Romano Micheli

(ca. 1575-after 1659)


Italian composer. Micheli, born in Rome about 1575, studied music there under Francesco Soriano, and acquired fame among his contemporaries as a learned contrapuntist. Micheli made a tour of all the more important towns in Italy-Milan, Ferrara, Bologna, Venice, Florence, and Naples; he met many celebrated musicians, with whom there was much friendly rivalry in the pastime of composing music on given themes. In the preface to Musica vaga, 1615, he gives an account of his travels; he was warmly received in Venice, and adds “non solo darmi occasione di comporre diverse opere ecclesiastiche a mió beneplácito, ma anche alcuni motetti con oblighi, e canoni diversi, datomi da ciascheduno il soggetto, come in essi motetti e canoni è annotate.” In 1616 he was maestro di cappella at the church of Concordia, Modena. He became a priest; in 1610 he was already a clerico, and in 1621 was placed for a time at Aquileia. He returned to Rome in 1625 as maestro di cappella at S. Luigi de' Francesi. One of Banchieri's Lettere armoniche, (Bologna, 1628) is addressed to “Sig. D. Romano Micheli, Roma.” In 1659 he was still alive at the age of eighty-four.

Micheli took part in an amusing squabble as to the relative merits of German and Italian composers, between the Italian organist Marco Scacchi and Paul Syfert, organist at Danzig. The latter asserted that Italian compositions were of a trivial character, and that their authors should go to Danzig and study genuine music. Micheli promptly sent copies of his musical works to both Syfert and Forster of Danzig, with a request that they would test Italian work before they condemned it. The effect was immediate, a polite reply was received in Feb. 1647, and the matter then dropped. Scacchi himself was not so ready to acknowledge Micheli's pre-eminence. The work, Canoni musicali composti sopra le vocali di piu parole da Romano Micheli romano, del qual modo di comporre egli è inventore (Rome, 1645), roused him to publish a protest (Warsaw, March 16, 1647) against the assumption that Micheli was the originator of this type of canon, which could be traced to a much earlier date. Micheli replied by the publication of a collection of canons, full of the most ingenious devices, entitled La potestà pontificia diretta dalla santissima Trinita. The manuscript inscribed "Canoni musicali di Romano Micheli romano," was preserved in the library of S. Agostino.





A Partial Romano Micheli Discography | VG: Sacred Music in the Seicento