Born: 1575; Monte Pelusio, Italy
Died: December 31, 1647; Naples, Italy
Giovanni Maria Trabaci was an organist and highly prolific composer whose keyboard works were ahead of their time, bridging the gap between the late Renaissance and the early Baroque. He was born in 1575 and in 1594 was appointed a tenor singer in Naples at the church of SS Annunziata. Nothing about his life in the intervening years is known. In 1601, he came into the service of the Spanish viceroys in Naples as principal organist in the royalRead more chapel; when their maestro di cappella Giovanni de Macque died in 1614, Trabaci rose to that position and remained there until his own death in 1647. He also served the Capoa di Balzo family from 1603-1611, and dedicated his first volume of keyboard music (1603) to them, "in whose house the splendour of music shines brightly."
Trabaci's music ranged across most of the styles and genres then current in Rome, both secular and sacred. It was conservative and simple, often little more than functional music in homophonic or chordal style. There are some important exceptions, however: notable are his sacred motets, which may show the influence of Gesualdo's Cantiones Sacrae in their wandering modulations and abstract manner. Much more significant are his bold works for harpsichord, which prefigure in fundamental ways the music of the great Frescobaldi; Trabaci's keyboard works are his most adventurous and influential accomplishments and are some of the very earliest in Baroque keyboard music. His collection published in 1615 also includes what are perhaps the first-ever truly chromatic (i.e. modulating) pieces for harpsichord. Read less