Vecchi, Orazio



Born at Modena. He obtained his musical instruction from the monk, Salvatore Essenga, well known for his compositions; a collection of madrigals published in 1566 is supposed to contain one by Vecchi. He took holy orders, being made canon in 1586, and archdeacon in 1591 at Correggio. He deserted his office, however, to live in his native town, and in 1595 was deprived of his canonry. He had become celebrated as a musician, and the same year was appointed one of a committee to revise and correct the Roman Gradual, published by Gardano four years before. The next year he was made chapelmaster of the Modena Cathedral, and two years later chapelmaster at court. His work now was in much demand, being requested for a composition by the King of Poland, and also invited to the Court of the Emperor Rudolph II. He was one of the best canzonet and madrigal composers of his time, and his sacred music is excellent. A work which was probably the first step toward opera is his Amfiparnasso, commedia harmonica, produced at Modena in 1594, published in Venice in 1597. It is a series of five-part madrigals sung by a choir, the actors appearing masked and performing in dumb show. The effect is dramatic, the humor it contains is good.