Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger, „Ein ziemlich extravaganter Mann” (LIM, Lucca 2020)

This first detailed biography of the composer and theorbo player Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger (ca. 1580–1651) provides deep insights in the life of an artist in the first half of the 17th century with plenty of new archival material. Kapsperger, who befriended poets, intellectuals and patrons, spent his his life in Venice, Augsburg, Naples and Rome: At the peak of his career his radically modern compositions formed an important part of the monumental cultural program of pope Urbano VIII Barberini and his family. We meet the elite of this time in Kapsperger’s biography. He was particularly close to the circles around Galileo Galilei: during the months after Galileo’s condemnation and the following upheaval at the Papal court it gets quiet around the Tedesco della tiorba. Spectacular material from newly discovered letters about a young castrato, Kapsperger’s pupil for some months (1647–48), shows the man behind his music — even if a difficult character: as a uomo eminentissimo, ma assai fantastico (a most eminent, but rather extravagant man). This biography aims to provide the basis for a new assessment of the composer and his music.

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