In 1607 or shortly afterwards he became a priest (a common career path for a composer in the Roman School). In conjunction with Francesco Soriano, another composer of the Roman School, he helped to reform the responsories of the Roman Gradual, another of the late activities of the Counter-Reformation in Italy.
Anerio was a conservative composer, who largely used the style of Palestrina as a starting point, at least after his youthful period of writing secular works, such as madrigals and canzonettas, was done. Nevertheless he achieved an expressive intensity which was his own. Some influence of the Northern Italian progressive movements is evident, though muted, in his work, for instance the use of double choirs (polychoral works were the norm in Venice); quick homophonic declamatory textures; quick melodic passages in the bass line (which were an influence from monody). In addition he sometimes liked quickly changing textures, alternating between full chorus and small groups of two or three voices, another progressive trait of the northern Italian schools (this trait is much in evidence, for example, in the music of Claudio Monteverdi).
In his very last works the influence of Viadana, the popularizer of the basso continuo, is evident, but he still remained true to the Palestrina style in his melodic and harmonic writing. Anerio wrote no known purely instrumental music.
Many magnificats, hymns, motets, and other works were printed by K. Proske in his Musica Divina (1854).
Edited by stmarnock on 4 May 2014, 21:39
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