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  Founder: Len Mullenger

b Cremona, May 1567
d Venice, 29 November 1643, aged seventy-six

He was the son of a barber-surgeon-cum-chemist. He had no musical antecedents, though his brother also became a professional musician. He studied with the maestro di cappella at the local cathedral, and by the age of fifteen had written and published a group of religious pieces; before he was out of his teens he was already an accomplished composer. At the age of twenty-three he was a string player in the court at Mantua, and soon afterwards he produced a revolutionary book of madrigals. Journeys to Hungary and Flanders broadened his outlook. In 1599 he married a singer in the Duke of Mantua's court, and had three children. In 1602 he was promoted to maestro di cappella; his wife continued her work as a singer. By the age of forty he was one of the most famous composers in Europe. His wife died in 1607, and his subsequent depression lasted for several years. In 1610 the Duke of Mantua died and Monteverdi was suddenly unemployed; but in 1611 he was invited to become maestro di cappella at St Mark's in Venice. The outbreak of the plague in 1630 totally disrupted what had hitherto been a calm and productive life; he became a priest, and wrote little for a few years. Then came a period of great productivity - particularly in his writing of operas - which lasted until his death.

1584 (17)

p Canzonettes for three voices

1587 (20)

p Madrigals for five voices, Book I

1590 (23)

p Madrigals for five voices, Book II

1592 (25)

p Madrigals for five voices, Book III

1603 (36)

p Madrigals for five voices, Book IV

1605 (38)

p Madrigals for five voices, Book V

1607 (40)

p Scherzi Musicali for three voices fp Orfeo, opera

1608 (41)

ll ballo delle ingrate

fp L'Arianna, opera

1610 (43)


p Masses

1614 (47)

p Madrigals for five voices, Book VI

1615 (48)

fp Tirsi e Clori, ballet

1617 (50)

La Maddalena, opera

1619 (52)

p Madrigals, for one, two, three, four and six voices, Book VII

1627 (60)

Armida, opera

1628 (61)

fp Mercurio e Marte, opera

1632 (65)

p Scherzi Musicali for one or two voices

1638 (71)

p Madrigals, of war and love (Madrigali guerrieri e amorosi)


1640 (73)

Selve morale e spirituale

1641 (74)

Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, opera

1642 (75)

L'incoronazione di Poppea, opera

Performed posthumously:

1650 Masses for four voices and psalms

1651 Madrigals and Canzonettes for two or three voices, Book IX

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