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Caccini, Giulio

florence euridice bardi music

Caccini, Giulio, Italian composer (called Romano, because he lived mostly in Rome), father of Francesca Caccini; b. probably in Tivoli, Oct. 8, 1551; d. Florence (buried), Dec. 10, 1618. He was a pupil of Scipione delle Palla in singing and lute playing. His first compositions were madrigals in the traditional polyphonic style, but the new ideas generated in the discussions of the artists and literati of the “Camerata,” in the houses of Bardi and Corsi at Florence, inspired him to write vocal soli in recitative form (then termed “musica in stile rappresentativo”), which he sang with consummate skill to his own accompaniment on the theorbo. These first compositions in a dramatic idiom were followed by his settings of separate scenes written by Bardi, and finally by the opera II combattimento d’Apolline col serpente (poem by Bardi). Next was Euridice (1600; poem by Rinuccini) and II rapimento di Cefalo (in collaboration with others; first perf., Oct. 9, 1600, at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence). Then followed Le nuove musiche, a series of madrigals for Solo Voice, with Bass (Florence, 1602; new eds., Venice, 1607 and 1615; a modern ed. of the 1602 publ., prepared by H. Wiley Hitchcock [Madison, Wise, 1970], includes an annotated Eng. tr. of Caccini’s preface, realizations of the solo madrigals, airs, and the final section of II rapimento di Cefalo, an introductory essay on Caccini, the music, the poetry, MSS, other eds., and a bibliography. A tr. of the preface is also available in O. Strunk, Source Readings in Music History [N.Y., 1950]). The song Amarilli mia bella from the first series became very popular. Caccini also publ. Fuggilotio musicale (Venice, 2 nd ed., 1613; including madrigals, sonnets, arias, etc.). From 1565 Caccini lived in Florence as a singer at the Tuscan court. He was called, by abbate Angelo Grillo, “the father of a new style of music” Bardi said of him that he had “attained the goal of perfect music.” But his claim to priority in writing vocal music in the “stile rappresentativo” is not supported by known chronology. Caccini’s opera II rapimento di Cefalo was performed three days after Peri’s path-breaking Euridice; the closeness in time of operatic productions by both Caccini and Peri is further emphasized by the fact that when Peri produced Euridice in Florence (1600), he used some of Caccini’s songs in the score. Caccini later made his own setting of Euridice (1600), but it was not produced until Dec. 5, 1602. On the other hand, Caccini was undoubtedly the first to publish an operatic work, for his score of Euridice was printed early in 1601, before the publication of Peri’s work of the same title.

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