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Claudio Monteverdi

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Aliases: Claudio Monteverde


Baptised: 15 May 1567

Died: 29 November 1643


Monteverdi's compositional career spans sixty years from the end of the Renaissance to the early Baroque: like Beethoven two centuries later he was the major transitional figure between two distinct musical eras.

He was the first composer to realise the potential of opera for expressing powerful emotions, and he brought to his church music the musical innovations of his madrigal and instrumental style that he continued to refine throughout his lifetime.

Claudio (Giovanni Antonio) Monteverdi was born in Cremona in 1567, and baptised – probably at an age of several days – on the 15th of May. Monteverdi’s father Baldassare was a chemist and also practiced medicine; his mother Maddalena (née Zignani) died young, and Baldassare married twice more. Claudio had one elder sister, a younger brother Giulio Cesare who also pursued a musical career, and three more half-siblings from his father’s second marriage. Both Claudio and Giulio Cesare received a good musical education from Marc’Antonio Ingegneri, who was maestro di cappella of Cremona Cathedral, and whom Monteverdi would acknowledge as his teacher on the title page of his first book of madrigals. Claudio was clearly a precociously gifted boy, at the age of 15 sending a collection of three-part motets to be published in Venice by the printing house of Gardane, and following these with two further publications before he reached the age of 18, the latter of which, the volume of three-part canzonets, was published by Ricciardo Amadino, whose printing firm would go on to publish much of Monteverdi’s subsequent work.

By the time Monteverdi was ready to publish his second book of five-part madrigals, he had evidently outstripped his teacher and was looking for a musical posting outside Cremona; he visited Milan to obtain patronage, and within three years he was in full-time employment as a violinist or gamba player at the court of the Gonzaga family in Mantua. The third book of madrigals that was published soon after show the influence of the Mantuan maestro di cappella, Giaches de Wert, but Monteverdi's fame quickly spread and he became one of the leading court musicians. After the death of de Wert in 1596 he was succeeded by a more senior musician, Pallavicino, but upon his death in 1601 came Monteverdi's opportunity as musical director of the Mantuan court. In the meantime, Monteverdi had married one of the court singers, Claudia de Cattaneis, on 20 May 1599, who would bear him three children; Francesco (1601–?1677/78), Leonora (1603), and Massimiliano (1604–61).

In 1600 Monteverdi was the subject of an attack by the musical theorist Artusi, who criticised certain of Monteverdi’s harmonic practices and his modern style of word-painting, concerning works which were yet to appear in print but must have been circulating in manuscript. In 1603 and 1605 Monteverdi published the fourth and fifth books of madrigals, including much of the secular music he had worked on in the previous decade at Mantua that had attracted the ire of Artusi. The fifth book includes a brief reply to the criticism, which was amplified two years later by Monteverdi’s younger brother Giulio Cesare in the introduction to the Scherzi musicali of 1607; this only served to further popularise Monteverdi’s music and enhance his fame.

Monteverdi’s final years at Mantua were dominated by the composition of a series of dramatic works and unhappiness in his personal life, while the star of his fame ascended ever further. His first opera, L'Orfeo received its successful premiere at the beginning of 1607 during Carnival, and was followed by commissions for a second opera, L'Arianna, and several other smaller dramatic works including the balletto Il ballo delle ingrate. In the middle of the year Monteverdi returned to Cremona with his wife, who having been seriously ill for some time, was to be cared for by Monteverdi’s apothecary father. Claudia died on September 10; after little more than a fortnight he was recalled to Mantua. The inherent amount of overwork during the next year precipitated a nervous collapse; Claudio for a time again returned to his father’s house in Cremona to recuperate, before an angry exchange of letters resulted in a pay rise from the Gonzagas, more or less obliging him to return to court duties. However, Monteverdi’s desire to remain any longer in Mantua was effectively at an end.

The subsequent publication of the Vespro della beata Vergine in 1610 has been sometimes interpreted by music historians as being nothing less than an elaborate curriculum vitae, or job application for a church posting elsewhere: it was the first sizeable collection of church music published since the motets of his youth. The volume includes a learned six-part parody mass based on a motet of Nicolas Gombert, written in the Renaissance polyphonic style which he described as the prima prattica, or first practice, which strongly leans to the Roman school of church music dominated in the previous century by Palestrina; in August he travelled to Rome to obtain permission to dedicate the volume to Pope Paul V. On the other hand, the Vespers music inventively fuses traditional plainsong psalmody with the new technical innovations from Monteverdi’s dramatic music, described as the seconda prattica (second practice), interspersed with more intimate motets “designed for princely chapels or apartments”, thus lending itself to the elaborate instrumental and choral resources of Venice under the long line of maestri di cappella culminating in Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli; following the latter’s death in 1611, Monteverdi was invited to perform for the procurators of the Basilica of San Marco. Monteverdi succeeded, and in 1613 moved to Venice, where he would remain as maestro di cappella for the rest of his life.

View the Wikipedia article on Claudio Monteverdi.

Monteverdi's works are sorted below by genre: there are also lists of Monteverdi's works

Dramatic works

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  • L'Orfeo, SV 318, opera (favola in musica) (prologue, 5 acts), produced Feb. 1607, pub. 1609, ( Icon_pdf.gif  Icon_snd.gif ) pub. 1615 ( Icon_pdf.gif )
  • L'Arianna, SV 291, opera, 1608 – lost, aside from lament:
  • Lamento d'Arianna, SV 22, 1v, bc, pub. 1623
  1. Lasciatemi morire   (one edition available)
  1. Lasciatemi morire   (multiple editions available)
  2. O Teseo, Teseo mio   (multiple editions available)
  3. Dove, dove è la fede   (multiple editions available)
  4. Ahi, che non pur risponde   (multiple editions available)
  5. Misera ancor do loco [1623 version only]

  • Le nozze di Tetide, favola marittima, 1616 – work begun and abandoned, lost
  • Andromeda, opera, 1618–20 – lost
  • Apollo, dramatic cantata – lost
  • Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, SV 153, dramatic scena, 3vv, 2vl, va, vc, cb, bc, 1624, pub. 1638   (2 editions available)
  • La finta pazza Licori, 1627 – lost
  • Gli amori di Diana e di Endimione, 1628 – lost
  • Mercurio e Marte, torneo, 1628 – lost
  • Proserpina rapita, SV 323, opera, 1630 – lost, aside from trio:
  • Volgendo il ciel per l'immortal sentiero, SV 154, ballet, ca 1636, pub. 1638   (2 editions available)
  • Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, SV 325, opera, 1640
  • Le nozze d’Enea con Lavinia, opera, 1641 – lost
  • La vittoria d’Amore, ballet, 1641 – lost
  • L’incoronazione di Poppea, SV 308, opera, 1642

Secular works

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Score listing includes number of voices, instruments, and publication date (if known).

Il primo libro de madrigali (First book of madrigals, Venice, 1587)

  1. Ch'io ami la mia vita, SV23, 5vv    (5 editions available)
  2. Se per havervi oimè, SV24, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  3. A che tormi il ben mio s’io dico di morire, SV 25, 5vv    (5 editions available)
  4. Amor per tua mercè, SV26, 5vv    (4 editions available)
  5. Baci soavi e cari, SV27, 5vv    (4 editions available)
  6. Se pur non mi consenti, SV28, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  7. Filli cara e amata, SV29, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  8. Poi che del mio dolore, SV30, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  9. Fumia la pastorella, SV31, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  10. Almo divino raggio, SV31, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  11. All'hora i pastor tutti, SV31, 5vv    (4 editions available)
  12. Se nel partir da voi, vita mia, SV32, 5vv    (4 editions available)
  13. Tra mille fiamme, SV33, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  14. Usciam, ninfe, homai fuor di questi boschi; SV34, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  15. Questa ordi il laccio, SV35, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  16. La vaga pastorella sen va tra fiori, SV36, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  17. Amor, s’il tuo ferire, SV37, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  18. Donna, s’io miro voi, giaccio divengo, SV38, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  19. Ardo, sì, ma non t’amo, SV39, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  20. Ardi o gela a tua voglia, SV39, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  21. Arsi e alsi a mia voglia, SV39, 5vv    (3 editions available)

Il secondo libro de madrigali (Second book of madrigals, Venice, 1590)

  1. Non si levava ancor - E dicea l'una sospirando 5vv    (2 editions available)
  2. Bevea fillide mia, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  3. Dolcissimi legami, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  4. Non giacinti o narcisi, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  5. Intorno a due vermiglie, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  6. Non sono in queste rive, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  7. Tutte le bocche belle, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  8. Donna nel mio ritorno, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  9. Quell'ombra esser vorrei, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  10. S'andasse Amor a caccia, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  11. Mentre io miravo fiso, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  12. Ecco mormorar l'onde, 5vv    (8 editions available)
  13. Dolcemente dormiva, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  14. Se tu mi lassi, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  15. La bocca onde, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  16. Crudel, perchè mi fuggi?, 5vv –   (3 editions available)
  17. Questo specchio ti dono, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  18. Non mi è grave il morire, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  19. Ti spontò l'ali amor la donna mia, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  20. Cantai un tempo, 5vv    (3 editions available)

Il terzo libro de madrigali (Third book of madrigals, Venice, 1592)

  1. La giovinetta pianta, SV60, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  2. O come è gran martire, SV61, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  3. Sovra tenere herbette, SV62, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  4. O dolce anima mia, SV63, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  5. Stracciami pur il core, SV64, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  6. O rossignuol ch'in queste verdi fronde, SV65, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  7. Se per estremo ardore, SV66, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  8. Vattene pur, crudel, con quella pace, SV67, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  9. Là tra’l sangu’e le morti egro giacente, SV67, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  10. Poi ch'ella in sè tornò deserto e muto, SV67, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  11. O primavera, gioventù de l'anno, SV68, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  12. Perfidissimo volto ben l'usata bellezza, SV69, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  13. Ch'io non t'ami, cor mio, SV70, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  14. Occhi, un tempo mia vita, SV71, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  15. Vivrò fra i miei tormenti e le mie cure, SV72, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  16. Ma dove, O lasso me, dove restaro ?, SV72, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  17. Io pur verrò là dove sete, SV72, 5vv    (3 editions available)
  18. Lumi miei, cari lumi, SV73, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  19. Rimanti in pace a la dolente e bella Fillida, SV74, 5vv    (2 editions available)
  20. Ond'ei di morte la sua faccia impressa, SV74, 5vv    (2 editions available)

Il quarto libro de madrigali (Fourth book of madrigals, Venice, 1603)

  1. Ah! dolente partita, ah fin de la mia vita, SV 75, 5vv, 1603   (3 editions available)
  2. Cor mio, mentre vi miro   (3 editions available)
  3. Cor mio, non mori? E mori!     (2 editions available)
  4. Sfogava con le stelle, 5vv, 1603 –   (4 editions available)
  5. Volgea l'anima mia   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  6. Anima mia, perdona   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  7. Che se tu se'il cor mio, 5vv, 1603   (2 editions available)
  8. Luci serene e chiare   (2 editions available)
  9. La piaga c'ho nel core   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  10. Voi pur da me partite   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  11. A un giro sol   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  12. Ohimè, se tanto amate, 5vv, 1603 –   (3 editions available)
  13. Io mi son giovinetta, 5vv, 1603 –   (3 editions available)
  14. Quel augellin che canta, 5vv, 1603 –   (5 editions available)
  15. Non più guerra, pietate   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  16. Sì ch'io vorrei morire, 5vv, 1603 –   (5 editions available)
  17. Anima dolorosa che vivendo, SV 90, 5vv, 1603 –   (2 editions available)
  18. Anima del cor mio poi che da me misera me, SV 91, 5vv, 1603 –   (3 editions available)
  19. Longe da te, cor mio   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  20. Piagn' e sospira     (3 editions available)

Il quinto libro de madrigali (Fifth book of madrigals, Venice, 1605)

  1. Cruda Amarilli, 5vv, 1605   (3 editions available)
  2. O Mirtillo, 5vv, 1605   (2 editions available)
  3. Era l'anima mia già presso a l'ultim' hore, 5vv, 1605   (2 editions available)
  4. Ecco, Silvio, colei ch'in odio hai tanto, 5vv, 1605   (3 editions available)
  5. Ma se con la pietà, 5vv, 1605   (2 editions available)
  6. Dorinda, ah dirò mia, se mia non sei, 5vv, 1605   (3 editions available)
  7. Ecco, piegando le ginocchie a terra, 5vv, 1605   (4 editions available)
  8. Ferir quel petto, Silvio, 5vv, 1605   (3 editions available)
  9. Ch'io t'ami, e t'ami più de la mia vita   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  10. Deh bella e cara, 5vv, 1605   (2 editions available)
  11. Ma tu piu che mai dura, 5vv, 1605   (2 editions available)
  12. Che dar più vi poss'io?   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  13. M'e più dolce il penar   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  14. Ahi come a un vago sol cortese giro, SV 101, 5vv, 1605   (2 editions available)
  15. Troppo ben può questo tiranno amore, 5vv, 1605   (2 editions available)
  16. Amor, se giusto sei   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  17. T'amo mia vita, 5vv, 1605   (2 editions available)
  18. E cosi à poco à poco   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  19. Questi vaghi concenti   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )

Il sesto libro de madrigali (Sixth book of madrigals, Venice, 1614)

  1. Lasciatemi morire, 5vv, 1614 –   (4 editions available); also see above: Lamento d’Arianna, under Dramatic works
  2. O Teseo, Teseo mio, 5vv, 1614   ( Icon_pdf.gif [ Icon_snd.gif] )
  3. Dove, dove è la fede, 5vv, 1614   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  4. Ahi, che non pur risponde, 5vv, 1614   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  5. Zefiro torna e il bel tempo rimena, 5vv, 1614   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  6. Una Donna fra l'altre honesta e bella vidi, 5vv, bc, 1614   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  7. A Dio, Florida Bella, 5vv   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  8. Incenerite spoglie, avara tomba, 5vv, 1614 –   (2 editions available)
  9. Ditelo, o fiumi e voi ch'udiste, 5vv, 1614 –   (2 editions available)
  10. Darà la notte il sol, 5vv, 1614 –   (2 editions available)
  11. Ma te raccoglie, o ninfa, 5vv, 1614 –   (2 editions available)
  12. O chiome d'or, neve gentil del seno, 5vv, 1614 –   (2 editions available)
  13. Dunque amate reliquie, 5vv, 1614 –   (2 editions available)
  14. Ohimè il bel viso, 5vv, bc, 1614   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  15. Qui rise, O Tirsi, 5vv, bc, 1614   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  16. Misero Alceo, 5vv, bc, 1614   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  17. Batto, qui pianse Ergasto, 5vv, bc, 1614   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  18. Presso un fiume tranquillo, 7vv, bc, 1614   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )

Il settimo libro di madrigali (Seventh book of madrigals, Venice, 1619)

  1. Tempro la cetra, 1v, str, 1619 –   (3 editions available)
  2. A quest'olmo, a quest’ ombre et a quest’ onde, SV 119, 6vv, 2vl, 2rec, bc, 1619 –   (3 editions available)
  3. Non è di gentil core 2vv, bc, 1619   (2 editions available)
  4. O come sei gentile 2vv, bc, 1619   (2 editions available)
  5. Io son pur vezzosetta 2vv, bc, 1619   (2 editions available)
  6. O viva fiamma 2vv, bc, 1619   (2 editions available)
  7. Vorrei baciarti 2vv, bc, 1619   (2 editions available)
  8. Dice la mia bellissima Licori 2vv, bc, 1619   (2 editions available)
  9. Ah che non si conviene romper la fede, SV 125, 2vv, bc, 1619   (2 editions available)
  10. Non vedrò mai le stelle, 2vv, bc, 1619   (2 editions available)
  11. Ecco vicine o bella Tigre   (2 editions available)
  12. Perchè fuggi?   (2 editions available)
  13. Tornate   (2 editions available)
  14. Soave libertate   (2 editions available)
  15. S'el vostro cor madonna   (2 editions available)
  16. Interrotte speranze   (2 editions available)
  17. Augellin che la voce al canto spieghi, SV 133, 3vv, bc, 1619   (2 editions available)
  18. Vaga su spina ascosa   (2 editions available)
  19. Eccomi pronta ai baci, 3vv, 1619   (3 editions available)
  20. Parlo miser o taccio   (2 editions available)
  21. Tu Dormi? Ah crudo core, 4vv, 1619   (2 editions available)
  22. Al lume delle stelle Tirsi sotto un alloro, SV 138, 4vv, bc, 1619   (2 editions available)
  23. Con che soavità, 1v, str, lutes, hpd, 1619   (3 editions available)
  24. Ohimè dove il mio ben   (2 editions available)
  25. Se i languidi miei sguardi   (2 editions available)
  26. Se pur destina   (2 editions available)
  27. Chiome d'oro, 2vv, 2vl, chit/hpd, 1619   (2 editions available)
  28. Amor che deggio far se non mi giova amar, SV 144, 4vv, 2vl, bc, 1619   (2 editions available)
  29. Tirsi e Clorisee above, Dramatic works

Ottavo libro di madrigali (Eighth book of madrigals, Venice, 1638)

  1. Altri canti d'Amor, tenero arciero, SV 146, 6vv, 2vl, 4vla, 1638   (2 editions available)
  2. Hor che'l ciel e la terra, 6vv, 2vl, 1638   (2 editions available)
  3. Gira il nemico insidioso Amore, 3vv, 1638   (2 editions available)
  4. Se vittorie sì belle, 2vv, bc, 1638   (2 editions available)
  5. Armato il cor d'adamantina fede, SV 150, 2vv, bc, 1638   (2 editions available)
  6. Ogni amante è guerrier, 2–3vv, bc, 1638   (2 editions available)
  7. Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, SV 153see above, Dramatic works
  8. Ardo, avvampo, mi struggo, ardo: accorrete, SV 152, 8vv, 2vl, 1638   (3 editions available)
  9. Volgendo il ciel per l'immortal sentiero, SV 154see above, Dramatic works
  10. Movete al mio bel suon   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  11. Altri canti di Marte e di sua schiera, SV 155, 6vv, 2vl, 1638 (2 editions available)
  12. Vago augelletto che cantando vai, 6–7vv, 2vl, cb, bc, 1638,   (2 editions available)
  13. Mentre vaga angioletta, 2vv, bc, 1638   (2 editions available)
  14. Ardo e scoprir, ahi lasso, io non ardisco, SV 158, 2vv, bc, 1638   (2 editions available)
  15. Dolcissimo uscignolo, 5vv, 1638   (3 editions available)
  16. Chi vol haver felice e lieto il core, 5vv, 1638   (3 editions available)
  17. O sia tranquillo il mare o pien d'orgoglio, 2vv, bc, 1638   (2 editions available)
  18. Lamento della Ninfa, 1–4vv, bc, 1638     (3 editions available)
  19. Ninfa che, scalza il piede e sciolto il crine, 1–3vv, bc, 1638   (2 editions available)
  20. Perchè t'en fuggi, o Fillide?, 3vv, bc, 1638   (2 editions available)
  21. Non partir, ritrosetta, 3vv, bc, 1638   (3 editions available)
  22. Su, su, su pastorelli vezzosi, 3vv, bc, 1638 –   (3 editions available)
  23. Ballo delle Ingrate, SV 167see above, Dramatic works

Madrigali e canzonette libro nono (Madrigals and song nineth book, Venice, 1651)

  1. Bel pastor dal cui bel guardo   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  2. Zefiro torna e di soavi accenti, 2vv, bc, 1651 –   (3 editions available)
  3. Se vittorie sì belle, 2vv, bc, 1638   (2 editions available)
  4. Armato il cor d'adamantina fede, SV 150, 2vv, bc, 1638   (2 editions available)
  5. Ardo e scoprir, ahi lasso, io non ardisco, SV 158, 2vv, bc, 1638   (2 editions available)
  6. O sia tranquillo il mare o pien d'orgoglio, 2vv, bc, 1638   (2 editions available)
  7. Alcun non mi consigli, SV 169,   (2 editions available)
  8. Di far sempre gioire amor speranza dà   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  9. Quando dentro al tuo seno   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  10. Non voglio amare per non penare   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  11. Come dolce oggi   (2 editions available)
  12. Alle danze, alle gioie   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  13. Perché se m'odiavi   (2 editions available)
  14. Si si ch'io v'amo, occhi vaghi, occhi belli   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  15. Su, su, su, pastorelli vezzosi (1651)   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )
  16. O mio bene, o mia vita   ( Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif )

Other madrigals

Sacred works

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Program = NOTATION FILE   Network.png = EXTERNAL SITE (DISCLAIMER)  Icon pdf globe.gif = EXTERNAL PDF FILE  Icon snd globe.gif = EXTERNAL MIDI FILE  Error.gif = SCORE ERROR  Question.gif = HELP

Score listing includes number of voices, instruments, and publication date (if known).

Main publications


Other dramatic works published in Scherzi musicali (1607), Madrigali guerreri et amorosi (1638), and Madrigali e canzonette (1651) below.
Secular vocal

Sacred vocal

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External links