Vecchi, Horatio (actually, Orazio Tiberio)

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Vecchi, Horatio (actually, Orazio Tiberio)

Vecchi, Horatio (actually, Orazio Tiberio), significant Italian composer; b. Modena (baptized), Dec. 6,1550; d. there, Feb. 19,1605. He received ecclesiastical training from the Benedictines of S. Pietro in Modena, and also studied music in Modena with the Servite monk Salvatore Essenga; he later took Holy Orders. He was maestro di cappella at Salò Cathedral (1581-84); in 1584 he became maestro di cappella at Modena Cathedral, where he adopted the rendering of Horatio for his first name. Within a short time he accepted the post of maestro di cappella in Reggio Emilia and then became canon at Correggio Cathedral in 1586; he was made archdeacon in 1591. In 1593 Vecchi returned to Modena Cathedral as maestro di cappella, and he was elevated to mansionario in 1596; he also served in the brotherhood of the Annunciation at the churches of S. Maria and S. Pietro. In 1598 he was named maestro di corte by Duke Cesare d’Esté. In 1604 Vecchi was dismissed from his duties at the Cathedral for disregarding the bishop’s admonition to cease directing music at the Cathedral convent. He was greatly admired in his day for his six books of Canzonette. His lasting fame is due above all to his “commedia harmonica” L’Amfiparnasso,performed at Modena in 1594 and printed at Venice in 1597; this is a kind of musical farce written not in the monodic style of Peri’s Dafnebut in madrigal style, with all the text sung by several voices (i.e., a chorus of four or five); it has been called a “madrigal opera/’ but it was not intended for the theater and stood entirely apart from the path that opera was to take. It was ed. in Publikationen Älterer Praktischer und Theoretischer Musikwerke,XXVI, 1902, in Capolavori Polifonici del SecoloXVI, V (Rome, 1953), and in Early Musical Masterworks (Chapel Hill, 1977). Another important secular work was his Dialoghi da cantarsi et concertarsi con ogni sorte di stromentifor Seven to Eight Voices (1608); other works appeared in contemporary collections, and some of his works were later included in 19th- and 20th-century collections. He also publ. in Venice a number of sacred works, including Lamentationes cum 4 paribus vocibus (1587) and Hymni qui per totum annum in Ecclesia Romana concinunturfor Four Voices (1604).


A. Catellani, Della vita e delle opere di O. V (Milan, 1858); J. Hol, H. V. als weltlicher Komponist (diss., Univ. of Basel, 1917); idem, H. V.s weltliche Werke (Strasbourg, 1934); W. Martin, The Convito musicale of O. V.(diss., Univ. of Oxford, 1964); R. Rüegge, O. V.s geistliche Werke(BernO.V.s geistliche Werke (Bern, 1967); R. Dalmonte and M. Privitera, Gitene, canzonette: Studio e trascrizione delle Canzonette a sei voci d’H. V. (1587) (Florence, 1996).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire