Jacques Arcadelt Biography
Jacques Arcadelt, also called Jacob Arcadelt, was a popular Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance period. He was known for his madrigal works, and produced several volumes of this music form through his career. One of the pioneers of the madrigal styles, Arcadelt was inspired by the texts of various famous poets such as Jacopo Sannazzaro and Petrarch and combined this with his early styles of the sonorous homophony, that led him to consider ‘madrigals’, as a serious music form. Through his time, he composed madrigals, as well as a variety of motets, chansons, hymns and masses. Arcadelt’s reputation rested largely on his madrigal and motel career. Arcadelt set the music and the styles for generations of madrigal composers. He was equally adept at composing chansons, especially when he lived in Paris. Out of his numerous compositions, a large number of his works have been published, and used by various composers to date.
Arcadelt’s first known compositions were published in Germany in 1531. These were a group of motets, written in Florentine style, although, these works have not survived to date. Following his motets, Arcadelt composed a wide range of madrigals and published his first set of madrigals in 1538, which are also lost today. The same set of madrigals was republished in 1539. Following the success of his works, he was appointed at the Papal choir at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It is even believed by many of his successive composers that Arcadelt served as a singer in the St. Peter’s choir before turning into a full-fledged composer. In the following years, sources state that Arcadelt registered with the Julian Chapel and the Sistine Chapel where he was chosen as the ‘magister madrigrals’, and where his initial madrigal works gained immense success after 45 republished editions. Out of the four books of his madrigals that he composed during this period, the first of these collections, “Il primo libro di madrigali’ was the most successful.
Arcadelt continued with the Sistine chapel till 1551 as a singer and composer, and left to France for a brief period. During this event, probably in 1552, it is believed that the composer was briefly acquainted with the famous Michelangelo, but the alliance between the two was received with triviality by both artists.
- ‘Il primo libro di madrigali – 1539’
- ‘Il secondo libro de madrigali – 1539’
- ‘Il Vero secondo libro di madrigali- 1539’
- ‘Il quarto libro di madrigali – 1539’
- ‘Primo libro di madrigali – 1542’
- ‘Lamentationes Jeremiae III – 1557’
- ‘Magnificat primi toni - 1557’
- Sisieme livre de chansons – 1569’
- ‘Tiers livres de chansons – 1567’
- ‘Missa tres – 1557’
JACQUES ARCADELT TIMELINE
Jacques Arcadelt was born in Belgium. The date of his birth is unknown.
Moved to Florence to learn under Philippe Verdelot.
He was appointed with the Papal choir at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome as a singer.
Arcadelt became a member of the Julian chapel, where he composed secular/sacred music. He was also appointed as a singer and composer at the Sistine Chapel, where he published the first of four madrigal works, ‘Il primo libro di madrigali’.
He returned to France, where he stayed for the rest of his life.
Published a book of masses, dedicated to his employer, Charles de Guise.
Appointed Le Roy and Ballard for printing his works.
Arcadelt passed away on 14th October. The reasons behind his death are unknown.
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