Ludovico Balbi (1545-1604)
Ecclesiasticae Cantiones, Venezia, Angelo Gardano, 1578
When Ludovico Balbi published the Ecclesiasticae Cantiones in 1578 printed in Venice by AngeloGardano, he was about thirty- three years old. In fact, a year later, his teacher Costanzo Porta woulddescribe him in a letter as «a man of about thirty-four». He was a successful musician who had already published at least a collection of madrigals, alsoprinted by Angelo Gardano in 1570 in Venice, where Balbi was a cantor at San Marco as is writtenon the title page. When Ludovico Balbi wrote the Ecclesiasticae Cantiones he was at the height of his career as isevident from reading the title page of his second book of madrigals published in 1576, dedicatedto the molto magnifico signor Luche, englese (illustrious Mr. Luche, Englishman) where Balbi is referredto as «maestro di capella d’i fra minori della cha grande» (chapel-master of the great convent ofthe Friar Minors). This is also confirmed in a document dated 30th December 15771, where he iscalled former chapel-master of the Frari, perhaps alluding to a possible move to Padua that was tohappen only years later. The Ecclesiasticae Cantiones of 1578 form the first important collection of sacred polyphonies by Ludovico Balbi, opening his composition career which ends with the Psalmi ad Vesperas canendi perannum published in 1594. The Ecclesiasticae Cantiones contain twenty-one motets for cantus, altus,tenor and bassus on Proprium Missae texts, three for each of the four Dominicae Adventus (AdventSundays) and for the three Sundays in Septuagesima, in Sexuagesima and in Quinquagesima.