LEONETTI GIOVANNI (1570-1600)
Il primo Libro de Madrigali a 5 voci, Venezia, 1617 - Missarum octonis vocibus liber primus, Venezia, 1617
The Primo Libro de’ Madrigali a Cinque voci and the Missarum octonis vocibus liber primus, both composed by Giovan Battista Leonetti (Crema, 1575-1630), were printed in Venice by the publisher G. Vincenti in 1617. The first collection is dedicated to Federico Cavalli who, as podesta in Crema from 1614 to 1616, would have had been closely connected to Francesco Cavalli. The second was instead dedicated to Tommaso Rossi, Augustinian monk at the Osservanza Eremitana in Lombardy, and it was at Rossi’s monastery of S. Agostino in Crema that Leonetti was then employed as organist. Given its particular geographic location at the extreme edge of the Venetian Republic but in Lombard territory, Crema maintained close ties with its neighboring cities, ties strengthened by interfamily relationships, mobility among the noble and religious classes, and commercial exchanges involving Venice, Genoa and Flanders. The process of "aristocratization" and the conferral in 1580 of Diocese status on this city of 8000 inhabitants favored, on the one hand, the promotion of traditional local patronage, though this would later decline partly because of the establishment of the academies (in 1614 the Accademia dei Sospinti was founded). On the other hand, these developments led to a redefining of the traditional relationships among the religious centers active within the city. Crema’s new openness enriched and broadened its musical awareness, and the works of Leonetti give witness to this development. His collections provide a sort of ideal panorama of the musical auctoritates of the time, citing or emulating Claudio Monteverdi, Carlo Gesualdo Principe di Venosa, Giovanni Gabrieli, Pierluigi da Palestrina, and, in the background, Luca Marenzio, Claudio Merulo and Andrea Gabrieli, among others.