Giovanni de Macque

Giovanni de Macque

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Giovanni de Macque (1548/1550 – September 1614) was a Franco-Flemish composer of the late Renaissance
Renaissance music
Renaissance music is European music written during the Renaissance. Defining the beginning of the musical era is difficult, given that its defining characteristics were adopted only gradually; musicologists have placed its beginnings from as early as 1300 to as late as the 1470s.Literally meaning...

 and early Baroque
Baroque music
Baroque music describes a style of Western Classical music approximately extending from 1600 to 1760. This era follows the Renaissance and was followed in turn by the Classical era...

, who spent almost his entire life in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. He was one of the most famous Neapolitan
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

 composers of the late 16th century; some of his experimentation with chromaticism
Chromaticism
Chromaticism is a compositional technique interspersing the primary diatonic pitches and chords with other pitches of the chromatic scale. Chromaticism is in contrast or addition to tonality or diatonicism...

 was likely influenced by Gesualdo
Carlo Gesualdo
Carlo Gesualdo, known as Gesualdo di Venosa or Gesualdo da Venosa , Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza, was an Italian nobleman, lutenist, composer, and murderer....

, who was an associate of his.

Life


Macque was born in Valenciennes
Valenciennes
Valenciennes is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.It lies on the Scheldt river. Although the city and region had seen a steady decline between 1975 and 1990, it has since rebounded...

, but moved to Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 at an early age, where he sang as a choirboy, and where he studied with Philippe de Monte
Philippe de Monte
Philippe de Monte , sometimes known as Philippus de Monte, was a Flemish composer of the late Renaissance. He was a member of the 3rd generation madrigalists and wrote more madrigals than any other composer of the time...

, the renowned composer of madrigals
Madrigal (music)
A madrigal is a secular vocal music composition, usually a partsong, of the Renaissance and early Baroque eras. Traditionally, polyphonic madrigals are unaccompanied; the number of voices varies from two to eight, and most frequently from three to six....

. When his voice broke in late 1563 — the only evidence for his birthdate — he was moved out of the choir and into a Jesuit college, and sometime before 1574 he moved to Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, where he worked as a composer and as an organist; he published his first book of madrigals in 1576 (in Venice, which had a much more active publishing industry). While in Rome he met Marenzio
Luca Marenzio
Luca Marenzio was an Italian composer and singer of the late Renaissance. He was one of the most renowned composers of madrigals, and wrote some of the most famous examples of the form in its late stage of development, prior to its early Baroque transformation by Monteverdi...

, and his early book of serious madrigals show Marenzio's influence.

Macque moved to Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

 around 1585, where he became famous as the leader of the Neapolitan school. His first employment there was with the Gesualdo household, a place he remained until May 1590 (shortly before the Gesualdo murders: see Carlo Gesualdo
Carlo Gesualdo
Carlo Gesualdo, known as Gesualdo di Venosa or Gesualdo da Venosa , Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza, was an Italian nobleman, lutenist, composer, and murderer....

). Some of his work at this time is dedicated to Carlo, as well as the other members of the aristocratic household: Cesare d'Avalos, father of Carlo's murdered wife, as well as Fabrizio, Carlo's father. Later in 1590, however, he became organist at Santa Casa dell'Annunziata in Naples, and in 1594 organist to the Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 viceroy (Naples was a Spanish possession at the time); in 1599 he became maestro di cappella at the Chapel Royal of Naples
Chapel Royal of Naples
The Chapel Royal of Naples was the sacred musical establishment of the Spanish court in Naples which began with the Catalan-Aragonese Court of Naples, and continued to the Habsburgs the Bourbons, and Joseph Napoleon....

. While maestro di cappella he taught many of the later Neapolitan composers, including Luigi Rossi.

Music and influence


De Macque was a prolific madrigalist, who published 12 separate books of madrigals, although the numbering is confusing- for example the Primo libro de madrigali, for six voices, dates from 1576 in Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, while another Primo libro de madrigali, for four voices, dates from 1587. After 1585, when he moved to Naples, his music shifted from the conservative Roman
Roman School
In music history, the Roman School was a group of composers of predominantly church music, in Rome, during the 16th and 17th centuries, therefore spanning the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. The term also refers to the music they produced...

 style to the more progressive Neapolitan one; perhaps he began renumbering his publications based on his stylistic change. His early and late madrigals include both light and serious music and often require virtuoso singing skill; likely some of these pieces were intended for performance by the concerto di donne, the three virtuoso female singers at the ducal Este
Este
The House of Este is a European princely dynasty. It is split into two branches; the elder is known as the House of Welf-Este or House of Welf historically rendered in English, Guelf or Guelph...

 court at Ferrara
Ferrara
Ferrara is a city and comune in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy, capital city of the Province of Ferrara. It is situated 50 km north-northeast of Bologna, on the Po di Volano, a branch channel of the main stream of the Po River, located 5 km north...

, which had a strong musical connection with Naples throughout the 1590s.

After 1599, his music shifted in style again; Macque began experimenting with chromaticism of the kind found in Gesualdo's madrigals. Most likely the nobleman influenced Macque, but it is possible that some of the influence went the other way, since dating of Gesualdo's individual compositions is difficult, due to his publication of his work in large blocks, many years apart. Some of the madrigals Macque wrote after 1599 include "forbidden" melodic intervals
Interval (music)
In music theory, an interval is a combination of two notes, or the ratio between their frequencies. Two-note combinations are also called dyads...

 (such as sevenths), chords entirely outside of the Renaissance modal universe (such as F# major) and melodic passages in consecutive chromatic semitones.

In addition to his madrigals, he was a prolific composer of instrumental music, writing canzona
Canzona
In the 16th century an instrumental chanson; later, a piece for ensemble in several sections or tempos...

s, ricercar
Ricercar
A ricercar is a type of late Renaissance and mostly early Baroque instrumental composition. The term means to search out, and many ricercars serve a preludial function to "search out" the key or mode of a following piece...

s, capriccios
Capriccio (music)
A capriccio or caprice , is a piece of music, usually fairly free in form and of a lively character...

 and numerous pieces for organ
Organ (music)
The organ , is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with...

. Some of his music is extraordinarily progressive harmonically, and can be compared with the vocal music of Gesualdo
Gesualdo
Gesualdo may refer to:*Gesualdo, Campania, a town in Italy*Gesualdo Bufalino , Italian writer*Carlo Gesualdo , Italian late Renaissance composer**Gesualdo: Death for Five Voices, a film about the composer...

: the Consonanze stravaganti (exact date unknown, probably early 17th century) is a particularly good example. See Grout (1) for an extended example from this composition.

Macque also wrote sacred music, including a book of motet
Motet
In classical music, motet is a word that is applied to a number of highly varied choral musical compositions.-Etymology:The name comes either from the Latin movere, or a Latinized version of Old French mot, "word" or "verbal utterance." The Medieval Latin for "motet" is motectum, and the Italian...

s for five to eight voices, litanies
Litany
A litany, in Christian worship and some forms of Jewish worship, is a form of prayer used in services and processions, and consisting of a number of petitions...

, laudi spirituali
Laude
The lauda or lauda spirituale was the most important form of vernacular sacred song in Italy in the late medieval era and Renaissance. Laude remained popular into the nineteenth century....

, and contrafactum motets (motets originally in another language, fitted with new texts known as contrafacta).

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