Jacopo Peri ["Zazzerino"]

(1561 - 1633)

Italian composer and singer. He moved to Florence while still young, studied with Cristofano Malvezzi, and was appointed organist at the Badia ( 1579) and singer at S. Giovanni Battista (1586); he probably participated in discussions of the "Camerata" during the 1580s at Bardi's house. In 1583 he worked with Malvezzi and others in composing music (no longer extant) to Fedini's comedy Le due Pervilie, and performed his own aria in the fifth intermedio for Bargagli's comedy La pellegrina in 1589. He collaborated with Corsi and the librettist Rinuccini on the short pastoral Dafne (earliest performance 1598), and worked again with Rinuccini on the opera Euridice (Florence, 1600), in which Peri probably performed the role of Orpheus. During the 1610s he composed a number of dramatic works, including intermedi and ballets. often collaborating with other Florentine composers such as Gagliano and Caccini; most of this music has been lost. Peri worked with the librettist Cini on Tetide, planned for the wedding festivities of 1608 in Mantua but rejected in favor of Monteverdi's Arianna; Adone (1611; libretto by Cicognini) was similarly intended for Mantua but not performed there. He collaborated with G. B. da Gagliano on three oratorios (La benedittione di Jacob and Il gran natale di Christo salvator nostro, 1622; La celeste guida, (1624), all lost, and with Marco Gagliano on two operas on Salvadori texts, Lo sposalizio di Medoro e Angelica ( 1619) and La Flora( 1628). Peri also composed a large number of songs. some published in Le varie musiche (Florence, 1609), as well as a few instrumental ricercars.

Peri presumably composed four of the six excerpts from Dafne that survive in Florentine manuscripts, his music for Ovid's prologue was later adapted for the prologue to Euridice. His most innovative work in Euridice can be found in the recitatives between choral numbers, which he described as representing "an intermediate course, lying between the slow and suspended movements of song and the swift and rapid movements of speech." In addition to unprepared dissonances and unusual harmonic progressions, the continuous recitatives are noteworthy for their imitations of vocal rhythms and pitch inflections, with an accompaniment that closely follows the principal words of the text.

A Partial Jacopo Peri Discography | VA: Monody and the Vocal Concerto