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Claudio Monteverdi

Claudio Monteverdi

Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) was a Italian priest and composer whose work is considered to be the bridge between the Renaissance and the Baroque periods. Composer of one of the first operas, L'Orfeo, his work comprised madrigals, operas and church-music. The following are basic facts about Monteverdi that you will want to include in any research paper you write on him.

  • Born in Lombardy to a doctor, Monteverdi studied music as a member of the cathedral choir in Cremona.
  • His first work appeared between 1582 and 1583, consisting of sacred madrigals and motets, choral musical compositions.
  • By 1602, he was the court conductor for Vincenzo I of Gonzaga.
  • By 1613 he was the conductor at the San Marco in Venice.

Claudio Monteverdi's Styles

Up until the age of forty, most of Monteverdi's compositions were madrigals, vocal pieces for three to six singers. Monteverdi's madrigals are considered to be significant developments over Renaissance styles, more indicative of the monodic style preferred by the Baroque. Monteverdi's Fifth Book of Madrigals (1605) was attacked for its modern style.

In his later life, Monteverdi focused on writing operas, especially after becoming a priest in 1632. Monteverdi wrote about eighteen operas, but only L'Orfeo and two others, plus an aria from a third, have survived. L'Orfeo was not the world's first opera, but the first fully realized one, and Monteverdi assigned specific instruments to certain parts. Frequently ill towards the ends, Monteverdi died in Venice in 1643.

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