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Jun 9, 2010

It will probably be very hard to answer who Antonello da Caserta was, as we know nothing about this great man, except that he was a famous medieval Italian composer in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries.  Some musicologists advanced a theory that da Caserta was from Naples and created there. But eventually, this conclusion provided to be wrong, becuase most of composer’s surviving works are in northern Italian manuscripts. Anyways, there is nothing that I could find either from the archives of my local web analytics company.

There are some hints that Antonello was a monk. Yet, even this scarce information provides us with nothing, because we don’t know which monastic orders of that time he belonged to.  Other hints place Antonello in Pavia in 1402, it looks like at some certain point of his life he worked for the Italian noble dynasty Visconti in Milan, which they ruled from  1277 to 1447.  So far we don’t even know the exact name of Antonello, as different sources also name him Anthonello or Antonellus Marot.

It seems that da Caserta was heavily influenced by French musical models which was quite unusual for those times. He even set texts both in French and Italian.

Antonello was famous for his ballades that tell us about courtly love. His surviving works show that Antonello was very famous among other composers of the generation after Guillaume de Mauchet. While his Italian songs are simpler, his creations in French are more complex ballads that use the proportional rhythms that became popular in much later periods.

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Posted: Jun 9, 2010 3:43pm
Apr 15, 2010

The beginning of the Renaissance in Italy started somewhere in the14th century. In Italian this historical period is called the Trecento  from the phrase "mille trecento" which is translated as 1300. The list of famous names is practically endless. And, in addition to this list, we can add famous composers and musicians, artists and writers who published their works anonymously.

The Trecento, as you may well know it, was the period of heightened activity in art, literature and music. This is when Dante wrote his Divine Comedy, painter Giotto di Bondone used for the first time perspective in art. The list of Renaissance giants is huge and include famous creators as Boccaccio, Petrarch, Adnrea da Firenze and others.

Music had also changed drastically during Trecento. Partially, because a lot of troubadours was fleeing from the Southern France, mostly Provence, to Italy. Troubadours had a huge impact on Italian music of Renaissance period. Famous composers and musicians that used to write only religious music started writing secular songs. Francesco Landini, Paolo Tenorista, Maestro Piero and others created not only polyphonic music for all powerful Catholic Church but also love lyrics for everyday people.

From what we know, instrumental music was also widespread during Trecento. Unfortunately, not much of it survived, just few notated examples. The rest of the sources come to us from the area around Florence. We also know that some of the poetry of Dante was set to music, but none of it survived either.

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Posted: Apr 15, 2010 11:47am
Nov 14, 2008

Magic and study of occult arts successfully survived Renaissance and entered the Baroque era. And even more. ”study of the occult arts remained intellectually respectable well into the seventeenth century”. It only gradually divides into the modern categories of natural science versus occultism or superstition. My web research shows, that brilliant Age of Reason was on the rise in the seventeenth century, while belief in witchcraft and sorcery, and consequently the irrational surge of Early Modern witch trials, receded. This process only completed at the end of the Baroque period, somewhere around 1730s.

Contemporary scientists still met resistance, though. Christian Thomasius encountered fierce opposition as he argued in his 1701 Dissertatio de crimine magiae that it was meaningless to make dealing with the devil a criminal offence, since it was impossible to really commit the crime in the first place. In Britain, the Witchcraft Act of 1735 established that people could not be punished for consorting with spirits, while would-be magicians pretending to be able to invoke spirits could still be fined as con artists.

Several decades later, from 1756 to 1781, Jacob Philadelphia performed feats of magic, sometimes under the guise of scientific exhibitions, throughout Europe and Russia. Baron Carl Reichenbach’s experiments with his Odic force appeared to be an attempt to bridge the gap between magic and science.


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Ekaterina G.
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Delray Beach, FL, USA
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