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Article

Don Harrán

(b Cesena, 1515; d Padua, 1611). Italian grammarian, poet and rabbi. He refers to music in his treatise on Hebrew grammar, ‘Arugat ha-bosem’ (‘Bed of spices’), which survives in both a manuscript ( GB-Lbl Add.27011) and a printed source (Venice, 1602). Subjects of special relevance to music include accentuation, metres and poetical forms. Under accentuation, Archivolti describes the biblical accents (ta‘amei ha-miqra), or melodic formulae used in cantillating the scriptures for marking the syntax and word stresses. Their purpose is to elucidate and embellish the text, thus increasing its hold on the soul. Referring to poetry, Archivolti draws a sharp distinction between the biblical (prose or psalmodic) texts for cantillation and the metric poetry for singing piyyutim, or post-biblical sacred hymns. His preference is for cantillation, which he calls ‘excellent music’ (ha-nigun ha-meshuba ), for it is adapted to the words in their structure and content. By comparison, the music for ...

Article

Pier Paolo Scattolin

(b Bologna, between 1536 and 1539; d Bologna, probably on Dec 22, 1613). Italian composer and singer. He was a Minorite and was of Jewish origin. He is first heard of at Padua, where documents (in I-Pca ) show that on 2 May 1567 he was employed by the Cappella del Santo as a singer; this appointment was reconfirmed on 7 May 1569. He then moved to Bologna as maestro di cappella at the church of S Francesco and lived in the monastery attached to it. His presence there is sporadically documented between 1573 and 1590. A document dated 30 November 1591 registers his discharge from the monastery because ‘he had taken no pleasure in his service’. It also states that during his absences from Bologna he was active at Iesi, Faenza and Ripatransone (near S Benedetto del Tronto). By 26 October 1594 he was back at Bologna, but only in ...

Article

Don Harrán

[Civita, Davit ]

(fl 1616). Italian composer. He was one of only a few Jewish composers of art music in the 16th and early 17th centuries. It is not clear whether the name Civita refers to his place of birth (Cividale) or his surname, although the latter seems more probable. He appears to have had connections with Mantua and may have lived there. This assumption is supported by the dedication of his only publication, Premitie armoniche (Venice, 1616; ed. D. Harrán, Fragmenta polyphonica judaica, Jerusalem, forthcoming), to the Duke of Mantua, Francesco Gonzaga, and the presence in Mantua of several other Civitas, possibly from the same family, as well as by an archival document that records the death of his daughter, aged six, in 1630. Civita’s name does not, however, appear in court registers. Civita wrote in the dedication to Premitie armoniche that he composed the work while still ‘a young man of little intelligence’. The collection consists of 17 three-voice madrigals, similar in style to canzonettas, but with continuo. Eight works set texts by Ansaldo Cebà, Guarini, Marino, Tasso and Rinuccini....

Article

Véronique Roelvink

[Gheerken, Gerit, Gerrit, Gerryt, Gheeraert, Geerhart, Gerard, Gerart],[die Hondt, die Hont]

(fl 1521–47). South Netherlandish composer, born in Bruges, probably around 1495. He was the son of the Bruges tegheldecker (roofer/tiler) Jacob de Hondt, who originated from a family of Bruges city roofers, living in the parish of St Jacob. We have no information on Gheerkin’s musical education, in Bruges or elsewhere. The first trace of Gheerkin de Hondt as zangmeester is found in the archives of the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft, where he became coraelmeester on 3 June 1521. He left the church in 1523, and returned for the period from 1 August 1530 to March 1532. On 13 July 1532 he is mentioned as zangmeester of his home church St Jacob in Bruges, where he served until the end of 1539. On 31 December 1539 he received his first payment as zangmeester of the Illustre Lieve Vrouwe Broederschap (‘Confraternity of Our Illustrious Lady’) in ’s-Hertogenbosch, a joint position with the chapter of the church of St Jan, for which he had probably already applied in ...

Article

Isabel Pope

revised by Tess Knighton

[Fermoselle, Juan de]

(b Salamanca, July 12, 1468; d León, late 1529 or early 1530). Spanish poet, dramatist and composer. He was born Juan de Fermoselle in Salamanca, where his father was a shoemaker; it has been suggested that he was of Jewish descent. One of at least seven children, he, like several of his brothers, pursued a career that brought him into contact with the higher echelons of society. Diego de Fermoselle was professor of music at Salamanca University from 1479 until 1522, and may well have taught his younger brother. Juan became a choirboy in the cathedral in 1484, where another of his brothers, Miguel, was a chaplain. By 1490, when he, too, briefly held a chaplaincy at Salamanca Cathedral (a position he was forced to resign as he was not ordained), he had adopted the name Juan del Encina, probably his matronymic, but also perhaps a conscious reference to the Castilian holm oak as well as the ilex of Virgil’s bucolic poetry which clearly exerted considerable influence over him. He would have coincided with the great Spanish humanist Antonio de Nebrija at Salamanca, where he studied law probably between ...

Article

(fl 1539–47). South Netherlandish composer. The only biographical information about him comes from the account books of the Confraternity of Our Lady in 's-Hertogenbosch. He emigrated from Bruges in 1539, having been engaged by the brotherhood in September, and began his official duties as choirmaster on 31 December. He held the post until ...

Article

Iain Fenlon

[Sacerdoti, Davit de]

(b Rovere, fl c1575). Italian composer. He was a member of the thriving Jewish community in 16th-century Mantua which, despite escalating persecution, made vital contributions to the theatrical and musical life at court, particularly in the last 30 years of the century. Sacerdote's first and only known publication, Il primo libro de madrigali a sei voci (Venice, 1575, inc.), is prefaced by an encomiastic sonnet to the composer by Cavaliere Nuvolone, a prominent member of the Accademia degli Invaghiti, founded in Mantua by Cesare Gonzaga in 1562. The volume is dated from Casale on 25 January 1575, and is dedicated to the Marchese del Vasto who seems to have been Sacerdote's patron. It includes settings of one sonnet by Ariosto and four from Petrarch's Canzoniere. Individual madrigals are dedicated to the Duke of Mantua, the Marchese del Vasto, the Prior of Barletta (who was usually a Gonzaga), and to various ladies from distinguished Mantuan families, including Isabella Madrucci. One of the Petrarch texts, ...