Important composer of the first Italian madrigals; b. Rome, c. 1490; d. Rome, April 10, 1545. From c. 1517 until his death he was a member of the papal chapel choir. The inclusion of four of his works in the French Codex Medici (c. 1517–19) and his mention in Rabelais's Quart Livre indicate that he was in France as composer to Louis XII (1462–1515) prior to his engagement in Rome. His sacred compositions include most of the Renaissance forms—Masses, motets, hymns, Magnificats, and a four-voice Te Deum that is still performed at the Vatican. His style, which had a marked influence on that of palestrina, derives from the Flemish technique, but he introduced homophonic chordal passages and nonimitative counterpoint. His renown as a madrigalist is attested to by the many publications of his works both during and after his lifetime, and he has been called Italy's chief musician in the age of Ariosto and Michelangelo.
Bibliography: Opera omnia, ed. a. main, Corpus Mensurablis musicae, ed. American Institute of Musicology, v. 25; (Rome 1962–). e. e. lowinsky, "The Medici Codex," Annales Musicologiques 5 (1957) 61–178. k. jeppesen, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. f. blume (Kassel-Basel 1949–) 4:90–102. g. reese, Music in the Renaissance (rev. ed. New York 1959). a. main, "Costanzo Festa" in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 6, ed. s. sadie (New York 1980) 501–504. h. musch, Costanzo Festa als Madrigalkomponist (Baden-Baden 1977). d. m. randel, ed., The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music 265 (Cambridge, Massachusetts 1996). n. slonimsky, ed. Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Eighth Edition (New York 1992) 534.
[f. j. guentner]
Festa, Costanzo, important Italian composer; b. c. 1480; d. Rome, April 10, 1545. He was a singer in the Pontifical Chapel from 1517. He was a composer of much importance, being regarded as a forerunner of Palestrina, whose works were strongly influenced by those of Festa. He was the first important Italian musician who successfully fused the Flemish and Italian styles, melodically and harmonically. His madrigals were widely known through various publ. collections (1530–49). Among his extant works are 4 masses, mass movements, about 60 motets, and 30 vesper hymns. A. Main ed. Costanzo Festa, Opera omnia, in Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae, XXV (1962–68).
H. Musch, C. F. als Madrigalistkomponist (Baden-Baden, 1977).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire