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Biography

Romano Micheli (Born around 1575, in Rome, died after 1659-1662, in Rome) was an ecclesiastic, composer and polemicist.

One infers the year of his birth from the fact that he would have been 75 years old in 1650. But nothing is known about his family or his childhood. The biographical elements appear in the prefaces of his writings.

He was a pupil of Francesco Soriano and Giovanni Maria Nanino.

In 1593, he was in the service of the Duke of San Giovanni e conte di Camerata, in Rome.

Around 1596-1598, he was one of the musicians of Prince Gesualdo da Venosa in Naples, where he became friends with madrigalists.

Around 1605, he stayed in Ferrara where he met, among others, L. Luzzasco Luzzaschi.

In June 1609, he was appointed choirmaster of the cathedral of Tivoli, on the recommendation of Francesco Soriano, then choirmaster of Saint Peter in the Vatican. Neglecting his service, he is accused of bad behavior. At the beginning of the year 1610, the chapter imposed conditions on him which he did not accept and left his service on January 31.

In the same year 1610, he published his first printed work, Psalmi ad officium Vesperarum , dedicated to Cardinal Federico Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan, who was residing in Rome on the occasion of the canonization of his cousin, Carlo Borromeo.

It is assumed that Romano Micheli followed the cardinal to Milan, where he certainly remained until 1613, and where he met the cathedral chapel master, Giulio Cesare Gabussi (1555-1611) and the organist César Borgo, which he praised.

Psalmi ad officium Vesperarum, libro I , “Dixit Dominus”, by Gloria Moretti, the Cappella Artemisia ensemble, under the direction of Candace Smith.
He was ordained a cleric in 1611 and a priest in 1614.

In Lodi, he meets Pietro Maria Marsolo (1580-1615), a composer he cites as his model.

He meets Adriano Banchieri, in Bologna, with whom he remains in correspondence.

In 1614, he is in Venice, where he is from July 25, singing master at the Basilica of Saint Mark.

In 1615, he dedicated a book of psalms to three Venetian patricians, procurators of Saint Mark. The same year, he dedicated his Musica vaga et artificiosa to Hans Jakob Khisl von Kaltenbrunn, chamberlain at the court of Austria.

In 1616 he was Kapellmeister at San Stefano Cathedral in Concordia Sagittaria and at that of Aquileia from 1618 to 1621 (his Compieta , opus 4 of 1616 is dedicated to the canons of Aquileia).

He hoped to be appointed to the position of choirmaster of the Church of the Gesù in Rome, but it was Anselmo Anselmi, nephew of the influential papal cantor Vincenzo de Grandis who obtained the position in 1621, the latter being appointed to San Luigi dei Francesi of Rome in 1923, and Vincenzo de Grandis choirmaster pro tempore at the papal chapel.

A violent pamphlet, published in Venice, by Filippo Kesperle (actually Romano Micheli) discredits Vincenzo de Grandis and consequently his nephew, little appreciated by musicians. The latter was dismissed from San Luigi dei Francesi in March 1625, Micheli was appointed in his place on March 25, thanks to the intervention of the ambassador of the Duke of Savoy.

In the same year he received a considerable sum of money for having organized the music for a huge procession of pilgrims, organized by the Confraternita della SS Trinità dei Pellegrini

He left S Luigi dei Francesi in 1627.

In 1636 he was in Naples, where he obtained a canonry.

Back in Rome in January 1644, he unsuccessfully sought the succession of Monteverdi to the position of choirmaster at Saint-Marc in Venice, published canons dedicated to the Marquis de Saint-Chamond, French ambassador, seeking support to be again appointed to San Luigi dei Francesi, but Stefano Fabri gets the job.

He reacts with a new polemical publication addressed to the pope, on the decadence of music in the church and denigrating Stefano Fabri, and the papal cantor Gregorio Allegri.

This writing remaining without effect and without any gratification, he continued to publish canons and explanatory sheets on his technique.

In 1645, he intervened in the dispute between Marco Scacchi, master of the royal chapel of Poland and Paul Siefert, organist of the Marienkirche of Danzig, who considered Italian music consisted of "comedy, ariette, canzonette and other trifles". Micheli sends them his Canoni musicali composti sopra le vali di più parole , claiming to be the inventor of the genre. Scacchi, distances himself from this support, and indicates in 1649, in don Breve discorso sopra la musica moderna , that this type of cannon is an ancient invention. This broadens the controversy, which is very popular in German and Polish musical circles.

At the age of eighty, he dedicated the twelve-voice canon Hic finis to the new Pope Alexander VII (Fabio Chigi) .

In 1658, in Virtutes theologales , he said he was "approved by the greatest musical composers of Europe" and announced that he would donate his writings and compositions to the library of the Augustinian monastery in Rome, where they were indeed kept. The prints were transferred to the library of the Conservatorio di S. Cecilia in 1873.

His frequent stays in various Italian cities and the many publications printed at his expense suggest financial wealth. In 1650, Athanasius Kircher placed Micheli's Canon angelicus 36 vocum as the frontispiece of his Musurgia universalis, which also during his lifetime enjoyed the praise of the theoretician Giovanni Battista Doni and the composer Virgilio Mazzocchi.

Catalog of musical works

1610, Psalmi ad officium Vesperarum, libro I , for 3 voices and organ.

1615, Musica vaga et artificiosa .

1615, opus 3, Salmi per i Vesperi, libro II , for 3 voices.

1616, opus 4, Compiet a, for 6 voices and basso continuo.

1621, Madrigale, in canon , for 6 voices.

1625, Dialogus annuntiationis , for 20 voices.

1633, opus 5, Specimina musices magis reconditas .

1644, Vivit Deus: canones super plurium verborum vocalibus .

1645, Canoni musicali composti sopra le vocali di più parole.

1650, Canone musicale, ad honore della concettione della BVM , for 4 voices.

1652, In honore del nome di Giesu e di Maria, musical canon, for 5 voices.

1655, Hic finis: (non) plus ultra … canon super vocalibus, for 12 voices in three choirs.

1658, Virtutes theologales.

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