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John Whenham

(b 1623–8; d Bologna, 1699, before 28 Jan). Italian singer, composer and instrument maker. He was an Augustinian monk who was employed from about 1649 as a soprano castrato at the Este court at Modena. On 13 November 1660 he was appointed to the choir of S Petronio, Bologna, with a stipend of 50 lire a month; he was discharged on 24 April 1662 but rejoined on 25 July 1663. In October 1665 he returned to Modena, where he succeeded Marco Uccellini as choirmaster of the cathedral. He vacated this post in November 1673 and by early 1674 was again living at Bologna. Between 1677 and 1681 he served as a singer in the cappella of Duke Francesco II of Modena. In 1685 he was made a member of the Accademia Filarmonica, Bologna, and seems to have spent his last years in or near that city. He wrote to the Duke of Modena in ...

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Tim Carter

[ Il Bardella ]

( d Florence, Jan 25, 1621). Italian lutenist and singer, inventor of the chitarrone . Sometimes styled ‘bolognese’ (and probably related to the Bolognese composer Romolo Naldi), he was associated with the Medici court in Florence from 1571, and by 1588 he was custodian of the court’s musical instruments. In 1609 his salary was a high 16 scudi per month, comparable with that of Giulio Caccini. He is recorded often as performing at court, sometimes as a singer (e.g. in the first of the intermedi for the wedding of Grand Duke Ferdinando I and Christine of Lorraine in 1589) but chiefly as an instrumentalist. Emilio de’ Cavalieri credited him with the invention of the chitarrone (in a letter to Luzzasco Luzzaschi of 1592; see Prunières) – Naldi seems to have designed and first used the instrument in the 1589 intermedi – and his virtuosity on the instrument was praised by Caccini in the preface to ...