BBC Music Magazine

The composer


Though popularly associated today with Venice, where he served as maestro di capella at St Mark’s from 1613-43, many of Monteverdi’s best known works actually date from his time as a court composer in the less glorified setting of Mantua – these include his Vespers of 1610 and his groundbrea­king opera L’orfeo (1607). A crucial figure in ushering in the Baroque style of compositio­n, many of his novel techniques – which he termed the ‘Seconda practica’ (second practice) – deliberate­ly challenged the rigorous theories of the Renaissanc­e era into which he had been born, allowing a greater freedom of expressivi­ty.

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