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More about Claudio Monteverdi

16th century
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The turn of the 17th century was a critical epoch in the history of music, a threshold separating the Renaissance era from the Baroque. At the helm of this transition was the Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi, a figure of pivotal originality, who justly earned his place in the musical pantheon after centuries of relative obscurity.

Monteverdi was born in Cremona in 1567, cutting his compositional teeth in his hometown before his career blossomed in the nearby town of Mantua, in the employ of the local duke. Monteverdi was first able to master traditional forms in both sacred and secular spheres, before undertaking significant harmonic and instrumental innovations. Coming under fire from conservative theorists, Monteverdi defended his work as “seconda pratica”, a philosophy that espoused creative freedom, but also stressed the progressive relationship between new music and old.

Though much of Monteverdi’s work has sadly been lost since his death in 1643, his surviving oeuvre comprises nine books of madrigals, various sacred works, and a range of dramatic compositions. Notably, three full operas are among the latter, all of which influenced the embryonic genre. His first opera “L’Orfeo” is in fact the oldest that is regularly performed today; simply another impressive string to the bow of the great composer.


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