Alessandro Striggio (1)

(c.1535 - 1589/95)

Italian lutenist and composer of noble birth, father of Alessandro Striggio (2) . Worked as the principal composer at the court of Cosimo I de' Medici, Duke of Florence from 1560 to 1574, his responsibilities included writing intermedi for important state occasions, including the marriage of Joanna of Austria and Francesco de' Medici (1565) and the visit of Archduke Karl of Austria (1569). He contributed music to many of the intermedi supplied for Florentine festivities, such as that of 1565 in which he collaborated with Corteccia. His activities during the 1570s are unclear; in 1579 he composed music for the entertainment in honor of the Grand Duke Francesco's wedding and for the anthology Trionfo di musica di diversi. In 1584, at Alfonso II d'Este's invitation, he traveled to Ferrara; later that year he returned to Mantua, where he was employed at the Gonzaga court as a supernumerary musician, although he continued to compose intermedi for the Medici.

Striggio's music for intermedi typically contains a mixture of homophony and counterpoint, and many of the works feature impressive antiphonal effects. Some of his later madrigals are progressive in style, perhaps owing to his contacts with Ferrara.His madrigal publications include lively descriptive pieces such as the Cicalamento delle donne al bucato ('The chattering of the women at the washtub'); he also wrote some church music, including two Masses and a few motets.

One of his motets, Ecce beatam lucem, is extraordinary in that it is a forty-part work, written for four choirs-one à 8, one à 10, one à 16, and one à 6. All parts are provided with words. Although a MS preserving the work dates from as early as 1587, the document includes an organ bass (which is additional to the forty voices). The composition itself dates from not later than 1568 (and therefore must belong to Striggio's Florentine period), for Massimo Troiano tells us in his Dialoghi (1569) that it was performed that year at the marriage of Duke William of Bavaria and Renée of Lorraine. He states, moreover, that it was executed by eight tromboni ,eight viole da arco, eight flauti grossi, one instrumento da penna, and one liuto grosso. Since by "instrumento da penna" is meant a cembalo, the bass part mentioned above was presumably worked out at this instrument.

A Partial Alessandro Striggio (1) Discography |  IVD: Social Music In Italy | IVE: Music for Organ and Lute | IVO: Sacred Music in the Italian Cinquecento outside Venice and Rome