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Article

Bonnie J. Blackburn

[Piero]

(b Florence, c1480; d after 1545). Italian theorist and composer. Nothing is known of Aaron’s early training, his teacher, or his career before 1516. He claims to have had ‘the greatest friendship and familiarity’ with Josquin, Obrecht, Isaac, and Agricola in Florence (most likely between 1487 and 1495, and not necessarily at the same time). By 1516 he was a priest in Imola, where he wrote his first book, Libri tres de institutione harmonica, translated into Latin by the humanist Giovanni Antonio Flaminio. A contemporary poem by Achille Bocchi praises Aaron for rescuing music ‘from squalor and dismal neglect’. By March 1520 he was a singer in Imola Cathedral and from the next year a chaplain; he was also paid by the city to teach music to those who wished to learn. His career in Imola ended abruptly in June 1522 when he was wounded in a factional uprising and his chapel in the cathedral destroyed (Blackburn, forthcoming). By ...

Article

Iain Fenlon

(b ?Ferrara; d Ferrara, Sept 20, 1569). Italian composer and singer. He was a relation (probably uncle) of Lodovico Agostini. He served as a singer at the ducal court of Ferrara between 1540 and 1545, and then as a beneficed priest and canon at Ferrara Cathedral. In 1563 Pendaglia described him as a priest, singer and practising doctor, and according to Scalabrini he was rector of S Salvatore, Ferrara. His known works comprise two four-voice madrigals published in Lodovico Agostini’s Musica … libro secondo de madrigali (RISM 15727), and two pieces to Latin texts, for six and seven voices respectively, in Lodovico’s Canones, et echo (RISM 1572¹³). His madrigals, Questa che’l cor m’accende and Deh salvator de l’anime smarite, both demonstrate a discreet understanding of contemporary madrigalian techniques.

B. Pendaglia: Quattro canti (Ferrara, 1563), 30 G.A. Scalabrini: Riassunto di spese di sacrestia del Duomo di Ferrara...

Article

Iain Fenlon

(b Ferrara, 1534; d Ferrara, Sept 20, 1590). Italian composer and singer. He was a relation (probably nephew) of Agostino Agostini. He came from a family with strong musical traditions, and from an early age studied for a musical and religious career. The appearance of his first known piece in Barré’s Terzo libro delle muse (Rome, 15627) suggests that he received his early training in Rome, as does the dedication of his first book of six-part madrigals to Tiberio Cerasi, who was also the dedicatee of Marenzio’s first book of villanellas. According to Cavicchi (MGG1), he was associated from 1572 with the cappella of Ferrara Cathedral, where older members of his family had also worked; in 1577 his name first appeared in the payment records of the Ferrarese court of Duke Alfonso II d’Este, in whose service he remained until his death. During the 1580s he served as an informal composition tutor to Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga, with whom he exchanged letters on matters of mutual musical interest. He was associated with many notable poets, among them Tasso and Guarini, and with members of the highest aristocracy. He was a priest, and pursued a distinguished religious career which culminated in his being created a Monsignore and an apostolic prothonotary. Although he composed no liturgical music his writings on religious subjects, ...

Article

Anna Maria Busse Berger

(b Schwiebus [now Świebodzin, Poland], c1486; d Magdeburg, June 10, 1556). German music theorist, teacher and composer. According to his own statements, he came from a peasant family and was largely self-taught in music. By 1520 he was in Magdeburg working as a music teacher. He became choirmaster of the Protestant Lateinschule in about 1525 and retained this position until his death.

Agricola was one of the earliest teachers of music to realize Luther's wish to incorporate music as a central component of Protestant education. His foremost aim in educating students and congregation was to present material as clearly as possible and to reach a large audience. It was for this reason that his early treatises were written in German rather than the customary Latin. His translation of the terms clavis (as Schlüssel), vox (as Stimme or Silbe) and scala (as Leiter) are still used today. His desire to relate music education to everyday life can be seen in his modernization of old-fashioned rules of harmonic and rhythmic proportions, which he related to commercial arithmetic, in particular the Rule of Three, which formed the most important component of arithmetic instruction in Latin schools. He was the only theorist to consider ...

Article

(b Zaragoza, ?Aug 15, 1561; d Zaragoza, Dec 16, 1627). Spanish composer and organist. He probably studied with Melchor Robledo and Juan Oriz at the cathedral of La Seo, Zaragoza. He received holy orders on 19 January 1584 at S Pablo Apóstol, Zaragoza, where he was already in service. On 27 September 1585 he was appointed organist of Huesca Cathedral, where he supervised the construction of a new organ in 1588. Following the death of Juan Oriz, he became first organist of La Seo on 29 September 1603. He remained in that position until his death. By 20 January 1604 he was exempted, because of his eminence, from service at canonical hours except on solemn feasts. Repeatedly over the years the cathedral organ was repaired according to his specifications. In recognition of his Canticum Beatissimae Virginis deiparae Mariae, he received gifts from La Seo (100 libras) and Huesca Cathedral (150 reales). In ...

Article

(b ?Orzivecchi or Orzinuovi, nr Brescia, c1520; fl 1562–81). Italian theorist and Franciscan friar. He was influenced by Pietro Aaron, to whom he referred as ‘my indisputable teacher’, by Spataro and by Marchetto da Padova. His Illuminata de tutti i tuoni di canto fermo (Venice, 1562) expounds a modal theory applicable to plainchant: a mode is a form of diatonic octave divided into segments of 5th and 4th; corresponding authentic and plagal modes comprise the same segments but in reverse order, and the order of steps within the segments is also reversed, ascending in the authentic and descending in the plagal modes. There are eight regular modes (authentic and plagal) with finals on d, e, f and g, and six irregular modes with finals on a, b and c′. The treatise is largely devoted to modal identification of chants with an ambitus smaller or greater than an octave, or which use more than one mode. Identification is based primarily on the predominance of the segments of a single mode, especially those of the 5th, within a chant, and only secondarily on the final and ambitus. Aiguino’s ...

Article

Robert Stevenson

(b El Espinar, nr Segovia, c1530; d Mexico City, between 17 March and May 19, 1570). Spanish composer, active in Mexico. He served as a choirboy at Segovia Cathedral from 1542 to 1549, where he was taught by Gerónimo de Espinar (who later taught Victoria at Avila) and from 1544 by the maestro de capilla there, Bartolomé de Olaso (d 1567). He was employed at Salamanca University by Matheo Arévalo Sedeño, a rich nobleman, who later acted as his sponsor at Mexico City; he became a cathedral singer there on 16 October 1554 and, after being ordained, was appointed maestro de capilla on 2 January 1556. For the commemoration services for Charles V held in Mexico City on 29 November 1559 he composed an alternatim psalm setting in four parts. His several ‘motetes, villancicos y chanzonetas’ composed for Corpus Christi and Christmas (many to texts by Juan Bautista Corvera) earned the approval of the Archbishop Alonso de Montúfar, who had him promoted from prebendary to canon on ...

Article

Hans-Christian Müller

revised by Hans-Otto Korth

(b Bruchenbrücken, nr Friedberg, before1500; d Neubrandenburg, May 5, 1553). German theologian and hymn writer. Related to the noble house of Reiffenstein, he studied in Mainz about 1517, and in Wittenberg from 1518 to 1520 with Luther, who later became a friend. From 1522 to 1527 he was a schoolmaster in Oberursel and from 1528 to 1539 a minister in Sprendlingen, bringing the Reformation to surrounding districts. There, too, he met academics and printers from Hessen, including Eobanus Hessus, Adam Krafft and Christian Egenolff. Thereafter he appears to have travelled frequently: in 1537 he was in Küstrin, later he visited Wittenberg and other cities, and in 1548 he went to Magdeburg. He was forced to leave in 1551 because of his strong Lutheran views. He was appointed senior minister in Neubrandenburg on 19 October 1552, and died there a few weeks after his arrival in March 1553...

Article

Emilio Ros-Fábregas

[Alberch i Vila, Pere; Albercio Vila, Petro; Albert Vila, Pere; Villa, Petro]

(b Vich, 1517; d Barcelona, Nov 16, 1582). Catalan composer and organist. He was the most distinguished member of an extended family of organists; he became organist of Barcelona Cathedral in 1536, thanks to an agreement by which his uncle, Pere Vila (1465–1538), established an endowment to restore the cathedral organ and supplement the salary of the organists in return for securing the position for his descendants. Alberch was mentioned in Bermudo's Declaración de instrumentos (1555) as being among the best Spanish organists of the time, and whose keyboard music was worth studying. He was made a canon in 1559. In 1580 he employed his young nephew Lluís Ferran i Ferrament alias Vila as an assistant, and was succeeded by him two years later. According to the obituary in the Llibre de algunes coses asanyalades (Barcelona, 1583, ed. J. Puiggarí, Barcelona, 1878), Pere Alberch tuned the organ in Barcelona like no other instrument in Spain and invented a ‘certain kind of music’, known as ‘regalias’, combining the different voices of the organ; his reputation attracted musicians from France, Italy and the rest of Spain to the city....

Article

Victor Ravizza

revised by Gary Towne

[Albertis, Gaspare de; Albertus, Gaspare; Gaspare bergomensis; Gaspar de Padua]

(b Padua, c1489; d Bergamo, c1560). Italian composer. His entire career was spent at S Maria Maggiore, Bergamo, where he appeared as cleric in 1503, was ordained in 1514, became chaplain in 1515, and was listed as singer in 1517 and maestro di cappella by 1536. As the basilica’s principal composer, he copied nine or ten choirbooks, beginning in 1524. When the famous music theorist Pietro Aaron was admitted to the monastery of S Leonardo, Bergamo, in 1536, he was received by Alberti, who with 22 singers performed Vespers a cori spezzati. When forced into retirement in 1550, Alberti retained the manuscript choirbooks he had copied until he was reappointed in 1552 for another two years. In 1559 he made a living donation of all of his goods to S Maria Maggiore in return for a pension. Three composite choirbooks mostly copied by him are now in the Biblioteca Civica and are the only manuscript sources of Alberti’s creative production. Three of his masses were published in partbooks in Venice in ...

Article

Article

Glenn Watkins

revised by Serena dal Belin Peruffo

(b Novara, c1535; d May 8, 1596). Italian composer and organist. Of a well-to-do family, he travelled widely in his youth. He spent some years in Rome, where he probably completed his studies in theology. He served as parish priest at S Stefano, Novara, and S Giovanni Battista, Milan. After serving from 1570 to 1577 as organist at Como Cathedral, he returned to Novara on his nomination as prior at the cathedral there. Sometime between 7 October 1587 and May 1589, Alcarotto journeyed to the Holy Land; though he stayed only 16 days, he published an account of his journey, Del viaggio in Terra Santa (Novara, 1596), that is of interest for its description of music and musical instruments of the region.

Article

Martin Staehelin

revised by John Kmetz

(b Baden, 1500; d Berne, 1550). Swiss composer. He attended the school attached to St Vincent’s, Berne, until 1511, and in 1524 became Kantor there. After the Reformation the post was discontinued and Alder held various clerk’s positions in Berne that gave him financial security. In 1534 he became a house owner and in 1538 a member of the Great Council. He died of the plague.

Alder left few compositions, but those that remain show that he was a competent minor composer. Of his sacred works the 57 hymns printed in 1553 deserve special mention: they follow the traditional liturgical order while using texts adapted for Protestant congregations by Wolfgang Musculus. He also wrote several Latin motets, two occasional motets (one on the death of Zwingli in 1531) and, more important, a few German motets that were included in the popular dramas of the Bernese writer Hans von Rüte. Alder’s motets show the influence not only of his contemporary Senfl, but also of Josquin in their expressiveness: he often used duo sections and interrupted contrapuntal writing with sections of homophony, resulting in a clear formal structure. He tended to emphasize the highest part and liked canonic passages. These are found, along with other techniques, in Alder’s ...

Article

Isabel Pope

revised by Tess Knighton

[Pere Joan]

(fl 1506–9). Iberian composer. A native of Barcelona, he became maestro de capilla at the cathedral there on 19 January 1506. By 1 March 1508 he was appointed singer in the Aragonese royal chapel of Ferdinand V. He appears to have stayed there less than six months and in summer 1509 he succeeded the theorist Juan de Espinosa as ‘master of music’ at Toledo Cathedral; he held this position for only about a year, after which his name disappears from the records. Three villancicos by him appear in the Cancionero Musical de Palacio. It is interesting that these songs are copied in close proximity to two pieces by Pedro de Lagarto, another composer active at Toledo Cathedral. At least one of Aldomar's songs, ¡Ha Pelayo, qué desmayo!, enjoyed considerable popularity: a four-voice version is found in a collection printed in Venice in 1556. His song style is typical of that of the villancico in about ...

Article

Robert Stevenson

(b c1548; d Granada, June 28, 1591). Spanish composer, son of Santos de Aliseda. From about 1557 to September 1577 when he was ordained, he was a member of the choir of Granada Cathedral. On 8 June, 1580 the chapter accepted him as successor to his father without the customary public competition. As maestro de capilla he was required to give board and instruction to the choirboys, to provide daily lessons in polyphony and to compose chanzonetas and extremeses for important feasts. In 1589 he was relieved of these obligations because of ill-health. He died in poverty, like his father. None of Aliseda’s secular music survives. His solemnly expressive motets owe much to those of Morales in structure and style, particularly to the latter’s Emendemus in melius.

all in E-GRc or GRcr unless otherwise stated

Article

Robert Stevenson

(d Granada, July 4, 1580). Spanish composer. He was appointed maestro de capilla of Granada Cathedral on 19 November 1557 despite the opposition of his predecessor, Luis de Cózar, who intended his own nephew to succeed him. After an unsuccessful appeal to the archbishop, Cózar was forced to hand over the charge of the choirboys to Aliseda in May 1558. Aliseda had already begun to search for better singers, but was hindered by the poor salaries which the Granada Cathedral chapter offered.

Throughout his 23 years as maestro de capilla Aliseda won praise from the chapter for his diligent teaching, his punctuality and particularly for his care of the choirboys. In 1579, in appreciation of his merits, the chapter recommended him to Philip II for a prebend, and on 14 May 1580 voted him a gift of 12 ducats to aid him in his illness.

Aliseda's six-part motet ...

Article

Diana Poulton

revised by Warwick Edwards

(b ?1560–70; d ?before 1610). English composer. He referred in the dedication of his Psalmes to the late Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick (died 1589/90) as ‘my good Lord and Master’. Allison is represented by 13 compositions in a set of consort books (dated 1588), from the household of Sir Francis Walsingham. Ten four-part settings by him appeared in Thomas East's Whole Booke of Psalms (RISM 15927), and he contributed a dedicatory poem to Giles Farnaby's Canzonets to Fowre Voyces (1598). In 1599 he published his own Psalmes of David in Meter, giving his London address as Dukes Place, near Aldgate, and describing himself as a ‘gentleman’ and a ‘practitioner’ of music. This print also includes his coat of arms, providing much information about his family. In the same year seven of his instrumental works appeared without attribution in Morley's ...

Article

(b Heilbronn, c1535; d after 1575). German composer, Kantor and organist. He studied at Heidelberg in 1553 and at Tübingen in 1554, gaining the BA in 1555. He was Kantor at Mergentheim in Franconia in 1555 and from about 1560 to 1564 was organist at Feuchtwangen. In 1565 he was probably a court musician at Ansbach. In 1557 he applied for the post of Kantor at Hipoltstein, and in 1563–4 he applied unsuccessfully for the positions of organist at Windsheim and court musician in Württemberg. From 1569 to 1575 he was Kapellmeister and organist to Landgrave Philipp the Younger of Hesse at Schloss Rheinfels and organist at St Goar, south of Koblenz. However, he lost these posts over a dispute with the citizens of St Goar and was imprisoned. In an autobiographical threnody, Bis in den Himmel clage ich über Tyrannei (in A-Wn ), he complained to the emperor of his unjust treatment by Margrave Georg Friedrich of Ansbach-Brandenburg and Landgrave Philipp of Hesse. He composed ...

Article

August Scharnagl

revised by Clytus Gottwald

(b Elsa, nr Coburg, Jan 26, 1540; d Marktbreit, Bavaria, Jan 26, 1589). German clergyman and hymn writer. He matriculated at the University of Wittenberg on 13 October 1561, at the University of Jena in September 1562 and at Wittenberg again in October 1564; he took the MA in 1565. Ordained at Ansbach in 1566, he first went to work at Weidelbach, near Dinkelsbühl, Bavaria, and from 1567 was deacon of the Protestant Spitalkirche at Dinkelsbühl. He lost this post in 1579 because his teaching was out of line with Lutheran christological doctrines, but in the same year he was reinstated as a vicar at Marktbreit. He published Libri tres odarum ecclesiasticarum, de sacris cantionibus (Frankfurt, 1578, repr. 1579) which contains 66 German congregational songs, with Latin translations and 64 well-known melodies. New Gesangbuch teutsch und lateinisch, darinn die fürnembste Psalmen und Gesänge der Kirchen Augsp. Confession (Frankfurt, ...

Article

Robert Stevenson

(b nr Coimbra, c1526; d Landim, nr Vila Nova de Famalição, June 14, 1603). Portuguese ecclesiastic. About 1550 he became an Augustinian canon at the priory of S Cruz, Coimbra. Pinto credited him during the 1550s with the compilation of an important anthology ( P-Cug M.M.48) of 127 folios of organ transcriptions of motets and chansons by Josquin, Mouton, Verdelot, Richafort, Gombert, Crecquillon, Morales and others, together with all ten ricercares in Buus’s Recercari libro primo (Venice, 1547) and a tiento by Francisco de Soto (from RISM 1557²). In later life he held several high offices – counsellor, choirmaster, procurator and vicar – in the monastery at Landim, which was dependent on S Cruz, Coimbra. However, Rees proved the fallacy of attributing to him the incomplete Tento de meyo registo, outavo tom natural a 3 (‘Tiento for divided keyboard, tone VIII untransposed a 3’) on f.66 and exposed Kastner’s error in claiming that it ‘may well be the earliest surviving organ work in a Peninsular manuscript specified for ...