Adrian Willaert

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Born: 1490; Bruges, Belgium   Died: December 7, 1562; Venice, Italy  
The most influential Franco-Flemish composer of the so-called "Post-Josquin" generation, and the founder of the Venetian school at San Marco that would shine well into the next century, Adrian Willaert was born in historical obscurity, somewhere near the end of the fifteenth century. Even the location of his birth remains uncertain, with conflicting information given by two contemporary witnesses. His pupil, the music theorist Giuseffo Zarlino, Read more claims Willaert went from the Netherlands to Paris as a young man to enroll in a course of law at the famed University, but instead began musical training under the composer Jean Mouton, member of the French Royal Chapel. Zarlino relates another charming anecdote about Adrian's precocious talent: apparently on the occasion of Willaert's first visit to the Papal Chapel (possibly in 1514 or 1515), the singers were performing a motet of Willaert's, and assuming it to be the work of the great Josquin Desprez.

As early as October 1514, an agent of Cardinal Ippolito I d'Este, brother of Alfonso the Duke of Ferrara, hired the young Willaert in Rome. He entered service to the Ferrarese ruling family by July 1515 at the latest, and received formal appointment to the Este Cardinal's household in April 1516. In addition to singing in the Cardinal's private chapel, Willaert ably plied his compositional talents -- his music appears in several early Italian manuscripts of the 1510s and 1520s, as well as in printed anthologies by Andrea Antico and Ottaviano Petrucci. Willaert's service to the well-traveled Cardinal also provided him with international contacts. He followed Ippolito on a trip to Hungary in 1517 and may have visited as far as Kraków on this voyage; a later motet may have been intended to honor the coronation of the Emperor Ferdinand I as King of Hungary. After Cardinal Ippolito's death in 1520, Willaert entered the service of his brother the Duke. His patronage by the powerful Este family seems to have cemented the foundations of Willaert's Italian career. This relationship lasted even after his departure for Venice; Duke Alfonso is said to have personally visited Willaert's bed of convalescence (likely from his later chronic attacks of gout) while on a state visit.

Andrea Gritti, the Doge of Venice, intervened in the deliberations at San Marco, urging that Willaert be hired as maestro di capella for the Venetian cathedral. Adrian served in this capacity from December 1527 through the remainder of his life. He encountered there a strong choral establishment of some 16 singers, and built San Marco's music program to one famous throughout Christendom. Among those who came to Venice to learn from Willaert are the eminent theoreticians Zarlino and Nicola Vicentino, and a host of famous composers, including Cipriano de Rore, Constanzo Porta, and Andrea Gabrieli (uncle of Giovanni). Correnspondence written to Willaert by other Italian theorists, important new publication releases, and even cathedral decrees appointing choirboys to the specific tasks of copying and maintaining his compositions for San Marco attest to his continuing compositional life. His salary was significantly increased several times, and his will left the considerable sum of 1,600 ducats to his wife. Contrary to popular myth (fed by Zarlino's adoration of his master, the "Divine Adriano"), Willaert did not "invent" the Venetian antiphonal practice of cori spezzati. He did, however, by the consistent exercise of his musical brilliance in this rich state for 35 years, set the stage for the splendor of Venetian music from Gabrieli to Monteverdi. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 56 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Di guerra e di pace / La Pifarescha
    Label: Glossa   Catalog: 923901 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Moritz von Hessen-Kassel,  Pierre Phalčse,  Josquin Des Préz,  Adrian Willaert  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Pifarescha
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  • 2.
    Masterworks and Miniatures: Organ and Harpsichord Music from Renaissance Venice / Lester
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 5931 Release Date: 10/02/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioseffo Guami,  Andrea Gabrieli,  Giovanni Gabrieli,  Claudio Merulo  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Lester
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  • 3.
    Frottole - Popular Songs of Renaissance Italy / Ring Around Quartet
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8573320 Release Date: 05/12/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Adrian Willaert,  Michele Pesenti,  Joan Ambrosio Dalza  ... 
    Performer:  Giuliano Lucini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ring Around Quartet
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  • 4.
    Stille Nacht... / Gronostay, RIAS Kammerchor
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 97711 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Adrian Willaert,  Thomas Stoltzer,  Ludwig Senfl,  Leonhard Schröter  ... 
    Conductor:  Uwe Gronostay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus
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  • 5.
    The Mission / Bennett, Norwegian Wind Ensemble, Nordic Voices
    Label: Lawo Classics   Catalog: 1061 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Juan Arańés,  Juan Hidalgo,  Francisco Salinas  ... 
    Conductor:  Mark Bennett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norwegian Wind Ensemble
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  • 6.
    Music For Van Dyck - Chansons And Madrigals From The 16th & The 20th C. / Ring Around Quartet
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802171 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Clément Janequin,  Ennio Morricone,  Josquin Des Préz,  Orlando de Lassus  ... 
    Performer:  Silvio [Bass Vocal] Papini
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  • 7.
    Le Chant De Virgile / Van Nevel, Huelgas Ensemble
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 1951739 Release Date: 02/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Josquin Des Préz,  Jean Mouton,  Marbrianus de Orto,  Ludwig Senfl  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
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  • 8.
    Scenes From The Gospels - Motets From Josquin To Palestrina / Vivavoce
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 22695 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nicolas Gombert,  Adrian Willaert,  Pierre De Manchicourt,  Giovanni Palestrina  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Schubert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vivavoce
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  • 9.
    A Commodo De Virtuosi
    Label: Ligia   Catalog: 301112 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Ciconia,  Vincenzo Ruffo,  Costanzo Festa,  Adrian Willaert  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Landini Consort
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  • 10.
    Antonio de Cabezon: Obras de Musica
    Label: Ricercar   Catalog: 335 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio De Cabezón,  Phillippe Verdelot,  Orlando de Lassus,  Claude de Sermisy  ... 
    Conductor:  Denis Raisin-Dadre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Doulce Mémoire
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  • 11.
    The Birth Of The Violin / Le Miroir De Musique
    Label: Ricercar   Catalog: 333 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacob Obrecht,  Josquin Des Préz,  Johannes Ghiselin,  Johannes Regis  ... 
    Conductor:  Baptiste Romain
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Miroir de Musique
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  • 12.
    Willaert: Musica Nova - The Motets / Singer Pur
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 835 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Adrian Willaert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Singer Pur
    CD: $39.99
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  • 13.
    Codaex Tarasconi Diminuito
    Label: Passacaille   Catalog: 983 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Palestrina,  Josue Melendez,  Adrian Willaert,  Orlando de Lassus  ... 
    Performer:  Javier Nunez,  Catherine Motuz,  Josue Melendez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Fedeli
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  • 14.
    Willaert: Chansons; Madrigali; Villanel / Malfeyt, Romanesque
    Label: Ricercar   Catalog: 331 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Adrian Willaert,  Pierre Attaingnant,  Giovanni Antonio Terzi,  Antonio De Cabezón  ... 
    Performer:  Philippe Malfeyt,  Hannelore Devaere,  Bart Coen,  Sophie Watillon  ... 
    Conductor:  Philippe Malfeyt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Romanesque
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  • 15.
    Storie Di Napoli / Marco Beasley, Guido Morini, Accordone
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 532 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Andrea Falconieri,  Traditional,  Guido Morini,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  Marco Beasley
    Conductor:  Guido Morini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accordone
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  • 16.
    Croce: Missa Sopra La Battaglia / Gemmani, Cappella Marciana
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802139 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Croce,  Adrian Willaert,  Andrea Gabrieli,  Giovanni Gabrieli  ... 
    Conductor:  Marco Gemmani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella Marciana
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  • 17.
    Vinum Et Musica / Dominique Visse, Capella De La Torre
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72544 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Robert Morton,  Arnold von Bruck,  Salomone Rossi  ... 
    Performer:  Katharina Bauml
    Conductor:  Dominique Visse
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella de la Torre
    CD: $17.99
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  • 18.
    Adriaen Willaert: Vespro Della Beata Vergine
    Label: Ricercar   Catalog: 325 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Annibale Padovano,  Adrian Willaert
    Performer:  Joris Verdin
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  • 19.
    Music From The Spanish Kingdoms
    Label: Crd Records   Catalog: 3447 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Juan del Encina,  Joan Albert Amargós,  Alonso Hernandez,  Anonymous  ... 
    Conductor:  Nancy Hadden
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Circa 1500
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  • 20.
    L'Italie Renaissance / Dadre, Doulce Memoire
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5303 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Baldassar Castiglione,  Lorenzo Il Magnifico,  Cristóbal de Morales,  Various  ... 
    Performer:  Denis Raisin-Dadre,  Pascale Boquet
    Conductor:  Denis Raisin-Dadre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Doulce Mémoire,  Doulce Mémoire
    CD: $34.99
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  • 21.
    Canzoni Villanesche - Neapolitan Love Songs Of The 16th Century
    Label: Accent   Catalog: 24268 Release Date: 05/15/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Tomaso Cimello,  Orlando de Lassus,  Vincenzo Fontana  ... 
    Conductor:  Roberto Festa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Daedalus Ensemble
    CD: $24.99
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  • 22.
    La Declinaison De La Femme / Encantar
    Label: Phaedra   Catalog: 92069 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Josquin Des Préz,  Pierre de La Rue,  Costanzo Festa,  Francesco Spinacino  ... 
    Performer:  Floris De Rycker,  Sofie Vanden Eynde,  Kerlijne Van Nevel,  Sarah Abrams  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Encantar
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  • 23.
    Vivat Leo! Music For A Medici Pope
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72366 Release Date: 02/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Andreas De Silva,  Adrian Willaert,  Johannes de la Fage,  Jean Mouton  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella Pratensis
    SuperAudio CD: $18.99
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  • 24.
    Willaert: Missa Mente Tota, Motets / Cinquecento
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67749 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Adrian Willaert,  Josquin Des Préz,  Cypriano de Rore
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cinquecento
    CD: $18.99
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  • 25.
    Recorders Greate & Smale / Mezzaluna
    Label: Ramee   Catalog: 907 Release Date: 05/11/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Augustine Bassano,  Alfonso (II) Ferrabosco,  Luca Marenzio,  Giovanni Ferretti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mezzaluna
    CD: $18.99
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