Giovanni Croce

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Giovanni Croce (Italian pronunciation:  [dʒoˈvanni ˈkroːtʃe] ; also Ioanne a Cruce Clodiensis, Zuanne Chiozotto; 1557 – 15 May 1609) was an Italian composer of the late Renaissance, of the Venetian School. He was particularly prominent as a madrigalist, one of the few among the Venetians other than Monteverdi.

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Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.

Renaissance music

Renaissance music is vocal and instrumental music written and performed in Europe during the Renaissance era. Consensus among music historians has been to start the era around 1400, with the end of the medieval era, and to close it around 1600, with the beginning of the Baroque period, therefore commencing the musical Renaissance about a hundred years after the beginning of the Renaissance as it is understood in other disciplines. As in the other arts, the music of the period was significantly influenced by the developments which define the Early Modern period: the rise of humanistic thought; the recovery of the literary and artistic heritage of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome; increased innovation and discovery; the growth of commercial enterprises; the rise of a bourgeois class; and the Protestant Reformation. From this changing society emerged a common, unifying musical language, in particular, the polyphonic style of the Franco-Flemish school, whose greatest master was Josquin des Prez.

Venetian School (music)

In music history, the Venetian School was the body and work of composers working in Venice from about 1550 to around 1610. The Venetian polychoral compositions of the late sixteenth century were among the most famous musical events in Europe, and their influence on musical practice in other countries was enormous. The innovations introduced by the Venetian school, along with the contemporary development of monody and opera in Florence, together define the end of the musical Renaissance and the beginning of the musical Baroque.

Contents

Life

He was born in Chioggia, a fishing town on the Adriatic coast south of Venice, the same town as Gioseffo Zarlino, and he came to Venice early, becoming a member of the boy's choir at St. Mark's under Zarlino's direction by the time he was eight years old. Zarlino evidently found him in a choir in Chioggia Cathedral, and recruited him for St. Mark's. [1] Croce may have been a parish priest at the church of Santa Maria Formosa, and he took holy orders in 1585; during this period he also served as a singer at St. Mark's. He evidently maintained some connection, probably as a director of music, with Santa Maria Formosa alongside his duties at St. Mark's.

Chioggia Comune in Veneto, Italy

Chioggia is a coastal town and comune of the Metropolitan City of Venice in the Veneto region of northern Italy.

Venice Comune in Veneto, Italy

Venice is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. It is situated on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges. The islands are located in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay that lies between the mouths of the Po and the Piave rivers. In 2018, 260,897 people resided in the Comune di Venezia, of whom around 55,000 live in the historical city of Venice. Together with Padua and Treviso, the city is included in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area (PATREVE), which is considered a statistical metropolitan area, with a total population of 2.6 million.

Gioseffo Zarlino Italian composer

Gioseffo Zarlino was an Italian music theorist and composer of the Renaissance. He was possibly the most famous European music theorist between Aristoxenus and Rameau, and made a large contribution to the theory of counterpoint as well as to musical tuning.

After the death of Zarlino, he became assistant maestro di cappella; this was during the tenure of Baldassare Donato. When Donato died in 1603 Croce took over the principal job as maestro di cappella but the singing standards of the famous St. Mark's cathedral declined under his direction, most likely due more to his declining health than his lack of musicianship. He died in 1609; the position of maestro di cappella went to Giulio Cesare Martinengo until 1613, at which time Monteverdi took the job.

Baldassare Donato was an Italian composer and singer of the Venetian school of the late Renaissance. He was maestro di cappella of the prestigious St. Mark's Basilica at the end of the 16th century, and was an important figure in the development of Italian light secular music, especially the villanella.

Giulio Cesare Martinengo was an Italian composer and teacher of the late Renaissance and early Baroque Venetian School. He was the predecessor to Claudio Monteverdi at St. Mark's.

Music and influence

Croce wrote less music in the grand polychoral style than Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli, although he left a grand mass for four choirs, composed for Ferdinand of Austria (the future Emperor Ferdinand II) and several triple-choir Psalm settings (only one of which has survived), and as a result his music has not maintained the same fame to the present day; however he was renowned as a composer at the time, and was a large influence on music both in Italy and abroad. As a composer of sacred music he was mostly conservative, writing cori spezzati in the manner of Adrian Willaert, and parody masses more like the music composed by the members of the contemporary Roman School. However, later in his career he wrote some music in a forward-looking concertato style, which attempted to combine the innovations of Viadana with the grand Venetian polychoral manner. This posthumous collection, the Sacre Cantilene Concertate of 1610, is for 3, 5 or 6 solo voices, continuo and a 4-voice Ripieno which can be multiplied ad lib (presumably in different parts of the church). Most of Croce's sacred music is for double-choir: this includes three masses, two books of motets, and sets of music for Terce, Lauds and Vespers. Although most of his sacred music was written for the professional singers of St Mark's (including several pieces written for their participation in a freelance company of musicians under Croce's direction, who performed for the Scuole Grande of Venice) much of his music is technically simple: for that reason much of it, especially the secular music, has remained popular with amateurs. One collection, the motets for 4 voices of 1597, is clearly designed for less ambitious church choirs.

Andrea Gabrieli was an Italian composer and organist of the late Renaissance. The uncle of the somewhat more famous Giovanni Gabrieli, he was the first internationally renowned member of the Venetian School of composers, and was extremely influential in spreading the Venetian style in Italy as well as in Germany.

Giovanni Gabrieli Italian composer

Giovanni Gabrieli was an Italian composer and organist. He was one of the most influential musicians of his time, and represents the culmination of the style of the Venetian School, at the time of the shift from Renaissance to Baroque idioms.

Adrian Willaert French-Flemish composer

Adrian Willaert was a Netherlandish composer of the Renaissance and founder of the Venetian School. He was one of the most representative members of the generation of northern composers who moved to Italy and transplanted the polyphonic Franco-Flemish style there.

Croce is also credited with the first published continuo parts, many of his double-choir collections being issued either with a 'Basso per sonare nell'organo' or a 'Partidura' (or Spartidura) which indicated both choirs.

Stylistically, Croce was more influenced by Andrea Gabrieli than his nephew Giovanni, even though they were exact contemporaries; Croce preferred the emotional coolness, the Palestrina clarity and the generally lighter character of Andrea's music. Croce was particularly important in the development of the canzonetta and the madrigal comedy, and wrote a large quantity of easily singable, popular, and often hilarious music. Some of his collections are satirical, for example setting to music ridiculous scenes at Venetian carnivals (Mascarate piacevoli et ridicolose per il carnevale, 1590), some of which are in dialect.

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina Italian Renaissance composer

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was an Italian Renaissance composer of sacred music and the best-known 16th-century representative of the Roman School of musical composition. He had a lasting influence on the development of church music, and his work is considered as the culmination of Renaissance polyphony.

In music, a canzonetta is a popular Italian secular vocal composition that originated around 1560. Earlier versions were somewhat like a madrigal but lighter in style—but by the 18th century, especially as it moved outside of Italy, the term came to mean a song for voice and accompaniment, usually in a light secular style.

Madrigal comedy is a term for a kind of entertainment music of the late 16th century in Italy, in which groups of related, generally a cappella madrigals were sung consecutively, generally telling a story, and sometimes having a loose dramatic plot. It is an important element in the origins of opera. The term is of 20th-century origin, popularised by Alfred Einstein.

Croce was one of the first composers to use the term capriccio, as a title for one of the canzonettas in his collection Triaca musicale (musical cure for animal bites) of 1595. Both this and the Mascarate piacevoli collections were intended to be sung in costumes and masks at Venetian carnivals.

A capriccio or caprice, is a piece of music, usually fairly free in form and of a lively character. The typical capriccio is one that is fast, intense, and often virtuosic in nature.

His canzonettas and madrigals were influential in the Netherlands and in England, where they were reprinted in the second book of Musica transalpina (1597), one of the collections which inaugurated the mania for madrigal composition there. Croce's music remained popular in England and Thomas Morley specifically singled him out as a master composer; indeed Croce may have been the biggest single influence on Morley. John Dowland visited him in Italy as well.

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References and further reading

Notes

  1. Arnold, p. 35

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