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Andrea Falconieri

1585 - July 29, 1656
born in Naples, Italy, composed during the Baroque period
Renaissance-era composer Andrea Falconieri is generally regarded as a second-tier figure today, though his contribution to the realm of secular song and instrumental music was important. Falconieri (also Falconiero) was born in either 1585 or 1586 in Naples. Little is known for certain about his early years, though there is evidence he was raised in Parma under the care of the Duke of Parma. It also appears that his first serious music study was with composer/lutenist Santino Garsi.

Falconieri earned a living as a lutenist in Parma beginning in 1604, by which time he was probably dabbling in composition, though his earliest surviving works come from around 1610. It was in that year that Falconieri was appointed Court lutenist in Parma, assuming the post once held by Garsi (died 1604). Falconieri was quite active in composition during his years at the Parma Court, for in 1615 he mentioned in correspondence to the Duke of Mantua that he was readying certain compositions for publication. Falconieri abruptly departed Parma in 1614, probably for Mantua, not having satisfied all duties at Court for fees paid.

In 1616 Falconieri's first works appeared, a volume of villanellas. Before 1620, seven additional books of his works were published, six of songs (half of which are now lost) and one containing motets. It was during this period that Falconieri seems to have briefly held two posts, one at the Florence Court and later on one in Rome. Falconieri lived a short time in Modena from around 1620 to July 1621, at which time he departed for Spain. Having married in Rome or Modena, he spent the next seven years or so traveling about France and Spain, apparently without his wife.

In 1628 he returned to Italy, appearing at the wedding of Princess Margherita de Midici and the Duke of Parma. The following year, he returned to Parma. He performed mostly on the chitarrone now, but soon turned to teaching, taking a post at the Santa Brigida Convent in Genoa in 1632. He probably left it in 1637, not long after losing favor with the Mother Superior, who complained his music was unsettling to the nuns. From 1639 to 1647 he served as lutenist at the Naples royal chapel; then from the latter year onward was elevated to maestro di cappella there. Falconieri died in 1656, a victim of the plague. ~ Robert Cummings, Rovi
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