In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Claudio Monteverdi

  • Introduction
  • Reference Works
  • Companions and Collections of Essays
  • Conference Proceedings
  • Performance Practice

Music Claudio Monteverdi
Linda Maria Koldau
  • LAST REVIEWED: 26 February 2013
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 February 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199757824-0015


Claudio Monteverdi (b. 1567–d. 1643) occupies a prominent position in music history. His innovations in musical composition and aesthetics decisively contributed to a fundamental change in the general understanding of music and compositional style. While Monteverdi studies have largely focused on his contribution to the rise of opera as a genre (most notably, the Orfeo of 1607) and on his development of the madrigal, he was equally prominent as church composer. His professional life covers all areas of composition. After his education as singer and instrumentalist at Cremona Cathedral under Marc-Antonio Ingegneri, his professional life was divided into his more-than-twenty-year service as string player and later maestro di cappella at the court of Mantua and the final thirty years in the position of maestro di cappella at St. Mark’s in Venice. His output extant until today covers nine books with madrigals; the operas Orfeo (1607), Arianna (1608, lost except for the famous Lamento d’Arianna), Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (1641), and L’incoronazione di Poppea (1642); the 1610 Vespers of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the collection also contains a polyphonic Mass setting); two voluminous collections with church music composed in Venice; and several smaller collections with various secular and sacred works. A great number of dramatic, sacred, and smaller secular compositions are lost.

Reference Works

Adams and Kiel 1989 represents an older form of bibliography that must be supplemented with the more recent Monteverdi bibliographies. The bibliography Carter and Chew 2010 includes scholarship published up to 1999, and Leopold 2004 is a bibliography that includes scholarship published through 2002. Surprisingly, a catalogue raisonné of Monteverdi’s works has remained a desideratum until today, with Stattkus 1985 offering a first attempt at a complete catalogue, which, however, has not found international acceptance.

  • Adams, K. Gary, and Dyke Kiel. Claudio Monteverdi: A Guide to Research. Garland Reference Library of the Humanities: Composer Resource Manuals 23. New York: Garland, 1989.

    An annotated bibliography of writings about Monteverdi and his music with the main sections Monteverdi’s Works; General Background for Monteverdi Research; Monteverdi’s Life; Studies of Monteverdi’s Music; Monteverdi Today; and three indices (Author Index, Index of Compositions by Monteverdi, General Index of Proper Names). Cutoff date is 1986; the guide is not complete and should be used with the bibliographies named below as well as in Fabbri 1994, cited under Continuation and Development.

  • Carter, Tim, and Geoffrey Chew. “Monteverdi, Claudio: Bibliography.” In Grove Music Online. 2010.

    An extensive yet uncommented scholarly bibliography up to 1999, covering a broad range of subjects divided into categories and integrating a considerable amount of the older Monteverdi literature. Entries are primarily in English, Italian, and German, but there are also “life-and-works” monographs from other countries listed.

  • Leopold, Silke. “Claudio Monteverdi: Bibliographie.” Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart: Personenteil 12 (2004): 413–421.

    The most recent extensive bibliography covering most aspects of Monteverdi scholarship up to 2003. The bibliography is international, reflecting the dominance of Anglo-American and, to a lesser degree, Italian and German, research on Monteverdi.

  • Stattkus, Manfred H. Claudio Monteverdi: Verzeichnis der erhaltenen Werke; Kleine Ausgabe. Bergkamen, West Germany: Musikverlag Stattkus, 1985.

    The only existing Catalogue raisonné of Monteverdi’s works. Though used by some scholars, the somewhat cumbersome Stattkus-Verzeichnis has not become accepted as a tool in international Monteverdi scholarship. The intended larger edition with incipits has never been published. Abridged version also available.

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