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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

[Julio]

(fl 1546–87). Italian lutenist and composer. ‘Pestrin’ is Venetian dialect for ‘mill’ or ‘dairy’, and it has been thought that this may indicate his family’s occupation and Venetian origins; more recent evidence suggests that the name refers to his residence in Calle del Pestrin in the parish of San Stefano. He published at least seven volumes of solo lute music, of which only three are extant. A book of lute music by ‘Pestrin’, now lost, is listed in Vincenti’s catalogue of 1591; that this is by Abondante is confirmed by Giunta’s catalogue of 1604. Because of the different forms of Abondante’s name and the 41 years that elapsed between the publication of the first and fifth books, Eitner mistakenly concluded that ‘Julio Abondante’, composer of the first two books, and ‘Giulio Abundante, detto dal Pestrino’ or ‘Giulio dal Pestrino’, composer of the fifth book, were different musicians. In the dedications of his ...

Article

Harry B. Lincoln

(fl 1586–8). Italian composer. Five madrigals by him survive in four anthologies of the 1580s. Three of these (RISM 15869, 1588¹4 and 1588¹8) feature Mantuan composers, and this could be a clue to his origins, though he is not found in any of the Mantuan court documents. He is also represented by two works in a volume of three-voice madrigals (...

Article

[Emmanuel]

(b Antwerp, c1554; d Antwerp, bur. Feb 27, 1604). Flemish lutenist, teacher and composer. He went to Rome to study in 1574, a visit that probably accounts for the Italian elements in his publications. He was a Protestant, but after the fall of Antwerp in 1585 he was compelled for political reasons to embrace the Catholic faith. With his brother Gysbrecht he opened a school for lutenists at Antwerp, but in 1587 they came into conflict with the musicians’ guild because neither of them was a member; later, however, Emanuel must have qualified as a freeman of the guild, for he occasionally assumed the title of master. He was appointed captain of the citizens’ watch, which brought him a regular income, and in 1595 he took part in the relief of the nearby town of Lier, which had been occupied by the Dutch. He moved in the highest circles in Antwerp, and the principal families doubtless admired his virtuosity as a lutenist and engaged him to perform. His publications brought him wider fame, and they were to be found in the libraries of many prominent people, among them Constantijn Huygens, King João IV of Portugal and Cardinal Mazarin. He was mentioned by Adrian Denss (...

Article

Patricia Ann Myers

(b S Severino, nr Ancona, 1539; d Rome, Aug 16, 1575). Italian composer. It is uncertain when he went to Rome, but he is listed among the members of the Cappella Sistina from 17 July 1572 until 1573, when he succeeded François Roussel as maestro di cappella at S Giovanni in Laterano, a post he retained until his death (E. Celani: ‘I cantori della Cappella Pontificia nei secoli XVI–XVIII’, ...

Article

Anna Maria Busse Berger

(fl early 16th century). South Netherlandish scribe. He was previously thought to be a theorist and priest at the church of St Martin at Akkergem near Ghent, but was in fact Anthony of St Maartensdijk, a small town on the Dutch island of Tholen. He copied folios 63–206 of the manuscript ...

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

Keith A. Larson

(b ?Naples, c1575–85; d after 1617). Italian composer. He may have supported himself much as did his elder brother Giovanni Antonio, who in 1598 was teaching singing to the children of the Prince of Roccella, Fabrizio Carafa. Cerreto mentioned both brothers as excellent composers in Della prattica musica (1601), but only works by Agostino have survived. He published a book of six-part madrigals (Naples, 1617); there are also single five-part madrigals by him in two anthologies (RISM 16065 and 1609¹6) and in Macedonio di Mutio’s second book of five-part madrigals (1606). Between 1600 and 1630 Naples was the most important centre for the composition and printing of the increasingly outmoded polyphonic madrigal without continuo. During this period the only books of six-part madrigals published there were Agresta’s and a posthumous collection by Gesualdo (1626); Agresta’s reveals what the style of Gesualdo’s incompletely preserved book may have been. Like many of his Neapolitan contemporaries influenced by Gesualdo’s virtuoso madrigals, Agresta occasionally surpassed him in the degree of contrast between slow chromatic ...

Article

Edward R. Lerner

revised by Rob C. Wegman and Fabrice Fitch

(b Ghent, ?1445/6; d Valladolid, August 15, 1506). South Netherlandish composer, active in Italy, France and the Low Countries. He was renowned for his composition in all genres cultivated in his time, and his music was as widely distributed as that of any of his contemporaries.

Some biographical information can be gleaned from the text of a musical setting entitled Epitaphion Alexandri Agricolae symphonistae regis Castiliae, printed by Georg Rhau in 1538. Here, the composer is called a ‘Belgian’, who died in 1506 at the age of 60 while travelling through Spain in the service of Philip the Fair. Two more epitaphs have recently been discovered by Bonnie Blackburn; one of these specifies the date of death, and reveals that he was a native of Ghent. Archival documents and musical manuscripts give his surname almost invariably as Agricola, although one payment record from the Burgundian court, written in ...

Article

Lini Hübsch-Pfleger

(b Nuremberg, c1560–70; d ?Erfurt, after 1601). German composer. In 1601, when he published a collection of motets, Agricola was teaching at the Gymnasium Augustinianum at Erfurt; he can scarcely be identified with the Christianus Johannes Agricola who was a discantist in the Kapelle at Weimar in 1594. The surname ‘Noricus’, used on the title-page and in the dedication, meant ‘born at Nuremberg’, and a Johannes Agricola baptized on 29 November 1564 at St Sebaldus at Nuremberg could be the composer. Yet another Johann Agricola (d 1605), Kantor at St Bartholomäus, Frankfurt, in 1591, was probably not the composer.

As a composer Agricola is known only by Motetae novae pro praecipuis in anno festis (Nuremberg, 1601), dedicated to the Erfurt senate; the bass partbook addresses the same dedication to the Mühlhausen senate, so possibly the collection appeared in at least two editions. The preface is a humanistic essay about the importance of music from ancient times to the 16th century. The 26 motets, for four to six, eight and twelve voices, are settings in a freely imitative style characterized by fluent counterpoint. The exact scansion of the Latin texts, which include some on secular subjects, is evidence of Agricola’s humanistic education and profession....

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

Alaire  

Frank Dobbins

[Allaire, Alere]

(fl 1534–49). French composer. According to Fétis, there was a singer called Allaire at Notre Dame in Paris in April 1547, but the name is not mentioned in Chartier’s study of the maîtrise or in Wright. All the surviving music ascribed to Alaire, one mass and eight chansons, was published in Paris by Attaingnant; none of it was reprinted in any form, although two of the chansons were copied into a manuscript owned by a Bruges merchant. It is unlikely that Alaire can be identified with either of the contemporary Flemish musicians Simon Alard or Jacques Alardy, or with the ‘Alardino’ whose six-voice madrigal Passa la nava mia was printed in Venice (RISM 1561¹6). Despite the limited dissemination of Alaire’s works, evidence of his influence can be seen in later settings of Marot’s poem Quant je vous ayme ardentement by Arcadelt (1547) and Certon (...

Article

Herbert Kellman

[Petrus; Imhove, Peter; van den Hove, Peter]

(b Nuremberg, c1470; d Mechelen, June 26, 1536). South Netherlandish music scribe of German birth. He was a member of the Nuremberg merchant family Imhof, but settled in the Netherlands in the early 1490s. He was active principally at the courts of Margaret of Austria, regent of the Netherlands, her successor Mary of Hungary and Emperor Charles V, in Mechelen and Brussels. He was one of several copyists – the others are anonymous – of a complex of more than 60 manuscripts of polyphonic music produced there between about 1495 and 1535. The earliest references to Alamire appear in the accounts for 1496/7 of the Confraternity of Our Lady in ’s-Hertogenbosch. He is listed once as a new member, and was paid for having copied one book of masses and portions of a second book, as well as a book of motets. In 1499 the Confraternity of Our Lady in Antwerp paid him for having copied a book of motets and ...

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

Alart  

Jeffrey Dean

(Alardino)

(fl c1535–60). Franco-Flemish composer. The name appears in the ascriptions of two works published over 20 years apart. The four-voice motet Dum transisset Sabbatum was rather widely distributed, ascribed consistently to ‘Alart’ without first name or initial (RISM 1539¹³, 1549¹0, 1549¹0a, 1554¹0, 1562², H-Bn Bártfa 22 (anon.), I-TV 7, Breslau, Stadtbibliothek, MSS 2, 5, lost; ed. in SCM, xiii, 1993). It is a conventionally imitative work on the whole, but the bass frequently repeats the opening of a point of imitation in ostinato fashion. In many details of style it resembles the kind of motets being written for the French royal chapel in the second quarter of the 16th century, especially by Claudin de Sermisy. The six-voice madrigal Passa la nave mia is ascribed to ‘Alardino’ (RISM 1561¹6).

Surnames similar to ‘Alart’ or ‘Alardino’ were not uncommon among musicians: Vander Straeten (iv) records a Joos Alaert, wind-player of Ghent in ...

Article

(fl late 15th century or early 16th). Spanish composer. A number of sacred works and at least one song are attributed to this composer in Iberian sources; one work, a four-voice Agnus Dei, bears the ascription ‘Alonso Perez de Alba’. There are two possible candidates who may be identified with this composer.

In 1503 an ‘Alonso de Alva’ was appointed maestro de capilla in charge of the choristers at Seville Cathedral. He died before 4 September 1504, and after his death some books of polyphony in his possession were purchased by the cathedral chapter. He may well have been a composer, and the fact that Alba’s works are preserved among pieces by Peñalosa and Escobar, both of whom were closely connected with Seville, may be significant, even though he died considerably earlier than these composers.

The music attributed to Alba is also included in manuscripts associated with the royal chapels, and another Alonso de Alba can be found in the registers of the Castilian royal household. This man is first recorded as a chaplain in Queen Isabella’s chapel 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....