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Luzzasco Luzzaschi


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Luzzasco Luzzaschi (c. 1545 – September 10, 1607) was an Italian composer, organist, and teacher of the late Renaissance. He was born and died in Ferrara, and most likely spent his entire life there.

While he is best known as a madrigalist, he was also an accomplished organist and pedagogue (he was the mentor of Frescobaldi). As a child he studied with Cipriano de Rore, and as an adult served as the court organist to Duke Alfonso II, where he did the bulk of his composition.

Luzzaschi composed seven books of madrigals for five voices, including the famous Madrigali … per cantare, et sonare, a uno, e doi, e tre soprani of 1601. Unlike many madrigalists of the time, he included a highly ornamented soprano line, anticipating some of the changes to come in the early Baroque era. Also unique in Luzzaschi’s work is the existence of written-out keyboard accompaniments.

Luzzaschi was the director of the famous Concerto delle donne and composed madrigals for them, including his Madrigali of 1601. His work with these virtuosic women probably inspired the florid vocal lines he wrote.

He was a skilled representative of the late Italian madrigal style, along with Palestrina, Wert, Monte, Lassus, Marenzio, Gesualdo and others. In addition to his madrigals, he also composed sacred music (he published a collection of five-part motets in 1598).

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