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 Orazio Vecchi

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Orazio Vecchi

  • Birth Dec 1550
  • Death 19 Feb 1605
  • Burial Modena, Provincia di Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • Plot Vecchi Family Vault
  • Memorial ID 21519860

Composer. He is best known for his "Madrigal Comedies", a popular form of Italian theatre during the 1600s. Once considered a forerunner of opera, these entertainments presented groups of related songs to tell a story without plot or staging, and were closer in spirit to musical comedy or cabaret revue. Vecchi's "L'Amfiparnaso" ("At the Foot of Parnassus", 1594) is the most famous example of the genre; the others are "Selva di varia ricreatione" (1590), "Il convinto musicale" (1597), and "Le veglie di Siena" (1604). He also helped develop the canzonetta, a secular song lighter in treatment than the madrigal. Vecchi was born in Modena, Italy, and was baptized on December 6, 1550. He was trained at the Benedictine monastery there and took holy orders around 1573. His first book of canzonettas (1578) established his reputation. After some middling jobs in the north he became a Canon at Correggio in 1586 and was promoted to Archdeacon in 1591, though he later lost this title through political intrigue. Returning to Modena, he was appointed Choirmaster of its cathedral and, in 1598, music director for Duke Cesare d'Este. Most of his 26 volumes of music were published in Venice in 1597, among them collections of songs and sacred pieces. Vecchi was notorious for his ego and his readiness to defend it, in print and occasionally with his fists. In the 1597 preface to "L'Amfiparnaso" he wrote of the controversy surrounding its premiere: "Everything new faces accusations and insults...It is unavoidable that the highest mountains are most likely to be struck by lightning". This attitude made him many enemies, one of whom, a former pupil, succeeded in getting him fired from his cathedral post in late 1604. He died a few months later. His self-penned epitaph reads, "He easily left behind all geniuses of all times". Historians disagree, rating Vecchi a minor composer, but "L'Amfiparnaso" has proved amazingly durable as a theatrical experience. Since the 1970s it has been performed more frequently than most early Baroque operas. A film version was made in 2003.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 12 Sep 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 21519860
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Orazio Vecchi (Dec 1550–19 Feb 1605), Find A Grave Memorial no. 21519860, citing Chiesa di San Biagio del Carmine, Modena, Provincia di Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy ; Maintained by Find A Grave .