Claudio Monteverdi

From Wind Repertory Project
Claudio Monteverdi


Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi (15 May 1567 (baptized), Cremona, Lombardy – 29 November 1643, Venice) was an Italian composer, gambist, singer and Roman Catholic priest.

Claudio Monteverdi's father was Baldassare Monteverdi, a doctor, apothecary and amateur surgeon. He was the oldest of five children. During his childhood, he was taught by Marc'Antonio Ingegneri, the maestro di cappella at the Cathedral of Cremona. Monteverdi also learned about music as a member of the cathedral choir, and he studied at the University of Cremona.

His first music was written for publication, including some motets and sacred madrigals, in 1582 and 1583. He worked at the court of Vincenzo I of Gonzaga in Mantua as a vocalist and viol player, then as court conductor. In 1602, Vincenzo appointed him master of music on the death of Benedetto Pallavicino.

By 1613, he had moved to San Marco in Venice where, as conductor, he quickly restored the musical standard of both the choir and the instrumentalists. In 1632, he became a priest.

During the last years of his life, when he was often ill, he composed his two last masterpieces: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria (The Return of Ulysses, 1641), and the historic opera L'incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea, 1642), based on the life of the Roman emperor Nero. L'incoronazione especially is considered a culminating point of Monteverdi's work.

Monteverdi's works are split into three categories: madrigals, operas, and church music. His work, often regarded as revolutionary, marked the change from the Renaissance style of music to that of the Baroque period. He developed two styles of composition, the heritage of Renaissance polyphony and the new basso continuo technique of the Baroque. Monteverdi wrote one of the earliest operas, L'Orfeo, a novel work that is the earliest surviving opera still regularly performed. He is widely recognized as an inventive composer who enjoyed considerable fame in his lifetime.

Works for Winds