Circa 1507-1568
Jacob Arcadelt
portrait
The Lute Player, by Caravaggio (reading music by Arcadelt)

Arcadelt was a Fran­co-Flem­ish composer of the Re­nais­sance, active in both It­a­ly and France, and principally known for writing secular vocal music. Although he also wrote sacred vocal music, he was one of the most famous of the early composers of madrigals; his first book of madrigals, published within a decade of the appearance of the earliest examples of the form, was the most widely printed collection of madrigals of the entire era.

In addition to his work as a madrigalist, and distinguishing him from the other prominent early composers of madrigals—Phil­ippe Ver­de­lot and Co­stan­zo Fes­ta—he was equally prolific and adept at composing chansons, particularly late in his career when he lived in Par­is.

Arcadelt was the most influential member of the early phase of madrigal composition, the classic phase; it was through his publications, more than those of any other composer, that the madrigal became known outside Italy. Later composers considered Ar­ca­delt’s style to represent an ideal; later reprints of his first madrigal book were often used for teaching, with reprints appearing more than a century after its original publication.

  1. Arcadelt