Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/369

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MONTE.
357
MONTEVERDE.

publications. Bullart, however, gives a portrait of the composer, after Sadeler, which is well worth seeing, and much superior to the smaller copies of it in Boissart and Hawkins. Elisabeth Weston's poem,[1] often referred to in biographies of Philippe, gives no information at all.

De Monte published his 1st book of Masses at Antwerp in 1557,[2] just at the end of Lassus's residence in that city, and we may safely credit the common tradition of a friendship existing between the two composers. It was probably on Orlando's recommendation that Philippe was called to Vienna, May 1, 1568, to become Maximilian's Chapelmaster. Rudolph II, the next emperor, moved his court to Prague, and thither Philippe followed him. Thus we find him dating from Vienna April 15, 1569,[3] and from Prague Sept. 20, 1580,[4] and Oct. 10, 1587.[5]

M. Fétis gives interesting details of de Monte's appointment as treasurer and canon of the cathedral at Cambrai, a benefice which he apparently held without residence. He resigned these appointments early in 1603, and died on July 4th of the same year.[6]

De Monte published over 30 books of madrigals—19 books à 5, 8 à 6, and 4 à 4.[7] 8 books of these in the British Museum contain 163 nos., so we may assume that 630 madrigals were printed, not to speak of many others contributed to collections. His sacred publications (2 books of masses, and 6 of motets) seem comparatively few, but he would scarcely find at the imperial court the same encouragement to write, or assistance to publish such works, as fell to the lot of his contemporaries at Rome and Munich. Of modern reprints, Hawkins contributes a madrigal à 4, Dehn and Commer a motet each, and Van Maldeghem some nos. in his Trésor Musical.

MONTEVERDE, CLAUDIO, the originator of the Modern style of Composition, was born at Cremona in the year 1568; and, at a very early period, entered the service of the Duke of Mantua as a Violist; shewing, from the first, unmistakeable signs of a talent which gave good promise of future excellence, and which, before long, met with cordial recognition, not only at the Ducal Court, but from end to end of Europe.

The youthful Violist was instructed in counterpoint by the Duke's Maestro di capella, Marc Antonio Ingegneri; a learned Musician, and a Composer of some eminence, who, if we may judge by the result of his teaching, does not seem to have been blessed, in this instance, with a, very attentive pupil. It is, indeed, difficult to believe that Monteverde can ever have taken any real interest in the study of Scholastic Music. Contrapuntal excellence was not one of his strong points; and he never shines to advantage in Music in which it is demanded. His first published work a Book of ' Canzonette a tre voci,' printed, at Venice, in 1584 though clever enough for a youth of sixteen, abounds in irregularities which no teacher of that period could have conscientiously endorsed. And the earlier books of Madrigals, by which the Canzonette were followed, shew no progressive improvement in this respect, but rather the reverse. The beauty of some of these Compositions is of a very high order; yet it is constantly marred by unpleasant progressions which can only have been the result of pure carelessness; for it would be absurd to suppose that such evil-sounding combinations could have been introduced deliberately, and equally absurd to assume that Ingegneri neglected to enforce the rules by the observance of which they might have been avoided. We must, however, draw a careful distinction between these faulty passages and others of a very different character, which, though they must have been thought startling enough, at the time they were written, can only be regarded, now, as unlearned attempts to reach, per salttim, that new and as yet unheard-of style of beauty, for which the young Composer was incessantly longing, and to which alone he owes his undoubted claim to be revered, not only as the greatest Musician of his own age, but, as the inventor of a System of Harmony which has remained in uninterrupted use to the present day. Among progressions of this latter class we may instance the numerous Suspensions of the Dominant Seventh, and its Inversions, introduced into the Cadences of Stracciami pur il core an extremely beautiful Madrigal, published in the Third Book (1594). Also, an extraordinary chain of suspended Sevenths and Ninths, in the same interesting work; which, notwithstanding the harshness of its effect, is really free from anything approaching to an infraction of the theoretical laws of Counterpoint, except, indeed, that one which forbids the resolution of a Discord to be heard in one part, while the Discord itself is heard in another and exceptions to that law may be found in works of much earlier date.

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  1. From the 'Parthenicon,' by E. J. Weston, 'ex familia Westoniorum Angla' (Praga, Aug. 16, 1810). The poem in Philippe's honour consists of 46 Latin lines.
  2. Missarum à 5, 6, 8. lib. i. (Antwerp 1557). This on the authority of Fétis.
  3. See Alto copy or 2nd book of 6-part Madrigals (Venice 1569), in Brit. Mus.
  4. 9th book of Madrigals (à 5) (Venice 1580), in Brit. Mus.
  5. Sacrar. Cantionum, lib. ii. (Venice 1587), in Brit. Mus.
  6. For this date, and that of the Vienna appointment, see Eitner, 'Verzeichniss neuer Ausgaben' (Berlin, Trautwein, 1871).
  7. Fétis speaks of the 19th book. The British Museum has the 14th. Fétis mentions no 4-part Madrigals; but the Catalogue of the Bibliotèque Fétis contains 'Di Fi. di. M. il 4º. lib. di Mad. à 4.'