Girolamo Vespa

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Born: c. 1540-45, Naples, Italy

Died: c. 1596

Biography: Italian composer. He took minor orders in the Franciscan convent at Naples on 26 April 1568. By 1575 he was maestro di cappella at Osimo Cathedral, and in 1584 he became maestro di cappella at Fermo; on 2 September 1584 he was paid 24 florins and, in January 1586, he received a further 16 florins with a supplement of eight scudi. In 1587 he probably stayed for some time in Ascoli, but he retained his post in Fermo until 1591. The dedication of 31 August 1591 of his fourth book of madrigals implies that he had resumed his former position as maestro di cappella at Osimo Cathedral. On 10 June 1596 he was named ‘magister musices’ of his monastic order. He apparently enjoyed a substantial reputation in his own day, both as a composer of church music and as a madrigalist. His works show his considerable contrapuntal skill in maintaining flowing lines while making strict and economical use of material. No stylistic evolution is evident across the four books of madrigals, although the later two bear a more marked mannerist style.

View the Wikipedia article on Girolamo Vespa.

List of choral works

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  • Il primo libro de [29] madrigali, 5vv (1570)
  • Madrigali libro secondo, 4vv (1575), lost, cited in SchmidlD
  • Il secondo libro de [29] madrigali, 5vv (1576); 2 repr. 1583
  • Il terzo libro de [21] madrigali, 5vv (1590), inc.
  • Il quarto libro de [21] madrigali, 5vv (1591)
  • Psalmi Vespertini … per totum annum occurrentes, falsi bordones super tonos ac Te Deum laudamus modulantibus; itemque canticum divae Mariae, 4, 5vv (1589)
  • Sacrae cantiones (motecta noncupatae)… in singulis anni festivitatibus concinendae, 4–8vv (1594), inc.

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