio 2001). For three years, from 1614 to 1617, he held a position in his religious order which covered the entire province of Bologna (including Ferrara, Mantua and Piacenza). By 1623 he had moved to Busseto, and later he worked at the convent of Santa Andrea, in Gualtieri, near Parma. He died in Gualtieri (Mompellio 2001).

Ludovico Grossi da Viadana - Exsultate Justi

Music and significance


Viadana is important in the development of the early Baroque technique of basso continuo, and its notational method, known as figured bass. While he did not invent the method—figured basses occur in published sources from at least as early as 1597 (Williams and Ledbetter 2001)—he was the first to use it in a widely distributed collection of sacred music (Cento concerti con il basso continuo), which he published in Venice in 1602. Agostino Agazzari in 1607 published a treatise describing how to interpret the new figured bass, though it is clear that many performers had by this time already learned the new method, at least in the most progressive musical centers in Italy.

Claudio Monteverdi

Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi (Italian: [ˈklaudjo monteˈverdi]; 15 May 1567 (baptized) – 29 November 1643) was an Italian composergambistsinger, and Catholic priest.


Monteverdi is considered a crucial transitional figure between the Renaissance and the Baroque periods of music history.

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Thomas Campion

Thomas Campion (sometimes Campian; 12 February 1567 – 1 March 1620) was an English composer, poet, and physician. He wrote over a hundred lute songsmasques for dancing, and an authoritative technical treatise on music.



Campion was born in London, the son of John Campion, a clerk of the Court of Chancery, and Lucy (née Searle – daughter of Laurence Searle, one of the queen's serjeants-at-arms). Upon the death of Campion's father in 1576, his mother married Augustine Steward, dying soon afterwards. His stepfather assumed charge of the boy and sent him, in 1581, to study at Peterhouse, Cambridge as a "gentleman pensioner"; he left the university after four years without taking a degree. He later entered Gray's Inn to study law in 1586. However, he left in 1595 without having been called to the bar.

On 10 February 1605, he received his medical degree from the University of Caen.

Campion is thought to have lived in London, practising as a physician, until his death in March 1620 – possibly of the plague. He was apparently unmarried and had no children. He was buried the same day at St Dunstan-in-the-West in Fleet Street.

He was implicated in the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, but was eventually exonerated, as it was found that he had unwittingly delivered the bribe that had procured Overbury's death.

Poetry and songs

The body of his works is considerable, the earliest known being a group of five anonymous poems included in the "Songs of Divers Noblemen and Gentlemen," appended to Newman's edition of Sir Philip Sidney's Astrophel and Stella, which appeared in 1591. In 1595, Poemata, a collection of Latin panegyrics, elegies and epigrams was published, winning him a considerable reputation. This was followed, in 1601, by a songbook, A Booke of Ayres, with words by himself and music composed by himself and Philip Rosseter. The following year he published his Observations in the Art of English Poesie, "against the vulgar and unartificial custom of riming," in favour of rhymeless verse on the model of classical quantitative verse. Campion's theories on poetry were criticized by Samuel Daniel in "Defence of Rhyme" (1603).

Thomas Campion: Never weather beaten sail

In 1607, he wrote and published a masque for the occasion of the marriage of Lord Hayes, and, in 1613, issued a volume of Songs of Mourning: Bewailing the Untimely Death of Prince Henry, set to music by John Cooper (also known as Coperario). The same year he wrote and arranged three masques: The Lords' Masque for the marriage of Princess Elizabeth; an entertainment for the amusement of Queen Anne at Caversham House; and a third for the marriage of the Earl of Somerset to the infamous Frances Howard, Countess of Essex. If, moreover, as appears quite likely, his Two Bookes of Ayres (both words and music written by himself) belongs also to this year, it was indeed his annus mirabilis.

In 1615, he published a book on counterpoint, A New Way of Making Fowre Parts in Counterpoint By a Most Familiar and Infallible Rule, a technical treatise which was for many years the standard textbook on the subject. It was included, with annotations by Christopher Sympson, in Playford's Brief Introduction to the Skill of Musick, and two editions appear to have been published by 1660.

Some time in or after 1617 appeared his Third and Fourth Booke of Ayres. In 1618 appeared the airs that were sung and played at Brougham Castle on the occasion of the King's entertainment there, the music by George Mason and John Earsden, while the words were almost certainly by Campion. In 1619, he published his Epigrammatum Libri II. Umbra Elegiarum liber unus, a reprint of his 1595 collection with considerable omissions, additions (in the form of another book of epigrams) and corrections.



Salamone Rossi

Salamone Rossi or Salomone Rossi (Hebrew: סלומונה רוסי or שלמה מן האדומים‎‎) (Salamon, Schlomo; de' Rossi) (ca. 1570 – 1630) was an Italian Jewish violinist and composer. He was a transitional figure between the late Italian Renaissance period and early Baroque.





As a young man, Rossi acquired a reputation as a talented violinist. He was then hired (in 1587) as a court musician in Mantua, where records of his activities as a violinist survive.

Rossi served at the court of Mantua from 1587 to 1628 as concertmaster where he entertained the ducal family and their highly esteemed guests. The composers Rossi, MonteverdiGastoldiWert and Viadana provided fashionable music for banquets, wedding feasts, theatre productions and chapel services amongst others. Rossi was so well-thought of at this court that he was excused from wearing the yellow badge that was required of other Jews in Mantua.

Rossi probably died either in the invasion of Austrian troops, who defeated the Gonzagas and destroyed the Jewish ghetto in Mantua, or in the subsequent plague which ravaged the area.

Rossi's sister, Madama Europa, was an opera singer, and possibly the first Jewish woman to be professionally engaged in that area. Like her brother, she was employed at the court in Mantua; she is thought to have performed in the intermedio Il Ratto di Europa, by Chiabrera and Gastoldi, during the wedding festivities for Francesco Gonzaga in 1608. She also disappeared after the end of the Gonzaga court and subsequent sack of the ghetto.


His first published work (released in 1589) was a collection of 19 canzonettes, short, dance-like compositions for a trio of voices with lighthearted, amorous lyrics. Rossi also flourished in his composition of more serious madrigals, combining the poetry of the greatest poets of the day (e.g. GuariniMarinoRinaldi, and Celiano) with his melodies. In 1600, in the first two of his five madrigal books, Rossi published the earliest continuo madrigals, an innovation which partially defined the beginning of the Baroque era in music; these particular compositions included tablature for chitarrone.


Hans Leo Hassler

Hans Leo Hassler (in German, Hans Leo Haßler) (c. 1562 – 8 June 1612) was a German composer and organist of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras, elder brother of composer Jakob Hassler. He was born in Nuremberg and died in Frankfurt am Main.





Hassler was born in Nuremberg and baptized on 26 October 1564, receiving his first instruction in music from his father, the organist Isaak Hassler. In 1584, Hassler became the first of many German composers of the time who went to Italy to continue their studies; he arrived in Venice during the peak of activity of the Venetian school, the composers who wrote in the resplendent polychoral style, which was soon to become popular outside its native city. Hassler was already familiar with some of this music, as numerous prints had circulated in Germany due to the interest of Leonhard Lechner, who was associated with Orlandus Lassus in Munich.

While in Venice, Hassler became friends with Giovanni Gabrieli, with whom he composed a wedding motet for Georg Gruber, a Nuremberg merchant living in Venice, in 1600. Together they studied with Andrea Gabrieli, Giovanni's uncle. Under Andrea, Hassler received instruction in composition and organ playing.

Following Andrea Gabrieli's death, Hassler returned to Germany in the latter part of 1585, moving to Augsburg where he served as an organist to Octavian II Fugger, a nobleman there. The Augsburg years were extremely creative for him; in addition he became well known as a composer and organist at this time, though his influence was limited because he was a Protestant in an area which was still heavily Catholic.

Hassler was not only a composer, but also an active organist and a consultant to organ builders. In 1596, Hassler, along with 53 other organists, was given the opportunity to examine a new instrument with 59 stops at the Schlosskirche, Groningen. Hassler was continually recognized for his expertise in organ design, and was often called upon as the examiner of new instruments. Using his extensive organ background, Hassler stepped into the world of mechanical instrument construction and developed a clockwork organ that was later sold to Emperor Rudolf II.

In 1602, Hassler returned to Nuremberg where he became the Kapellmeister, or director of town music. While there, he was appointed Kaiserlicher Hofdiener in the court of Rudolf II. In 1604, he took a leave of absence and traveled to Ulm, where he was wed to Cordula Claus. Four years later, Hassler moved to Dresden where he served as the electoral chamber organist to the Elector Christian II of Saxony, and eventually as Kapellmeister. By this time, Hassler had already developed the tuberculosis that would claim his life in June 1612. After he died, Michael Praetorius and Heinrich Schütz were appointed in his place.


Hassler was one of the first to bring the innovations of the Venetian style across the Alps. Through his songs, “in the manner of foreign madrigal and canzonets,” and the Lustgarten, Hassler brought to Germany the villanelle, canzonette, and dance songs of Gastoldi and Orazio Vecchi. As the first great German composer to undertake an “Italian Journey,” Hassler’s influence was one of the reasons for the Italian domination over German music and for the common trend of German musicians finishing their education in Italy. While musicians of the stature of Lassus had been working in Germany for years, they represented the older school, the prima pratica, the fully developed and refined Renaissance style of polyphony; in Italy new trends were emerging which were to define what was later called the Baroque era. Musicians such as Hassler, and later Schütz, carried the concertato style, the polychoral idea, and the freely emotional expression of the Venetians into the German culture, creating the first and most important Baroque development outside of Italy.

Hassler's greatest success in combining the German and Italian compositional styles existed in his lieder. In 1590, Hassler released his first publication, a set of twenty-four, four-part canzonette. The Lustgarten neuer teutscher Gesang, Balletti, Galliarden und Intraden, which contains thirty-nine vocal and eleven instrumental pieces, is Hassler’s most renowned collection of lieder. Within this work, Hassler published dance collections for four, five, or six string or wind instruments with voice and without continuo. He also composed Mein G'müt ist mir verwirret, a five-part piece. Its melody was later combined with the text O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden of Paul Gerhardt and used by Bach in his St Matthew Passion.

Hassler is considered to be one of the most important German composers of all time. His use of the innovative Italian techniques, coupled with traditional, conservative German techniques allowed his compositions to be fresh without the modern affective tone. His songs presented a combined vocal and instrumental literature that did not make use of the continuo, or only provided it as an option, and his sacred music introduced the Italian polychoral structures that would later influence many composers leading into the Baroque era.

Hans Leo Hassler - Missa Secunda
1. Kyrie 00:00
2. Gloria 01:59
3. Credo 05:08
4. Sanctus 10:54
5. Benedictus 12:03
6. Agnus Dei 13:21


Peter Philips

Peter Philips (also Phillipps, Phillips, Pierre Philippe, Pietro Philippi, Petrus Philippus; c.1561–1628) was an eminent English composer, organist, and Catholic priest exiled to Flanders. He was one of the greatest keyboard virtuosos of his time, and transcribed or arranged several Italian motets and madrigals by such composers as Lassus, Palestrina, and Giulio Caccini for his instruments. Some of his keyboard works are found in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book. Philips also wrote many sacred choral works.

Philips was born in 1560 or 1561, possibly in Devonshire or London. From 1572 to 1578 he began his career as a boy chorister at St Paul's Cathedral in London, under the aegis of the Catholic master of choristers, Sebastian Westcott (died 1582), who had also trained the young William Byrd some twenty years earlier. Philips must have had a close relationship with his master, as he lodged in his house up to the time of Westcote's death, and was a beneficiary of his will.

In the same year (1582), Philips left England for good, like so many others for reasons of his Catholicism, and stayed briefly in Flanders before travelling to Rome where he entered the service of Alessandro Farnese (1520–1589), with whom he stayed for three years, and was also engaged as organist at the English Jesuit College. It was here that in February 1585 he met a fellow Catholic exile, Thomas, third Baron Paget (c. 1544–1590).
Philips entered Paget's service as a musician, and the two left Rome in March 1585, travelling over several years to Genoa, Madrid, Paris, Brussels and finally Antwerp, where Philips settled in 1590 and where Paget died the same year.

After settling, Philips married and gained a precarious living by teaching the virginals to children. In 1593 he went to Amsterdam "to sie and heare an excellent man of his faculties", doubtless Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, whose reputation had by then long been made. On his way back, Philips was denounced by a compatriot for complicity in a plot on Queen Elizabeth's life, and he was temporarily imprisoned at the Hague, where he probably composed the pavan and galliard Doloroso (Fitzwilliam Virginal Book nos. LXXX and LXXXI). Philips himself translated the accusations made against him during his trial, revealing that he could by then speak Dutch. He was acquitted and released without further charges.

Philips' fortunes took a turn for the better on his return, and in 1597 he was employed in Brussels as organist to the chapel of Albert VII, Archduke of Austria who had been appointed governor of the Low Countries in 1595. Here, after his wife – and child's – deaths, he was ordained a priest in either 1601 or 1609 – opinions differ; in any case, he received a canonry at Soignies in 1610, and another at Béthune in 1622 or 1623. In his position at court, Philips was able to meet the best musicians of the time, including Girolamo Frescobaldi, who visited the Low Countries in 1607–1608, and his fellow-countryman John Bull, who had fled England on a charge of adultery. His nearest colleague, however, was Peeter Cornet (c. 1575–1633), organist to Archduchess Isabella, wife of Philips' employer the archduke.

Philips died in 1628, probably in Brussels, where he was buried.

Peter Philips - Ave Jesu Christe


Joachim Burmeister 

Joachim Burmeister (1564 in Lüneburg – 5 May 1629 in Rostock) was a north German composer and music theorist.

He was the oldest of five children born to a beadworker and townsman of Lüneburg. His brother Anton (d. 1634) became the cantor of St. Michael's Church in Lüneburg, following Christian Praetorius.

Burmeister attended the University of Rostock, where he received the master's degree and became cantor at the Nicolaikirche and Marienkirche. He then taught grammar, Latin, rhetoric and poetry at the Rostock Gymnasium (Scholae Rostochiensis Collega Classicus). In Rostock Burmeister was acquainted with some famous humanists such as Eilhard Lubin, Johann Simonius, Paul Tarnow, Johannes Posselius. His aim while publishing his books was to prove that music was an art full of dignity, like eloquence. In Musica autoschédiastikè and Musica Poetica Burmeister provided a list of musical soloecisms, musical ornaments or figures, parts of the musical poem and musical styles. He inquired about rhetorical convenience and pronunciation of music. Burmeister was a very literate writer, his books show his mastery of Greek and Latin and contain references for example to Erasmus, Melanchthon, Lucas Lossius.


Giovanni Paolo Cima

Giovanni Paolo Cima (c. 1570 – 1622) was an Italian composer and organist in the early Baroque era. He was a contemporary of Claudio Monteverdi and Girolamo Frescobaldi, though not as well known (then or now) as either of those men.

Cima came from a family of musicians and was a leading musical figure in Milan. From 1595 he served as director of music and organist at the chapel of Santa Maria presso San Celso in Milan. His Concerti ecclesiastici were published in 1610.

Cima's church music was generally conservative, but his instrumental works were more innovative. He was the first composer to publish trio sonatas and made use in them of the combination of two treble instruments and the basso continuo.

Cima died in Milan at about the age of 52. 


Giovanni Paolo Cima - Sonata

Paul Peuerl

Paul Peuerl (also Bäurl, Beuerlin, Bäwerl, Agricola, Peyerl; 13 June 1570 (baptised), Stuttgart – after 1625) was a German organist, organ builder, renovator and repairer, and composer of instrumental music.

From November 1601 he was organist in Horn and from late 1609 in Steyr. He built organs in Steyr, Horn, Enns, and Wilhering. Peuerl wrote the earliest published trio sonatas outside of Italy. His work on the suite form was for his time significant and influential. In 1625 he fled Steyr for religious reasons; his fate afterwards is unknown.

Musicologists began to research his work in 1865. A complete edition was published in 1929.

Paul Peuerl. Canzon


William Leighton

Sir William Leighton (c. 1565–1622) was an Elizabethan composer and editor who published The Teares and Lamentatacions of a Sorrowfull Soule (1614) which comprised 55 pieces by 21 composers (among them John Bull, William Byrd, John Dowland and Martin Peerson), including eight by himself. There is a modern edition published by Stainer and Bell and a modern facsimile. Several radio broadcasts have been made but no commercial recording has been carried out yet.

The book is historically important because it has parts for an instrumental accompaniment of broken consort and introduces the term "consort song".


Lucia Quinciani 

Lucia Quinciani (c. 1566, fl. 1611) was an Italian composer. She is the earliest known published female composer of monody. She is known only by one composition, a setting of "Udite lagrimosi spirti d’Averno, udite", from Giovanni Battista Guarini's Il pastor fido, found in Marcantonio Negri's Affetti amorosi (1611), in which Negri refers to Quinciani as his student. She may have worked in Venice or Verona.


Giovanni Francesco Anerio

Giovanni Francesco Anerio (c. 1567 – buried 12 June 1630) was an Italian composer of the Roman School, of the very late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He was the younger brother of Felice Anerio. Giovanni's principal importance in music history was his contribution to the early development of the oratorio; he represented the progressive trend within the otherwise conservative Roman School, though he also shared some of the stylistic tendencies of his brother, who was much indebted to Palestrina.



He was born in Narni and his exact birthdate is not known. He clearly decided to become a priest from an early age, and became associated with the Oratory of Filippo Neri around 1583. In 1595 he was employed as an organist at S Marcello, and likely became maestro di cappella at the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, after Francesco Soriano, between 1600 or 1601 and 1603. In 1609 he held a similar post at Verona Cathedral, his first appointment outside of Rome; he stayed there until 1610, when he went back to Rome; and he stayed there, aside for a few travels, until 1624, in a variety of roles (becoming a priest at last in 1616). In 1624 he took the position of choirmaster to King Sigismund III of Poland in Warsaw. Poland had several active musical centers in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, including Kraków and Warsaw, and often employed Italians and Germans; Anerio was one of the more distinguished foreigners to take up residence there. Unfortunately he never saw Rome again; he died while traveling back home, while in Graz, Austria, and was buried there on 12 June 1630.

Musical style

Giovanni Anerio was a much more progressive composer than his brother, and in the conservative environment of Rome in the early 17th century, this was progressive indeed. Many of his madrigals were monodies, borrowing a style which came from Florence and other locations to the north; his motets and masses, on the other hand, are conservative and use the Palestrina style, though the motets include figured bass, another innovation from the first decade of the 17th century. Some influence from Viadana is evident in these pieces.

Some of his masses are polychoral, a technique which involved multiple, spatially separated groups of singers. While this was also a technique which developed in Venice, it was widespread by the end of the 16th century: almost all composers of sacred polyphony used polychoral techniques at some time, especially those working in large acoustical environments (such as most cathedrals in Europe).

The most important achievement of the younger Anerio, however, was his Teatro armonico spirituale of 1619, which is arguably the first oratorio. It includes the earliest surviving obbligato writing for instruments by the Roman School. Instrumentation is indicated with unusual care, and the alternate instrumental and vocal passages were greatly influential in works of the following decades. Unlike the works of the Venetian school, many of which were essentially grandiose motets, the Teatro armonico spirituale was in Italian; it included stories told musically but not acted (as would be done in opera); and voices and instruments alternated movement by movement. The piece included settings of the tale of the Prodigal Son and the Conversion of Saul.

Anerio was a prolific composer, and he wrote motets, litanies, antiphons, "sacred concertos," responsories, psalms, madrigals, much miscellaneous sacred and secular music, as well as a handful of instrumental pieces. Most were published in Rome; no works have yet been identified definitively from the period he worked in Poland.


Giovanni Francesco Anerio - Cantate Domino

Giovanni Anerio

Duarte Lobo

Duarte Lobo (ca. 1565 – 24 September 1646; Latinized as Eduardus Lupus) was a Portuguese composer of the late Renaissance and early Baroque. He was one of the most famous Portuguese composers of the time, together with Filipe de Magalhães, Manuel Cardoso, composers who all began their academic studies as students of Manuel Mendes. Along with John IV, King of Portugal, they represent the "golden age" of Portuguese polyphony.




Details of his life are sparse. He was born in Alcáçovas, in Alentejo, southern Portugal. He is known to have been a choir boy at Évora where he subsequently studied with Manuel Mendes. His first position was as mestre de capela of the cathedral of Évora; sometime before 1589, he became maestro di cappella at the Hospital Real, Lisbon. By 1591 he was appointed as mestre de capela at the cathedral in Lisbon, a position he held till 1639. This was the most prestigious musical appointment in the country.

He also served as director of the Seminar of São Bartolomeu, and was also a professor of music at the 'Colégio do Claustro da Sé' (College at the Holy See Cloisters) in Lisbon, where he taught Manuel Machado.

While chronologically his life overlapped with the beginning of the Baroque music era, he was a rather conservative composer who followed the techniques of the Renaissance masters of the previous generation. Palestrina's polyphonic style played a crucial role in his compositions throughout his life.

Duarte Lobo - Requiem for six voices
1. Introitus 7:12
2. Kyrie 5:11
3. Graduale 4:18 I - Requiem aeternam II - In memoria
4. Sequentia pro defunctis 5:15
5. Offertorium 6:13 I - Domine lesu Christe II - Hostias et preces
6. Sanctus & Benedictus 2:37
7. Agnus Dei I, II & III 2:33
8. Communio: Lux aeterna 3:09
9. Responsorium pro defunctis: Memento mei 3:55

Duarte Lobo

Jehan Titelouze

Jean (Jehan) Titelouze (c. 1562/63 – 24 October 1633) was a French composer, poet and organist of the early Baroque period. His style was firmly rooted in the Renaissance vocal tradition, and as such was far removed from the distinctly French style of organ music that developed during the mid-17th century. However, his hymns and Magnificat settings are the earliest known published French organ collections, and he is regarded as the first composer of the French organ school.

Titelouze was born in Saint-Omer in 1562/3 (his exact date of birth is unknown) and educated there; by 1585 he entered the priesthood and served as organist of the Saint-Omer Cathedral. He moved to Rouen later that year and in 1588 succeeded François Josseline as organist of the Rouen Cathedral. His work was not limited to Rouen: he also acted as organ consultant and helped with the installation and repair of important instruments in various cities.

In 1600 Titelouze invited the famous Franco-Flemish organ builder Crespin Carlier to Rouen to work on the cathedral organ. The result of this collaboration was referred to by contemporary critics as the best organ in France. This instrument and Carlier's later work in France defined the French classical organ. Titelouze occasionally collaborated with Carlier on various instruments. In 1604 Titelouze became a French citizen (at the time, Saint-Omer, where Titelouze was born, was part of the Spanish Netherlands). In 1610 he was appointed one of the Rouen Cathedral's canons. In 1613 he won his first award from Rouen's literary society, the Académie des Palinods, for his poems.

The year 1623 saw publication of Titelouze's Hymnes de l'Eglise, a collection of organ settings of various plainchant hymns to be used during the liturgy. The same year, due to health problems, Titelouze partially retired from his organist position (although he kept the post until his death). In 1626 he published a second organ collection, Le Magnificat, that contained eight Magnificat settings. In 1630 he received another award from the Académie des Palinods and was made "Prince des Palinods". He died three years later.
Titelouze was a friend of Marin Mersenne, an important French music theorist, mathematician, philosopher and theologian. Seven letters survive from their correspondence, from 1622–1633. Titelouze gave Mersenne advice on L'Harmonie Universelle, published from 1634 to 1637. Although the strict polyphonic style of Titelouze's music soon disappeared from French organ music, his influence was still felt for some time after his death; for instance, the Parisian composer and organist Nicolas Gigault included a fugue à la maniere de Titelouze (literally "in Titelouze's style") in his 1685 Livre de musique pour l'orgue. 


Jehan Titelouze - Magnificat du 6ème ton


John Coprario

John Cooper (c. 1570 – 1626), also known as Giovanni Coprario was an English composer, viol player and lutenist.

He changed his name in the early 17th century. It is often said he did this after a visit to Italy, though there is no evidence he had been to the country. From 1622 he served and may have taught the Prince of Wales, for whom he continued to work upon his succession as Charles I. His longtime patron was Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, for whom he taught William Lawes.

Among Cooper's works are fantasias, suites and other works for viols and violins, and two collections of songs, Funeral Teares (1606) and Songs of Mourning: Bewailing the Untimely Death of Prince Henry (1613). He also penned the treatise on composition, Rules how to Compose.

According to Ernst Meyer, Cooper was a Londoner who Italianized his name as Italian music and musicians became more fashionable, and spent much of his life as a musician in the royal court.

Ninety-six fantasias in between three and six voices, most of them in two Oxford and Royal College of Music collections, were known to exist by Cooper (as of 1946). Meyer also notes that most of Cooper's five- and six-part fantasias are mainly transcriptions, or imitations, of his madrigals, but that his fantasias for three or four instrumental parts are, formally especially, independently interesting.


John Coprario, Fantasia-Suite no. 1 (ca. 1622)


Pier Francesco Valentini

Pier Francesco Valentini (c.1570-1654) was an Italian nobleman, amateur composer and music theorist. He studied with G. B. Nanino. His tour de force on the art of the contrapuntal canon was Canone nel modo Salomonis (1631) a 96-voice contrapuntal exercise which could be expanded to a symbolically significant 144,000 voices, singing at different speeds and in different metres. He also published more conventional madrigal and motet collections.

Pier Francesco Valentini: Christe eleison. Vierstimmiger Kanon.

Pier Francesco Valentini

Adriano Banchieri

Adriano Banchieri (Bologna, 3 September 1568 – Bologna, 1634) was an Italian composer, music theorist, organist and poet of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He founded the Accademia dei Floridi in Bologna.

He was born and died in Bologna (then in the Papal States). In 1587 he became a monk of the Benedictine order, taking his vows in 1590, and changing his name to Adriano (from Tommaso). One of his teachers at the monastery was Gioseffo Guami, who had a strong influence on his style.

Like Orazio Vecchi he was interested in converting the madrigal to dramatic purposes. Specifically, he was one of the developers of a form called "madrigal comedy" — unstaged but dramatic collections of madrigals which, when sung consecutively, told a story. Formerly, madrigal comedy was considered to be one of the important precursors to opera, but most music scholars now see it as a separate development, part of a general interest in Italy at the time in creating musico-dramatic forms. In addition, he was an important composer of canzonettas, a lighter and hugely popular alternative to the madrigal in the late 16th century. Banchieri disapproved of the monodists with all their revolutionary harmonic tendencies, about which he expressed himself vigorously in his Moderna Practica Musicale (1613), while systematizing the legitimate use of the monodic art of figured bass.

In several editions beginning in 1605 (reprinted at least six times before 1638), Banchieri published a series of organ works entitled l'Organo suonarino.

Banchieri's last publication was the Trattenimenti da villa of 1630. According to Martha Farahat he wrote five madrigal comedies between 1598 and 1628 with "plot and character development", starting with La pazzia senile of 1598, the last of them La saviezza giovenile.

Adriano Banchieri

Adriano Banchieri - Sinfonia

triumph death

Pieter Brueghel the Elder, The Triumph of Death (c. 1562) in the Museo del Prado, Madrid

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