Stefano Fabri


Italian composer. Stefano Fabri was born in Rome in about 1605. He was possibly related to the Stefano Fabri who was maestro di cappella at the basilica in Loreto and who died there in 1609, but he was certainly not his son, since he states in his will that he was the son of Giovanni Battista Fabri. Before his appointment as maestro di cappella at San Luigi dei Francesi shortly after the death of Pope Urban Vlll in 1644, he had worked at the church of the Jesuits-the Chiesa del Gesù-in 1638 and 1639, and at San Giovanni dei Fiorentini. In 1656 there was an outbreak of the plague in Rome which broke off his engagement at San Luigi, Pope Alexander VII having put a ban on public gatherings in the hope of limiting the possibilities of contagion, but Fabri was then appointed maestro of Santa Maria Maggiore. From 1 April 1657 he also served the Borghese family chapel in the same basilica. He died in the maestro di cappella's house, next to the basilica, on August 27,1657.

Twenty or so of his motets appeared during his lifetime in various anthologies published in Rome by Domenico Bianchi, Filippo Beretti, Giovanni Poggioli and, especially, Florido de Silvestris; these anthologies contained compositions by all the maestri di cappella who were active in Rome at that time. In 1660 Fabri's brother-in-law had a set of five-part Salmi concertati and Magnificat settings published by Giacomo Fei; like all such works of this type composed in Italy at that time, they may be performed by a double or triple choir, soloists and ripieno. Fortunately, a number of copies of these great polychoral compositions (Magnificat, Confitebor, Laudate pueri, etc.) have been preserved, and in the music collection of Santa Maria Maggiore there is also a copy of a five-part concerted mass which must have been written by him.

VG: Sacred Music in the Seicento