Posts Tagged ‘Italy


Francesco, Landini (Landino) – 14th-century Composer

Landini was born on 1325 in Fiesole, Italy and died on September 2, 1397 in Florence.  He was a leading composer of 14th-century Italy, famed during his lifetime for his musical memory, his skill in improvisation, and his virtuosity on the organetto, or portative organ, as well as for his composition.  The son of Jacopo the Painter, he was blinded in childhood by smallpox.  He was crowned with a laurel wreath as the winner of a poetical contest at Venice in 1364.  In Il Paradiso degli Alberti del 1389 Giovanni da Prato described Landini as playing his songs so sweetly “that no one had ever heard such beautiful harmonies, and their hearts almost burst from their bosoms.”

Landini’s surviving works include 141 settings of ballate (91 for two voices, 42 for three, the rest in versions for both two and three voices), 1 French virelay, 12 madrigals, and a caccia.  His madrigals conform to the 14th-century type, consisting “of one to four stanzas … sung to the same music” and at the end “a ritornello of two lines set in a contrasting rhythm” (G. Reese, Music in the Middle Ages).  His favorite form, however, was the balata, an Italian song from modeled on the French virelay or on the native Italian lauda spiritual.  The melodies (top part predominating are vocal in character and highly ornamental.  As in other songs of the period, they are distinguished by elaborate patterning, syncopations, roulades, and an evident lack of emotional connection between the words and the music.  The songs were performed by voices, instruments, or, typically, a mixture of both.  Their stylized elegance, gay preciosity, and clear, limpid texture characterize all of Landini’s song.

One cadence formula common in 14th-century music, particularly that of Landini, is known as the Landini cadence, in which the leading tone drops to the sixth of the scale before approaching the final tonic note.

Reference:  The New Encyclopedia Britannica (Micropaedia) 

Marie-Louise – Australian Princess

A Member of the House of Habsburg

Marie-Louise was born on December 12, 1791 in Vienna and Died December 17, 1847, Parma, Italy.  She was an Australian Princess who became the second wife of the French emperor Napoleon I and later duchess of Parma.

Marie-Louise , a member of the House of Habsburg, was the eldest daughter of the Holy Roman emperor Francis I and Maria Theresa of Naples-Sicily and niece of Mari-Antoinette, queen of France.  Klemens von Metternich, the Australian statesman, seems to have suggested her to Napoleon, who was looking for a wife with royal blood and had already decided to dissolve his childless marriage with the empress Josephine.  The match was arranged in February 1810.  Marie-Louise was married to Napoleon at Paris on April 1-2.  On March 20, 1811, she bore him the long-desired heir, the king of Rome and the future Napoleon II.

While Napoleon was campaigning in Russia, Marie-Louise served as regent for him in Paris.  After his first abdication (signed at Fontainebleau, April11, 0814), however, she returned to Vienna with her son.  The Treaty of Fontainebleau awarded her the duchies of Parma, Piacenza, and Guastalla with full sovereignty.  She became completely estranged from Napoleon when he threatened to abduct her forcibly to Elba, where he was in exile.

In September 1821, soon after Napoleon’s death that May, Marie-Louise married Adam Adalbert, Graf von Neipperg, having already borne him two children.  Together they governed the duchies more liberally than did most other princes in Italy, though some authorities suggest this resulted more from weakness of character than from policy.  After Neipperg’s death, however, circumstances forced her to countenance the reactionary administration of her prime minister.



Franz Lambert – Francois Lambert D’ Avignon

Franz Lambert was also known as Francois Lambert D’ Avignon.  He was born in 1486, Avignon, France and died on April 18, 1530, Frankenberg, Prussia, now Poland.  He was a Protestant convert from Roman Catholicism and leading Reformer in the German province of Hesse.  The son of a papal official at Avignon, at 15 he entered the Franciscan monastery there.  After 1517 he became an itinerant friar, travelling through France, Italy, and Switzerland.  He left his cloister permanently in 1522 after reading some of Martin Luther’s writings, although he withheld commitment from both Luther and the Swiss Reformer Huldrych Zwingli (1484-1531).

After a meeting with Luther in Wittenberg, where he had gone to lecture, he returned to Strassburg in 1524 to preach Reformation doctrines to the French-speaking population.  There he encountered the Reformer Jakob Sturn, who recommended him to the landgrave Philip of Hesse, the German prince most favourably inclined toward the Reformation.  Encouraged by Philip, Lambert drafted Reformation ecclesiarum Hassiae (“The Reformation of the Churches of Hesse”), submitted by Philip to the synod at Homberg (1526).  Lambert’s document called for democratic principles of congregational representation in church government, by which pastors were to be elected by their congregations.  He believed he was expressing Luther’s views, including the abolition of bishoprics, but Luther and his adherents pronounced the plan as too democratic, and Philip abandoned it.  Nevertheless, Lambert’s influence persisted in Hesse, where with Philip’s assent the Anabaptists, firm advocates of congregationalism were permitted to flourish.  In 1527 Philip founded the University of Marburg and recognized Lambert’s service by appointing him head to the theological facility.



Marie-Amèlie (de Bourbon-Sicilies) – Daughter of Ferdinand IV of Naples

The daughter of Ferdinand lV of Naples

She was born on April 26, 1782 at Caserta, Italy and died on March 24, 1866 in Claremont, Surrey.  Queen of Louis-Philippe, king of France (1830-48).  She took no interest in politics and devoted her life to her husband and the bringing up of her eight children.  The daughter of Ferdinand lV of Naples (later Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies) and Queen Maria Carolina, she was given a religious education.  She married the exiled Louis-Philippe, then duc d’Orlèans, on November 25, 1809, at Palermo.  She went with him to France when Louis XVIII became king after Napoleon’s 1814 downfall, but she fled to England during the Hundred Days (1815) and returned to Paris in 1817.  When Louis-Philippe ascended the throne in 1830, she lived in fear of a new revolution and avoided public life.  With the abdication of Louis-Philippe in February 1848, they went to England.  She was widowed in 1850.  Her Journal was published in two volumes (1938-43). – The New Encyclopedia Britannica



Lambert of Spoleto – Co-emperor with his Father

He died on October 15, 898 in Marengo, Italy.  Reigned for six years as Holy Roman emperor at the end of the Carolingian period.

Crowned co-emperor with his father, Guy of Spoleto, at a ceremony in Ravenna in 892,  Lambert ruled alone after his father’s death in 894.  The following year Arnulf of Carinthia, king of Germany, invaded Italy and besieged Rome, taking the city in February 896.  He was crowned emperor by Pope Formosus, who declared Lambert deposed.  Marching on Spoleto, Arnulf was suddenly taken ill and had to return to Germany, leaving Lambert once more in possession of the empire.

A year after Formosus’ death in 896. Lambert avenged the Pope’s crowning of Arnulf by having Formosus body exhumed by the new pope, Stephen VI (VII), dressed in his pontifical robes, and tried and convicted in St. Peter’s for a variety of crimes.  The naked and mutilated body was then flung into a potter’s field and eventually thrown into the Tiber.  Stephen was assassinated in 897.

In 898 Berengar, marquis of Fruili, Guy of Spoleto’s former rival, marched on Pavia.  Lambert, who had been hunting near Marengo, south of Milan, counterattacked, defeating Berengar.  Returning to Marengo, he was killed, either by assassination or by a fall from his horse.


Alfonso Ferrero La Marmora

Alfonso Ferrero La Marmora

Alfonso Ferrero La Marmora

(Born November 18, 1804, Turin, Italy—Died January 5, 1878, Florence), general and statesman played an important role in the Risorgimento (a nationalistic revival movement to unify Italy).

A graduate of the Turin Military Academy, La Marmora entered the army in 1823 and first distinguished himself in the Italian wars of independence against Austria, especially at Borghetto and Pischiera (May 1848).  He also commanded the Sardinian forces in the Crimea (1855).  On August 5, 1848, he rescued  Sardinian king Charles Albert from  Milanese revolutionaries, who had resented the King’s armistice with the Austrians.  He was promoted to general in October and served as minister of war until November;  he later suppressed an insurrection as Genoa (April 4-5 1849)).  As minister of war again until 1860, he reorganized the Italian Army.

La Marmora served as premier of Piedmont from July 1859 to January 1860, as well as governor of Milan and the King’s  lieutenant in Naples.  In September 1864 he again became premier, and as minister of foreign affairs in April 1866, he concluded Italy’s alliance with Prussia against Austria.  As chief of staff in the ensuing war, however, he was held responsible for the overwhelming defeat of the Italians by Austria at Custoza (June 24, 1866).  La Marmora retired to private life shortly afterwards, although, after Rome was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1870, he was appointed the king’s lieutenant there.  Among his several works, Un po plu di luce sugli eventi politici e military dell’anno 1866 (1873; “A Little More Light on the Events of the Year 1866”) seeks to justify his actions at Custoza.


Marie-Therese Lamballe – Louise de Savoie-Carignan, Princess De




Lamballe, Mari-Therese-Louise de Savoie-Carignan, princesse de 

(Birth: September 8, 1749, Turin, Piedmont, now in Italy—Death: September 3, 1792, Paris), the intimate companion of Queen Marie-Antoinette of France; she was murdered by a crowd during the French Revolution for allegedly participating in the Queen’s counter revolutionary intrigues. 

The daughter of Prince Louis-Victor de Savoie-Carignan, she was married in 1767 to Louis-Alexander-Stanislas de Bourbon, prince de Lamballe, who died the following year.  She went to live at the royal court at Versailles upon the marriage (1770) of the dauphin Louis to Marie-Antoinette, and, by the time Louis ascended the throne as King Louis XVI in 1774, Marie-Antoinette had singled her out as a confidante.  The following year she became superintendent of the Queen’s household. 

In October 1789, several months after the outbreak of the ‘revolution, Mme Lamballe accompanied the royal family to Paris, where her salon became the meeting place for Marie-Antoinette’s secret intrigues with royalist sympathizers of the revolutionary National Assembly.  Mme Lamballe was also popularly suspected of abetting the Queen’s private dealings with France’s Austrian enemies.  After the overthrow of the monarchy of August 10. 1792, she was imprisoned with the Queen in the Temple prison but was transferred to La Force prison on August 19.  Having refused to take an oath against the monarchy, Mme Lamballe was on September 3 delivered over to the fury of the populace, who cut off her head and carried it on a pike before the windows of the Queen. 

A.  Sorel’s La Princesse de Lamballe was published in 1933. 


Visual source:  allposters

Robert Adam (2 of 6)

He met Charles Hope in Brussels, and together they proceeded to Paris, where Robert fitted himself out in the latest fashion and set out to “lay in a stock of good acquaintance that may be of use to me hereafter.”  After fewer than three weeks in Paris, they set off for Italy by way of the south of France, visiting en route the Roman sites of Nimes, Arles, the Pont du Gard, and Montepellier.  They reached Genoa early in January 1755 and proceeded to Florence via Leghorn.  Arriving at the end of the month, they were immediately caught up in the social whirl for which Robert had hoped.

While he was in Florence Robert made the acquaintance of a man who was to have an important professional influence upon him.  This an was the talented young French architect and draftsman Charles-Louis Clerisseau, who agreed to accompany him on his tour as instructor and draftsman.  Clerisseau had been a student at the French Academy in Rome but had left in 1754 after a dispute with its director.  As a result of his friendship with Clerisseau,  Robert came in contact with avant-garde architectural theory in Rome.  “I hope,” he wrote, “to have my ideas greatly enlarged and my taste formed upon the solid foundation of genuine antiquity.”  Clerisseau agreed to

serve [him] as an antiquarian . . . teach [him] perspective and drawing . . . [and] give [him] copies of all      [Clerisseau’s] studies of the antique, bas-reliefs and other ornaments . . . .

Adam left Florence in February 1755 and travelled to Rome, where he had to decide whether to devote himself to elegant society or to architecture

If I am known in Rome to be an architect, if I am seen drawing or with a pencil in my hand, I cannot    enter into genteel company who will not admit an artist or, if they do admit him, will very probably rub   affronts on him in order to prevent his appearing at their card-playing, balls and concerts. (S.Mi.)

July 2020

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