Maurizio Cazzati

(1616 - 1678)

Italian composer. Following his ordination as a priest, Cazzati was active after 1641 as maestro di capella at churches in Mantua, Bozzolo, Ferrara and Bergamo, working with Giovanni Legrenzi in Bergamo. In 1657 he was appointed to the important post of maestro di capella of the cathedral of S. Petronio in Bologna, where he raised instrumental music to a position of greater importance in the music of the church, notably establishing the slow-fast, slow-fast form of the Sonata da chiesa. The somewhat conservative Cazzati, who established the Bologna school of violin music as the greatest of the three centers of Modena, Venice and Bologna, differentiated the canzona movements less distinctly than his Venetian contemporaries, and though his themes were longer and more characteristic than those of the traditional canzona, he made little use of the upbeat patterns; contrapuntal texture predominated, especially in the first movements. From this period date also impressive sonatas for trumpet and strings, precursors of the concerto proper. He published much instrumental music that was known and performed in places as far away as England. His relationships with other musicians were apparently difficult, since he was not invited to join the Academia Filharmonica founded in 1666. In particular, he fell into controversy with the organist Giulia Cesare Arresti over supposed musical errors in the Kyrie of his Missa primi toni Op. 17. This controversy became so heated that other musicians parted from Cazzati's publisher. In consequence Cazzati founded his own press. When the controversy refused to die down, Cazzati quit his post at S. Petronio for the court of the duke of Gonzaga at Mantua, where he was appointed both maestro di capella at Mantua and the chamber of the duchess Anna Isabella. He died in Mantua in 1677. His most notable pupil was Giovanni Battista Vitali.

VG: Sacred Music in the Seicento