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Claudio Monteverdi

1567-1643. “Creator of modern music.” Perhaps the greatest musical genius of his generation, he excelled in all the musical forms of his day. If not an innovator, he had the ability to seize on new ideas and modes of musical expression and bring them to fruition. He composed church music both in the older Renaissance style (prima prattica) and in the new Baroque style (secunda prattica) with its freer use of dissonance and chromaticism, and he defended his methods eloquently in print against his critics. He succeeded Giovanni Gabrieli at St. Mark's in Venice, where Heinrich Schütz returned, a mature composer, to learn further from him. Much of his exciting church music had just recently been explored. In the secular field, he was the last great madrigalist and the first great writer of opera.