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Renaissance Music


1582 Pope Gregory XIII implements the Gregorian calendar.

1583 William of Orange rules the Netherlands; assassinated on orders of Philip II of Spain (1584).

1587 Mary, Queen of Scots, executed for treason by order of Queen Elizabeth I. Monteverdi's First Book of Madrigals.

1588 Defeat of the Spanish Armada by English. Henry, King of Navarre and Protestant leader, recognized as Henry IV,
first Bourbon king of France. Converts to Roman Catholicism in 1593 in attempt to end religious wars.

Henry III of France on his deathbed designating
Henry IV of Navarre as his successor 

Coroso:"Il Ballarino," treatise on dance technique published.
Fabritio Caroso da Sermoneta (1526/1535 – 1605/1620) was an Italian Renaissance dancing master and a composer or transcriber of dance music.

"Ballet comique de la Reyne" by Balthazar de Beaujoyeulx given at French court.
Balthasar de Beaujoyeulx (also Balthasar de Beaujoyeux), (d. ca. 1587, Paris) was an Italian violinist, composer, and choreographer.

Johann Staden, German organist and composer, born. 
Vincenzo Galilei:"Dialogo della musica antica e moderna" published.
"Geuzenlied Boek," an anthology of Dutch songs, including nathional anthem "Wilhelmus van Nassau".
Marco da Gagliano, Italian composer, born.
Gregorio Allegri, Italian tenor singer and composer, born.
Giovanni Valentini, Italian composer, poet and keyboard virtuoso, born.
c 1582
Sigismondo d'India, Italian composer, born.
Ihan Gero, Flemish Composer, dies. 
Girolamo Frescobaldi, Italian organist and composer, born.
Orlando Gibbons, English organist and composer, born.
Robert Johnson, English composer and lutenist, born
Pietro Vinci, Italian composer dies.
Heinrich Schutz, German composer, born.
Thomas Tallis, English composer, dies.
Johann Hermann Schein, German composer born.
Paul Siefert, German composer and organist, born.
Pietro della Valle, Italian composer, musicologist, born.
Monteverdi: first book of Madrigals published.
Samuel Scheidt, German organist and composer born.
Zeminoth Israel publishes an early collection of Jewish songs.
Francesca Caccini, Italian composer, singer, lutenist, poet, and music teache, born.
Stefano Landi, Italian composer, born.
c 1587
Walter Porter, English composer, born. 
William Byrd: "Psalms Sonets and songs of sadnes and Pietie".
Nicholas Yonge "Musica Transalpina", 57 madrigals published in London.
Nicholas Yonge (ca. 1560, Lewes, Sussex– buried 23 October 1619, St Michael, Cornhill, London) was an English singer and publisher.​

c 1588
Thomas RavenscroftEnglish musician, theorist, editor, composer, born.
Nicholas Lanier, English composer and musician, born.
Johann Andreas Herbs, German composer and music theorist, born.
Thoinot Arbeau publishes "Orchesographie" ealry treatise on dancing with several dance tunes.
Thoinot Arbeau is the anagrammatic pen name of French cleric Jehan Tabourot (March 17, 1519 – July 23, 1595). Tabourot is most famous for his Orchésographie, a study of late sixteenth-century French Renaissance social dance. 

William Byrd:"Songes of Sundrie Natures".
Heinrich Pfendner, Bavarian composer, born.
c 1590
Bartholomaeus Praetorius, German cornett player and composer, born.

Gregorio Allegri 

Gregorio Allegri (c. 1582 – 7 February 1652) was an Italian composer of the Roman School and brother of Domenico Allegri; he was also a priest and a singer. He was born and died in Rome.




He studied music as a puer (boy chorister) at San Luigi dei Francesi, under the maestro di capella Giovanni Bernardino Nanino, brother of Giovanni Maria Nanino. Being intended for the Church, he obtained a benefice in the cathedral of Fermo. Here he composed a large number of motets and other sacred music, which, being brought to the notice of Pope Urban VIII, obtained for him an appointment in the choir of the Sistine Chapel at Rome as a contralto. He held this from 6 December 1629 until his death. As Andrea Adami wrote, Allegri was regarded as singularly pure and benevolent.

Among Allegri's musical compositions were two volumes of concerti for five voices published in 1618 and 1619; two volumes of motets for six voices published in 1621; an edition of a four-part sinfonia; five masses; two settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah; and numerous motets which were not published in his lifetime. He was one of the earliest composers for stringed instruments, and Athanasius Kircher has given one specimen of this class of his works in his Musurgia. Most of Allegri's published music, especially the instrumental music, is in the progressive early Baroque concertato style. However, his work for the Sistine Chapel is descended from the Palestrina style, and in some cases strips even this refined, simple style of almost all localised ornamentation. He is credited with the earliest string quartet.

The Miserere


By far the most well known and regarded piece of music composed by Allegri is the Miserere mei, Deus, a setting of Vulgate Psalm 50 (= Psalm 51). It is written for two choirs, the one of five and the other of four voices, and has obtained considerable celebrity. One of the choirs sings a simple fauxbordon based on the original plainsong chant for the Tonus peregrinus; the other choir sings a similar fauxbordon with pre-existing elaborations and the use of cadenzas. The Miserere has for many years been sung annually during Holy Week in the Sistine Chapel. Many have cited this work as an example of the stile antico (old style) or prima pratica (first practice). However, its emphasis on polychoral techniques certainly put it out of the range of prima pratica. A more accurate comparison would be to the works of Giovanni Gabrieli.

In 1771 Mozart's copy was procured and published in England by the famous traveler and music historian Dr. Burney. However, Burney's edition does not show the ornamentation for which the work was famous. The music itself is rather basic—church music at the time placed a large gap between written and performance practice—embellishments were largely placed in the hands of the performers' tastes, although the Vatican score itself was altered largely by performers and visitors over the years.

The music as it is performed today includes a strange error by a copyist in the 1880s. The curious "trucker's gear change" from G minor to C minor is because the second half of the verse is the same as the first half, but transposed up a fourth. The original never had a Top C.

Gregorio Allegri - Miserere mei, Deus


The entire music performed at Rome in Holy Week, Allegri's Miserere included, has been issued at Leipzig by Breitkopf and Härtel. Interesting accounts of the impression produced by the performance at Rome may be found in the first volume of Felix Mendelssohn's letters and in Miss Taylor's Letters from Italy.

Girolamo Frescobaldi

Girolamo Alessandro Frescobaldi (Italian: [dʒiˌɾɔːlamo fɾeskoˈbaldi]; also Gerolamo, Girolimo, and Geronimo Alissandro; September, 1583 – 1 March 1643) was a musician from Ferrara, one of the most important composers of keyboard music in the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods. A child prodigy, Frescobaldi studied under Luzzasco Luzzaschi in Ferrara, but was influenced by a large number of composers, including Ascanio MayoneGiovanni Maria Trabaci, and Claudio Merulo. Girolamo Frescobaldi was appointed organist of St. Peter's Basilica, a focal point of power for the Capella Giulia (a musical organisation) from 21 July 1608 until 1628 and again from 1634 until his death.

Frescobaldi's printed collections contain some of the most influential music of the 17th century. His work influenced Johann Jakob FrobergerJohann Sebastian BachHenry Purcell, and countless other major composers. Pieces from his celebrated collection of liturgical organ music, Fiori musicali (1635), were used as models of strict counterpoint as late as the 19th century.




Frescobaldi was born in Ferrara, Italy. His father Filippo was a man of property, possibly an organist, since both Girolamo and his half-brother Cesare became organists. (There is no evidence that the Frescobaldi of Ferrara were related to the homonymous Florentine noble house.) Frescobaldi studied under Luzzasco Luzzaschi, a noted composer of madrigals and an organist at the court of Duke Alfonso II d'Este. Although Luzzaschi's keyboard music is relatively unknown today (much of it has been lost), contemporary accounts suggest he was both a gifted composer and performer, one of the few who could perform and compose for Nicola Vicentino's archicembalo.  Contemporary accounts describe Frescobaldi as a child prodigy who was "brought through various principal cities of Italy"; he quickly gained prominence as a performer and patronage of important noblemen. Composers who visited Ferrara during the period included numerous important masters such as Claudio MonteverdiJohn DowlandOrlande de LassusClaudio Merulo, and Carlo Gesualdo.

In his early twenties, Frescobaldi left his native Ferrara for Rome. Reports place Frescobaldi in that city as early as 1604, but his presence can only be confirmed by 1607. He was the church organist at Santa Maria in Trastevere, recorded as “Girolamo Organista”, from January to May of that year. He was also employed by Guido Bentivoglio, the Archbishop of Rhodes, and accompanied him on a trip to Flanders where Bentivoglio had been made nuncio to the court. It was Frescobaldi's only trip outside Italy. Although the court at Brussels was musically among the most important in Europe at the time, there is no evidence of Peeter Cornet's or Peter Philips' influence on Frescobaldi. Based on Frescobaldi's preface to his first publication, the 1608 volume of madrigals, the composer also visited Antwerp, where local musicians, impressed with his music, persuaded him to publish at least some of it. While abroad, Frescobaldi was elected on 21 July 1608 to succeed Ercole Pasquini as organist of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Frescobaldi remained in Flanders, however, through the summer and did not return to Rome until 29 October (delaying his arrival with an extended stay in Milan to publish another collection of music, the keyboard Fantasie). He took up his duties on 31 October and held the position, albeit intermittently, until his death. He also joined Enzo Bentivoglio's musical establishment after the latter settled in Rome in 1608, although he grew estranged from his patron after an affair with a young woman. A scandal involving competition between Bentivoglio and the Medici family eventually forced him to leave his position.

Between 1610–13 Frescobaldi began to work for Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini. He remained in his service until after the death of Cardinal Aldobrandini in February 1621. On 18 February 1613 he married Orsola Travaglini, known as Orsola del Pino. The couple had five children: Francesco (an illegitimate child born on 29 May 1612), Maddalena (an illegitimate child born on 22 July 1613), Domenico (8 November 1614, poet and art collector), Stefano (1616/7), and Caterina (September 1619).

In October 1614, Frescobaldi was approached by an agent of the Duke of MantuaFerdinando I Gonzaga. Frescobaldi was given such a good offer he agreed to enter his employ. However, at his arrival in Mantua the reception was so cold that Frescobaldi returned to Rome by April 1615. He continued publishing his music: two editions of the first book of toccatas and a book of ricercars and canzonas appeared in 1615. In addition to his duties at the Basilica and the Aldobrandini establishment, Frescobaldi took pupils and occasionally worked at other churches. The period from 1615-28 was Frescobaldi’s most productive time. His major works from this period were instrumental pieces including: a second version of the first book of toccatas (1615-6), ricercars and canzonas (1615), the cappricios (1624), the second book of toccatas (1627), and a volume of canzonas for one to four instruments and continuo (1628).

St. Peter's Basilica gave Frescobaldi permission to leave Rome on 22 November 1628. Girolamo moved to Florence, Italy into the service of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, a Medici. During his sojourn there he was the highest paid musician and served as the organist of the Florence baptistery for a year. He stayed in the city until 1634; the period resulted in, among other things, the publication of two books of arias (1630). The composer returned to Rome in April 1634, having been summoned into the service of the powerful Barberini family, i.e. Pope Urban VIII,the highest prize offered to any musician. He continued working at St. Peter's, and was also employed by Cardinal Francesco Barberini, who also employed the famous lutenist Johannes Hieronymus Kapsberger. Frescobaldi published one of his most influential collections, Fiori musicali, in 1635, and also produced reprints of older collections in 1637. No other prints followed (although a collection of previously unpublished works appeared in 1645, and in 1664 Domenico Frescobaldi still possessed pieces by his father that were never published). Frescobaldi died on 1 March 1643 after an illness that lasted for 10 days. He was buried in Santi Apostoli, but the tomb disappeared during a rebuilding of the church in the late 18th century. A grave bearing his name and honoring him as one of the fathers of Italian music exists in the church today.


Frescobaldi was the first of the great composers of the ancient Franco-Netherlandish-Italian tradition who chose to focus his creative energy on instrumental composition. Frescobaldi brought a wide range of emotion to the relatively unplumbed depths of instrumental music. Keyboard music occupies the most important position in Frescobaldi's extant oeuvre. He published eight collections of it during his lifetime, several were reprinted under his supervision, and more pieces were either published posthumously or transmitted in manuscripts. His collection of instrumental ensemble canzonasIl Primo Libro delle Canzoni, was published in two editions in Rome in 1628, and substantially revised in the Venice edition of 1634. Of the forty pieces in the collection, ten were replaced and all were revised to various degrees, sixteen of them radically so. This extensive editing attests to Frescobaldi’s ongoing interest in the utmost perfection of his pieces and collections.

Girolamo Frescobaldi, Obras para clave

Girolamo Frescobaldi - Toccata

Johann Schein

Johann Hermann Schein (20 January 1586 – 19 November 1630) was a German composer of the early Baroque era. He was born in Grünhain and died in Leipzig. He was one of the first to import the early Italian stylistic innovations into German music, and was one of the most polished composers of the period.



On the death of his father, Schein moved to Dresden where he joined the choir of the Elector of Saxony as a boy soprano. In addition to singing in the choir, he received a thorough musical training with Rogier Michael, the Kapellmeister, who recognized his extraordinary talent. From 1603 to 1607 he studied at Pforta, and from 1608 to 1612 attended the University of Leipzig, where he studied law in addition to liberal arts. Upon graduating, he was employed briefly by Gottfried von Wolffersdorff as the house music director and tutor to his children; later he became Kapellmeister at Weimar, and shortly thereafter became cantor at the Thomasschule zu Leipzig, conducting the Thomanerchor, a post which he held for the rest of his life.

Unlike his friend Heinrich Schütz, he was afflicted with poor health, and was not to live a happy or long life. His wife died in childbirth; four of his five children died in infancy; he died at age 44, having suffered from tuberculosisgoutscurvy, and a kidney disorder.


Schein was one of the first to absorb the innovations of the Italian Baroque—monody, the concertato style, figured bass—and use them effectively in a German Lutheran context. While Schütz made more than one trip to Italy, Schein apparently spent his entire life in Germany, making his grasp of the Italianate style all the more remarkable. His early concertato music seems to have been modeled on Lodovico Grossi da Viadana's Cento concerti ecclesiastici, which was available in an edition prepared in Germany.

Johann Schein: Israelis Brünnlein


Unlike Schütz, who concentrated mainly on sacred music (although it must be borne in mind that at least two operas composed by him, among other secular works, have been lost), Schein wrote sacred and secular music in approximately equal quantities, and almost all of it was vocal. In his secular vocal music he wrote all of his own texts. Throughout his life he published alternating collections of sacred and secular music, in accordance with an intention he stated early on — in the preface to the Banchetto musicale — to publish alternately music for use in worship and social gatherings. The contrast between the two kinds of music can be quite extreme. While some of his sacred music uses the most sophisticated techniques of the Italian madrigal for a devotional purpose, several of his secular collections include such things as drinking songs of a surprising simplicity and humor. Some of his works attain an expressive intensity matched in Germany only by those of Schütz, for example the spectacular Fontana d'Israel or Israel's Brünnlein (1623), in which Schein declared his intent to exhaust the possibilities of German word-painting "in the style of the Italian madrigal."

Possibly his most famous collection was his only collection of instrumental music, the Banchetto musicale (Musical banquet) (1617) which contains twenty separate variation suites; they are among the earliest, and most perfect, representatives of the form. Most likely they were composed as dinner music for the courts of Weissenfels and Weimar, and were intended to be performed on viols. They consist of dances: a pavan-galliard (a normal early Baroque pair), a courante, and then an allemande-tripla. Each suite in the Banchetto is unified by mode as well as by theme.

​Samuel Scheidt

Samuel Scheidt (baptized 3 November 1587 – 24 March 1654) was a German composerorganist and teacher of the early Baroque era.


Life and career

Scheidt was born in Halle, and after early studies there, he went to Amsterdam to study with Sweelinck, the distinguished Dutch composer, whose work had a clear influence on Scheidt's style. On his return to Halle, Scheidt became court organist, and later Kapellmeister, to the Margrave of Brandenburg. Unlike many German musicians, for example Heinrich Schütz, he remained in Germany during the Thirty Years' War, managing to survive by teaching and by taking a succession of smaller jobs until the restoration of stability allowed him to resume his post as Kapellmeister. When Samuel Scheidt lost his job because of Wallenstein, he was appointed in 1628 as musical director of three churches in Halle, including the Market Church.

Scheidt was the first internationally significant German composer for the organ, and represents the flowering of the new north German style, which occurred largely as a result of the Protestant Reformation. In south Germany and some other countries of Europe, the spiritual and artistic influence of Rome remained strong, so most music continued to be derivative of Italian models. Cut off from Rome, musicians in the newly Protestant areas readily developed styles that were much different from those of their neighbors.

Samuel Scheidt - Ludi Musici


Scheidt's music is in two principal categories: instrumental music, including a large amount of keyboard music, mostly for organ; and sacred vocal music, some of which is a cappella and some of which uses a basso continuo or other instrumental accompaniment. In his numerous chorale preludes, Scheidt often used a "patterned variation" technique, in which each phrase of the chorale uses a different rhythmic motive, and each variation is more elaborate than the previous one, until the climax of the composition is reached. In addition to his chorale preludes, he wrote numerous fugues, suites of dances (which were often in a cyclic form, sharing a common ground bass) and fantasias.


Marco da Gagliano

Marco da Gagliano (1 May 1582 – 25 February 1643) was an Italian composer of the early Baroque era. He was important in the early history of opera and the development of the solo and concerted madrigal.




He was born in Florence and lived most of his life there. After early study both with a religious confraternity and with Luca Bati, he was employed beginning in 1602 at the church of San Lorenzo for six years as a singing instructor. In 1607 he went to Mantua, where he wrote music for the Gonzaga family, including his impressive operatic setting of La Dafne, and in 1609 returned to Florence to become maestro di cappella at the Compagnia dell'Arcangelo Raffaello, the organisation at which he had received his boyhood musical training. Later that same year the Medici made him maestro di cappella of their court, a position he held for 35 years.

Music and influence

Gagliano wrote an enormous quantity of music, both sacred and secular, for the Medici, and in addition he was a singer and instrumentalist who entertained them privately. His works include fourteen published operas of which two survive, La Flora (1628) set to a libretto by Andrea Salvadori and La Dafne (1608). La Dafne was praised as the best setting of the libretto by Rinuccini—even by Jacopo Peri, the first to write an opera on the text. Meanwhile, Gagliano or somebody else changed for him Rinuccini's poetry so strongly that sometimes it is impossible to recognize traces of the original. Peri indicated that Gagliano's way of setting text to music came closer to actual speech than any other, therefore accomplishing the aim of the Florentine Camerata of decades before, who sought to recapture that (supposed) aspect of ancient Greek music.

Other music by Gagliano includes secular monodies and numerous madrigals. While the monody was a Baroque stylistic innovation, most of the madrigals are a cappella, and written in a style reminiscent of the late Renaissance (in the first decades of the 17th century, the continuo madrigal was becoming predominant, for example in the works of Monteverdi). This mix of progressive and conservative trends can be seen throughout his music: some of his sacred music is a cappella, again in the prima prattica style of the previous century, while other pieces show influence of the Venetian School.

Marco da Gagliano - La Dafne

Gagliano was extremely influential in his time, as could be expected of the Medici's own appointed head of all musical activities at their court; however his popularity waned after his death, and his music has since been overshadowed by contemporaries such as Monteverdi.


Francesca Caccini

Francesca Caccini (18 September 1587 – after 1641) was an Italian composer, singer, lutenist, poet, and music teacher of the early Baroque era. She was also known by the nickname "La Cecchina", originally given to her by the Florentines and probably a diminutive of "Francesca". She was the daughter of Giulio Caccini. Her only surviving stage work, La liberazione di Ruggiero, is widely considered the oldest opera by a woman composer.



Caccini was born in Florence, and received a humanistic education (Latin, some Greek, as well as modern languages and literature, mathematics) in addition to early musical training with her father. Her first recorded appearance in public is as a singer in the all-sung stage works her father composed for the wedding of Henry IV of France and Maria de Medici in 1600. In 1604 when the entire Caccini family visited France: Henry praised her singing effusively—"you are the best singer in all of France"—and asked her to stay at his court; however the Florentine officials denied his request, and she returned to Italy, where she taught, performed and composed from her father's home. In 1607 her composition of a Carnival entertainment entitled La stiava seems to have led to her hiring as a musician in the service of the Medici court. That same year she married fellow court musician Giovanni Battista Signorini, with whom she would have one child, Margherita, born in 1622.

In her early life, Caccini performed with her parents, her half-brother Pompeo, her sister Settimia, and possibly other unnamed Caccini pupils in an ensemble contemporaries referred to as le donne di Giulio Romano. After she was hired by the court, she continued to perform with the family ensemble until Settimia's marriage and resulting move to Mantua caused its breakup. Caccini served the Medici court as a teacher, chamber singer, rehearsal coach and composer of both chamber and stage music until early 1627. By 1614 she was the court's most highly paid musician, in no small part because her musical virtuosity so well exemplified an idea of female excellence projected by Tuscany's de facto Regent, Grand-Duchess Christina of Lorraine.

Caccini is believed to have been a quick and prolific composer, equal in productivity to her court colleagues Jacopo Peri and Marco da Gagliano. Very little of her music survives. Most of her stage music was composed for performance in comedies by poet Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger (grand-nephew of the artist) such as La Tancia (1613), Il passatempo (1614) and La fiera (1619). In 1618 she published a collection of thirty-six solo songs and soprano/bass duets (Il primo libro delle musiche) that is a compendium of contemporary styles, ranging from intensely moving, harmonically adventurous laments to joyful sacred songs in Italian and Latin, to witty strophic songs about the joys and perils of romantic love.

In winter 1625 Caccini composed all the music for a 75-minute "comedy-ballet" entitled La liberazione di Ruggiero dall'isola d'Alcina that was performed for the visiting crown prince of Poland, Ladislaus Sigismondo (later Władysław IV). Combining witty parodies of early opera's stock scenes (and self-importance) with moments of surprising emotional intensity, the score shows Caccini to have mastered the full range of musico-theatrical devices in her time, and to have had a strong sense of long-term musical design. La liberazione... so pleased the visiting prince that he had it performed in Warsaw in 1628.

After Caccini's first husband died in December 1626, she quickly arranged to marry again in October 1627, this time to a bachelor, melophile nobleman in Lucca, Tommaso Raffaelli. She lived in Raffaelli's Lucchese homes, apparently bearing a son and having some musical relationship to the Buonvisi family in Lucca, until his death in 1630. Although as the wife of a nobleman she had declined at least one request to perform (in Parma, in 1628), once she was widowed Caccini immediately tried to return to Medici service. Her return delayed by the plagues of 1630-33, by 1634 Caccini was back in Florence with her two children, serving the court as music teacher to her daughter Margherita and to the Medici princesses who lived at or frequently visited the convent of La Crocetta, and composing and performing chamber music and minor entertainments for the women's court. Caccini left Medici service on 8 May 1641, and disappeared from the public record.


Francesca Caccini wrote some or all of the music for at least sixteen staged works. All but La liberazione di Ruggiero and some excerpts from La Tancia and Il passatempo published in the 1618 collection are believed lost. Her surviving scores reveal Caccini to have taken extraordinary care over the notation of her music, focusing special attention on the rhythmic placement of syllables and words, especially within ornaments, on phrasing as indicated by slurs, and on the precise notation of often very long, melodically fluid vocal melismas. Although her music is not especially notable for the expressive dissonances made fashionable by her contemporary Monteverdi, Caccini was a master of dramatic harmonic surprise: in her music it is harmony, more than counterpoint, that most powerfully communicates affect.

FRANCESCA CACCINI, 'lasciatemi qui solo' (Il primo libro delle Musiche)

Francesca Caccini

Heinrich Pfendner

Heinrich Pfendner (Hollfeld Oberfranken, 1590-Würzburg, 1631) was an Bavarian composer. By 1618 Pfender was court organist in Würzburg for Johann Gottfried von Aschhausen, who was simultaneously Lord Bishop of both Würzburg and Bamberg. He was the first South German composer to have experimented with the new concerted style in his church compositions.


Heinrich Pfendner: Canzon in G-Dur

Thomas Ravenscroft

Thomas Ravenscroft (c. 1588 – 1635) was an English musician, theorist and editor, notable as a composer of rounds and catches, and especially for compiling collections of British folk music.

Little is known of Ravenscroft's early life. He probably sang in the choir of St. Paul's Cathedral from 1594, when a Thomas Raniscroft was listed on the choir rolls and remained there until 1600 under the directorship of Thomas Giles. He received his bachelor's degree in 1605 from Cambridge. Ravenscroft's principal contributions are his collections of folk music, including catches, rounds, street cries, vendor songs, "freeman's songs" and other anonymous music, in three collections: Pammelia (1609), Deuteromelia or The Seconde Part of Musicks Melodie (1609) and Melismata (1611), which contains one of the best-known works in his collections, The Three Ravens. Some of the music he compiled has acquired extraordinary fame, though his name is rarely associated with the music; for example "Three Blind Mice" first appears in Deuteromelia. He also published a metrical psalter (The Whole Booke of Psalmes) in 1621. As a composer, his works are mostly forgotten but include 11 anthems, 3 motets for five voices and 4 fantasias for viols.

As a writer, he wrote two treatises on music theory: A Briefe Discourse of the True (but Neglected) Use of Charact'ring the Degrees (London, 1614), and A Treatise of Musick, which remains in manuscript (unpublished).


Orlando Gibbons 

Orlando Gibbons (baptised 25 December 1583 – 5 June 1625) was an English composer, virginalist and organist of the late Tudor and early Jacobean periods. He was a leading composer in England in the early 17th century.



Life and career

Gibbons was born in 1583 (most likely in December) and baptised on Christmas Day at Oxford, where his father William Gibbons was working as a wait. Between 1596 and 1598 he sang in the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, where his brother Edward Gibbons (1568–1650), eldest of the four sons of William Gibbons, was master of the choristers. The second brother Ellis Gibbons (1573–1603) was also a promising composer, but died young. Orlando entered the university as a sizar in 1598 and achieved the degree of Bachelor of Music in 1606. That same year he married Elizabeth Patten, daughter of a Yeoman of the Vestry, and they went on to have seven children (Gibbons himself was the seventh of 10 children).

King James I appointed him a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, where he served as an organist from at least 1615 until his death. In 1623 he became senior organist at the Chapel Royal, with Thomas Tomkins as junior organist. He also held positions as keyboard player in the privy chamber of the court of Prince Charles (later King Charles I), and organist at Westminster Abbey. He died at age 41 in Canterbury of apoplexy, and buried in Canterbury Cathedral.


One of the most versatile English composers of his time, Gibbons wrote a large number of keyboard works, around thirty fantasias for viols, a number of madrigals (the best-known being "The Silver Swan"), and many popular verse anthems, all to English texts. Perhaps his most well-known verse anthem is This is the record of John, which sets an Advent text for solo countertenor or tenor, alternating with full chorus. The soloist is required to demonstrate considerable technical facility at points, and the work expresses the rhetorical force of the text, whilst never being demonstrative or bombastic. He also produced two major settings of Evensong, the Short Service and the Second Service, an extended composition combining verse and full sections. Gibbons's full anthems include the expressive O Lord, in thy wrath, and the Ascension Day anthem O clap your hands together for eight voices.

Orlando Gibbons - Magnificat from the Short Service


Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson (c. 1583 – 1633) was an English composer and lutenist of the late Tudor and early Jacobean eras. He is sometimes called "Robert Johnson II" to distinguish him from an earlier Scottish composer. Johnson worked with William Shakespeare providing music for some of his later plays.
Robert Johnson was the son of John Johnson, who was lutenist to Elizabeth I. In 1594 Robert's father died, and in 1596 he joined the household of George Carey, 2nd Baron Hunsdon as an apprentice. Robert is assumed to have been around 13 at the time, as this was a typical age to begin an apprenticeship, but his date of birth is not known. Carey and his wife Elizabeth Spencer were patrons of the lutenist and composer John Dowland, who dedicated various compositions to them. The family had a London house (in Blackfriars) and a country home Hunsdon House (in Hunsdon, Hertfordshire), which partially survives.

Johnson joined the Carey household at an interesting time in their patronage of the arts. In 1597 Dowland dedicated his First book of songs and ayres to George Carey. As well as supporting musicians, Carey was patron of a theatre company to which William Shakespeare belonged. In 1596/7 the company was briefly known as "Baron Hunsdon's Men", but is better known as the Lord Chamberlain's Men (the name they used after Carey became Lord Chamberlain in 1597), or their subsequent name, the King's Men. It is not known whether Johnson worked with this theatre company on any of their productions in the 1590s, such as The Merry Wives of Windsor. However, he certainly provided music for the King's Men in a later stage of his career.

Johnson´s patron George Carey died in 1603. The following year Johnson found work at the court of James I where a number of lutenists were employed. Lutes came in various sizes and Johnson may have specialised in the bass lute when playing in consort music.

Johnson was lutenist to Prince Henry (until the prince's death in 1612). He composed music for the masques and entertainments which were popular at court in the Jacobean era. For example, he wrote music for Oberon, the Faery Prince in which Prince Henry took the title role. He also served at the court of Charles I, remaining on the royal payroll until 1633, the year of his death.


Bartholomaeus Praetorius

Bartholomaeus Praetorius
, German cornett player and composer; b. Marienburg, now Malbork, Poland, c. 1590; d. Stockholm (buried), Aug. 3, 1623. He studied at the University of Königsberg and subsequently was employed by King Gustavus Adolphus in Sweden. After playing cornett at the court of the Elector Johann Sigismund of Brandenburg (1613–20), he was director of the royal chapel of King Gustavus II in Stockholm. He publishes Newe liebliche Paduanen und Galliarden (Berlin, 1616). Some of his motets and five part instrumental music has survived. He died in 1623.


Bartholomeus Praetorius - Paduane & Galliarde

Bartholomae Praetorius

Johann Staden

Johann Staden (baptized 2 July 1581 – 15 November 1634) was a German Baroque organist and composer. He is best known for establishing the so-called Nuremberg school.


He was the son of Hans Staden and Elisabeth Löbelle. The exact date of his birth is unknown; it is believed that he was born in Nuremberg in 1581 (the date on the only surviving portrait) and records show that a certain Johannes Starnn was baptised in July 1581. At 18 Staden was already quite famous and serving as organist of one of the city churches; by 1604 he was employed as court organist in Bayreuth; he got married the same year. In 1605 the court moved to Kulmbach, where Staden remained until 1610, publishing two collections of secular songs, Neue teutsche Lieder (1606) and Neue teutsche geistliche Gesäng (1609). He may have visited Bayreuth again in 1610 and returned to Nuremberg by 1611, the year his daughter was baptised there.

In June 1612 he left Nuremberg again to succeed Hans Leo Hassler as court organist in Dresden. He stayed until around 1614/15, becoming organist at Nuremberg's Spitalkirche on 20 June 1616. Later that year he moved to the Lorenzkirche, succeeding Kaspar Hassler. Finally, in 1618 he accepted the most prestigious musical position in Nuremberg: organist at the Church of Saint Sebald (Sebalduskirche). He held that post until his death in 1634.

Works and influence

Much of Staden's work survives in printed collections. His first published works were the secular songs of Neue teutsche Lieder (1606), another Neue teutsche Lieder (1609) and Venus Kräntzlein (1610); the songs feature simplistic rhythms, are harmonically simple and feature little to no imitative counterpoint. The same can be said about his sacred songs, which he also published several collections of. Other sacred music is of considerably greater interest: Harmoniae sacrae (1616) contains some of the earliest German sacred concertos, introducing the concepts of an obligatory basso continuo, independent instrumental accompaniment and the solo concerto to Nuremberg's tradition; these features are also seen in other collections of sacred choral music. The basic style, however, remained that of the motet. Staden's instrumental music consists of around 200 pieces, including not only various dance forms but also some of the first German instrumental sonatas. These pieces could have been written for a group of performers named Nuremberg Musikkränzlein.

Staden was highly acclaimed as a teacher; he was instrumental in creating the Nuremberg tradition and his most important pupil, Johann Erasmus Kindermann, would carry that tradition through Georg Caspar Wecker and Heinrich Schwemmer to the Krieger brothers and, ultimately, to Johann Pachelbel, who studied under both Wecker and Schwemmer. Other pupils of Staden included three of his sons (Johann, Adam and Sigmund Theophil Staden) and miscellaneous lesser Nuremberg composers. Apart from establishing the so-called Nuremberg school through training young musicians, Staden's activities in Nuremberg during the 1620s-30s included evaluating new music dedicated to the city (this included Samuel Scheidt's Geistliche Concerten of 1634).

Johann Staden - Deutsches Magnificat


Giovanni Valentini

Giovanni Valentini (ca. 1582 – 29/30 April 1649) was an Italian Baroque composer, poet and keyboard virtuoso. Overshadowed by his contemporaries, Claudio Monteverdi and Heinrich Schütz, Valentini is practically forgotten today, although he occupied one of the most prestigious musical posts of his time. He is best remembered for his innovative usage of asymmetric meters and the fact that he was Johann Kaspar Kerll's first teacher. The family name comes from deep roots in the native country of Greece. Well known for their classical music but also known for the family that branched off to the neighbouring country of Italy.



Little is known about Valentini's life. He was born around 1582/3, probably in Venice, and almost certainly studied music under Giovanni Gabrieli there. Although the typical graduation Opus 1 of madrigals to be expected from a Gabrieli pupil - such as Opus 1 of Mogens Pedersøn (1608), Johann Grabbe (1609) and Schütz (1611) - is not extant, Antimo Liberati (1617-1692) who worked in Venice in the 1640s records him in a letter of the 1680s as "Giovanni Valentini Veneziano, della famosa Schola de' Gabrielli."

In approximately 1604/5 Valentini was appointed as organist of the Polish court chapel under Sigismund III Vasa; his first published works are dated 1609 and 1611, when he was still in Poland. In 1614 Valentini was employed by Ferdinand II (who was then the Archduke of Styria) and moved to Graz. The Graz court's music chapel used enharmonic instruments extensively, which was of considerable importance for the development of Valentini's style; a contemporary account of 1617 praises him as a virtuoso performer on the enharmonic clavicymbalum universale, seu perfectum, which had a keyboard of 77 keys spanning four octaves.

In 1619 Ferdinand was elected the Holy Roman Emperor and moved to Vienna with the court and the musicians of the Graz chapel. Valentini served as imperial court organist in Vienna for several years, then became court Kapellmeister in 1626, succeeding Giovanni Priuli, and accepted the post of choral director at the Michaelerkirche in Vienna in 1627/8. Valentini seems to have had an exceptional reputation and was favoured by both Ferdinand II and Ferdinand III (whom he tutored in music), as evidenced by several large monetary gifts from the former and financial support for Valentini's widow from the latter. In this respect, Valentini is similar to Johann Jakob Froberger, who also was a close personal friend of Ferdinand III. Valentini also seems to have been effective as Kapellmeister, managing to significantly increase the salaries for the court chapel musicians.

For unknown reasons, Valentini effectively stopped publishing his music after 1626 (all of his poetry, however, was published after that year). He was involved in the production of the earliest Viennese operas and famously taught the young Johann Kaspar Kerll music, probably in the 1640s. Valentini held the position at the Michaelerkirche until at least 1631, but remained court Kapellmeister until his death in 1649. He was succeeded by Antonio Bertali. In his will, he bequeathed his works to Ferdinand.


Valentini's oeuvre consists for the most part of different kinds of vocal music: madrigals, masses, motets and sacred concertos. Because he was apparently not interested in writing oratorios or operas, Valentini is sometimes regarded as a conservative composer, especially when compared to Monteverdi. This is, however, somewhat erroneous, as numerous works exhibit considerable innovations and elaborate experimentation. The 1621 collection Musiche a doi voci is probably the most famous example: it not only contains some of the earliest examples of the dramatic dialogue, but also features entire passages in 5/4 time (Con guardo altero) and consecutive bars of 9/8 and 7/8 (Vanne, o cara amorosa).

Of the large-scale sacred pieces, the Messa, Magnificat et Jubilate Deo of 1621 contains three works scored for seven choirs (which is more parts than any music published before) and is an early example of printed trumpet parts. The rest of Valentini's masses exhibit features common to other composers' works in the genre; they include some conservative concertato settings and polychoral parody masses. Small-scale works such as motets and psalm settings are more interesting musically. Most are written using a modern concertato style, with virtuosic instrumental writing and, in some pieces, extensive use of chromaticisms. The motet In te Domine speravi is particularly notable for being one of the last ever compositions with a part written specifically for viola bastarda, a type of a tenor viol. The sacred concertos from the 1625 Sacri concerti collection are among the first sacred works written north of the Alps to employ stile recitativo extensively.

The Secondo libro di madrigali (1616) is (along with the 1621 Musiche a doi voci) among the most important of Valentini's secular works as it is the first published collection of madrigals which combined voices and instruments. The instrumental arrangement plays diverse roles in different pieces, from mere embellishments to full integration into the polyphonic texture of the piece. The latter approach is also used heavily in Musiche concertate (1619). The duet and dialogue pattern writing seen in Musiche a doi voci is reminiscent of the duets from Monteverdi's Settimo libro de madrigali, published in 1619.

Other works include keyboard canzonas in five or six voices (perhaps more adventurous harmonically than Froberger's four voice canzonas and capriccios, but contrapuntally less complex; a rarity for their time because of the number of voices) and instrumental pieces (sonatas, canzonas) that feature harmonic experiments in the vein of Valentini's motets. The 1621 chamber music collection, Musica di camera, includes pieces built on ostinato patterns such as the passamezzo, romanesca and ruggiero.


Giovanni Valentini - Sonata à 5.


Sigismondo d'India

Sigismondo d'India (c. 1582 – before 19 April 1629) was an Italian composer of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He was one of the most accomplished contemporaries of Monteverdi, and wrote music in many of the same forms as the more famous composer.

D'India was probably born in Palermo, Sicily in 1582, though details of his life are lacking until around 1600. During the first decade of the 17th century he probably traveled widely in Italy, meeting composers, acquiring patrons at various aristocratic courts, and absorbing the musical styles at each locale. This was a time of transition in music history, as the polyphonic style of the late Renaissance was giving way to the widely diverse practices of the early Baroque, and d'India seems to have acquired an unusually broad grasp of the total stylistic practice in Italy: the expressive madrigal style of Marenzio, the grand polychoral work of the Venetian School, the conservative polyphonic tradition of the Roman School, the attempts to recover the music of the ancient world in monody and its larger vehicle, the newly developing opera, as well as the mannered, emotionally intense chromatic style of Carlo Gesualdo in Naples. D'India is known to have been in Florence, the birthplace of opera, as well as Mantua, where Monteverdi was working. In Naples he probably met Gesualdo, and by 1610 he was in Parma and Piacenza. The next year, 1611, he was hired by Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy, to direct music in Turin, where he remained until 1623; these were the most productive years of his life, during which he amalgamated the disparate types of music he had heard and absorbed during the years 1600-1610 into a unified style.

After leaving Turin – apparently forced out by political intrigues – he went to Modena, and later to Rome; he seems to have died in Modena, although details on the end of his life are as sparse as they were for its beginning. A record exists of his being granted an appointment in Bavaria at the court of Maximilian I, although there is no evidence he went there; he may have died first.

D'India's output consisted of music in most of the vocal forms of the time, including monodies, madrigals, and motets. His monodies, the most numerous and significant portion of his work, were of many types: arias, both through-composed and strophic, variations over ground basses, laments, madrigals in the monodic style, and others.

Stylistically, d'India's music has features in common with Monteverdi's music of the same period: expressive chromaticism, dissonances with unusual resolutions, and a keen sense of drama. Indeed, some of the longer monodies are effectively operatic scenes, though d'India did not write anything specifically called an "opera."

His polyphonic madrigals often borrow textural ideas from Gesualdo, especially in juxtaposing slow, intensely chromatic music with light, almost delirious diatonic passages; in this regard d'India was one of Gesualdo's few successors (until the 20th century). Some of d'India's later music is unusual in showing aspects of the influence of almost all of the contemporary composers in Italy within a single piece.

​Sigismondo d'India

Nicholas Lanier

Nicholas Lanier, sometimes Laniere (baptised at Greenwich 10 September 1588 – 24 February 1666) was an English composer and musician; the first to hold the title of Master of the King's Music from 1625 to 1666, an honour given to musicians of great distinction. He was the court musician, a composer and performer and Groom of the Chamber in the service of King Charles I and Charles II.
He was alsoa singer, lutenist, scenographer and painter.

Nicholas Lanier, painting by van Dyck, 1632 (Kunsthistorisches Museum)

Nicholas Lanier was a descendant of a French family of royal musicians, the Lanière family, who were Huguenots. His father and grandfather left France to escape persecutions. The family settled in England in 1561. Nicholas Lanier was the son of John Lanier, who was the son of Nicholas Lanier the Elder, court musician to the French King Henry II of France. His maternal grandfather was another royal musician, Mark Anthony Galliardello. He was first taught by his father, John, who played the sackbut. In 1613 he composed a masque for the marriage of the Earl of Somerset jointly with Giovanni Coperario and others.

He also wrote music, sang and made sets for Thomas Campion and Ben Jonson's The Masque of Augurs and Lovers Made Men.

In the 1610s, Lanier was appointed as a lutenist to the King's orchestra and a singer in the King's Consorte from 1625 to 1642. He also sang and played the viola da gamba. Lanier was also appointed as Groom of the Chamber for the Queen's Privy Chamber in 1639.

From 1625 he made a series of visits to Italy to collect paintings for King Charles I, including most of the art collection of the Dukes of Mantua. During his travells he heard the new Italian music being written by the likes of Claudio Monteverdi. This led to him being one of the first English composers to introduce monody and recitative to England. It was Lanier who, when his own portrait was painted by the Flemish painter van Dyck in Antwerp, convinced the King to bring Van Dyck to England, where Van Dyck became the leading court painter. The portrait displays the special attitude of studied carelessness, called sprezzatura, recommended in the The Book of the Courtier by Baldassare Castiglione, as "a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it". Lanier's portrait by van Dyck hangs today in Vienna at the Kunsthistoriches Museum.

In 1626, Lanier became the first to hold the title Master of the King's Music in 1626; an honour given a musician of great distinction. The office of Master of the King's Musick is the equivalent to the title of the Poet Laureate. During the Commonwealth of England he lived in the Netherlands, but returned after the Restoration to resume his duties in 1660. When he returned to England, he became music master to Charles II. He made several sceneries, like for example for Ben Jonson’s Lovers Made Men. There is only one painting which can be identified as being made by Lanier, a self-portrait in the music faculty of Oxford University. Lanier died in 1666 in East Greenwich.

Nicholas Lanier: No more shall meads (Love's Constancy)


Stefano Landi

Stefano Landi (baptized 26 February 1587 – 28 October 1639) was an Italian composer and teacher of the early Baroque Roman School. He was an influential early composer of opera, and wrote the earliest opera on a historical subject: Sant'Alessio (1632).



Landi was born in Rome, the capital of the Papal States.

In 1595 he joined the Collegio Germanico in Rome as a boy soprano, and he may have studied with Asprilio Pacelli. Landi took minor orders in 1599 and began studying at the Seminario Romano in 1602. He is mentioned in the Seminary's records as being the composer and director of a Carnival pastoral in 1607; and in 1611 his name appears as an organist and a singer, though he was already maestro di cappella at S Maria della Consolazione in 1614. Agostino Agazzari was maestro di cappella at the Seminario Romano, and he may have been one of Landi's teachers as well.

In 1618 he had moved to the north of Italy, and published a book of five-voice madrigals at Venice; apparently he had acquired a post as maestro di cappella at Padua. In addition he wrote his first opera in Padua, La morte d'Orfeo. Most likely it was used as part of the festivities for a wedding. His experience in Padua and Venice was essential for developing his style, since there he made contact with the work of the progressive Venetian School composers, whose music was generally avoided in conservative Rome.

In 1620 Landi returned to Rome, where he spent the rest of his life, where his patrons included successively the Borghese family, Cardinal Maurizio of Savoy, and the Barberini family, who were to be his major employers throughout the late 1620s and 1630s, though he joined the papal choir in 1629 on half-salary. It was for the Barberini family that he wrote the work for which he is most famous, Sant'Alessio, in 1632, which was used to open the Teatro delle Quattro Fontane. Throughout this period he was compositionally prolific, writing masses, arias, and responsories, mostly in the seconda pratica style of the early Baroque, a decision which was controversial with some of the more conservative musicians, who thought the prima pratica — the style of Palestrina — more appropriate for sacred music.

After about 1636 he began suffering ill-health, and he died at Rome in 1639 and was buried at Santa Maria in Vallicella.

Music and influence

Curiously, Landi's secular music is more conservative than most of his sacred music, and his first book of madrigals, for five voices and basso continuo, is almost indistinguishable in style from many late 16th-century collections, except for the basso continuo part. His other secular music consists of strophic airs, arias, and other songs for voice and basso continuo.

Landi's masses, of which there are only two, are in the simple, 16th-century style encouraged (and sometimes demanded) by the Counter-Reformation. However he uses the Venetian concertato style for some of his motets, as well as his Magnificat and Vespers psalm settings, probably as a result of the years he spent in northern Italy.

By far his most famous composition, and one of the most significant operas of the early Baroque, is his setting of the life of fifth-century Saint Alexis, Il Sant'Alessio. Not only is it the first opera to be written on a historical subject, but it carefully describes the inner life of the saint, and attempts psychological characterization of a type new to opera. Most of the interspersed comic scenes, however, are anachronistically (and hilariously) drawn from contemporary life in 17th-century Rome.

The part of Sant'Alessio himself is extremely high, and was meant to be sung by a castrato. At the initial performance, half of the singers were from the papal choir, and there were several soprano parts sung by other castrati. The accompanying orchestra is up-to-date, dispensing with the archaic viols and using violins, cellos, harps, lutes, theorbos, and harpsichords. The opera includes introductory canzonas which function as overtures; indeed they are the first overtures in the history of opera. Dances and comic sections mix with serious arias, recitatives, and even a madrigalian lament, for an overall dramatic variety which was extremely effective, as attested by the frequent performances of the opera at the time. Sant'Alessio was one of the first staged dramatic works successfully to mix both the monodic and polyphonic styles.


AUGELLIN, by Stefano Landi 

Stefano Landi

Sigismondo D'India - Ottavo Libro di Madrigali
1. Se tu, Silvio Crudel 0:00
2. Ma, se con la pietà 2:27
3. Dorinda, ah! dirò "mia" 5:04
4. Ferir quel petto, Silvio? 9:19
5. Silvio, come son lassa! 13:26
6. Godea del sol i rai 17:35
7. Pallidetto mio sole 23:01
8. Lidia, ti lasso 27:25
9. Ecco, Cintia, che torna 31:17
10. Ridono per li prati 33:25
11. Alme luci beate 36:03
12. Io vi lascio, mie scorte 37:11

Walter Porter

Walter Porter (c.1587–1659) was an English composer and church musician. He travelled to Italy to study under Monteverdi, and shows Italian influence in madrigals and his one surviving anthem.
He was son of Henry Porter, who was musician of the sackbuts to James I. Walter. He was on 5 January 1616 sworn a gentleman of the Chapel Royal, to await a vacancy among the tenor singers; and on 1 February 1617 he succeeded Peter Wright.

In 1639 Porter was appointed master of the choristers of Westminster Abbey, Richard Portman being organist at the time. Among his patrons were John Digby, 1st Earl of Bristol, to whom he dedicated his Ayres. Dismissed from his post during the First English Civil War, Porter was supported by Sir Edward Spencer.

Porter was buried at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, on 30 November 1659.

Walter Porter

Paul Siefert

Paul Siefert (variants: Syfert, Sivert, Sibert) (23 May 1586 – 6 May 1666) was a German composer and organist associated with the North German school.


He was born in Danzig (Gdańsk in Poland) to his father's second wife and named after his father (died 1604), who was a procurator. The Danzig city council gave scholarships to Samuel Scheidt and him to study with Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck in Amsterdam from 1607 to 1610; in the autumn of that year, he returned home where he became assistant organist of the Marienkirche. His application to become principal organist of the church after Cajus Schmiedtlein died in March 1611 failed due to complaints about his arrogance and style of performance.

He moved to Königsberg in 1611 to take up the post of organist of Altstadt Church, and became court organist at Warsaw in 1616. He returned to Danzig in 1623 to become principal organist, where he remained until his death; he failed in an application for the post of Kapellmeister in 1627 after the death of Andreas Hakenberger, who was succeeded by Kaspar Förster. He did not lead a serene life; he became sidelined at the Warsaw court, and had long-running feuds with Kaspar Förster, choirmaster of the Marienkirche from 1627 to 1652, and Marco Scacchi, Polish court choirmaster from 1628 to 1649.

His first book of Psalmen Davids consists of two concertos for three and four voices and twelve settings for four and five voices of material drawn from the Calvinist Goudimel-Lobwasser psalter of the Reformed Church. The form used is that of the chorale motet, the instrumental parts having little significance, mainly doubling the voices. Psalmorum Davidicorum II consists of fifteen psalms for four to eight voices, a concerto for four voices, and an eight-part instrumental canzona; the works are antecedents of the concertato chorale motet and the chorale cantata; there are instrumental preludes and ritornellos, and alternating sections of solo and tutti passages.

His keyboard works bear some similarity to Sweelinck, but are not generally of a high quality. The highly ornamented line is usually played by the right hand with the chorale underneath. This texture is interrupted by episodes exploiting effects of  harmony and colour.

Paul Siefert - Paduana in F

Paul Siefert

Pietro della Valle

Pietro della Valle (2 April 1586 – 21 April 1652) was an Italian composer, musicologist, and author who traveled throughout Asia during the Renaissance period. His travels took him to the Holy Land, the Middle East, Northern Africa, and as far as India.

Pietro Della Valle was born in Rome on 2 April 1586, to a wealthy and noble family. His early life was spent in the pursuit of literature and arms. He was a cultivated man, who knew Latin, Greek, classical mythology, and the Bible. He also became a member of the Roman Accademia degli Umoristi (it), and acquired some reputation as a versifier and rhetorician. When Pietro was disappointed in love and began to consider suicide, Mario Schipano, a professor of medicine in Naples, suggested the idea of traveling in the East. It was Schipano who received a sort of diary in letters from Pietro's travels.

Before leaving Naples, Pietro took a vow to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He left Venice by boat on the 8th of June 1614 and reached Constantinople; he remained there for more than a year and acquired a good knowledge of Turkish and a little Arabic. On the 25th of September, 1615, he went to Alexandria. Because he was a nobleman of distinction, he traveled with a suite of nine persons, and with every advantage due to his rank. From Alexandria he went on to Cairo, and, after an excursion to Mount Sinai, left Cairo for the Holy Land. He arrived there on the 8th of March, 1616, in time to take part in the Easter celebrations at Jerusalem.

After visiting the holy sites, Pietro traveled from Damascus to Aleppo. After seeing a portrait of the beautiful Assyrian Christian[disambiguation needed] Sitti Maani Gioerida, he went to Baghdad and married her a month later. While in the Middle East, he made one of the first modern records of the location of ancient Babylon and provided "remarkable descriptions" of the site. He also brought back to Europe inscribed bricks from Nineveh and Ur, some of the first examples of Cuneiform available to modern Europeans. At that time Baghdad was being contested between Turkey and Iran during the frequent Ottoman-Persian Wars, so he had to leave Baghdad on the 4th of January, 1617. Accompanied by his wife Maani, he proceeded to Persia, and visited Hamadan and Isfahan. In the summer of 1618, he joined Shah Abbas in a campaign in northern Persia. Here he was well received at court and treated as the shah's guest.

On his return to Isfahan he began to think of going back home through India, rather than endanger himself again in Turkey. However, the state of his health and the war between Persia and the Portuguese at Ormuz generated problems. In October 1621 he left Isfahan, visited Persepolis and Shiraz and made his way to the coast. But it was not until January 1623 that he found a passage for Surat on the English ship Whale, Captain Nicolas Woodcock.

Pietro della Valle

Johann Andreas Herbst

Johann Andreas Herbst (baptized June 9, 1588 – January 24, 1666) was a German composer and music theorist of the early Baroque era. He was a contemporary of Michael Praetorius and Heinrich Schütz, and like them, assisted in importing the grand Venetian style and the other features of the early Baroque into Protestant Germany.


He was born at Nuremberg, and most likely had his early education there. Possibly he studied with Hans Leo Hassler, one of the most prominent German composers at the turn of the century, since Hassler was teaching in Nuremberg while Herbst was a student, and there is a close stylistic relationship between the music of the two composers. Herbst became Kapellmeister at Butzbach in 1614, at Darmstadt in 1618, and at Frankfurt am Main in 1623.

In 1636 he accepted a position in Nuremberg, and returned to the city of his birth; it was evidently a frustrating appointment for him, for he wrote of his time there bitterly, and in 1644 he went back to Frankfurt, where he remained for the rest of his life. His most productive time was the period in Nuremberg and the second Frankfurt employment, during which he wrote his theoretical treatises and composed the bulk of his church music.

Herbst was one of the most important German music theorists of the first half of the 17th century, second only to Michael Praetorius. Herbst's two books, Musica practica and Musica poetica, were hugely influential: except for the titles, they were in German, and covered many topics of practical importance to musicians. Musica practica was a manual on the art of singing, with particular care given to explaining the art of tasteful ornamentation; Musica poetica was a manual on the art of composition, and included exercises in counterpoint and in the careful setting of text to music. Parts of the first book, Musica practica, were drawn from the earlier treatise of Michael Praetorius, the Syntagma musicum.

Late in his career he published several translations of Latin musical writings in German, under the collected title of Arte prattica & poetica.

Musical style and influence
Herbst wrote cantatas, chorales, chorale concertos, motets, psalm settings, and numerous other works, most of which were on sacred topics, and none of which were exclusively instrumental.

Some of his music uses the massive Venetian polychoral style, especially that written before the Thirty Years' War. During the war it became more and more difficult to find and employ the large numbers of musicians necessary for pieces in this style, and this trend towards simplification of instrumental forces can be seen in his music as well as that of his contemporaries.

His books of motets and his Teatrum amoris (meant to be in imitation of the Italian madrigal) avoid the continuo style then dominant in Italy, but otherwise Herbst uses many of the new Baroque era techniques which composers such as Hassler and Schütz brought back across the Alps from Venice. The concertato style, with mixed groups of instruments and voices, is well-developed in Herbst's earlier music. The monodic style which was popular in Italy, and evident in the music of Schütz, along with its descendant, the recitative, is nowhere to be found in Herbst.

One of his last, and simplest, books of music is a collection of 29 chorales for five voices, which he published in 1659.

JOHANN ANDREAS HERBST- Danket dem Herrn a 12 vv (1649)

Johann Andreas Herbst
mary queem

Mary, Queen of Scots, executed for treason by order of Queen Elizabeth I. 1587

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