RECENT: Find out about composers from unusual places, including Gerard Schurmann, Giya Kancheli, Nazib Zhiganov and Nodar Gabunia, about singing in cars, and meet Jim Hutton from the RLPO and some of our regular contributors in this eighty-minute February 2021 video.
The Italian Renaissance composer, instrumentalist, diplomat and inventor of the Madrigal Comedy, Alessandro Striggio, was born in Mantua, probably to an aristocratic family, in about 1536 or 1537. He worked in Florence for the Medici family, visited England and the Bavarian court in Munich, and became very influential.
His forty part motet Ecce beatam lucem or his forty part Mass (including a sixty part setting of the final Agnus Dei) probably inspired Thomas Tallis to write his Spem in alium.
Striggio published seven books of madrigals, and his most famous composition is the madrigal comedy Il cicalamento delle donne al bucato et la caccia ... ('The Gossip of the Women at the Laundry').
In 1586 he returned to his native Mantua, where he lived until his death on 29 February 1592. His son, also named Alessandro, wrote the libretto for Claudio Monteverdi's Orfeo.
Ensemble. Thrilling Singing - Alec Roth, Tallis, Striggio and Gabriel Jackson from Ex Cathedra, conducted by Jeffrey Skidmore, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Splendour Enough - Italian multi-voiced music, heard by Robert Anderson. 'Niquet's team ... has done Striggio and his companions proud.'
Ensemble. Sparkling Delight - Shirley Ratcliffe hears I Fagiolini at the Holt Festival
Ensemble. Conservative or Progressive? - Malcolm Miller attends the historic modern revival of Striggio's sixty-part Mass
Ensemble. Vividly Dramatic - Monteverdi's 'Orfeo', reviewed by Robert Hugill