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Luzzasco Luzzaschi

(c.1545 - 1607)

Composer and organist for the Este family in Ferrara, Italy. Little of his published keyboard output of toccatas and other forms survives, but his influence was substantial, as witnessed by his position as Girolamo Frescobaldi's teacher. His vocal output is highly unusual, typically scored for a combination of one to three sopranos and embryonic instrumental bass.

The court in Ferrara was renowned for its virtuoso female singers, and Luzzaschi's music exploits this potential to the fullest. He was among the first composers to write out detailed vocal ornaments, and was a major influence on Don Carlo Gesualdo during the latter's stay in Ferrara. He also reportedly took up Vincentino's ideas on the arcicembalo, an instrument with 31 notes to an octave. ~ Todd McComb (8/97)

Recommended Recordings

Madrigals for 1, 2 & 3 Sopranos

Amon Ra CD-SAR58
The Secret Music of Luzzasco Luzzaschi/Amon Ra CD-SAR58
John Toll/Musica Secreta


Quinto Libro De' Madrigali/Glossa 920905
Claudio Cavina/La Venexiana


Concerto Delle Dame Di Ferrara/Harmonia Mundi Musique d'abord HMA1951136
Helena Afonso (soprano), Marinella Pennicchi (soprano), Cristina Miatello (soprano), Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Trumpet