On sait peu de choses sur la jeunesse de Claudio Monteverdi : né à Crémone en 1567, d’un père médecin, il devient l’élève du maître de chapelle de la cathédrale de Crémone, Marc’ Antonio Ingegneri, avec qui il apprend l’orgue et le violon. À quinze ans, en 1582, il fait publier, sur les conseils de son maître, ses premières œuvres, les Sacrae cantiunculae. Suivront les Madrigali spirituali (1583), les Canzonette a tre voce (1584) et surtout les Premier et Deuxième Livres de Madrigaux (1587, 1590)… / Very little is known about Monteverdi’s early life. He was born in 1567 in Cremona, where his father practised medicine, and he received a good musical education under Marc’Antonio Ingegneri, maestro di cappella of Cremona cathedral, with whom he learned to play the organ and the violin. In 1582, on Ingegneri’s advice, he published his first set of works, the Sacrae cantiunculae; he was just fifteen at the time. It was followed by the Madrigali spirituali (1583), the Canzonette a tre voce (1584) and the First and Second Books of Madrigals (1587 and 1590)…

ARN68348-Monterverdi-Coeli et Terra

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Monteverdi est engagé à la cour de Mantoue, au service du duc Vincent de Gonzague, d’abord comme violiste et chanteur (1590), puis comme maître de chapelle (1602). À Mantoue, il côtoiera Tasso, Galilei (le musicien, père de l’astronome), Rubens, Vecchi, De Wert, Gastoldi, Rossi, Viadana et composera, entre autres, les Livres III, IV, V de Madrigaux (1592, 1603, 1605), l’Orfeo (1607) et les Vêpres de la Vierge (1610). Le duc Vincent meurt en 1612 ; son fils François, qui lui succède, n’aime pas Monteverdi et le congédie ; celui-ci, jusqu’alors déjà mal payé à Mantoue, doit vivre assez difficilement, pendant un an, de concerts et de commandes.

In 1590 Monteverdi was engaged in the service of Duke Vincenzo I of the Gonzaga dynasty at his court at Mantua, first of all as a viol player and singer, then as maestro di cappella (1602). There he met Tasso, Galilei (the musician, father of the astronomer Galileo), Rubens, Vecchi, De Wert, Gastoldi, Rossi and Viadana; the works he composed there included the Third, Fourth and Fifth Books of Madrigals (1592, 1603 and 1605), l’Orfeo (1607) and the Vespro della Beata Vergine (1610). The Duke died in 1612 and was succeeded by his son Francesco. The latter did not like Monteverdi and he dismissed him. Consequently, Monteverdi, who had been poorly paid even when he was working in Mantua, found himself, for the next year, having to scrape a living from concerts and commissions.

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