He was a priest and composer of the Roman School of
Composers born in Rome, Italy.
He began his musical life as a chorister in the choir school at S.
Luigi dei Francesi in Rome and he stayed there until his voice broke in
1596. He returned to the choir
in 1600 as a contralto and studied music with Palestrina's friend, Giovanni
Maria Nanini, and because it was already decided that he would enter the
church, he received a benefice from Fermo Cathedral. He composed several pieces while at
the cathedral and they came to the notice of Pope Urban VIII who got him
accepted into the Sistine Chapel choir in Rome. He became one of the first known composers for a string ensemble
that has led to it being thought that he may have written one of the first ever
string quartets. Most of his
music that was published was in a "Baroque concertato style". His compositions include two
volumes of concerti for five voices, two volumes of motets for six voices,
two settings of Lamentations of Jeremiah, five masses and a four-part
sinfonia, but by far the most well known and most regularly performed is
the composition for a five-part a capella choir, Miserere. After spending most of his life in
Rome he died there in 1652 aged 70.
Kings College Choir/Cleobury - EMI 5 75877 2
The Choir of King's College, Cambridge - Sir
David Willcocks; Roy Goodman, treble - Decca 466 075-2