Composer, Singer, Music Theorist. An important pioneer of early Baroque vocal music. His opera "Euridice" (1600) was the first ever to be published. Caccini was born in Rome and studied music in Florence under the patronage of Cosimo de Medici, who admired his singing. Around 1574 he joined the Florentine Cammerata Society, a group of intellectuals who upheld Ancient Greek art as a model for a new creative simplicity; under its influence he began writing songs in a monodic style, using a single vocal line over a basic accompaniment. This was a complete rejection of Renaissance polyphony, which had dominated European music for two centuries. Caccini later said his aim was to make vocal music as easily intelligible as speech. He performed these songs himself to great effect though it was not until the early 1590s that he started putting them on paper. With the landmark book "Le nuove musiche" (1602) Caccini formulated his theories of monody and provided several songs as examples, including the famous aria "Amarilli mia bella". It inspired the development of recitative in opera and some musicologists believe there is a direct link between this innovative treatise and today's pop songs. From 1599 until his death Caccini was music director for the Medici family, a position he used to wage a bitter rivalry with composer (and former Cammerata colleague) Jacopo Peri. The elder composer felt Peri had stolen his thunder by writing the very first opera, "Daphne" (1597), which made use of his monodic techniques, and the two launched into competing music dramas on the same subject, "Euridice". Peri's opera made it to the stage first but Caccini beat him to the publisher, scoring an historic first of his own. (Caccini's "Euridice" was finally staged, unsuccessfully, in 1602). His other surviving works include the pastoral "Il rapimento di Cefalo" (1600) and about 70 solo madrigals and strophic songs. He was the father of Francesca Caccini and Settimia Caccini, who also became famous singer-composers.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards