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Francesco Spinacino

1485 - 1507
born in Fossombrone, composed during the Renaissance period
Francesco Spinacino, a famous lutenist and composer of the Italian Renaissance, was born in the town of Fossombrone, probably around the year 1485. In the preface to the first of two collections of lute music published by Spinacino in Venice in 1507 (the only date in his career that may be accurately verified), the poet Cristoforo Gigante described him as "a true heir of Orpheus." Spinacino was probably still alive in 1520 -- this is suggested by Philippo Oriolo da Bassano's poem Monte Parnaso, which includes Spinacino's name in a list of great fifteenth-century lutenists.

His two publications, Intabulatura de lauto libro primo and Intabulatura de lauto libro secondo, were the earliest printed volumes dedicated to the instrument. Both include a rudimentary introduction to lute tablature notation in both Latin and Italian, which proved so popular with readers that they were reprinted in all Petrucci's subsequent publications for lute until 1546. Spinacino's collections drew upon music and songs from as far afield as the British Isles. The "ricercares" in particular are among the most elaborate of their period. Often designed as preludes to other pieces, they are free in form and often of virtuoso complexity. While almost nothing is known of Spinacino's life and family, the quality of his surviving music suggests he must have been one of the very finest lute players of his epoch. ~ Michael Jameson, Rovi
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