LUCA MARENZIO (1553 - 1599)
Marenzio spent much of his later career in the service of influential ecclesiastical patrons in Rome, in particular Cardinal Luigi d’Este, a member of the ruling family of Ferrara, important patrons of the arts. After the cardinal’s death he was for a time in Florence in the service of Ferdinando de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. He was a prolific composer of vocal music and is best known today for his madrigals, although he wrote a considerable quantity of sacred music.
Secular Vocal Music
Characteristic madrigals by Marenzio, on the usual pastoral subjects, include Cruda Amarilli (‘Cruel Amaryllis’) and Care mie selve (‘My Beloved Woods’), settings of Guarini. Marenzio published a number of collections of madrigals for four, five or six voices and is of historical importance in the development of the Italian madrigal, imitated towards the end of the 16th century in England. These compositions, over 400 in number, include settings of verses by Dante, Petrarch, Ariosto, Guarini and Tasso.