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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.


Frank Dobbins

(b Bourges, c1510; d Lyons, June 1561). French writer. After studying at the University of Bourges he was appointed professor of rhetoric at the Collège de la Trinité in Lyons before 1538, becoming principal in 1540. He was murdered as a suspected Protestant during a riot in Lyons. Among other writings, especially on poetics, he wrote several plays with important musical content. The Chant natal (1538), made up of contrafacta of well-known chansons, ends with a ‘Noël mystic’ on the chant Le dueil yssu ‘harmonized’ by the ‘nightingale Villiers’. The allegorical satire Lyon marchant (1542) includes a scene in which Arion (representing François I) sings Doulce mémoire (a poem written by the king which enjoyed great success in a musical setting by his singer-composer, Pierre Sandrin). Another Christmas play, Genethliac (1558), includes 17 new songs for three or four voices, which survive incomplete (...


(b Florence, Feb 5, 1534; d Sept 1612). Italian literary critic, poet, playwright and composer. As host to the Camerata and patron of Vincenzo Galilei and Giulio Caccini he gave the main impetus to the movement that led to the first experiments in lyrical and dramatic monody.

Bardi evidently received a good literary education, since he knew both Greek and Latin. His youth, however, is notable mostly for military exploits. In 1553 he served in the war against Siena under Grand Duke Cosimo I of Tuscany and in 1565 under the command of Chiappino Vitelli in the defence of Malta against the Ottoman Empire. He was one of the captains who commanded the infantry sent by Duke Cosimo to help the Emperor Maximilian II defeat the Turks in Hungary. In 1562 he married Lucrezia Salviati, daughter of Piero Salviati. He enjoyed the favour of Grand Duke Francesco I, who depended on him particularly for the organization of court festivities. But when Francesco's brother became grand duke as Ferdinando I in ...


Nino Pirrotta

(b Rome, 1465; d San Gimignano, 1510). Italian humanist. He was the son of Antonio Cortese, a papal abbreviator (i.e. a writer of papal briefs) and the pupil of Giulio Pomponio Leto and Bartolomeo Platina, both abbreviatores. In 1481 he was appointed to the papal chancery to the place vacated on Platina’s death. He was promoted to papal secretary in 1498, resigned in 1503 and spent the rest of his life in a family villa called Castel Cortesiano, near San Gimignano. There he was the host to such guests as Duke Ercole I of Ferrara, Duke Guidobaldo of Urbino and Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, later Pope Paul III. He must also have had a comfortable house in Rome in which in the early 1490s there were learned discussions, interspersed with strambotti sung by Serafino Aquilano. Cortese may have known Josquin, who was a papal singer at this time. He praised Josquin highly as a mass composer in his ...


Christopher R. Wilson, F.W. Sternfeld and Eric Walter White

(b Stratford-upon-Avon, bap. April 26, 1564; d Stratford-upon-Avon, April 23, 1616). English playwright.

Christopher R. Wilson, assisted by F.W. Sternfeld

Music has an important role in Shakespeare’s works: any of his plays would suffer only in its total impact if sound effects and processions, fencing and costumes were eliminated, but the actual sound of vocal and instrumental music is essential to Shakespeare’s dramatic purpose. It remains of course complementary to the sound of verse and prose, but where it punctuates the dialogue it could be omitted only at considerable loss. Beyond this, the traditional associations of music, its divine and degrading powers, often play their part in providing the dramas with a network of wider associations, not only in the actual use of music in the dramatic action but in the frequent use of musical imagery in the text of the play, for important structural and thematic purposes. These allegorical and symbolic functions of music would be recognizable by an Elizabethan audience but less so today....


(b Vacha, 1501; d Mainz, Feb 16, 1573). German theologian . He studied theology in Erfurt from 1516 to 1517, and in 1520 he continued his studies in Wittenberg with Luther. He was ordained in Merseburg and received a curacy in his home community of Vacha. When in 1524 he became a Lutheran and married, he forfeited his ecclesiastical office and worked as town clerk in Vacha. For some years he was a Lutheran pastor in Wenigen-Lupitz and in Niemegk. However, intensive study of the writings of the Church Fathers caused him to turn away from Lutheranism, and by 1533 he was a Catholic preacher in Eisleben. Many apologetic writings followed in which he supported the Old Church and its service. He was summoned to the court in Dresden by the Catholic Duke Georg the Bearded of Saxony, but lost this appointment with the death of the duke and the ensuing Reformation in Dresden in ...