Autograph letter signed in full to a gentleman. Giovanni LEGRENZI.

Autograph letter signed in full to a gentleman.

1 page of a bifolium. Folio (ca. 299 x 213 mm). Dated Venice, February 15, 1659. On watermarked paper. In Italian (with translation).

To a high-ranking person, perhaps Legrenzi's lifelong friend and patron, Ippolito Bentivoglio, for whom Legrenzi is seeking singers. Legrenzi has been unable to meet his patron for "instructions about how I should keep and bring to Your Excellency's service the person already agreed upon." He goes on to mention the noted Italian composer and contralto, Francesco Maria Rascarini (d. 1706) and some music "specifically for Your Excellency" and awaits his patron's orders.

From the collection of Max Reis.

Slightly creased; partially separated at central fold; edges slightly frayed with minor loss to blank upper portion of first leaf; some bleeding to blank verso of first leaf; slight ink burn to third line of text affecting one word; several small perforations and minor staining to blank second leaf.

In quite good condition overall.

Legrenzi "was one of the most gifted and influential composers of the latter half of the 17th century. Active in most fields of composition, he was an important force in the development of the late Baroque style in northern Italy." When he composed this letter, Legrenzi was the maestro di cappella of the Accademia dello Spirito Santo in Ferrara, "an institution devoted... to the performance of sacred music and oratorios." During his tenure in Ferrara (1656-1665), Legrenzi cultivated a number of indispensable aristocratic connections, the most important of which was with Ippolito Bentivoglio, "who was active in the affairs of the academy, a supporter of opera, librettist for at least two of Legrenzi’s dramatic works and a lifelong patron and friend, who appears to have assisted him in obtaining first performances in Venice in 1664 and Vienna in 1665." Legrenzi wrote numerous letters to Bentivoglio up to 1685. He became vice-maestro di cappella at St. Mark's in Venice in 1681 and maestro di cappella in 1685. Stephen Bonta in Grove Music Online.

"In 1658, while employed at S Petronio, Bologna, [Rascarini] performed the male lead in the Bologna revival of P.A. Ziani's Le fortune di Rodope e Damira. He repeated the role at least three times in the following four years, and in 1659 and 1661 he sang in the Venetian premières of Cavalli's Antioco and Castrovillari's Pasife. From 1662 until his death (except for the period 1691–9) he was contralto di camera to the Dukes of Savoy at Turin, performing alongside the famous castrato G.A. Cavagna... He was a member of the literary Accademia degli Incolti at Turin.... His only surviving works are two cantatas for three voices." Lorenzo Bianconi and Jennifer Williams Brown in Grove Music Online.

Autograph letters of Legrenzi are very rare. Item #25162

Price: $4,800.00  other currencies

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