Response to Edmond Strainchamps
Ferdinando Gonzaga may not have felt as disappointed by Gagliano's decision as implied in Strainchamps's paper, given Ferdinando's personality and other artistic activities that engaged him at the time. Apart from the festivities for the marriage of Cosimo II de Medici, new documents make clear that Ferdinando wrote another recommendation to the Medici Grand Duke in late 1608-1609 on behalf of the organist Cintoletti for a post. The Duke of Mantua subsequently requested the organist's services for Ferdinando's studio in Pisa. Attempts to bring Settimia Caccini and Jacopo Peri to Mantua also involved Ferdinando. In addition, it is argued that job security must have weighed in Gagliano's decision, since church positions afforded greater security than court positions. Monteverdi's experiences at the Mantuan court are reviewed, including his unsuccessful efforts in these weeks to serve "in the church." After Ferdinando became duke, his requests to musicians were mainly issued through court officials, though, as is demonstrated, musicians developed tactics for dealing with such demands.
1.1 Professor Strainchamps has been offering us stimulating and meticulous papers and articles on Marco da Gagliano for many years, ranging from the comprehensive composer article in The New Grove, to analyses of compositions, to articles tackling perplexing questions in Gagliano's biography.1 And while these days we are more likely to find Edmond Strainchamps working on other topics, it is always a pleasure for us when he returns to Gagliano with a new contribution.2 As the present paper demonstrates, the viewpoint is always fresh, the problem solving thorough, and the interpretation insightful.
1.2 As Professor Strainchamps has indicated, some of Gagliano's letters we have been examining were published without analysis, mainly in the late nineteenth century, by Emil Vogel3and others, such as Alessandro Ademollo, Amelia Civitł, Angelo Solerti, and Stefano Davari.4 The letters' contents deal with a number of different subjects: performances, compositions, the Accademia degli Elevati, flowering bulbs and other topics peripheral to the central interest of the present paper. 5 Professor Strainchamps's paper offers scrutiny of those portions of the letters detailing Gagliano's efforts to obtain the position of maestro di cappella in the cathedral of Florence. The most exciting result of this examination is that in laying out the events in sequence and pondering their significance for Gagliano's career and for the length of his relationships with Ferdinando Gonzaga and the Medici grand dukes, he provides a much fuller explanation than could be obtained by a cursory reading of the historical facts in the letters. I find Professor Strainchamps's evaluation of the episode convincing, as I do, for the most part, his interpretation of the motivations of the principal figures involved. There is time here only to amplify the context, and to probe further certain of the speculative issues raised.
2.1 Elsewhere I have written about Ferdinando Gonzaga's character and interests after he became duke, drawing on eye-witness accounts. Ferdinando (1587-1626) was prone to living above his means. He slept very little and had grandiose ideas for entertainments and artistic projects, a number of which never came to fruition. He also appears to have been crippled by an inability to act decisively. This is borne out in the musical sphere, but is markedly evident in foreign policy, where he allowed himself for several years to be carried along by events rather than determining their course, and deferred to the will of others instead of steadfastly asserting his own. 6
2.2 The Gagliano episode seems to provide further evidence of these personality traits. But I think one point Professor Strainchamps implies should be underscored: Ferdinando Gonzaga did not have independent means in the fall of 1608 to hire musicians for the household he would later establish in Rome. In fact, he did not even go to Rome until February 1610. He and his brother Prince Francesco (1586-1612) only began acquiring musicians for their respective households in 1609.7
2.3 Thus the extent to which Ferdinando felt disappointed or slighted by the outcome of the Gagliano episode was perhaps not as great as we might like to think, partly given his personality, and partly because there were many other artistic activities and projects of interest to him that were ongoing in these same weeks. Principal among these, as was touched on by Strainchamps and is discussed elsewhere, were the festivities in Florence for the marriage of Cosimo II de Medici to Maria Magdalena of Austria and their aftermath, including a repetition of the main play and intermedi later in November.8Other new documents also make clear that in this period Ferdinando Gonzaga not only wrote an official recommendation for Gagliano, but also wrote an additional letter to the Medici grand duke (his uncle Ferdinando I de Medici) on behalf of the organist Cintoletti for a post in Pisa. The same Medici official who sent notification on 19 November 1608 that the Santa Maria del Fiore post had been conceded to Gagliano informed Ferdinando on 12 January 1609 that Cintoletti had been elected. 9 This information in turn led the Duke of Mantua, on 30 January, to request the organist for Ferdinando Gonzaga's studio in Pisa.10 And we know from the poet Michelangelo Buonarroti's letter of 30 December 1608 that Ferdinando Gonzaga was also trying to procure Giulio Caccini's daughter Settimia for the Mantuan court and, from Jacopo Peri's letter of 20 January 1609, that he sought to borrow Peri for the upcoming carnival season in Mantua.11
3.1 Beyond consideration of family and of the prestige that employment with the Medici carried, there was surely a practical matter that would have weighed on Gagliano's mind. And this brings me to the larger issue of the job security of musicians in the early Baroque, a subject about which we are beginning to learn more as individual cases, like Gagliano's, Monteverdi's and Frescobaldi's, are analyzed. Elsewhere I have written about hiring practices from the perspective of a ducal court as employer.12 From the musicians' perspective, what do we know about strategies for maneuvering within the system? A number of cases might be taken up; for the present I would like to review what we know from Monteverdi's situation.
3.2 From the evidence of Monteverdi's experiences at Mantua we know that musicians appointed to maestro di cappella positions at courts were not obtaining secure posts they could expect to retain throughout their lives. In 1609 Monteverdi was asked to inquire about the availability of a certain Galeazzo Sirena to serve as maestro di cappella for Prince Francesco Gonzaga, and he worried in a letter what would happen upon the death of the Duke of Mantua, since the prince was entitled to appoint whom he pleased as his director of music. Would he, Monteverdi, be asked to leave Mantua? Monteverdi then maneuvered to have his brother installed as the prince's maestro di cappella.13 Still, in the end, what Monteverdi feared did indeed happen: Duke Vincenzo died in February of 1612, Prince Francesco became duke, and in June of that year he sacked the high-ranking musicians and hired new personnel. Then the new duke, having higher status than his brother Cardinal Ferdinando Gonzaga, took Santi Orlandi, Ferdinando's maestro di cappella as his own in July of 1612.14
3.3 On the other hand, musicians who moved into premier church positions, like the Medici cathedral post, had greater job security. In fact, while Gagliano and Santi Orlandi were competing for the Florentine cathedral position in the fall of 1608, Monteverdi and his father were contemplating a discharge from court service for Monteverdi, "so that he can find other air for his health and less trouble, and another fortune for the well-being of his poor sons," as Baldassare Monteverdi put it in a letter to Duke Vincenzo.15 Thus Baldassare Monteverdi sought openly for Claudio to be permitted to resign: "... I turn yet again to beseech you that by Christ's heart you permit him the requested discharge ...," he wrote Duke Vincenzo in November 1608, "if from the favour of your generous dismissal it happens that he serves a prince, ... he will be viewed favourably." But there was also the Gonzaga ducal church of Santa Barbara in Mantua, where the already mortally ill Gastoldi served until his death in January 1609. Therefore, Baldassare continued, "If Your Most Serene Highness commands only that he serves in the church, that he will do, for even from this source he will draw 400 scudi as a fixed income and 150 as extras, from which he will be able to advance something for his sons... "16 But no such appointment would be forthcoming for Monteverdi.17
3.4 In November 1608 Monteverdi was exhausted and overworked, and, in his view, felt that he had been shabbily treated in May and June of that year during the Mantuan festivities celebrating the nuptials of Prince Francesco and Margherita of Savoy when the young Gagliano, fifteen years Monteverdi's junior, had received favored treatment as the guest composer.18 We know that Monteverdi obtained a raise following his complaints,19 but soon he was making inquiries in cities where there were major church positions: in 1610 in Rome, in 1612 in Milan, and then, in 1613, he succeeded in securing appointment as maestro di cappella at St. Mark's in Venice.20 Thus to return to Gagliano and his options: it seems to me that the security the Florentine cathedral post would provide him was surely an important consideration in his decision.
4.1 Finally, I think Professor Strainchamps is accurate in his assessment that the relationship between Gagliano and Ferdinando Gonzaga became more distant after this episode. I would add that Santi Orlandi's letters further suggest that, for a time, he himself became the kind of confidant to Ferdinando that Gagliano had been.21 But we also cannot forget that after Ferdinando became duke in 1613, there were pressing matters of state that consumed his energy,22 and that he then largely dealt with musicians such as Gagliano, Peri, and Monteverdi through court officials who issued his requests for compositions and his invitations for guest appearances.23 The musicians, for their part, had their own tactics for dealing with such demands; sometimes they accepted the invitations, sometimes not, though they usually sent a composition or two and hoped for and indeed, oftentimes counted on, a gainful reward in return.24
4.2 Professor Strainchamps's rich paper not only piques our interest in Gagliano's particular circumstances but should motivate us to continue to investigate the larger issue of musicians' career strategies in the early Baroque.
* Susan Parisi <firstname.lastname@example.org> is a Graduate College Scholar at the University of Illinois. She recently
edited Music in the Theater, Church, and Villa: Essays in Honor of
Robert Lamar Weaver and Norma Wright Weaver (Warren, MI: Harmonie
Park Press, 2000).
1. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (London: Macmillan, 1980), 7:81-87. In addition to the articles cited
in notes 2 and 5 below, see Strainchamps, "Theory as Polemic: Mutio
Effrem's Censure . . . sopra il sesto libro di madrigali di
Marco Gagliano," in Music Theory and the Exploration of the
Past, ed. Christopher Hatch and David W. Bernstein (Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1993), 189-215; idem, "Music in a Florentine Confraternity:
The Memorial Madrigals for Jacopo Corsi in the Company of the Archangel
Raphael," in Crossing the Boundaries: Christian Piety and the
Arts in Italian Medieval and Renaissance Confraternities, ed. Konrad
Eisenbichler (Kalamazoo: Western Michigan University, Medieval Institute,
1991), 161-78; idem, "Filli, mentre ti bacio, and the End
of the Madrigal in Florence," in Music and Civilization: Essays
in Honor of Paul Henry Lang, ed. Edmond Strainchamps, Maria Rika Maniates,
and Christopher Hatch (New York and London: Norton, 1984), 311-25; and idem, "A Brief Report on the Madrigal Style of Marco da Gagliano," in International Musicological Society: Report of the Eleventh Congress,
Copenhagen 1972, ed. Henrik Glahn, S┐ren S┐rensen and Peter Ryom (Copenhagen: Wilhelm Hansen, 1974) 2:675-79.
2. One recent essay is "The Sacred Music of Marco
da Gagliano," in Cantate Domino: Musica nel secoli per il Duomo
di Firenze, ed. Carolyn Gianturco, Piero Gargiulo, and Gabriele Giacomelli
(Florence: Olschki, forthcoming).
3. "Marco da Gagliano: Zur Geschichte des florentiner
Musiklebens von 1570-1630," Vierteljahrsschrift fčr Musikwissenschaft
5 (1889): 396-568; on the candidacies of Gagliano and Orlandi for the
position of maestro di cappella, see the documentation on pp. 555-58.
4. Alessandro Ademollo, La bell'Adriana ed altre
virtuose del suo tempo alla corte di Mantova (Cittł del Castello:
S. Lapi, 1888), 60-61; Amelia Civitł, Ottavio Rinuccini e il sorgere
del melodramma in Italia (Mantua: A, Manuzio, 1900), 142-43, 195-98;
Angelo Solerti, Gli albori del melodramma (Milan: Sandron, 1904),
1:106-107; Stefano Davari, Notizie di fabbricatori d'organi e d'altri
istrumenti, liuti, viole ecc., in ispecie pel maestro Sebastiano Napolitano
'Dall'Organo,' autore dell'organo d'alabastro, e di maestro Vincenzo Bolcione,
fabbricatore d'organi a Firenze, undated manuscript, printed in Anna
Maria Lorenzoni and Clifford M. Brown, eds., "Stefano Davari, Notizi
di fabbricatori d'organo ...," Atti e Memorie, Accademia Virgiliana,
n.s. 43 (1975): 40-42.
5. On these topics, see Edmond Strainchamps, "New
Light on the Accademia degli Elevati of Florence," The Musical
Quarterly 62 (1976): 507-35, and Strainchamps, "The Unknown Letters
of Marco da Gagliano," in Music in the Theater, Church, and Villa:
Essays in Honor of Robert Lamar Weaver and Norma Wright Weaver, ed.
Susan Parisi in collaboration with Ernest Harriss and Calvin M. Bower
(Warren, MI: Harmonie Park Press, 2000), 89-110.
6. For discussion of musical activity during his reign,
and of the productions planned, then never mounted, see my "Ducal
Patronage of Music in Mantua, 1587-1627: An Archival Study," Ph.D.
diss., University of Illinois, 1989, 275-358, especially 308, 311, 313,
and my "Licenza alla mantovana: Frescobaldi and the Recruitment
of Musicians for Mantua, 1612-1615," in Frescobaldi Studies,
ed. Alexander Silbiger (Durham: Duke University Press, 1987), 55-91, where
there is also analysis of Ferdinando's indecision in the political arena.
Ferdinando's intense interest in the decoration of his country residence
is detailed in Pamela Askew, "Ferdinando Gonzaga's Patronage of the
Pictorial Arts: The Villa Favorita," The Art Bulletin 60 (1978):
7. Prince Francesco was sent to govern the Mantuan
territory of Monferrat, bordering the duchy of Savoy, in November 1609.
There Giulio Cesare Monteverdi served as his maestro di cappella.
Ferdinando's formal entry into Rome took place on 4 February 1610. Santi
Orlandi, with whom he had also studied composition, became his maestro
di cappella. On the musicians in his household, see my "Musicians
at the Court of Mantua during Monteverdi's Time: Evidence from the Payrolls," in Musicologia Humana. Studies in Honor of Warren Kirkendale and Ursula
Kirkendale, ed. Siegfried Gmeinwieser, David Hiley, and JÜrg Riedlbauer
(Florence: Olschki, 1994), 200-201.
8. The Gonzagas received reports on the progress of
the entertainments from the Mantuan tenor Francesco Campagnolo and engineer
Gabriele Bertazzolo, who had been lent for the occasion, the latter to
produce the naval battle in water, as he had done in Mantua a few months
earlier as part of the public celebrations of Prince Francesco's marriage
to Margherita of Savoy. For Bertazzolo's and Campagnolo's letters from
Florence, see Angelo Solerti, Musica, ballo e drammatica alla corte
medicea dal 1600 al 1637 (Florence: Bemporad, 1905), 54-57; Stefano
Davari, Notizie biografiche di Claudio Monteverdi (Mantua: Mondovi,
1885), 93; and my "Ducal Patronage," 562-64. Duke Vincenzo
Gonzaga was in Florence for the restaging of Il Giudizio di Paride on 17/19 November. Recent work on aspects of the festivities in the two
cities includes Tim Carter, "A Florentine Wedding of 1608,"
Acta musicologica 55 (1983): 89-107; Paolo Carpeggiani, "Studi
su Gabriele Bertazzolo. I: le feste fiorentine del 1608," Civiltł mantovana 12 (1978): 14-56; Iain Fenlon, "The Origins of the
Seventeenth-Century Staged Ballo," in Con che soavitł:
Studies in Italian Opera, Song, and Dance, 1580-1740, ed. Iain Fenlon
and Tim Carter (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 13-40; Edmond Strainchamps, "The Life and Death of Caterina Martinelli: New Light on Monteverdi's
'Arianna'," Early Music History 5 (1985): 155-86; Stuart Reiner, "La Vag' Angioletta (and others)," Analecta musicologica
14 (1974): 26-88; Suzanne Cusick, "'There Was Not One Lady Who
Failed to Shed a Tear': Arianna's Lament and the Construction of Modern
Womanhood," Early Music 22 (1994): 21-41; Tim Carter, "Lamenting
Ariadne?" Early Music 27/3 (1999): 395-405 (citing the earlier
literature); Leofranc Holford-Strevens, "'Her Eyes Became Two Spouts':
Classical Antecedents of Renaissance Laments," Early Music 27/3 (1999): 379-93; and Anne MacNeil, "Weeping at the Water's Edge,"
Early Music 27/3 (1999): 407-17. See also Paolo Fabbri, Monteverdi,
trans. Tim Carter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 77-99;
Warren Kirkendale, The Court Musicians in Florence during the Principate
of the Medici (Florence: Olschki, 1993), 152-153, 218-219; A.M. Nagler,
Theatre Festivals of the Medici 1539-1637 (New Haven: Yale University
Press, 1964), 101-15 and plates 66-68; and Parisi, "Ducal Patronage," 144-51, 165-66, 189-97, 214. On the earlier Mantuan production of the
Rinuccini and Gagliano opera La Dafne in February 1608 and Ferdinando's
elevation to the cardinalate (for which Ferdinando had composed a few
songs), see ibid., 164-65.
9. Letter of Belisario Vinta in Florence to Ferdinando Gonzaga in Mantua, 12 January 1609 [Florentine style 1608] (Mantua, Archivio di Stato, Archivio Gonzaga, busta 1126): "Questo giorno il Gran Duca mio Sig[no]re ha eletto in organista della Chiesa de Cav[?]re di Pisa il Cintoletti, et p[er]che V[ostra] S[ignore] Ill[ustrissi]ma l'haveva racommandato all'Alt[ezz]a Sua, mi ha comandato di farle sapere detta elettione, et non ha voluto [illegible] l'Alt[ezz]a sua med[esim]a p[er]che desiderando di gratificarla, et servirla in cose di momento, questa le pare troppo minima et le ricorda il prevalente dell'Alt[ezz]a Sua con i suoi comandamenti; ad ogni hora in ogni altro conto, et io con ossĆquintiss[im]a reverenza me le ricordo, et confermo humiliss[imo] et devotiss[imo] ser[vito]re. Da fiorenza xii di gen[nai]o 1608.
Humilliss[i]mo et devot[issi]mo ser[vito]re
10. Draft of letter from Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga in
Mantua to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, 30 January 1609 (Mantua, Archivio
di Stato, Archivio Gonzaga, busta 2270):"Desiderando ... il Card[ina]le
mio figliuolo di haver il p[adre] Cinitella al p[rese]nte lettere nello
studio di Pisa presso la sua p[er]sona, et vedendo io quanto la stimi
et ami, et quanto ... possa conseguire della sua com[m]iss[io]ne informato
p[er] altro delle buone qualitł di esso Padre ... con volentieri contentato
[illegible] a pregare V[ostra] A[ltezza] che non solo si contentś di lasciarlo
venire a q[ues]to serv[izi]o con buona gratia sua ma ad esserne ella med[esi]ma
la promettere sicuro che esso padre sarł ben veduto et che ricevera ogni
amorevole trattam[en]to Mi perdoni S[ua] A[ltezza] q[uan]to impaccio che
se le do con la solita confidenza, et si ricordi del continuato mio desid[eri]o
di servirla mentre p[er] fine le bacio la mano et auguro felicitł." Grand Duke Ferdinando I de Medici died a few weeks later, on 7 February
11. Santi Orlandi and a young boy soprano, though
not Peri, were sent to Mantua in January 1609; see my "Ducal Patronage,"
607-09, notes 434-35. Nor would the Medici part with Settimia Caccini.
Frescobaldi had been proposed as a possible husband for her, but she was
instead married to Alessandro Ghivizzani; see the documentation in Anthony
Newcomb, "Girolamo Frescobaldi, 1609-1615: A Documentary Study in
which information also appears concerning Giulio and Settimia Caccini,
the brothers Piccini, Stefano Landi, and Ippolita Recupita," Annales
musicologiques 7 (1964-1977): 126-27; Kirkendale, The Court Musicians,
339; and Frederick Hammond, Frescobaldi, His Life and Music (Cambridge,
MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), 40-41.
12. Parisi, "Recruiting and Hiring Practices
in the Early Baroque: Observations from Mantua," The Journal of
Musicology 14 (1996): 117-50, 426.
13. From the letter of Monteverdi in Cremona to [Alessandro
Striggio in Mantua], 10 September 1609, as translated in Denis Stevens,
The Letters of Claudio Monteverdi (Oxford: Clarendon Press, rev.
ed., 1995), 61-64: ". . . he [Sirena] asked me to tell him (if he
were to go and serve His Highness) whether the prince wanted him as his
Director of Music or for some other post, to which I replied that I did
not know his intention. So, Signor Striggio, I thought I would write to
Your Lordship a few words about the things that make me uneasy, because
I mean the prince is entitled to do just what seems right and pleasing
to His Highness, but by taking either him or others as Director of Music
(if indeed he wants to give him such a title, and that I don't know),
on the death of the Duke, and should Almighty God allow me to survive—the
prince having a Director of Music—what would you wish me to do: go away
from Mantua then?
14. This account is considerably curtailed. For full
analysis of events surrounding Monteverdi's dismissal, including the rumor
that he wanted to leave, see my "Licenza alla mantovana," 59-64.
15. From Baldassare Monteverdi's letter from Cremona
to Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga, 9 November 1608, in translation in Fabbri, Monteverdi,
trans. Carter, 101-02.
16. From the same letter of 9 November 1608. For a
provocative interpretation, see Claudio Annibaldi, "Per una teoria
della committenza musicale all'epoca di Monteverdi," Claudio
Monteverdi: Studi e prospettive, 466-475, where it is speculated that
implied here (and in Baldassare's letter to Duchess Leonora, 27 November
1608) was a discharge that would have permitted Monteverdi license to
serve in the church, but not license to serve in a court elsewhere.
17. Upon Gastoldi's death, Antonio Taroni temporarily
succeeded him for three months. The post of maestro di cappella then went to Stefano Nascimbeni; see Pierre M. Tagmann, "La Cappella
dei maestri cantori della basilica palatina di Santa Barbara a Mantova
(1565-1630)," Civiltł Mantovana 4 (1969): 382.
18. From Claudio Monteverdi's well-known letter to
Annibale Chieppio, 2 December 1608, as translated in Stevens, Letters,
rev. ed., 50-54: "I know full well that His Highness the Duke has
the very best of intentions towards me, and I know that he is a very generous
prince; but I am extremely unlucky at Mantua.... I do know that His Highness--after
the death of my wife Claudia--made a resolution to leave me her allowance.
However, on my arrival in Mantua he suddenly changed his mind.... He also
decided... to give me 25 scudi a month, but lo and behold he suddenly
changed his mind, and unluckily for me five of them fell by the wayside...
19. On 19 January 1609 he was awarded an annual pension
of 100 scudi, and on 27 January his salary was increased to 300 scudi
a year plus 35 scudi for housing; see the documents in Davari, Notizie
biografiche di Claudio Monteverdi, 98; translation in Fabbri,
Monteverdi, trans. Carter, 104; and in my "Ducal Patronage," 604, note 406.
20. On Monteverdi's stay in Rome, see my "New
Documents Concerning Monteverdi's Relations with the Gonzagas," in Claudio Monteverdi: Studi e prospettive, 477-511; and Jeffrey Kurtzman,
The Monteverdi Vespers of 1610: Music, Context, and Performance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 40-43. For Monteverdi's visit
to Milan, see Vogel, "Claudio Monteverdi," Vierteljahrsschrift
fčr Musikwissenschaft 3 (1887), 430; translations in Leo Schrade,
Monteverdi, Creator of Mondern Music (New York: Norton, 1950),
266-67, and Fabbri, Monteverdi, trans. Carter, 122-23. Perspectives
on his appointment in Venice are in Schrade, 265-75, and Fabbri, 123-24,
and, for the period of the 1620s, in Jonathan Glixon, "Was Monteverdi
a Traitor?" Music and Letters 72 (1991): 404-05; and my "New
Documents Concerning Monteverdi," 500-11, where the employment offer
he received from Sigismund III of Poland is also examined.
21. See in particular the correspondence of Ferdinando
in Rome and Orlandi in Mantua in July and August 1612, quoted in my "Ducal
Patronage," 238, 264-66, 273; for the period 1609-10, see ibid.,
468-70, 607-11, and Strainchamps, "New Light on the Accademia degli
22. The Savoyard invasion of Monferrat, the conflict's
escalation into a five-year war, and the Gonzagas' loss of the cardinalate
were among the preoccupations, as was the question of the line of succession,
since Ferdinando's marriage to Caterina de Medici did not produce offspring.
For a summary of these difficulties, and of the later war over Mantua's
succession, see Romolo Quazza, Mantova attraverso i secoli, 2d
ed. (Turin: Edizioni G.A.M., 1966), 193-97 and 408-18.
23. This point is borne out in a number of Monteverdi's
letters from Venice. Consider, for example, the letter of 21 November
1615 to [Annibale Iberti], published in Stevens, The Letters,
2d ed., 98, which begins: "His Highness of Mantua's Most Illustrious
Resident dwelling in Venice ... commissioned me recently through Your
Lordship's letter (at the command of His Highness of Mantua ... ) to set
a ballet to music ... "
24. The madrigals of the seventh book present a clear
illustration of the latter. See also Monteverdi's letter to Alessandro
Striggio of 22 February, 1620 in Stevens, The Letters, 2d. ed.,
177-78: "You would therefore do me a favour, Your Lordship, by forgiving
me if I do not come at once...and since you have kindly honoured me with
a promise to present my madrigals—in my name—to Her Ladyship [Duchess
Caterina], they have just been sent off ..." We learn of his eventual
reward from his letter to the Duchess, 4 April 1620 in ibid., 207: " ... Your Highness has not only been so kind as to consider me excused
for my failing, and indeed to receive this feeble token of my devoted
service with a happy countenance, but (more than this) has wished to honor
me with a gift of a fine necklace."
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