Vincenzo Calestani is listed as an obscure Italian vocal composer, but his slender list of surviving works contains some of the most attractive and formally interesting music of the time.
Almost nothing is known of his life. Whether or not he was related to a Girolamo Calestani, another Lucca-born composer of the time, is unestablished. It is known that he was a music singer and accompanist to Isabella Mastiani, a member of a leadingRead more family of Pisa, because he said so in the preface to his one known publication, a book of madrigals and arias for one or two voices and continuo.
The volume gives reason to think that he was associated with the Knights of St. Stephens, and he was likely also associated with the Medici court in some way.
His book of madrigals (published in 1617 and the lasts documentation of Calestani's life) includes 28 works by himself. One of them, Arde, misera, il core, is cited as a fine example of the solo madrigal. Calestani wrote exquisitely applied decorations to his vocal lines, applied popular dance rhythms to his writing, and shaped the music into pleasing formal shapes including, in the strophic songs, ritornellos that are variations on the main themes. His best known song is Damifella, Tutta bells, with a remarkable hemiola and unusually sensuous and sophisticated qualities for the time. Read less
There are 4 Vincenzo Calestani recordings available.