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Article

John Bergsagel

revised by Ole Kongsted

[Sistinus, Theodoricus; Malmogiensis, Trudo Haggaei]

(fl 1593–1625). Danish composer and organist. He was appointed organist of Vor Frue Kirke (now the cathedral), Copenhagen, on 23 June 1593 after having ‘pursued and learnt his art during a long period both in Germany and Italy’. He received a number of preferments, such as the free residence formerly set aside for the palace preacher, awarded to him in 1603. He was also on at least two occasions sent on commissions for the king, once to Prague (1600). He published under his latinized name Theodoricus Sistinus a set of secular Cantiones for three voices (Hamburg, 1608; ed. in Dania sonans, ii, 1966), his only known published music. The publication is dedicated to King Christian IV of Denmark, and it may be assumed that it won his approval, for during the period 1609–11 he received payments from the royal treasury in addition to his salary as organist, perhaps for teaching at the court. As early as ...

Article

Robert Strizich

revised by Gary R. Boye

(b Bitonto, nr Bari; d after 1651). Italian composer and guitarist. He is known by four books of pieces for five-course Baroque guitar. They consist mainly of simple battute accompaniments to popular songs and dances of the early 17th century such as the passacaglia, ciaccona, folia, Ruggiero and aria di Fiorenza. The accompaniments are set down in the alphabet system of chord notation (alfabeto) devised by Girolamo Montesardo, in which letters of the alphabet designate fingering positions for various major and minor chords. Each of Abatessa’s books contains instructions concerning the interpretation of the alphabet tablature, the fingering of the chords and the tuning of the guitar; the 1652 book also explains how to tune the guitar with the harp, presumably for the simultaneous playing of continuo parts. The 1627 collection gives instructions regarding the execution of certain kinds of strum such as the trillo and ...

Article

Margaret Murata

(b Città di Castello, Jan 26, 1595; d Città di Castello, ? after March 15, 1679). Italian composer and teacher. He travelled to Rome with his brother Guidobaldo, an artist, in 1623 and 1625 (Andrae, 17–19), and was employed at S Giovanni in Laterano from January 1627 to May 1629. According to his verse autobiography (in I-Rvat ) he served there ‘seven years and some months’, or from 1622, but neither this nor his statement that he held earlier positions in Città di Castello and at the Gesù in Rome have been confirmed. He subsequently served as maestro di cappella at the cathedrals of Città di Castello (June 1629 to May 1632, December 1635 to November 1640 and May 1677 to March 1679) and Orvieto (December 1632 to 1635). In Rome his principal tenures were at S Maria Maggiore, where he trained boy sopranos (...

Article

Ian Spink

(b Aberdeenshire, 1653; d ?Cambridge, after 1716). Scottish countertenor, composer and lutenist. The first occurrence of his name in official records is on 1 May 1679, when he was admitted ‘extraordinary’ then ‘in ordinary’ to the Chapel Royal. From the same time he is listed among the musicians of the King’s Private Musick as one of the lutes and voices and also as a violinist, though the latter post was probably a sinecure. Between 1679 and 1688 he received considerable sums of ‘bounty money’ for undisclosed services to the king while travelling abroad. Evelyn recorded (27 January 1682):

After supper came in the famous Trebble, Mr Abel, newly returnd from Italy, & indeed I never heard a more excellent voice, one would have sworne it had been a Womans it was so high, & so well & skillfully manag’d.

He graduated MusB at Cambridge in 1684...

Article

Peter Holman

(bap. ?Watford, Northants., ?Jan 24, 1587; d London, June 29, 1640). English wind player and composer. He was perhaps the Johannes Adson baptized at Watford, Northamptonshire, on 24 Jan 1587, though nothing is known of him for certain before 1604, when he is recorded as a cornett player at the court of Charles III of Lorraine in Nancy. Charles died in 1608, and Adson was back in England by the end of 1613, when he joined the Waits of London. He married Jane Lanerie in about February 1614 and settled in the parish of St Giles Cripplegate. At least two of his sons, Islay (or Islip; bap. 30 May 1615) and Roger (bap. 24 June 1621), became musicians. In November 1633 he became a royal wind musician, and on 18 January 1636 he was paid £4 15s. for a treble cornett and a treble recorder, which presumably were the instruments he played at court. In ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Colleen Reardon

(b c1580; d Siena, Jan 1642). Italian composer and theorist.

Agazzari’s parents were evidently of Sienese origin, and he himself settled in Siena as a boy and received his training there, perhaps from Francesco Bianciardi. He was organist at Siena Cathedral from 1597 to 1602, when he left to direct the music at the Collegio Germanico, Rome (1602–3). In 1604 he attended the celebrations marking the centenary of Siena’s Accademia degli Intronati. By 1606 he was maestro di cappella at the Seminario Romano, but returned to Siena in 1607 after being blacklisted by the Cappella Sistina. In the following years he was organist at Siena Cathedral on three different occasions: in 1609, 1611–17, and 1629–33; he also served for two short periods as music director at S Maria di Provenzano, Siena, 1617–19 and 1620–?1622. Not until February 1641 was he appointed maestro di cappella...

Article

Margaret M. McGowan

(b 1604; d Turin, July 19, 1667). Italian poet, choreographer and composer. He began a brilliant political and artistic career in the service of Cardinal Maurizio of Savoy. About 1630 he entered the household of Duke Carlo Emanuele I of Savoy, on whose death in 1637 he became chief counsellor and favourite of the Duchess Cristina, accumulating honours and fortune. Except for an enforced sojourn in Paris from 1640 to 1644 his official duties kept him at the Savoy court where he wrote or conceived more than 30 ballets, plays with music, water festivals and carousels to celebrate significant political alliances and Cristina's birthdays. His first work, Bacco trionfante dell'India e caccia pastorale, dates from 1624, his last, La perla peregrina, from 1660.

Variety, ingenuity and spectacle characterize all d'Aglié's works, which also include elegant and witty allusions to court personalities (Il Gridelino, 1652) or to specific tastes (...

Article

(fl 1599–1621). Italian composer. A monk, he is described on title-pages as ‘of Spoltore, Abruzzo’. Apart from eight motets (in RISM 1627²) all his music is either lost or incomplete. Into the latter category fall the Canzonette spirituali for three voices (Venice, 1599) and Il quinto libro dei motetti a 1–4 voci con una messa e vespero...

Article

Jerome Roche

revised by Elizabeth Roche

(b March 25, 1610; d 1674). Italian composer. The title-page of his Salmi e Messa (Venice, 1637) describes him as an Olivetan monk who worked in Bologna. This publication includes vesper psalms and a mass, all for four voices and organ continuo, and places Agnelli among the many north Italian composers of unambitious liturgical music at this period. Although he still used outdated falsobordone chanting in some psalm settings, others are interesting for their use of structural devices aimed at unifying long pieces: one has a straightforward chaconne pattern in the continuo part, another is based on a complex variation scheme in the bass in the manner of some of Monteverdi's later psalms. Melodious solos are offset by tuttis with imaginative harmonies. The mass is bound together by a recurring motif in the voice parts, an unusual formal device at this time, and has interesting and varied melodic lines with much syllabic writing. The volume also includes some motets, and Agnelli published his ...

Article

Klaus Fischer

(b Vallerano, nr Viterbo, c1583; d Rome, Oct 3, 1629). Italian composer and organist. At the age of eight, at the choir school at S Luigi dei Francesi, Rome, he became a pupil of Nanino, whose daughter he later married. He completed his musical studies in 1607 and his first appointment was as organist and maestro di cappella of the Madonna del Ruscello, Vallerano. He later returned to Rome and became organist of S Maria in Trastevere, a post he held for six months from April 1615. He then worked simultaneously as vicemaestro di cappella there and as maestro di cappella of SS Trinità dei Pellegrini. From 26 May 1618 he was vicemaestro of S Lorenzo in Damaso. On 17 February 1626 he succeeded Vincenzo Ugolini as maestro di cappella of the Cappella Giulia at S Pietro and held the position until his death.

Agostini's output consists entirely of church music. He was a highly skilled contrapuntist. The five books of masses published in ...

Article

[Piersimone]

(b Forlì, c1635; d Parma, Oct 1, 1680). Italian composer. According to Pitoni, he led a swashbuckling and notorious life and had ‘a natural inclination to impropriety and baseness’. As a young man he was expelled from his native city because of his involvement in a murder. He went to Ferrara, where he received his basic musical training from Mazzaferrata. Then he abruptly took up a military career and for serving in Crete in the war against the Turks was made a Knight of the Golden Spur. His earliest datable pieces are the new prologue and interludes that he wrote for a performance of Il Tolomeo in Venice in 1658. In 1660 he competed unsuccessfully for the post of maestro di cappella at Urbino Cathedral.

Apparently by 1664 Agostini had arrived in Genoa. According to Pitoni he once attended a Vespers service there and was so harsh in his criticism of the music that he was invited to compose a service of his own for the same church, which he did with a success that added notably to his local reputation. In Genoa too he was commissioned to write at least two works for the Teatro del Falcone (...

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

Karl-Ernst Bergunder

revised by Peter Wollny

(b Grossfurra, Thuringia, Oct 25, 1643; d Gotha, Feb 20, 1676). German composer and writer. After initially going to school in his native town he was sent in 1656 to Eisenach for three years. There he attended the town school, the staff of which included Theodor Schuchardt, a highly respected teacher of music and Latin. From 1659 to 1662 Agricola studied for his school-leaving examination at the Gymnasium of Gotha; the headmaster there was Andreas Reyher, who was the co-author of the Gothaer Schulmethodus, an educational work which set an example for the teaching of music too. In 1662–3 Agricola studied philosophy at Leipzig University and from 1663 to 1668 theology and philosophy at Wittenberg, where he was awarded a master's degree by the faculty of philosophy. His four recorded scholarly essays dating from this period are lost. He had begun to learn the fundamentals of music during his school years, and he may also have been a pupil of the Kantor of the Thomaskirche, Leipzig, Sebastian Knüpfer. He continued his musical training at Wittenberg, completing the study of composition under the guidance of Italian musicians resident there. Returning to his native Thuringia he was able to turn his musical abilities to good use in the Kapelle of the Schwarzburg-Sondershausen court until in ...

Article

Lini Hübsch-Pfleger

(b Hilpoltstein, nr Nuremberg, 1638/9; d Neuburg an der Donau, bur. May 3, 1697). German composer and organist. He was educated at the Jesuit Gymnasium of St Salvator, Augsburg. In 1660 he wrote the music for a play performed there. On 23 October of the same year he matriculated at the University of Ingolstadt, where he read theology. In 1663 he became a chamber musician and court organist at Neuburg an der Donau to Count Palatine Philipp Wilhelm, who was renowned for his patronage and understanding of the arts. The court Kapellmeister was G.B. Mocchi, who had been a pupil of Carissimi and who in 1675 renounced in Agricola’s favour a prebend that Pope Alexander VII had granted him in 1655. Agricola was required to compose a number of large-scale works for weddings in the count’s family. When the count’s eldest son, Johann Wilhelm, married the Archduchess Maria Anna, sister of Emperor Leopold I, 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

Hans-Christian Müller

(b 1600–10; d c1659). German composer and organist. It is possible that he is the same person as the Christoph Bauer who entered the University of Würzburg in 1625. From 1632 to 1642 he was at Neustadt an der Saale, from 1642 to 1644 at Bodenlauben and Ebenhausen and from 1645 to 1659 at Münnerstadt. In each place he was town clerk and notary; at Neustadt he was organist as well, and at the last three, which are near Würzburg, he was also an official of the Archbishop of Würzburg. He may have been a pupil of the Würzburg court composer Heinrich Pfendner, on works by whom he based eight eight-part masses (1647). His Geistliches Waldvöglein is a large collection of sacred songs in four parts, artless settings of popular, simple, often clumsy verses, in which, however, ‘the beginnings of the Singmesse’ are discernible (see Ursprung)....

Article

(b ?Mexico City, c1625; d ?Toluca, 1695). Mexican composer. He was named as a singer in Mexico City Cathedral on 20 May 1647 with a salary of 100 peso; this was reduced to 90 peso, because of the cathedral’s financial difficulties, some time after 1646, but increased to 120 peso on 30 April 1665. In 1676 Agurto was made maestro de los villancicos, in 1677 maestro compositor and in 1685/6 maestro de capilla. On 3 September 1688 he was succeeded by Antonio de Salazar, but he remained active at the cathedral at least until 1695, the probable year of his death. By then he was living in nearby Toluca.

Agurto collaborated with the celebrated Mexican poet Juana Inés de la Cruz, and with other librettists, on several villancico cycles between 1676 and 1686. The music of only one villancico survives (ed. F. Ramírez Ramírez: Trece obras de la colección J. Sánchez Garza...

Article

George J. Buelow

(b Mühlhausen, bap. June 12, 1651; d Mühlhausen, Dec 2, 1706). German composer, theorist, organist and poet, son of Johann Rudolf Ahle. He no doubt received his musical education from his father, whom he succeeded at the age of 23 as organist of St Blasius, Mühlhausen. Like his father he held the post until his death, and he was succeeded by the young Bach. Again like his father, he was elected to the town council. He was described on the title-page of his Sapphisches Ehrenlied (1680) as a bachelor of law, but it is not known where he studied. His education may well have included training in literary composition, for he distinguished himself as a poet and was made poet laureate by the Emperor Leopold I in 1680. His music, some of which is lost, is almost totally unknown. Much of it is scattered through his series of anecdotal novels, named after the Muses, which themselves deserve closer study. He clearly followed his father in his interest in writing songs, both sacred and secular, and his style in them seems to be even more popular and folklike. He also composed music for the church and for occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, celebrations of political events and ceremonies honouring distinguished visitors to Mühlhausen. Among his theoretical writings is his enlarged and copiously annotated edition of his father's singing manual. Here, as in his own treatises, among which the four ...

Article

George J. Buelow

(b Mühlhausen, Dec 24, 1625; d Mühlhausen, July 9, 1673). German composer, organist, writer on music and poet, father of Johann Georg Ahle. He was a prolific composer of popular sacred music, notably songs, in central Germany a generation before J.S. Bach.

The date of Ahle’s birth derives from a report published in the Neues Mühlhäusisches Wochenblatt (1798, no.31; see Wolf). He was educated first at the local Gymnasium and then, from about 1643, at the Gymnasium at Göttingen. In the spring of 1645 he entered Erfurt University as a student of theology. Nothing is known of his musical training, though in 1646, while enrolled at the university, he was appointed Kantor at the elementary school and church of St Andreas, Erfurt, and at this period he became well known for his ability as an organist. He returned to Mühlhausen to marry in 1650, but only at the end of ...