Martini, Giambattista

Martini, Giambattista best known under the title of "Padre Martini," was born at Bologna in 1706. Early in youth he entered the Order of St. Francis, and, prompted by a spirit of inquiry and love of antiquity, soon set out on travels which he extended to Asia. On his return to Europe, he devoted himself to the study of music under the celebrated Ant. Perti. In 1723 he became maestro di capella of the convent of his order, which office he retained till his death in 1784. "He was," says Dr. Burney, who knew him well, "regarded during the last fifty years of his life as the most profound harmonist, and the best acquainted with the art and science of music, in Italy. All the great masters of his time were ambitious of becoming his disciples and proud of his approbation." Martini was also a composer, and produced much music for the Church, which was formerly held in esteem. His sixty canons in the unison, for two, three, and four voices, are still known, and admired for their smoothness and grace. His reputation depends, however, mainly on his Essay on Counterpoint (Bologna, 1774, 2 vols. folio), and on his History of Music (1781, 3 vols. 4to). See English Cyclo s.v.

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