Benevoli, Orazio


A distinguished Italian contrapuntist, highly esteemed as choirmaster at the Vatican. Said to be the natural son of Duke Albert of Lorraine. His life was spent in labor and study, and he became a teacher and a composer of high repute. Much of his work is extant, and many of his compositions in manuscript form are to be found in the Vatican library. The works are noted less for their artistic value than for the skill shown by the composer in writing for many voices, and the handling of many separate parts. Mention should be made of a mass for forty-eight voices in twelve choirs, and a festival mass and hymn, vocal and instrumental, in fifty-six parts. Benevoli was born at Rome, studied under Vincenzo Ugolini, and became chapelmaster in the Church of Saint Luigi de' Francesi, at Rome. Then for a time he was in the service of the Archduke of Austria in Vienna, but presently returned to his former post in Rome, at the Church Luigi de* Francesi; and was shortly afterward transferred to Santa Maria Maggiore. Following a brief tenure here, he was appointed choirmaster at the Vatican, a post which he retained till his death. He died in Rome, and was buried in the Church del Santo Spiritu in Sassia.