Oltremontani

Oltremontani

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Oltremontani is a term used to describe the Franco-Flemish School
Franco-Flemish School
In music, the Franco-Flemish School or more precisely the Netherlandish School refers, somewhat imprecisely, to the style of polyphonic vocal music composition in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries, and to the composers who wrote it...

 of composers who dominated the musical landscape of Northern Italy during the middle of the sixteenth Century. The role of the oltremontani composers at the ducal courts of Italy was analgous to the dominance at the Spanish court of the Flemish chapel (capilla flamenca)
Flemish chapel (capilla flamenca)
The Flemish chapel was one of two choirs employed by Philip II of Spain, the other being the Spanish chapel .- La Grande Chapelle :...

, and other composers of the Franco-Flemish School
Franco-Flemish School
In music, the Franco-Flemish School or more precisely the Netherlandish School refers, somewhat imprecisely, to the style of polyphonic vocal music composition in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries, and to the composers who wrote it...

 in Germany and France.

In the sacred field the works of the Oltremontani are similar to the Ars Perfecta style of previous generations in the Low Countries, and to their countrymen in Spain and Germany. But in the field of secular music the Oltremontani, Flemish composers in Italy, were quick to progress and adapt Italian vernacular forms. It was partly the Flemish polyphonic "northern heritage" which raised the indigenous frottola
Frottola
The frottola was the predominant type of Italian popular, secular song of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. It was the most important and widespread predecessor to the madrigal...

 and villota
Villota
Francisco Villota was a Spanish pelotari who competed at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, France.Villota competed in the only official pelota contest in Olympic history, the Basque pelota at the 1900 Summer Olympics two-man teams event. He and his partner José de Amézola y Aspizúa defeated the...

 into the late-renaissance, early-baroque 4 and 5 voice madrigal
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....

 and laid the foundation for Marenzio, Monteverdi and 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....

. The first 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....

 for 3, 4 and 5 voices were primarily written by Flemish composers in Italy, such as Philippe Verdelot
Philippe Verdelot
Philippe Verdelot was a French composer of the Renaissance, who spent most of his life in Italy. He is commonly considered to be the father of the Italian madrigal, and certainly was one of its earliest and most prolific composers; in addition he was prominent in the musical life of Florence...

, in Florence, Jacques Arcadelt
Jacques Arcadelt
Jacques Arcadelt was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance, active in both Italy and France, and principally known as a composer of secular vocal music...

 in Venice, though the first madrigal collection, in 1530, also included works by a native Italian, Costanzo Festa
Costanzo Festa
Costanzo Festa was an Italian composer of the Renaissance. While he is best known for his madrigals, he also wrote sacred vocal music...

. The madrigal genre was taken up by Adrian Willaert
Adrian Willaert
Adrian Willaert was a Flemish composer of the Renaissance and founder of the Venetian School. He was one of the most representative members of the generation of northern composers who moved to Italy and transplanted the polyphonic Franco-Flemish style there....

, Cipriano de Rore
Cipriano de Rore
Cipriano de Rore was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance, active in Italy...

, Giaches de Wert
Giaches de Wert
Giaches de Wert was a Franco-Flemish composer of the late Renaissance, active in Italy. Intimately connected with the progressive musical center of Ferrara, he was one of the leaders in developing the style of the late Renaissance madrigal...

, Giovanni de Macque
Giovanni de Macque
Giovanni de Macque was a Franco-Flemish composer of the late Renaissance and early Baroque, who spent almost his entire life in Italy...

 and, although he was based in Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, the pan-European publishing phenomenon that was Orlando di Lasso.

The zenith of the influence of the Oltremontani can perhaps be indicated by the tenure of the Flemish musicians Albertus Francigena 1485-1491, Petrus De Fossis 1491-1527, and Adrian Willaert
Adrian Willaert
Adrian Willaert was a Flemish composer of the Renaissance and founder of the Venetian School. He was one of the most representative members of the generation of northern composers who moved to Italy and transplanted the polyphonic Franco-Flemish style there....

 from 1527, in the preeminent post of maestro di cappella of St Mark's Basilica
St Mark's Basilica
The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, northern Italy. It is the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture...

. Likewise the beginning of the end of that preeminence is signalled by the resignation of Cipriano de Rore
Cipriano de Rore
Cipriano de Rore was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance, active in Italy...

 from the same post in 1565, in favour of Gioseffe Zarlino, with Andrea Gabrieli
Andrea Gabrieli
Andrea Gabrieli was an Italian composer and organist of the late Renaissance. The uncle of the somewhat more famous Giovanni Gabrieli, he was the first internationally renowned member of the Venetian School of composers, and was extremely influential in spreading the Venetian style in Italy as...

 as organist, both of whom were students of Willaert. Henceforth the Low Countries, and the rest of Europe, would look to Italy as the leaders in the musical innovation during the 17th Century.