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date: 25 January 2020

Aleotti, Vittorialocked

  • Suzanne G. Cusick


(b Ferrara, c1575; d after 1620). Italian composer, possibly identical with Raffaella Aleotti. Daughter of Ferrarese architect Giovanni Battista Aleotti, she first learned music by overhearing lessons intended for an older sister. Astonishing her parents and her sister’s teacher, Alessandro Milleville, by her harpsichord performance at about age six, she was taught directly by Milleville for at least two years before he recommended that she be educated at the musically renowned convent of S Vito, Ferrara. According to her father, Vittoria ‘chose to dedicate herself … to the service of God’ when she was 14. Sometime after that her father obtained madrigals from G.B. Guarini for her to set to music. He gave the results to Count del Zaffo, who had the music printed by Vincenti in Venice, as Ghirlanda de madrigali a quattro voci, in 1593. They represent a range of late 16th-century styles, from simple canzonettas to serious efforts at exploiting dissonance to express images of amorous longing or distress. Occasional awkward handlings of imitation or of text declamation suggest that the madrigals of ...

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