Festa, Costanzo


Italian composer, who was born in Rome about the end of the Fifteenth Century, and became a contrapuntist of importance, being regarded as a forerunner of Palestrina. He was a member of the Pontifical choir at Rome about 1517 and chapelmaster at the Vatican in 154S. He wrote numerous madrigals, motets and other music. His madrigal, Down In a Flowery Vale, is a familiar example of the madrigal, and is one of the best specimens extant of the early Italian school of madrigal writing. It dates from 1554, and was one of the most popular pieces of music in England at one time. Among Festa's compositions are several motets; litanies and madrigals for from three to four voices, published in Venice about 1556; and others which are still in manuscript and preserved in the library of the Pontifical choir at Rome. He also wrote a Te Deum, which is still sung by the Pontifical choir at the election of a new pope, and a credo. His first book of madrigals was published in 1537, a fourpart Magnificat in 1554 and a book of litanies as late as 1583. Dr. Burney scored a number of his madrigals.