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Baptized:May 15, 1567...(Show more)Died:November 29, 1643VeniceItaly...(Show more)Notable Works:“L’Arianna”“La favola d’Orfeo”“Licoris who Feigned Madness”“Madrigals the War and Love”“Movete al mio bel suon”“The Combat of Tancredi and Clorinda”“The Coronation that Poppea”“The Return the Ulysses come His Country”“Tirsi e Clori”“Vespro della Beata Vergine”...(Show more)Movement / Style:Baroque art and also architectureBaroque musicLate RenaissanceRenaissance artRenaissance...(Show more)

Claudio Monteverdi, (baptized may 15, 1567, Cremona, Duchy that Milan —died November 29, 1643, Venice), Italian composer in the so late Renaissance, the most important developer that the then brand-new genre, the opera. He additionally did lot to carry a “modern” secular spirit right into church music.

Early career

Monteverdi, the child of a barber-surgeon and chemist, studied through the manager of music in ~ Cremona cathedral, Marcantonio Ingegneri, a well-known musician that wrote church music and madrigals the some distinction in an up-to-date though no revolutionary layout of the 1570s. Monteverdi was obviously a precocious pupil, since he published several publications of religious and secular music in his teens, all of them containing competent pieces in a manner not far from the of his master. The culmination that this early duration occurred in 2 madrigal publications published by one of the most well known of Venetian printers in 1587 and also 1590. They are full of excellent, attractive works, rather more modern in technique than Ingegneri’s, probably the an outcome of examining the madrigals of Luca Marenzio, the best Italian madrigalist that the time, and also others. Together yet, however, Monteverdi’s aim appeared to it is in to charm rather than come express passion; the is exemplified in ~ its ideal in such a madrigal as the well-known setting of the city “Behold the Murmuring Sea” through Torquato Tasso.

The Gonzaga court

It is not known exactly when Monteverdi left his hometown, however he gone into the rental of the battle each other of Mantua around 1590 as a cable player. He immediately came into call with some of the finest musicians, both performers and composers, that the time. The composer who influenced him the most seems to have actually been the Flemish composer Giaches de Wert, a modernist who, back no much longer a young man, was still in the center of one avant-garde movement in the 1590s. The crux of his layout was the music should exactly match the the atmosphere of the verse and that the herbal declamation of the words have to be very closely followed. Because Wert made decision to use the very concentrated, emotional lyric poetry of Tasso and Tasso’s competitor Battista Guarini, Wert’s music additionally became highly emotional, if unmelodious and challenging to sing. It had an immediate effect on Monteverdi, whose next book of madrigals, released in his very first year in ~ Mantua, shows the affect of the new movement ~ above him, though his understanding was imperfect. It represented a complete change of direction because that him. The melody is angular, the harmony progressively dissonant, the atmosphere tense come the allude of neurosis. Guarini is the favoured poet, and also every nuance the the verse is expressed, also at the cost of music balance.

The brand-new style and also ambience seems to have upset his productivity. Although that went on composing, the published small for the next 11 years. In 1595 the accompanied his employer on an exploration to Hungary and four years later on to Flanders. In about 1599 that married a singer, Claudia Cattaneo, by whom he had actually three children, among whom died in infancy. As soon as the short article of maestro di cappella, or manager of music, to the duke came to be vacant on the fatality of Wert in 1596, Monteverdi was embittered at gift passed over, but he finally accomplished the place in 1602, at period 35. He released two an ext books that madrigals in 1603 and also 1605, both of which contain masterpieces. The avant-garde manner to be now much better assimilated into his idiom. When his aim was still to monitor the definition of the verse in an excellent detail, he resolved the completely musical problems of thematic advance and proportion. Although the dissonances became more severe and also the melody periodically still much more angular, the full effect was much more varied in emotion and also less neurotic. If Guarini’s eroticism created a sensual musical style, Monteverdi regularly gave his maturation madrigals a lightness and also humour, seeing the significance of a poem fairly than that detail.


It was the advanced musical means, particularly his use of intense and lengthy dissonance, the provoked strikes by the conservative on Monteverdi, who became a figurehead of the avant-garde group. The assaults by a Bolognese theorist, Giovanni Maria Artusi, in a collection of pamphlets, made Monteverdi the most well known composer of the age and also provoked that to answer with vital aesthetic explain of his view on the nature that his art. He disclaimed the duty of revolutionary, saying that he was only the follower of a heritage that had actually been occurring for the critical 50 years or more. This legacy sought to create a union of the arts, particularly of words and also music, so the he should not be judged just as a composer using conventional musical devices. Moreover, the artwork need to be powerful enough come “move the totality man,” and this again might mean the abandonment of particular conventions. ~ above the other hand, he asserted his confidence in another and older tradition, in which music to be itself supreme, and which was, in effect, represented by the pure polyphony of together composers together Josquin des Prez and Giovanni Palestrina. Thus, over there were 2 “practices,” as he called them; and also that view, which ended up being immensely influential, to be to prove the communication of the preservation of an old format in certain types of church music, together opposed come a modern-day style in opera and cantatas, a dichotomy that deserve to be found well into the 19th century.


An instance of at an early stage operatic recitative, “Tu sei morta, mia vita, ed io respire,” from plot II of Claudio Monteverdi"s La favola d"Orfeo (1607; “The Fable of Orpheus”); from a 2004 live record by La Grande Écurie et la Chambre du Roy, carried out by Jean-Claude Malgoire.

If the madrigals of that time gave him a reputation well outside northern Italy, it to be his first opera, Orfeo, carry out in 1607, the finally developed him as a composer of massive music quite than the exquisite miniature works. Monteverdi may have attended few of the performances the the more quickly operas, those composed by the Florentine composers Jacopo Peri and also Giulio Caccini, and also he certainly had composed some stage music in ahead years. In Orfeo he showed that he had a much broader conception of the new genre than did his predecessors. He merged the opulence that dramatic entertainments that the late Renaissance v the straightforwardness the a simple pastoral story told in recitative, which was the best of the Florentines. His recitative is more flexible and also expressive 보다 theirs, based on the declamatory melody of his madrigals rather than on their theories about heightened speech. Over all, he had actually a greater gift because that dramatic unity, shaping totality acts right into musical units, rather than assembling castle from little sections. He also showed a feeling of corresponding the climaxes in the drama by music climaxes, utilizing dissonance, the singer’s virtuosity, or important sonorities to develop the feeling of heightened emotion.


“Dove, dov"è la fede,” from Claudio Monteverdi"s Lamento d"Arianna (1608; “Ariadne"s Lament”); indigenous a 2006 performance by Delitiæ Musicæ, under the direction of Marco Longhini.

A few months after ~ the production of Orfeo, Monteverdi suffered the lose of his wife, seemingly ~ a lengthy illness. He retired in a state the deep depression come his father’s house at Cremona, but he was summoned earlier to Mantua almost immediately to create a new opera as component of the celebrations ~ above the occasion of the marital relationship of the heir to the duchy, Francesco Gonzaga, come Margaret the Savoy. Monteverdi reverted unwillingly and also was promptly submerged in a substantial amount the work. He created not just an opera but likewise a ballet and music because that an intermezzo to a play. Further disaster arisen when the opera, L’Arianna, was in rehearsal, for the prima donna, a young girl who had actually been life in Monteverdi’s home, perhaps as a pupil the his wife, died of smallpox. Nevertheless, the part was recast, and the opera to be finally produced in might 1608. It was an substantial success. The score has actually been lost, other than for the famed “Lamento,” which survives in miscellaneous versions and also is the an initial great operatic scena (i.e., a scene of especially dramatic effect, usually v arias).

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After this enormous effort, Monteverdi went back again come Cremona in a condition of collapse, which seems to have lasted because that a lengthy time. He to be ordered ago to Mantua in November 1608 however refused to go. He ultimately returned, however thereafter that hated the Gonzaga court, which he maintained had actually undervalued and also underpaid him, despite he acquired a raise in pay and a small pension for his success v L’Arianna. He does not, however, show up to have actually been uncreative, though the music he created in the next year or so reflects his depression. He i ordered it the “Lamento” as a five-voiced madrigal and also wrote a madrigalian threnody ~ above the fatality of his prima donna. The sestina, published later on in the sixth book of madrigals, to represent the peak of dissonant, agonized music in this style. In a much more vigorous vein, he created some church music, i beg your pardon he published in 1610 in a volume containing a massive in the old style and also music for vespers ~ above feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The mass was a amazing achievement, a deliberate effort to present that the polyphonic idiom was still possible when almost everywhere it was dying. Still more remarkable is the vespers music, a digital compendium of all the kinds of contemporary church music feasible at the time—grand psalm setups in the Venetian manner, virtuoso music because that solo singers, crucial music provided for interludes in the service, even an attempt to usage up-to-date operatic music to set the expressive, emotional words the the Magnificat. Yet, though this music is together “advanced” as possible, Monteverdi renders it an extension of the old heritage by making use of plainsong tunes—ancient unaccompanied liturgical chants—as the thematic product for the psalms and also Magnificats. Over all, the is music the the Counter-Reformation; making use of all means, traditional and also new, secular and religious, it is designed to admire the listener through the strength of the roman Catholic Church and also its God.