1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cavaliere, Emilio del

CAVALIERE, EMILIO DEL, 16th-century Italian musical composer, was born in Rome about 1550 of a noble family. He held a post at the court of Ferdinand I. of Tuscany from 1588 to 1597, and during his residence at Florence was on terms of intimacy with J. Peri, O. Rinuccini, G. Caccini and the rest of the Bardi circle. In 1597 he returned to Rome, and became connected with the Congregation of the Oratory founded by St Philip Neri. Here in 1600 was performed Cavaliere’s contribution to the musical reformation initiated by his circle of friends in Florence—La Rappresentazione di Anima e di Corpo, a sacred drama, which is regarded as the first example of what is now called oratorio. It is generally supposed that he was no longer living when the work was performed, but some authorities assign 1602 as the date of his death.

Cavaliere’s style is more facile than that of Peri and Caccini, but he is inferior to them in depth of musical expression. He is, however, important as being the first to apply the new monodic style to sacred music, and as the founder of the Roman school of the 17th century which included Mazzocchi, Carissimi and Alessandro Scarlatti.

See also H. Goldschmidt, Studien zur Geschichte der italienischen Oper im 17. Jahrhundert, Band i.