Born: c. 1553, Bologna, Italia
Died: June 1597, Bologna, Italia
Biography: Italian composer. Nothing is known of his early life, but he may have worked in Rome. His first publication, the Primo libro de madrigali a cinque voci, was printed in Venice in 1579. In May 1583 he was proposed for the position of maestro di cappella at S Petronio, Bologna, by Cardinal Giacomo Boncompagni, who claimed that Rota was ‘already known to be as good a musician and composer as anyone today, and a skilled teacher, having had many years’ experience and a great many pupils’. Rota was duly appointed and in June took charge of the exceptionally large choir which comprised 34 cantori, 12 chierici and three instrumentalists.
As maestro di capella Rota seems to have enjoyed considerable esteem. In 1584 he published his Motectorum liber primus, and this work was reprinted as an act of homage three years later by one of his pupils, Damiano Scarabelli. Between 1586 and 1594 he received donations and a salary increase from the church authorities; in December 1594 a maestro di canto was appointed, presumably to free Rota from some of his teaching duties. In 1595 he was given 80 lire by the church authorities to assist with the publication of his Missarum liber primus.
The greater part of Rota's second book of motets, as well as his unpublished motets and Magnificat settings, are for cori spezzati. One of his unpublished masses, the Missa ‘En voz à Dieux’, and the two printed masses ‘Qual è più grand’amore’ and ‘Non mi tolga il ben mio’, are parodies on secular works by Cipriano de Rore. Charles Burney described Rota as an admirable contrapuntist, singling out for praise his six-voice Da pacem Domine (from Motectorum liber secundus).
As a madrigalist, Rota seems to have had close connections with the court of Ferrara: he contributed to two Ferrarese anthologies, and his second book of five-voice madrigals was dedicated to Alfonso d'Este. Nevertheless, his madrigals tend to be conservative in style. The first books for four and five voices make sparing use of word painting, chromaticism and dissonance, while demonstrating considerable contrapuntal skill. His second book of five-voice madrigals and those written for the Ferrarese anthologies are more up to date, showing some influence of the Ferrarese luxuriant style and with a more frequent use of expressive dissonance. The Bolognese poet Cesare Rinaldi dedicated a sonnet to Rota, who set some of his verse.
View the Wikipedia article on Andrea Rota.
List of choral works
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- Primo libro de madrigali a cinque voci, Venice 1579
- Motectorum liber primus, 1584
- Motectorum liber secundus, 1595
- Missarum liber primus, 1595
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