Jacopo da Bologna

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Born: circa 1315; Bologna, Italy    Died: circa 1386; Aragon, Spain  
An Italian composer and theorist, Jacopo da Bologna exerted a profound influence on the major figures of fourteenth century Italian music (known as Trecento music). Thirty-four vocal compositions can be securely attributed to him, including the earliest-known three-part, non-canonic Italian madrigals. His madrigal Non al suo amante is the only extant musical setting of a poem by the great Petrarch (1304-1374) by a contemporary. Jacopo is also the Read more author of a treatise on mensural notation in the French manner, L'arte del biscanto misurato secondo el maestro Jacopo da Bologna.

Although he held important positions in powerful courts, no biographical documents have survived. Only the barest information can be gleaned from references to living persons and events in his songs. He was apparently employed by the Visconti family of Milan from 1339 to 1360, save for a brief period spent at the court of Mastino II della Scala in Verona, around 1350. He left no traces after 1360, although the court of Aragon in Spain employed a dancing master of the same name between 1378 and 1386.

The texts of Jacopo's songs depict courtly matters and events. Several of his contemporaries, primarily Giovanni da Cascia and Piero, wrote songs with near-identical subject matter (composers were apparently competing with each other for courtly favors!). The copious references to living persons found therein establishes a fairly reliable chronology of Jacopo's works.

Jacopo composed at a time when polyphonic techniques were in their infancy. His musical settings show a clear stylistic evolution over the years, indicating a conscious effort to develop and refine his craft. The early madrigals, mostly in two parts, are characteristic of "primitive" polyphony: quasi-improvisational writing containing many perfect consonances over a plodding tenor, mostly in long notes. The three-part writing from this period is rudimentary at best, with two upper voices in parallel motion above the tenor. The polyphony of his later works shows much greater control and sophistication. The voices are more balanced and independent, motivically related through improved imitative techniques. More attention is paid, too, to the overall shape of the piece, with carefully worked-out formal divisions which underline the text.

Manuscript evidence indicates that his works were widely circulated in northern Italy and Tuscany, and highly regarded long after his death. His ideal of melodic suavity, his refined artistry, and theoretical scholarship were immensely influential throughout the fourteenth century. Read less
Browse 1-12 of 12 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Con voce quasi humana / Donadini, Ensemble Perlaro
    Label: Raum Klang   Catalog: RK3501 Release Date: 06/02/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Landini,  Anonymous,  Jacopo da Bologna,  Giovanni da Firenze  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorenza Donadini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Perlaro
    CD: $19.99
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  • 2.
    Eagles & Seven Tears / Bruggen, Bassano Quartet
    Label: Aliud   Catalog: 87 Release Date: 03/04/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Henry Purcell,  John Dowland,  John Taverner  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Brüggen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bassano Quartet
    CD: $17.99
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  • 3.
    The Garden With Countless Windows
    Label: Lindoro   Catalog: 3012 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Ciconia,  Guillaume Dufay,  Anonymous,  Jacopo da Bologna  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ĆroDynamic
    CD: $17.99
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  • 4.
    La Bella Mandorla / Palatino87
    Label: Cpo   Catalog: 777623 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Donato Da Firenze,  Francesco Landini,  Donato da Cascia,  Vincenzo da Rimini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Palatino87
    CD: $17.99
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  • 5.
    Early Music Recordings Of Ensemble Unicorn, Vol. 1
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8505230 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Blanche of Castile,  Alfons X (El Sabio),  King of Navarre Thibaut  ... 
    Performer:  Bernhard Landauer,  Belinda Sykes,  Marco Ambrosini,  Maria D. Lafitte  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Posch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Unicorn,  Ensemble Oni Wytars
    CD: $48.99
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  • 6.
    A Meeting Place - Medieval & Renaissance Music For Lute & Ud /  Denhard, Beken
    Label: Sono Luminus   Catalog: 92133 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Joan Ambrosio Dalza,  Anonymous,  Diego Ortiz  ... 
    Performer:  Munir Nurettin Beken,  August Denhard
    CD: $17.99
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  • 7.
    Svso In Italia Bella - Jacopo Da Bologna / Ella De' Micovich, La Reverdie
    Label: Arcana   Catalog: 320 Release Date: 05/21/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacopo da Bologna,  Rudolf von Fenis,  Uc de Saint Circ,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  Elisabetta de' Mircovich,  Livia Caffagni,  Doron David Sherwin,  Ella de' Mircovich  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble La Reverdie
    CD: $18.99
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  • 8.
    O Cieco Mondo - The Italian Lauda C1400-1700 / Huelgas Ensemble
    Label: Dhm Deutsche Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 7865 Release Date: 05/30/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Vincenzo Ruffo,  Jacopo da Bologna,  Francesco Landini  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 9.
    Music For A Medieval Banquet / Newberry Consort
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 3957038 Release Date: 05/08/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Zachara Teramo,  Bartolino da Padova,  Johannes Ciconia,  Francesco Landini  ... 
    Performer:  Judith Malafronte,  Drew Minter
    Conductor:  Mary Springfels
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Newberry Consort
    CD: $7.99
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  • 10.
    Early Music - Codex Faenza / Posch, Ensemble Unicorn
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8553618 Release Date: 07/28/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Jacopo da Bologna,  Guillaume de Machaut,  Francesco Landini
    Performer:  Norbert Zeilberger,  Marco Ambrosini,  Thomas Wimmer,  Michael Posch  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Posch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Unicorn
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    CD: $11.49
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  • 11.
    Douce Dame / Michael Jaffee, Waverly Consort
    Label: Vanguard   Catalog: 8201 Release Date: 07/29/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Guillaume de Machaut,  Jacopo da Bologna
    Conductor:  Michael Jaffee
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Waverly Consort
    CD: $10.99
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  • 12.
    Landini And His Time / Ensemble Alba Musica Kyo
    Label: Channel Classics   Catalog: 5793 Release Date: 01/01/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Landini,  Anonymous,  Jacopo da Bologna,  Matteo da Perugia  ... 
    Performer:  Toyohiko Satoh,  Chiyomi Yamada,  Taka Kitazato,  Hiroshi Fukuzawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alba Musica Kyo Ensemble
    CD: $20.99
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