Settimia Caccini

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Settimia Caccini (6 October 1591 – ca. 1638, Italy) was a well-known Italian singer and composer during the 1600s being one of the first women to have a successful career in music. Caccini was highly regarded for her artistic and technical work with music. Settimia comes from a family of well-known composers and singers, with her father being Giulio Caccini one of the more famed composers of this time known for helping to establish monodic music. This type of music opposed traditional music then, by having expressive melodies and evocative chords. As well as her father being into music she also had an older sister who was a famous composer of the time. Although she is not as well known as her sister, Francesca Caccini, mostly due to the fact Settimia never published any of her own music composed pieces of music. Instead she was known much more for her talent as a singer, who sang for nobility across Italy. It is thought that she did compose her own music but instead of publishing and releasing it to be performed instead she kept it for herself for her to perform in private. One of her pieces eventually did get published once she had passed. Coming from a family full of talent her works are not as well known as her sister's compositions but nonetheless she was able to lead herself to her own fame and success.[1]

Life[edit]

Settimia Caccini was born on October 6, 1591 in Florence Italy, as mentioned before. Her father was a famous and popular composer in Italy, basically creating a new genre of early music. At a young age her father taught her about music and composition. Her mother, Lucia Gagnolanti, was a singer as well yet she died when Settimia was a young age. Settimia was the youngest child of three. Her sister, Francesca, who was mentioned before also became quite a renowned composer, and she had an older brother, Pompeo Caccini, who was a singer.[2] The Caccini family lived, breathed, and worked a musical life style. Her growing up in a household of musicians, led her to learn and master music at such a young age that it later led to her fame and her own success. This being common that most families did pass an entire career to each member of the family.[3] Her being young and being taught in the field of music at such a young age, pretty much ensured she would be a more educated than others in her time period. Her father Giulio was employed by the Medici family, who ruled over much of Florence. Giulio passed down much of his career in to his family, he involved them in his music and even formed a singing family band. While working there Giulio was introduced to Concerto delle donne, a group of professional female singers hired by the court of Ferrara.[4] It is presumed that Giulio persuaded the Concerto Delle Donne to train his daughters to sing in the same manner as they did, instead of singing solo which was widely popular at the time Giulio insisted they were trained to sing as a group performance.[5] Settimia and her sister were thought to perform and some of their father's performances. Both Settimia and Francesca sang soprano.[6] The main event that the family sang was in 1600 being her father's famous opera Il rapimento di Cefalo, for the wedding of Maria de’ Medici and Henry IV of France.[7] Both Settimia and her sister grew up living very similar lives, performing together and learning how to sing and compose music together at the Medici theater. As mentioned, her family were a singing group known as Il Concerto Caccini.[8] The family soon went their separate ways each fulfilling their own music career, Francesca and Settimia being the two daughters of Guilo led similar but parallel lives. Settimia's first big stardom alone was in 1608 she went to Mantua, where she sang the role of Venus, soprano, in Monteverdi's opera Arianna.[9] During all of her success Settimia was offered many arranged marriages and employment offers, one being from the court of Mantua and from Enzo Bentivoglio in Rome.[10] She turned down the arrange marriage, which is quite common during this time, for marriage was on enforced on two people if both consented.[11] Instead in 1609 Settimia decided to marry singer and composer Alessandro Ghivazzani[. Once they got married they left the Court of Medici and Florence, to go to Lucca where Alessandro Ghivazzani was from.[12] Her marrying Alessandro Ghivazzani put her in a position to be overlooked, she was seen to be the subordinate underneath him.[13] This is not too surprising considering the time period, men took the lead and controlled most of everything when is came to careers.[14] Although, Settimia was acknowledged for her own personal performance when it came to singing her being with Alessandro could explain why some of her work was never composed by her. Settimia and Alessandro usually were always employed by the same employer, meaning that she could be able to have a successful singing career but could never break away from underneath her husband. Their work was always place to place across Italy being compared to an unstable life style perhaps to all the traveling that was done by the couple.[15] Settimia lived this life style until her husband died, which the exact year of that is up to debate but somewhere between 1630 - 1636. After Alessandro's death Sattimia returned to Florence where she was offered a position on the Florentine court.[16] She remained on the court until her death sometime around 1638 to 1640, it's hard to say exactly when she passed because there are court documents that have her name on it until 1660, but that is generally assumed to be in dealing with her daughter, not her.[17]

Career and Works[edit]

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Settimia is mostly known for starring and performing other composers Arias and in operas, she was a very well known and highly looked upon singer by her contingents. She was an active composer but none of her work was published by herself or while she was alive. She has quite a few pieces but most of them are lost to historians.[18] She started composing music at a young age in 1611 she composed her own piece for the carnival, Mascherate delle Ninfe della Senna, which one was one of the many masked carnivals in Venice.[19] For the most part her career was performing for high nobility and royalty. She sang for Henry IV, the king of France, with her sister when she was younger. When she was older she was employed at the court of Duke Ferdinando Gonzaga at Mantua with her husband in 1613. The Gonzaga family were a powerful family in Mantua at the time, there are pay records indicating that she was valued highly because of the high pay she received.[20] Next the duo found service in Parma under the service of Cardinal Farnese in 1622.[21] In 1628 Sattimia was sought after by revolutionary composer Claudio Monteverdi Claudio Monteverdi in Parma. Monteverdi approached her to perform his arias in his opera L'Orfeo for the Parma Festival. Where Monteverdi stated Sattimia sang the arias with "superhuman grace and angelic voice".[22] Sattimia was known jumping to place to place for work across Italy, mostly due to her traveling and working with her husband. After he died, Settimia joined the Florentine Court where pay records shows she was paid well and remained there until she died.[23] Since Settimia didn't publish any of her music most of it was lost, only eight pieces survived, all of which are arias.[24] These pieces of music have expressive melodies and are usually done by single singers, perfect for her to sing for herself. She most likely composed this type of music due to her father being really fluent with this type of genre of music. She could have had no interest in publishing her music for the public, instead she could have used it just for personal use. Some of her arias are now published as piano arias, as this book 4 Arias. Her most famous piece that was published was a 3 line aria called Gia sperai non spero hor piu, was published in a 17th-century collection of historic music.[25] Though she didn't release her own music show it makes one wonder how successful she might have been if she been able to publish her own music. Even without releasing any of her own music at the time she still was one of the earliest women to have such a successful music career, due to her stunning and magnificent voice she was able to perform for people in the upper and nobility class.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Britannica Biographies. 
  2. ^ Settimia Caccini, hoasm, VA: Monody and the Vocal Concerto
  3. ^ JUDITH M. BENNETT, ELIZABETH A. CLARK, JEAN F. O'BARR, B. ANNE VILEN,(1989) Sisters and Workers in the Middle Ages
  4. ^ Britannica Biographies. 
  5. ^ Rebecca, C. (2012). Caccini, Settimia. Britannica Biographies, 1.
  6. ^ Indiana University Press, Jun 18, 2004 - Music - 96 pages ,Francesca Caccini's Il primo libro delle musiche of 1618: A Modern Critical Edition of the Secular Monodies
  7. ^ Rebecca, C. (2012). Caccini, Settimia. Britannica Biographies, 1.
  8. ^ Bobb Edwards.(2007), findagrave, Settimia Caccini
  9. ^ leonarda
  10. ^ hoasm
  11. ^ Joanne M. Ferraro(2001), Marriage Wars in Late Renaissance Venice, Oxford University Press
  12. ^ Britannica Biographies. 
  13. ^ Leonarda,La Musica: 16th &17th Century Composers & Julie Kabat
  14. ^ JUDITH M. BENNETT, ELIZABETH A. CLARK, JEAN F. O'BARR, B. ANNE VILEN,(1989) Sisters and Workers in the Middle Ages
  15. ^ Settimia Caccini, hoasm, VA: Monody and the Vocal Concerto
  16. ^ Rebecca, C. (2012). Caccini, Settimia. Britannica Biographies, 1.
  17. ^ Settimia Caccini, hoasm, VA: Monody and the Vocal Concerto
  18. ^ Rebecca, C. (2012). Caccini, Settimia. Britannica Biographies, 1.
  19. ^ Settimia Caccini, hoasm, VA: Monody and the Vocal Concerto
  20. ^ Britannica Biographies. 
  21. ^ Settimia Caccini, hoasm, VA: Monody and the Vocal Concerto
  22. ^ Cambridge University Press. The Cambridge Companion to Monteverdi. 2007. 
  23. ^ Britannica Biographies. 
  24. ^ Britannica Biographies. 
  25. ^ Leonarda,La Musica: 16th &17th Century Composers & Julie Kabat

Bibliography[edit]

Jackson, B. (1991). Musical women of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In, Collected Work: Women and music: A history. Published by: Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1991. ISBN 978-0-253-34321-5; 0-253-34321-6.; Published by: Indianapolis, IN, United States: Indiana University Press,

Stras, L. (2003). Musical portraits of female musicians at the northern Italian courts in the 1570s.

Rebecca, C. (2012). Caccini, Settimia. Britannica Biographies, 1.

Settimia Caccini. (2016). In Encyclopædia Britannica.

Martha Furman Schleifer;  Sylvia Glickman, Women Composers music through the ages. Vol. 1, Composers born before 1599.

JUDITH M. BENNETT, ELIZABETH A. CLARK, JEAN F. O'BARR, B. ANNE VILEN,(1989) Sisters and Workers in the Middle Ages

Indiana University Press, Jun 18, 2004 - Music - 96 pages, Francesca Caccini's Il primo libro delle musiche of 1618: A Modern Critical Edition of the Secular Monodies

Joanne M. Ferraro(2001), Marriage Wars in Late Renaissance Venice, Oxford University Press