Giovan Leonardo Primavera

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Born: c.1540–45, Barletta

Died: after 1585, Naples?


Italian composer and poet. About 1560 he left Barletta for Naples where he served Fabrizio Gesualdo, to whom he dedicated his earliest madrigals. He probably worked in Venice from 1565 to 1578 with a brief sojourn in Milan sometime between April 1572 and September 1573. Primavera returned to Naples by 1585 and was on good terms with Carlo Gesualdo, to whom he dedicated his seventh book of madrigals in that year.

Primavera shared the title-page of his first book of napolitane with Giovanni Leonardo dell'Arpa, whose arioso style he evidently admired. His first two madrigal books consist mainly of settings of Petrarch's sonnets in the customary two parts. An early six-part madrigal, Nasce la gioia mia was the model for a parody mass by Palestrina. Later books contain poems by Tansillo (A caso un giorno), Tarquinia Molza and a few by Primavera himself (in his third book he apologized for his ‘little and badly composed rhymes’). The seventh book opens with a canzonetta-madrigal in the composer’s most modern vein (Sannazaro's Fillide mia) and includes a complete sestina (Petrarch's Chi è fermato).

View the Wikipedia article on Giovan Leonardo Primavera.

List of choral works

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  • Il primo et secondo libro de madrigali, 5-6vv (Venice, 1565)
  • Il primo libro de canzone napolitane, 3vv (Venice, 1565)
  • Il secondo libro de canzon napolitane, 3vv (Venice, 1566)
  • Il terzo libro de madrigali, 5-6vv (Venice, 1566), 1 intab. for lute (1584)
  • Il primo libro delle napolitane, 4vv (Venice, 1569)
  • Il terzo libro delle villotte alla napolitana, 3vv (Venice, 1570), 3 intab. for lute (1570)
  • I frutti … libro quarto, 5-10vv (Venice, 1573)
  • Il quarto libro de le canzoni napolitane, 3vv (Venice, 1574)
  • Il quinto libro di madrigali, 5vv (Venice, 1578)
  • Il sesto libro de madrigali, 5vv; lost, cited in Pitoni
  • Il settimo libro de madrigali, 5vv (Venice, 1585)
  • 1 madrigal, 4vv (1566); 1 madrigal, 6vv (1584)
  • 2 madrigals in Tarasconi Codex, nos. 185 & 200

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