Claudio Monteverdi biography
 

Claudio Monteverdi

Artist: Claudio Monteverdi 
Died:29 November 1643
Summary:Italian composer, gambist, singer and Roman Catholic priest. Monteverdi's work, often regarded as revolutionary, marked the transition from the Renaissance style of music to that of the Baroque period. Monteverdi wrote one of the earliest operas, L'Orfeo, an innovative work that is the earliest surviving opera that is still regularly performed.
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Claudio Monteverdi Biography


Portrait of Claudio Monteverdi in Venice, 1640, by
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Portrait of Claudio Monteverdi in Venice, 1640, by Bernardo Strozzi

Claudio Monteverdi (May 15, 1567 (baptised) – November 29, 1643) was an Italian composer, violinist and singer.

His work marks the transition from Renaissance to Baroque music. During his long life he produced work that can be classified in both categories, and he was one of the most significant revolutionaries that brought about the change in style. Monteverdi wrote the earliest dramatically viable opera, Orfeo, and was fortunate enough to enjoy fame during his lifetime.

He was born in Cremona in northern Italy. In childhood he studied with Marc Antonio Ingegneri, who was maestro di cappella at the cathedral in Cremona. Since there is no record of him singing in the cathedral choir, the music lessons must have been private. Monteverdi produced his first music for publication—some motets and sacred madrigals—in only 1582 and 1583, so he must have been something of a child prodigy. In 1587 he produced his first book of secular madrigals, and shortly thereafter began to look for work outside of his native town.

In 1590 Monteverdi began working at the court in Mantua as a vocalist and viol player, and by 1602 he had become conductor there. Until his fortieth birthday he mainly worked on madrigals, composing nine books of them in all. Book VIII, published in 1638, includes the so-called Madrigali dei guerrieri ed amorosi which many consider to be the perfection of the form. As a whole, the first eight books of madrigals show the enormous development from the Renaissance polyphonic music to the monodic style which is typical of Baroque music. The ninth book of madrigals, published posthumously in 1651, contains lighter pieces, such as canzonettas, probably composed throughout his lifetime and representing both styles.

From monody, with its emphasis on clear melodic lines, intelligible text and placid accompanying music, it was a logical step to begin composing opera, especially for a dramatically inclined composer who also loved grand effect. In 1607 he composed his first opera, Orfeo. It was common at that time for composers to create works on demand for special occasions, and this piece was meant to add some lustre to the annual carnival of Mantua. Indeed it was a great success, fitting so well in the spirit of the times. Orfeo is marked by its dramatic power and lively orchestration. Indeed, this piece is arguably the first example of a composer assigning specific instruments to parts, and it is also one of the first large compositions in which the exact instrumentation of the premiere has come down to us. The plot is described in vivid musical pictures and the melodies are linear and clear. With this opera Monteverdi had created an entirely new style of music, the dramma per musica (musical drama) as it was called. Monteverdi's operas are usually labelled 'pre-baroque' or 'early-baroque'.

It is arguable that Monteverdi's greatest work remains the Vespro della Beata Vergine 1610 (The Vespers of the Blessed Virgin 1610). This is one of his few sacred works of any scale, but it remains to this day one of the greatest examples of devotional music, matched only by works such as Handel's Messiah and J. S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion. The scope of the work as a whole is breathtaking - each part (there are 25 in total) is fully developed in both a musical and dramatic sense - the instrumental textures are used to precise dramatic and emotional effect, in a way that had not been seen in before.

In 1613 Monteverdi was appointed as conductor at San Marco in Venice, where he soon revived the choir, which had withered under his predecessor. Here he also finished his sixth, seventh and eighth books of madrigals. The eighth is the largest, containing works written over a 30-year period, including the dramatic scene Tancredi e Clorinda (1624), in which the orchestra and voices form two separate entities. They act as counterparts. Most likely Monteverdi was inspired to try this arrangement because of the two opposite balconies in San Marco, which had inspired much similar music from composers there, such as Gabrieli. What made this composition also stand out is the first-time use of string tremolo (fast repetition of the same tone) and pizzicato (plucking strings with fingers) for special effect in dramatic scenes.

During the last years of his life Monteverdi became ill, but it did not keep him from composing his two last masterpieces, both operas: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria (1641), and the historic opera l'Incoronazione di Poppea (1642). L'Incoronazione especially is considered a culminating point of Monteverdi's work. It contains tragic as well as comic scenes, (a new development in opera), more realistic portrayal of the characters, and warmer melodies than had previously been heard. It requires a smaller orchestra, and has a less prominent role for the choir.

Monteverdi composed at least eighteen operas, of which only Orfeo, l'Incoronazione, Il ritorno, and the famous aria 'Lamento' from his second opera l'Arianna have survived.

Monteverdi died in Venice.

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Vespers (1610) "By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Arranged by Jeffrey Kurtzman. For SSTTBB soloists, SATTB chorus, orchestra (2/3 violins, 3 trumpets in D, 1 trumpet in B flat, 2/3 violas, 2 cellos, 1 double bass, 3 trombones, 1 bass trombone, 2 recorders, 2 flutes). M

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"A voce sola (Arie, canzonette e recitative)" (Voice and Piano). By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Edited by Gian Francesco Malipiero. Vocal Collection. 28 pages. Ricordi #R128500. Published by Ricordi

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Ecco Mormorar L'onde "By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Arranged by Conlon. For SSATB choir, a cappella. Octavo. Published by Alliance Music Publications"

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Canzonette a tre (selections) By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). For SSA choir (a cappella). Secular. Medium. Choral octavo. Text language: Italian. Published by Treble Clef Music Press

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Claudio Monteverdi: L'Orfeo - Favola In Musica SV.318 "By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). For Opera (Vocal Score). Music Sales America. Baroque, Opera, Renaissance. 152 pages. Music Sales #NOV070214. Published by Music Sales"

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"6 Duets (2 high voices,Pf)" "By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Edited by Landshoff. Vocal Duets/Trios. For 2 High voices, Piano. Vocal. Vocal score. Text Language: Italian only. Published by Edition Peters"

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Vespro della Beata Vergine (Vocal Score). By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Arranged by Jerome Roche. Schott. Piano reduction. 175 pages. Schott Music #ED12602. Published by Schott Music

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L'Incoronazione Di Poppea "By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Edited by Alan Curtis. For Opera (Vocal Score). Music Sales America. Opera, Renaissance. 318 pages. Novello & Co Ltd. #NOV200184. Published by Novello & Co Ltd."

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32 Madrigals Vol.1 By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). For SSATB choir a cappella. Madrigals. Sheet Music. Text Language: Italian/German. Published by Edition Peters

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"Ave Maris Stella, Vespers" By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Choral mixed voices. Published by Universal Edition

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Vespro della Beata Vergine (Marienvesper (1610)). By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Arranged by Jerome Roche. Study Score. Eulenburg Taschenpartituren (Pocket Scores). Study Score. 292 pages. Hal Leonard #ETP8024. Published by Hal Leonard

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"Vespers 1610 (Juergens Ed.), V.S." By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Arranged by Juergens. Large choral work. Published by Universal Edition

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L'Orfeo (Score). By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Arranged by Claudio Gallico. Score. Eulenburg Taschenpartituren (Pocket Scores). Study score. 162 pages. Hal Leonard #ETP8025. Published by Hal Leonard

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Love Duet (from Poppea) By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). For Voice & Piano. Masterworks; Part(s); Song - Secular. Faber Edition. Masterwork; Renaissance. Published by Faber Music

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Vespers "(Vocal Score). By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Edited by Denis Stevens. For SATB soli, SATB Choir, Organ (SATB). Music Sales America. Sacred, Renaissance, Choral. 222 pages. Novello & Co Ltd. #NOV070211. Published by Novello & Co Ltd."

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Per Cantare E Sonare/Pj342 (Amor-Lamento Della Ninfa/4 Vx Mxtes Instr/Ptition). By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). For 4 mixed voices and Instruments. Score. Published by Heugel & Cie

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Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria (Tragedia di lieto fine in un prologo e tre atti). By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Edited by Rinaldo Alessandrini. For 3 alto voice solos/3 bass voice solos/6 soprano voice solos/7 tenor voice solos/choir/2 violins/2 violas/basso continuo. This edition

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Messa a 4 voci (Keyboard/instrumental part) "By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Arranged by D. Stevens. For SATB Choir, keyboard or instruments (Mixed Voices). Mass. Choral. 32 pages. Published by E.C. Schirmer Publishing"

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Deus in Adjutorium (in original key of D) By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). For Brass Quintet & Organ. Brass Ensemble - Quintet; Masterworks. Eighth Note Publications. Renaissance. Duration 00:02:00. Published by Eighth Note Publications

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"L'Incoronazione di Poppea (d'Indy) Le Couronnement de Poppee, The Coronation of Poppea" "By Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Arranged by Indy, Vincent D' (1851-1931), Editor. For 2 oboe - harp, organ, strings (2.2.1.1.1), harpsichord, mixed choir. Full score. Composed 1642. Published by Edwin F. Kalmus"

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