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Bardi, Giovanni dé

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Bardi, Giovanni dé, Count of Vernio, Italian nobleman, patron of music and art, and composer; b. Florence, Feb. 5, 1534; d. Rome, Sept. 1612. He was the founder of the Florentine Camerata, a group of musicians who met at his home (1576–c. 1582) to discuss the music of Greek antiquity; this led to the beginnings of opera. Count Bardi was descended from an old Guelph banking family; he was a philologist, mathematician, neo-Platonic philosopher, and lover of Dante. He was a member of the Crusca Academy, a literary group founded in 1583 whose ideas had great influence on the Camerata. Bardi is known to have been in Rome in 1567; he lent support to Vincenzo Galilei, a member of the Camerata. In 1580 Bardi married Lucrezia Salvati. The masques of 1589, commemorating the marriage of Grand Duke Ferdinand, were conceived largely by Bardi. In 1592 he left for Rome to become chamberlain at the court of Pope Clement VIII. Caccini was his secretary in 1592. Bardi’s writings are: Discorso sopra il giuoco del calzio fiorentino (Florence, 1580), Ristretto delle grandezze di Roma (Rome, 1600), and Discorso mandato a Caccini sopra la musica antica in Doni’s Lyra Barberina (Florence, 1763). Among his compositions are a madrigal in 4 Voices, Misere habitator in Malvezzi’s Intermedi e concerti (Venice, 1591); the madrigal Lauro ohimè lauro in II lauro secco, lib . I (Ferrara, 1582). Among contemporary documents that refer to him are Vincenzo Galilei’s Dialogo della musica antica e della moderna (tr. in part in O. Strunk’s Source Readings in Music History, N.Y., 1951; also included is a letter from Bardi’s son to G.B. Doni commenting on Bardi’s ideas).

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