Flemish composer and instrumentalist Francesco Martini, who was also an ordained priest, spent most of his working life in Italy. Very few of his works have come down to us. We know, nevertheless, that Martini was highly respected by his colleagues. For example, G.F. Anerio called him one of the best composers of the day. As his compositions indicate, Martini was a somewhat conservative composer with a solid grasp of polyphonic, concertato, and multi-choral idioms. His Magnificat, in the "concertato all romana" style, for 16 voices, may be his most impressive surviving piece.
It is not known exactly when he was born, although it may have been as early as 1550; sources, and scholars, disagree. Martini seems to have been maestro di cappella at the Seminario Romano, possibly between 1594 and 1602. On October 5, 1602, he was accepted into the Congregazione dell'Oratorio in Rome, taking on all the principal responsibilities for the music in 1603, when Prospero Santini, his predecessor, was expelled in disgrace. In May 1605, his position was formally recognized when he was granted the title perfetto della musica. His publications include two collections of motets. Martini served at Congregazione until his death. There was, however, an interruption, from 1623 to 1626, when Girolamo Rosini replaced him. ~ Donato Mancini, Rovi