1st Edition

Luca Marenzio The Career of a Musician Between the Renaissance and the Counter-Reformation

By Marco Bizzarini, James Chater Copyright 2003
    396 Pages
    by Routledge

    388 Pages
    by Routledge

    Regarded by his contemporaries as the leading madrigal composer of his time, Luca Marenzio was an important figure in sixteenth-century Italian music, and also highly esteemed in England, Flanders and Poland. This English translation of Marco Bizzarini's study of the life and work of Marenzio provides valuable insights into the composer's influence and place in history, and features an extensive, up-to-date bibliography and the first published list of archival sources containing references to Marenzio. Women play a decisive role as dedicatees of Marenzio's madrigals and in influencing the way in which they were performed. Bizzarini examines in detail the influence of both female and male patrons and performers on Marenzio's music and career, including his connections with the confraternity of SS Trinità and other institutions. Dedications were also a political tool, as the book reveals. Many of Marenzio's dedications were made at the request of his employer Cardinal d'Este who wanted to please his French allies. Bizzarini examines these extra-musical dimensions to Marenzio's work and discusses the composer's new musical directions under the more austere administration of Pope Clement VIII.

    Contents: Preface; Competition and pre-eminence; First fruits of genius on the world stage; Cardinal d'Este; Maestro di cappella; Secular music for a prince of the church; The 'buon compagno' pope; The Ferrarese interlude; 'Gentildonne'; Roman confraternities; Homeland and compatriots; 'Musici di Roma'; 'Stravaganze d'amore'; The new pope; A job in Mantua?; 'His heart in France'; A 'new aria'; The grand duke's wedding; Orsini and Montalto; The peak of his career; From Vatican Palace to Polish court; Repentance?; The 'Wise Fool'; The Platonic spirit; A new style; Order and significance; Seconda prattica and second Renaissance; Bibliography; Index of compositions by Marenzio; General index.


    Marco Bizzarini is a musicologist working at the University of Padua. His main field of research is Italian vocal repertoire (the madrigal and cantata). He has published several studies on a wide range of musical topics, with particular attention to music's relation to history, literature and art. James Chater took his D. Phil at Oxford University under the supervision of Frederick Sternfeld, Joseph Kerman and Denis Arnold. He is the author of a two-volume study of Marenzio's madrigals and has written several essays on various aspects of the Italian madrigal. He lived in Italy for six years and now resides in The Netherlands.

    'This is a book containing much important information about a significant 16th century composer and it sheds fascinating light on the mechanisms by which a Roman composer in the period might construct a career in music.' Classical Music Web '... Marenzio remains today a rather shadowy figure... This absorbing study by Marco Bizzarini should go a long way toward rectifying the situation... It is a particular strength of the book that Bizzarini has been able to draw on a number of previously unknown sources... The clarity and at times riveting skill with which Bizzarini unravels the frequently complex politics of the great Italian courts with which Marenzio was either directly or obliquely involved at various times is another of the book's major achievements... Also exceptionally valuable are the author's discussions on patronage and the dedication of publications... he guides us with unerring skill through the stylistic changes that occured during the twenty-year span of Marenzio's creativity... There is no doubt that this is a highly important book that fulfils admirably what should be the most important ambition of any book on music - that of sending the reader back to the music itself.' Goldberg 'The book is extremely well written and surprisingly readable...The book isn't just biography; the music falls into place in the contexts Bizzarini creates, and he has much of interest and value to say about it. Would that other renaissance composers had such civilised books written about them.' Early Music Review '... the book's solid scholarship and wide-ranging perspective make it an important resource for anyone interested in the place of music in the complex cultural world of late-sixteenth-century Italy.' Renaissance Quarterly 'Both author and translator have conspired to produce a work of authority as well as compassion, in which both Marenzio and his music are allowed to speak in an authentic sixteenth-century voice.' Notes