‹‹ JSCM Home

Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music

Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music

‹‹ Table of Contents
Volume 19 (2013) No. 1

Published 2017

Francesco Foggia (1603–88): A Biography

Stephen R. Miller*


Though Francesco Foggia ranks among the most prolifically published composers of seventeenth-century Italian music, particularly in the realm of liturgical music, his life, works, and institutional activities in Rome have remained little known until recently. The kind of biographical data that have made possible monographs on other musicians active in Rome such as Frescobaldi, Corelli, Atto Melani, or Alessandro Scarlatti have to this point been lacking. Discoveries by a number of scholars in recent decades, however, have considerably enriched our understanding and appreciation of Foggia’s accomplishments. The present article offers—for the first time in the English literature—the correct year of Foggia’s birth, his family’s background and names of relatives, his dynastic and financial ambitions, definite evidence of his family’s heraldry, the contexts for specific compositions, and the general contour of his publications. Other themes include the role married daughters played in confirming bonds between male musicians and Foggia’s success at minimizing tension between the Congregazione dei Musici (the musicians’ guild of Rome) and the Cappella Pontificia. Foggia stands as musician-factotum of the Seicento in the Eternal City.

1. Introduction: New Contexts for Seventeenth-Century Sacred Music in Rome

2. Scaling the Social Ladder with Sacred Music

3. “Early Tenure” as Maestro di cappella in Rome

4. Ritoglie dalla morte: Foggia’s Publications and His “Golden Years”

5. Foggia’s Reputation and Last Publication, the Offertoria

Figure 1. Gratiani, Terzo libro de’ motetti a voce sola (title page)


1. Introduction: New Contexts for Seventeenth-Century Sacred Music in Rome

1.1 The dramatis personae of music in seventeenth-century Rome constitute an expansive list of characters: Agazzari, Allegri, Benevoli, Carissimi, Corelli … To begin and not complete such an alphabetical listing omits dozens of names well-known by this point to specialists of the Seicento. (And a similar listing could be done for the well-known patrons of this music: the Altemps, the Barberini, Queen Christina …) No matter how many names we include, however, Francesco Foggia supersedes all others as concerns liturgical music. In this field he cut a higher profile than any other musician in seventeenth-century Rome.

1.2 The subsequent pages of this article describe Foggia’s background, accomplishments, and the many challenges he faced. Some of this material is based on archival findings or close consideration of sources; most of the balance appears here for the first time in English. But the goal is neither to document a Kleinmeister nor to cast him as a forgotten genius. Rather, Foggia appears within and against the backdrop of the complex, quickly changing cultural, political, and religious scene of seventeenth-century Rome. Context matters (of course). Many aspects of his career and family life play out amid the changes and turmoil that scholars have revealed for seventeenth-century Roman music and musicians. Such uncertainties for Foggia appear in attitudes toward musical training, professional organizations and standards, institutional and papal politics with associated theological overtones, musical style, publishing, and the social status of musicians. Foggia faced challenges on all these fronts, finding both opportunities and dead ends. In any case, our awareness of his situation is possible only as a result of substantial scholarly efforts of recent decades on seventeenth-century Roman music, and Foggia’s biography takes its significance only against this backdrop.

1.3 Before launching into the particulars of Foggia’s biography, I review the scholarly findings that provide this context, beginning, however, with the standard histories of Baroque music against which these more recent studies have reacted. Not many years ago liturgical music in seventeenth-century Rome meant only two things to scholars—it was the birthplace of both the stile antico and the “colossal Baroque.” Such assessments are evident in Bukofzer, Palisca, and others.[1] Two general histories to come out in the past few years, Buelow’s History of Baroque Music and Taruskin’s Oxford History of Western Music, offer less brittle views. Buelow’s constitutes a conventional survey and considers seventeenth-century Roman liturgical music in a more general way than the Taruskin. While Buelow recognizes the significance of small-scale motets within the Roman repertory, his overview continues to place polychorality and the stile antico as the most salient features of the repertory.[2] In Taruskin’s monumental, brilliant History there is no impetus to address the repertory in a comprehensive way; indeed, he barely mentions it at all (the names Allegri, Benevoli, Foggia, etc. are omitted altogether). Polychorality, the few times it comes up, is usually associated with Venice, not Rome. But he does employ the concept of the stile antico repeatedly, and it serves as one of the themes that bridge the first two volumes of the series (The Earliest Notations to the Sixteenth Century and The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries).[3]

1.4 Buelow and Taruskin are similar in their interpretation of stile antico which, as they apply it to the eighteenth-century repertory, corresponds well to recent research. Both discuss the importance of Bach and Fux, the former in employing it and the latter in codifying it as a historically conscious style. Taruskin provides a transcription of an early eighteenth-century motet from the papal choir in Rome that neatly delineates the stile antico. This O magnum mysterium is an unaccompanied, imitative work for five voices on a liturgical text, employing more-or-less classical dissonance treatment, but which nonetheless preserves clues to its modern, not antique, origins.[4]

1.5 Buelow and Taruskin’s interpretations become more problematic, however, when both authors situate the origins of the stile antico in the early Baroque. Buelow summarizes the position thus:

The stile antico, music written after 1600 according to the contrapuntal style most closely associated with the works of Palestrina, remained for the Baroque in Italy as well as in North Europe a valid even if antiquated style of sacred music in contrast to those works composed in the “new” style or stile moderno. [It was] composed almost entirely for the great churches of Rome including St. Peter’s, St. John Lateran, and the Pope’s official musical establishment, the Sistine Chapel.[5]

This is the conventional view of the stile antico—a view that has been fundamentally challenged in recent years and can no longer be accepted uncritically.[6] In general, polyphonic liturgical music with non-concertato scoring from early in the period owes much more to institutional dynamics and, as the century wears on, to theological and institutional conflict than it does to any sense of historical consciousness or “hero worship” associated with Palestrina. The conventional concept of the stile antico did eventually develop, but that was at a remove of several generations from the early years of the Baroque. This explains why, say, Bach’s or Fux’s employment of the “old style,” as observed by both Buelow and Taruskin, is worthy of note; it represents a new historical consciousness with respect to musical style, not just a later manifestation of an approach to composition evident throughout the Baroque.[7] With an earlier composer like Foggia, the stile antico was only on the cusp of emerging as a self-conscious historical style. Such considerations must inform studies of Foggia’s life and works, as they do most composers of sacred choral music in the Baroque and subsequent eras.

1.6 This conceptualization of the stile antico is just one of many new discoveries and interpretations that place studies of the Seicento in Rome on new footing. Thanks to an international assemblage of scholars working in recent decades, it is no longer possible to pigeonhole seventeenth-century Roman liturgical music as simply the source of the “colossal Baroque” and the stile antico. The pioneering work along these lines started in the 1980s with studies by Graham Dixon, Jean Lionnet, Arnaldo Morelli, and Noel O’Regan.[8] This quartet of Europeans set Roman studies on a new course and dethroned all sorts of traditional assumptions about the conservative, static nature of Roman sacred music in the Baroque. The choirs of the city, it turns out, were not monolithic institutions, unchanging in repertory or configuration of personnel. The famed “colossal” polychorality evident with some Roman composers grew from native stock, was not simply derivative from Venetian predecessors, and had its own techniques and expectations. Small-scale compositions—motets, litanies, antiphons, and so forth for one, two, or three voices with basso accompaniment—were as commonly heard in Rome as were large, full-choir settings. Various choral procedures and the use of organ and other accompanying instruments all developed through the period. The number of choirs in the city increased through the century, with straordinarie (special festal performances) attracting greater attention from the public and providing musicians with increased creative and financial opportunities. At the same time there was an expansion of the role taken by institutions tangentially related to the choirs: the St. Cecilia musicians’ confraternity, the oratorios with their devotional music, and various processional rituals involving music. Our present understanding of these institutions, techniques, and practices is indebted largely to studies published by that quartet of Dixon, Lionnet, Morelli, and O’Regan; alongside their accomplishments several scholarly organizations and initiatives in Rome must also be noted, in particular the Deutsches Historisches Institut, the Istituto di Bibliografia Musicale, and the Fondazione Palestrina.[9]

1.7 While research by Europeans on the sacred music of seventeenth-century Rome has continued from the 1980s, scholars on this side of the Atlantic have also begun to cultivate the field, largely within the context of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music (SSCM).[10] For some of these North Americans, those who themselves led in founding the Society, their research was well underway by its inception in 1991; for some of the younger ones the Society nurtured their scholarship at an early stage, both through this Journal and the annual meetings that have been distinguished by a warm camaraderie among scholars. Collectively, these studies by SSCM members go beyond narrow investigations of individual composers and institutions; they tend to explore new methodologies and historiographical approaches. Those dealing directly with the music and musicians of seventeenth-century Roman churches include Margaret Murata on the papal singer and composer Pasqualini and many other Roman topics, Beverly Stein on Carissimi and the genres to which he contributed, Kimberlyn Montford on Roman convents, Mary Paquette-Abt on anthology publications in the Papal States, Frederick Hammond on Frescobaldi and Barberini patronage, and my own on masses and the stile antico.[11] Other studies focus on musical figures whose careers, though largely outside the papal territories, had significant connections to Rome and its music. These include Colleen Reardon on Agazzari and other Siena musicians active in Rome, Roger Freitas on the castrato Atto Melani from Pistoia, and Mary Frandsen on sacred music in Dresden.[12] Frandsen’s work demonstrates how some seventeenth-century German composers, including Schütz, were indebted to Roman models.[13] Several other research projects primarily concerned with seventeenth-century secular music have implications for the Roman sacred repertory, including Valeria De Lucca on the patronage of the Onofrio and Colonna families, and John Walter Hill on the origins of monody.[14] Hill’s groundbreaking study, though primarily focused on secular monody in the early seventeenth century, reveals possibilities for the formation of church musicians beyond the conventional route of choirboy. Finally, there are the more general surveys that provide the Italian background. In this vein Anne Schnoebelen’s and Jeffrey Kurtzman’s studies show how the mass, the Magnificat, and other sacred genres functioned in Italy as a whole, and their bibliographical work on Italian music for the mass Mass and Office is of monumental importance.[15] Scholarly instruments such as these allow Roman specialists to situate their findings within the Italian sacred repertory more generally. Taken together, these varied approaches by SSCM members represent for the study of seventeenth-century Roman sacred music a distinct expansion of scholarly focus and a distinct elevation of critical assessment.

1.8 For scholars currently immersed in this study, it is easy to lose sight of how dramatically these articles, books, and bibliographical projects have altered the field from just a few decades ago. Until then the focus largely remained where Baini and other nineteenth- and twentieth-century music historians had placed it: on the indebtedness of seventeenth-century Roman composers to Palestrina and their entrenchment in the same institutions that Palestrina had helped shape (the Cappella Pontificia, the Cappella Giulia, the city’s other basilican choirs). Current research on seventeenth-century Roman sacred music is far more vibrant, including such topics as examinations of patterns of patronage; explorations of particular choirs, convents, and other institutions; inquiries into matters of analysis and compositional process; and analyses of genres, forms, and sources. With few minor exceptions, however, these scholarly projects do not give much sense of the personalities involved.[16] Focusing on biography in seventeenth-century Roman sacred music has its own drawbacks, but some of the more obvious risks—including those that arise from a misbegotten Kleinmeister fixation—have their antidote in the form of those scholarly achievements of recent decades that supply context on so many fronts.

1.9 In this spirit of reinvigorated attention to biography, the present study focuses on Francesco Foggia, the most prominent maestro di cappella in seventeenth-century Rome and among the best published composers of the period. His life and career can now be traced in considerable detail, thanks to recent discoveries by many scholars. The present article offers—for the first time in the English literature—the correct year of Foggia’s birth, his family’s background and names of relatives, the contexts for specific compositions, and the general contour of his publications. There are observations on the role that some daughters played in confirming bonds between male musicians and the placement of other daughters in convents. The tension between the Congregazione dei Musici (the musicians’ guild of Rome) and the Cappella Pontificia is described, as is Foggia’s unmatched ability to navigate between the two organizations. Several new findings for Foggia sources also have biographical implications.

1.10 This biographical exploration for Foggia in turn enriches our understanding of seventeenth-century music in Rome generally. We observe the professional implications of stile moderno training on a boy soprano, as well as the interplay between service as maestro di cappella and composing. His career clarifies some of the functions played by publications in seventeenth-century Italian music. Other prominent seventeenth-century musicians involved with Foggia’s career include maestri such as the Nanino brothers, Orazio Benevoli, Bonifatio Gratiani, and G.O. Pitoni, as well as others better known for their works outside the sacred realm, including Corelli, Bononcini, and Alessandro Scarlatti. In sum, Foggia’s biography contributes to our increasingly nuanced and complex understanding of the many contexts of seventeenth-century Roman music.

2. Scaling the Social Ladder with Sacred Music

2.1 Francesco Foggia’s unparalleled rise in seventeenth-century Roman sacred music was due in part to a family conscious of social status. His father, Giacomo, was from Civitella S. Paolo, a village north of Rome, in the same direction as many other small towns known for nurturing important Roman musician families of the late Renaissance and Baroque, including those of Nanino, Agostini, Soriano, Antonelli, Massentio, and Boschetti.[17] In the mid-1590s Giacomo Foggia married a Roman woman, Angela Alberici, and within a few years the family moved to Rome and benefited from the support of noble families.[18] Francesco’s admission as boy chorister in the famed German College occurred thanks to the intervention of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the cardinal-protector of the College and nephew of Paul V, and Giacomo Foggia later entered the service of the Barberini family.[19] Our sense of a class-conscious, upwardly mobile clan is confirmed by the titles used to identify Foggia’s parents: upon first arriving in Rome, they appear in parochial records without honorific titles, but within a few years they are identified, respectively, as “Dominus” and “Donna,” titles of professional if not aristocratic rank.[20] It is also startling to note that the family seems to have altered its name from the plebian “Forgia” (“smithy”) to the more bourgeois “Foggia” (“fashion” or “style”).[21]

2.2 Foggia was the third of some seven children born to Giacomo and Angela, and thanks to Saverio Franchi’s recent discovery of Francesco’s baptismal record in the parish documents of San Luigi dei Francesi, it is now possible to fix his birth in 1603; all reference works prior to Franchi’s article have him born in 1604 or 1605.[22] The Foggia family’s first residence in Rome was in the parish of San Luigi, and this was propitious for Francesco’s musical future. In these years Giovanni Bernardino Nanino, brother of the better-known composer and papal singer Giovanni Maria Nanino, was serving as maestro di cappella at San Luigi, and he and his family lived nearby in lodgings provided by the church.[23] In 1601 the eight-year-old Paolo Agostini (the future maestro di cappella of St. Peter’s) came to live with the Nanino family and sing as puer cantus at San Luigi, an arrangement occasioned by the fact that Vallerano was the hometown of both the Nanino and Agostini families.[24] The connections between the two families were reinforced by bonds of matrimony when, at eighteen years of age, Paolo wed Vittoria Nanino, Giovanni Bernardino’s daughter. Foggia himself later joined the family in the same way, marrying Eugenia, Paolo Agostini’s daughter. Hence, Foggia was Agostini’s son-in-law, as was Agostini Nanino’s. Foggia highly cherished this matrilineal musical heritage, and later encomiums and biographies make much of it. At the end of his life his final publication aggrandizes him as the “glorious heir of the harmonious Areopagus of Nanini and Agostini.”[25]

2.3 The usual age for boys to become choristers was 7–9 years, and by the time Foggia was this old, Giovanni Bernardino Nanino had left San Luigi.[26] Foggia obviously had other options, as he entered the choir at the German College, a Jesuit institution, probably no later than 1613, thanks to the intervention of the Cardinal Scipione Borghese.[27] Here he would have learned the essential church musician’s skills—plainchant, psalm tones, figured music, counterpoint—and the basics of this musical instruction at the German College are well documented in Culley’s study.[28] Vocal skills, including the improvisation of passaggi and ornamentation, constituted a crucial set of skills, and Ottavio Catalani, the maestro at the College in those years, would certainly have taught this as well. John Walter Hill’s research on Cardinal Montalto and his cultivation of the new monodic style has brought to light a number of documents showing Catalani’s support of Montalto’s efforts, and it is clear that Catalani enthusiastically promoted the new Baroque vocal idiom.[29] As it happens, his interest in training the boys in “arias, villanellas, and in similar things rather than in things of the church” was explicitly condemned by the administration of the German College, yet Catalani’s tutelage along these lines may well have been crucial to Foggia’s success in the next few years, specifically as a virtuoso boy soprano in northern German lands.[30]

2.4 The evidence for Foggia’s activity north of the Alps is circumstantial; no documentary records have yet been put put forward to connect him directly with particular courts. Nonetheless, it is clear that Foggia enjoyed close relations with Germano-Austrian nobility throughout his career, and it is most likely that these relationships began in the 1610s or possibly in the early ’20s.[31] Pitoni claims that Foggia served the archbishop of Cologne, Ferdinand Maximilian, and Foggia did dedicate his first published volume to him.[32] The archbishop had his court in Bonn, and Foggia later remembered the court as a “Parnassus.”[33] Dedications link Foggia with other northern princes and prelates as well, though in these cases—including the Hapsburgs Archduke Leopold Wilhelm and even Emperor Ferdinand II—Foggia’s involvement may have been more tenuous.[34]

2.5 In any case, the way north for Foggia was paved by his experience at the German College. The primary objective of the College was to send missionaries to combat the Protestant heresy, and Foggia witnessed many fellow students embark for German lands. In the absence of documentary evidence about the nature of Foggia’s service in the north, Rostirolla speculates that it would have been primarily as a virtuoso boy soprano, rather than as composer or instrumentalist, and this conclusion seems inescapable.[35] Foggia’s marketability would thus have decreased when his voice changed, and if that occurred around the age of seventeen or eighteen, his return to Rome might have been around 1620. This date also coincides with the early phase of the Thirty Years’ War, which may have hastened Foggia’s return south.[36]

2.6 In addition to his studies in the German College and his travels north of the Alps, a third undertaking for Foggia in the 1610s and ’20s was study in counterpoint and composition. His vocal training at the College gave Foggia the rudiments of counterpoint and diminution-making, and his years as a virtuoso boy singer put much of that training into practice, but as an aspiring young professional he understood that ascending to the first rank of the Roman maestri di cappella would require more extensive work in composition than that typically provided in the vocal curriculum.[37]

2.7 In Rome the position of maestro was usually occupied only by those musicians who had demonstrated their proficiency within the genre of the mass. The oeuvres of musicians who served two different kinds of Roman choirs during the seventeenth century, those of the Chiesa del Gesù and Santa Maria Maggiore, illustrate this. Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the three chief basilicas of Rome and the one where Foggia was to end his career, maintained a large choir and featured full-choir performances at all festal masses. By contrast, the Gesù, one of the new Jesuit churches in the city, was oriented more toward small-scale performances and had a much larger repertory of “modern” motets for one or two solo voices and basso continuo.[38] In keeping with these repertorial expectations, 100% of the maestri di cappella at Santa Maria Maggiore in the seventeenth century composed masses still extant today, but even for the seventeenth-century maestri of the Gesù, almost 60% still have at least one mass extant.[39] The genre of the mass was the most extended and contrapuntally demanding genre that a maestro might face, and the ability to write only a monody or a few arie would obviously not have passed compositional muster with the more important choirs in Rome. It was evident to Foggia, even in his youth, that success as maestro di cappella presupposed serious compositional study.

2.8 As concerns Foggia’s formation in composition, there are reasons to believe Pitoni’s claim that he learned counterpoint in the “school of Antonio Cifra and, then, of Paolo Agostini.”[40] We have already noted the family ties between Foggia and Agostini, and since the latter was engaged in Rome as maestro di cappella through this entire time (San Lorenzo in Damaso, 1618–26, St. Peter’s, 1626–29), “private lessons” in composition would have been reasonably easy to arrange.[41] In the dedication of his Octo missae of 1663 Foggia refers to Agostini as both father-in-law and teacher.[42] The connection with Cifra is more difficult to confirm. He was employed as maestro of the Santa Casa in Loreto from 1609 until his death twenty years later, except for the few years 1622–26. During that hiatus he was back in Rome, directing the choir at San Giovanni in Laterano, and this would have been Foggia’s opportunity to work with him. In any case, circumstantial evidence supports the notion of a connection between them. Cifra, like Agostini, was part of the Giovanni Bernardino Nanino circle, having studied with him several years as a choirboy at San Luigi.[43] Also, one of Foggia’s large works, the Missa Andianne a premier latte, reflects a connection with Cifra. The mass takes a madrigal by Pomponio Nenna as its model, but Cifra had already set the same text, raising its profile among Roman musicians.[44] Certainly, the strong publication records of both Paolo Agostini and Antonio Cifra would have strongly induced Foggia to pursue composition studies with them.[45] Foggia was mindful of his debts: he eventually had two sons and named them Paolo and Antonio.[46]

3. “Early Tenure” as Maestro di cappella in Rome

3.1 In 1629 both Agostini and Cifra died, as did a number of other Roman maestri, and a new generation began to establish themselves in the Roman cappelle.[47] Foggia, now in his mid-20s, had positioned himself well to take advantage of these openings. By 1628 he acquired his first post as maestro di cappella, this at Santa Maria in Aquiro, a small church in Rome affiliated with the Pia Casa degli Orfanelli.[48] This religious institution was dedicated to housing and educating orphans, and Foggia was one of just three musicians on the rolls (the other two were a maestro di cembalo and a singer), and with a relatively small salary his position must have been limited in scope, perhaps involving just Sunday services (where he sometimes played organ) and some music lessons.[49] Next, in 1630–31, he became maestro di cappella at a real cathedral, that of Narni, though this meant relocating some forty-five miles north of Rome.[50] In fact, this relocation may have been auspicious for his relationship with the Agostini family. After Paolo’s death his widow and children returned to Vallerano, about twenty miles east of Narni, and in 1631 Paolo’s daughter, Eugenia, and Francesco Foggia wed.[51] The couple left Narni shortly thereafter for a similar post at Montefiascone, but it is clear that the Narnians continued to hold Foggia in high esteem.[52] Montefiascone and its cathedral of Santa Margherita are about the same distance from Vallerano as is Narni, but since Montefiascone lies on the same side of the Tiber River as Vallerano, it may have been a more convenient location for the Foggia and Agostini families. Also, its impressive position overlooking Lake Bolsena may have been an inducement. (Today, the town is most known as the home of the “Est, est, est” wines.) Foggia’s stay here was equally short, 1633–34, but Francesco and Eugenia were clearly happy enough about the situation to name their firstborn, Margherita (1634–88), after the cathedral.[53]

3.2 There can be little doubt that Francesco and Eugenia were intent on getting back to Rome. Her father had, after all, been maestro at St. Peter’s—a position he describes as “that palm which is composers’ ultimate prize”[54]—and her family’s decision to marry her to Foggia probably involved the expectation that he would succeed in a similar manner. That expectation was more than fully realized over the rest of his career, as he did indeed return to Rome, eventually to serve as maestro di cappella at San Giovanni in Laterano and Santa Maria Maggiore, together with St. Peter’s the greatest of Rome’s basilicas.

3.3 His first major post in the city began in 1634 as maestro at Santa Maria in Trastevere, the city’s oldest church dedicated to Mary but modernized in the early seventeenth century with numerous renovations and additions, including a pair of chapels flanking the apse (the Altemps and Winter Chapels), the imposing ceiling designed by Domenichino, and a restoration of the medieval mosaics. As maestro in this church, Foggia was at the helm of one of Rome’s more prominent choirs. It typically employed eight singers, an organist (including Frescobaldi, earlier in the century), the maestro himself, and additional functionaries providing support services.[55] The musical archive, today one of the largest of all the seventeenth-century Roman cappelle, both in terms of manuscripts and prints, suggests that the choir had a rich repertory and ample financial resources.[56] In the numerous anthologies printed in Rome through the century, the Trastevere maestro, his institutional affiliation prominently stated, would normally be represented by a work or two.[57] By obtaining this post, Foggia made an impressive reappearance on the Roman stage.[58]

3.4 From this point in his career it becomes possible to connect specific compositions by Foggia with his service as maestro. Such is the case with a missa brevis dubbed the Missa “Transtiberina.[59] This four-voice mass, which attractively combines double counterpoint, homorhythm, and occasional passages in triple meter, may have helped to establish Foggia’s reputation as a composer of masses.[60] It was still sung by the Cappella Giulia, the choir of St. Peter’s, in the mid-eighteenth century.[61] A manuscript exemplar of the mass exists today in partbooks in the Trastevere archive, and the easiest explanation for its presence there is that it (or rather the original from which it was copied) dates from Foggia’s tenure. Unlike many other manuscript masses in that archive which might well be copies from prints, this mass was never published.[62]

3.5 Pursuing further advancement, Foggia left Santa Maria in Trastevere after just a couple of years to become maestro at the cathedral of Rome, San Giovanni in Laterano.[63] Thanks to Wolfgang Witzenmann’s research, the exact month Foggia started at the Lateran is now known: November 1636.[64] At the Lateran, as at Trastevere, Foggia’s responsibilities would have included directing the choir (though larger at the Lateran), making repertorial selections, and overseeing the choir boys’ training (which sometimes also included housing them)—all of which happened every day, as the Lateran choir was required for both festal and ferial services. From documents about ten years into his time there, we learn that the basilica’s chapter was determined to retain his services. Early in 1646 the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore attempted to hire Foggia, now in his early 40s, as its maestro di cappella, enticing him with a lifetime contract.[65] The effort to lure him away was apparently unsuccessful, however, as the Lateran matched the offer, naming him the magister cappellae musicorum in perpetuum.[66] Such an offer was certainly unusual—several contemporary sources note it[67]—and it was all the more remarkable in comparison with the average stay of just three years apiece by the Lateran maestri prior to Foggia.[68]

3.6 Although Foggia had thus received tenure, his productivity did not diminish. To the contrary, his publications got seriously underway only right around this time. A few motets had begun to appear in anthologies from 1642, and the first Einzeldrucke, a pair of motet volumes, were published in Rome in 1645.[69] The next volume to appear, the Missa et sacrae cantiones of 1650, was dedicated to the Abbot Domenico Salvetti, canon of a small Marian church in Rome, Santa Maria in Via Lata.[70] The dedication states that Foggia directed music in that church during the Jubilee year and implies that some works in the print were sung during those services.[71] Several pieces here manifest a Marian theme, and the mass, too, may have been especially appropriate for performance in a Marian church. Although titled simply “Missa” in the print, it appears in an anonymous manuscript copy at Santa Maria in Trastevere with the designation “con la Piva.”[72] “Piva” indicates the Italian form of the bagpipes and alludes to the Christmastide practice of mountain shepherds descending to Rome to play their folk instruments in a manner reminiscent of the Bethlehem shepherds. A small number of seventeenth-century Roman pieces draw on this tradition, though the Missa La piva seems to be the first such pastoral mass in Rome. While we can only speculate about whether this mass was first performed in Santa Maria in Via Lata during the Jubilee Year, the allusion to the Nativity would certainly have resonated there. Still, the presence of manuscript exemplars of the work in the Lateran and Trastevere archives raises the possibility of earlier performances by those choirs.

3.7 For Foggia’s published music, as for that of other church composers, it is often difficult to determine the original performance venue. As James Moore astutely observed for Frescobaldi, we may not simply assume that all publications were conceived for the institution where the composer was employed.[73] The history of one piece published by Foggia during these years illustrates in fact how dissimilar an eventual performance venue might be from the institution where the composer was currently employed. An anthology released in 1643 includes Foggia’s motet Amore Jesu langueo, and in subsequent years this work was adopted by the papal choir itself to be sung annually in the papal liturgy.[74] This was a very unusual case for the Cappella Pontificia, both because the motet requires basso continuo accompaniment, and because there are but few works by non-members that the choir ever deigned to perform.[75] Exactly how Foggia’s motet entered the repertory is not clear, but circumstantial evidence points to intervention by Foggia’s sometime patrons, the Barberini family.[76] With Amore Jesu langueo sung by the papal choir, Foggia was thus represented by performances of his works in every major Roman cappella, a mark of prestige shared with only one other composer—Palestrina. Foggia was in the most elite company, and, as challenges unfolded in coming years, he used that prestige both for his own gain and, in time, for the benefit of the other maestri of Rome.

3.8 The performances at Santa Maria in Via Lata represent an instance of Foggia playing on his prestige. Such services, which go beyond those for which a maestro was paid in his regular employment, constitute the straordinarie that were so potentially lucrative for Roman musicians. These “extraordinary,” or occasional, services were held in Roman churches on special feast days, particularly the patronal ones. At smaller churches lacking a fulltime choir, these services would be the one time during the year when polyphonic and concerted music was heard. If it were a “titular” church, the expenses might be underwritten by the governing cardinal, and the festivities could stretch across two days, including two vespers and a mass. Such straordinarie offered Roman maestri considerable compositional and financial opportunities, and Foggia took full advantage in these years. In addition to Santa Maria in Via Lata, Foggia had employment in this capacity in many other small churches around Rome, including Santa Maria in Campitelli, San Carlo ai Catinari, Sant’Andrea al Quirinale, Santa Maria in Aquiro, and Sant’Andrea della Valle, as well as two convent churches, Santa Maria in Campo Marzo and Sant’Ambrogio.[77] Sometimes the straordinarie services were those for the feast-day of another basilica, requiring large-scale polychoral music and hence the hiring of outside musicians, and we see Foggia involved in this capacity too (he was one of some fifty singers and instrumentalists hired by Santa Maria Maggiore in 1654).[78] He also composed and directed oratorios at the Archconfraternity of the Sacrosantissimo Crocifisso, beginning in 1640.[79] Special opportunities presented themselves in conjunction with the Jubilee years, too, such as leading a large group of musicians in procession through the streets of Rome in 1650.[80]

3.9 Given the large potential income from the straordinarie (musicians today would call it gigging), it was probably inevitable that maestri would come into conflict with one other over who would “contract” a particular set of services. Foggia became embroiled in such a conflict in 1648, when Silvestro Durante, Foggia’s successor as maestro at Santa Maria in Trastevere, accused him of offering to organize a straordinaria for 24 scudi, undercutting the expected pay scale of 35 scudi.[81] The church in question, that of San Bernardino a Monte Cavallo, a convent church, went with their economic interest and hired Foggia. In point of fact it is not clear whether Foggia truly undercut the market; Lionnet observes that as maestro at the Lateran he would have had several boy singers in apprenticeship who would in effect do a straordinaria for free, and Durante may simply not have had the same advantage.[82] Nonetheless, Durante was aggrieved and petitioned the papal choir for redress. One has the sense that his resentment of Foggia’s success went well beyond this single contract for San Bernardino—indeed, to take his case to the papal singers rather than to the musicians’ guild, the Congregazione dei Musici, suggests significant frustration. In any case, Durante’s standing in this petition was somewhat bolstered by his previous service at San Bernardino. (Lionnet found no evidence that he had a regular appointment there but speculates that he may occasionally have given music lessons to educande, girls boarding and studying at the convent, or to a few nuns.)[83] The papal choir did offer Durante partial satisfaction in its ruling on the case, at least temporarily. Its members decided that any maestro contracting a straordinaria outside of his home institution would be required to get their permission before hiring a papal singer, and in the next few months Foggia did dutifully submit his straordinaria requests for the choir’s approval. But by the start of the next year, 1649, the papal singers had tired of this oversight and realized that their financial interest lay in unfettering the maestri.

3.10 The quarrel between the two maestri highlights several aspects of Foggia’s situation and character. First, despite the ostensibly unfavorable outcome, the case as a whole seems to demonstrate Foggia’s political pull. From the late sixteenth century and extending through most of the seventeenth, there was constant antagonism between the papal choir and the Congregazione dei Musici, the guild in which all other Roman church musicians had to be enrolled.[84] A quarrel between two of the most prominent members of the Congregazione served up in this manner to the papal choir could easily have invited their meddling. Instead, there appear to have been no long-term ramifications, with the issue simply abandoned a few months later. Whether outside influence ameliorated Foggia’s situation is not known, but it could not have hurt his case that a papal singer, Odoardo Ceccarelli, had a close relationship with Foggia’s family, having served a few years earlier as the godfather to a Foggia daughter.[85]

3.11 There also seems to be an element of pragmatism in Foggia’s handling of the situation. Rather than object to the papal choir’s policy, he works with it. This was the case a few years later in his career as well, during what may have been the most tumultuous period for all Roman maestri, when in 1665 Alexander VII, at the behest of the papal choir, made a decree regarding what music might be heard in the city’s basilicas.[86] Benevoli, the maestro at St. Peter’s, brashly complained about the infringement on musical practices and repertory in the basilicas, and the papal choir retaliated with a petulant ban on the participation of any papal singers in straordinarie directed by him. Foggia, who was one of few maestri of Benevoli’s stature, had as much to lose as anybody else but is not named in the documents.[87] Instead of taking a confrontational approach, he may well have been working behind the scenes to get Benevoli back in the good graces of the papal choir—which did in fact happen the following year.[88] Another indication of Foggia’s pragmatism is evident from the way he managed to flourish under different patrons who were themselves irreconciliable. Alongside his longtime patronage by the Barberini, we have Pitoni’s claim that Innocent X, the successor to Pope Urban VIII and persecutor of the surviving Barberini, treated him very favorably.[89] To appease such rival patrons must have required consummate political skills.

3.12 Finally, the episode with Durante shows Foggia’s determination to earn money beyond his usual salary at the Lateran. During those months of 1648 when the papal choir’s permission was required to hire individual singers from its ranks, Foggia made three such requests, whereas only two others were made by all the other Roman maestri combined.[90] The trend evident in those months, with Foggia capturing more straordinarie than other maestri, may have been typical for much of his career. Foggia’s financial responsibilities were surely an incentive to take on as much work as possible. Eugenia and he had at least eight children, six of whom survived infancy.[91] The first three, all daughters born between 1634 and 1637, eventually entered convents, and while this would have saved the family a regular dowry, there was still the nun’s dowry, or dote spirituale, required for the convent (though in at least one case that was paid by a confraternity).[92] The fourth child, Paolo (1641–95), took holy orders and, at great expense to the family, obtained a benefice at San Giovanni in Laterano.[93] The fifth child to survive, Orsola (1645–1715), continued a family tradition by marrying a maestro of the city, Paolo Olivieri, in 1664.[94] The last child, Antonio (1652–1707), who was apparently intended to carry on the family line, aspired to be a maestro in Rome, though he had only middling success. Beyond the immediate family, a number of other individuals were occasionally present in the Foggia household. Eugenia’s sisters and others of the Agostini family resided there from time to time, as did a number of choirboys. In one instance, a choirboy’s entire family was living in the Foggia house: the boy was the promising young Giuseppe Ottavio Pitoni.[95] Despite these domestic expenses, the household income was apparently adequate. Foggia at some point bought an organ for 160 scudi—this in comparison with an annual salary of 120 scudi as maestro at San Giovanni in Laterano.[96] And perhaps it is not coincidental that in 1648, the same year as the Durante affair, he purchased a residence up in Vallerano, a three-story house that sold for the considerable sum of 220 scudi.[97] Foggia’s pursuit of additional income, it appears, was at least partly motivated by dynastic ambition.

3.13 Through 1661, the twenty-fifth and final year of his service at San Giovanni in Laterano, Foggia’s efforts seem mostly oriented around the cappella, both at the Lateran basilica and in the other urban churches with their straordinarie. Given the investments that he was able to make, both in real estate and musical instruments, it is clear that the work was financially rewarding. But it was also laborious, and Foggia may have had an unpleasant work environment.[98] Rostirolla observes that the relationship between the musicians and Lateran administration during this period was generally cool.[99]

4. Ritoglie dalla morte: Foggia’s Publications and His “Golden Years”

4.1 In 1661, his twenty-fifth year as maestro at San Giovanni, Foggia left that tenured post and, accepting reductions both in pay and prestige, took the similar position at San Lorenzo in Damaso. Biographers have not been able to offer a single, compelling reason to explain this move. San Lorenzo, both a parish church and the titular basilica for the papal vice-chancellor, may have represented a “golden parachute,” allowing for a much reduced workload while continuing to provide a modest salary.[100] The quarter-century mark at San Giovanni would have been a natural moment for “retirement”: papal singers were granted automatic retirement benefits—the giubilato— after twenty-five years’ service. In any case, the move to San Lorenzo in Damaso may have seemed to Foggia like something of a homecoming, as his relatives Paolo Agostini and Giovanni Bernardino Nanino had both occupied that post in the first several decades of the century, and for Nanino at least, his service there with Cardinal Montalto represented the capstone of an already successful career (see ref. 26). Whatever element of nostalgia may have been involved, the “efficient cause” for Foggia’s acquisition of the post at San Lorenzo in Damaso was certainly Barberini patronage. Cardinal Francesco Barberini, the vice-chancellor and titular cardinal for San Lorenzo, must have favored the hiring of Foggia, and his concurrent appointment as maestro at San Girolamo della Carità, an additional, minor source of income, would also have been at the cardinal’s discretion.[101]

4.2 Currently we cannot say if the Barberini may also have employed Foggia in secular contexts—despite all the recent biographical findings on Foggia, there has still been little research into support he received from noble patronage, including that of the Barberini.[102] One definite change for Foggia that does coincide with the move to San Lorenzo, however, is a dramatic increase in his publications. Prior to 1660, Foggia’s publications are few in number, seem haphazard in terms of their contents, and show little evidence of larger organizing schema. These earlier prints are collections of motets, with none of the individual works bearing any indication of liturgical assignment.[103] The Psalmi quaternis vocibus, published just before Foggia’s move to San Lorenzo, indicates that Foggia was developing a new, more comprehensive conception of his publications; perhaps he was beginning to think more in terms of his mark on posterity. As the title of the 1660 Psalmi indicates, the volume offers a collection of psalms, each scored for four voices. Over the next twelve years Foggia published at least seven volumes—and maybe as many as twelve—each similar in orientation, primarily liturgical in nature, and organized by voice number and type.[104] Most of these volumes carry dedications to nobility or prelates; indeed, Foggia directed the Psalmi of 1660 to the nephew of the late Archbishop Ferdinand, the old patron who had been the dedicatee of his very first publication. But by 1672 Foggia dedicated the Letanie to Arcangelo Spagna, the literary figure well known for his cultivation of both the Latin and Italian oratorio but who was apparently in an undistinguished financial position.[105] Also by 1672 the dedications sometimes appear in Italian, rather than Latin, and other written material may also preface the volume (e.g., “L’opera al lettore” in Messe of 1672, “Un amico dell’autore a chi legge” in Offertoria of 1681). As the years drew on, Foggia used prints in ways that depart from conventional patterns of patronage and which instead allow him to highlight his own critical and historiographical aims.

4.3 The majority of Foggia’s publications, then, issued after his arrival at San Lorenzo in Damaso in 1661, but we can be sure that they incorporate many works he had previously prepared. Foggia’s first book of masses appeared in 1663, and the three masses there scored for eight and nine voices almost certainly date from his time at San Giovanni, where the choir was somewhat larger than that of San Lorenzo. In particular, the eight-voice Missa Iste est Ioannes bears a title taken from an antiphon commemorating St. John.[106] The nine-voice Missa Tu es Petrus represents a competitive setting alongside Benevoli’s mass of the same title; both are modeled on the Palestrina motet.[107] Benevoli, maestro at St. Peter’s, had an obvious reason to work with the Petrus material, but it would also have been made sense for Foggia at the Lateran. The personnel of San Giovanni, perpetually jealous guardians of the basilica’s status as the pope’s cathedral, trace that status back to the first bishop of Rome, St. Peter, and the requisite relics are in the basilica’s possession, with the high altar cradling the heads of Sts. Peter and Paul.[108] Foggia would have had many opportunities to compose the large Petrus mass during his San Giovanni tenure. The smaller five-voice masses, whether those of the 1663 or 1672 volumes, are more difficult to match with a performance context. It may not be coincidental that the five-voice scoring, for SSATB and basso continuo, apparently Foggia’s favorite, exactly matches the forces normally available during this period at San Girolamo della Carità.[109]

4.4 If Foggia calculated the move to San Lorenzo in Damaso to reduce his worldly cares and keep him out of the public eye, he misjudged. The large number of publications made him a lightning rod for criticism, or at least an apologia that appeared in 1672 suggests this was the case. The document appears as the preface to the Messe a tre, quattro e cinque voci, published in 1672. Here Foggia insists on the contrapuntal rigor of his masses, but he leavens the polemical tone with humor. The preface takes the form of a note written by the book itself to the reader; it is titled “L’opera al lettore.” The work exclaims, “I am anxious to satisfy and please you!”[110] Foggia challenges those critics whose overarching ambition leads them to examine their own works with a microscope and thereby make “of every little butterfly an eagle and of every particle an Olympus.”[111] The note continues with the claim that these masses offer “a variety of subjects, rare inventions, diverse modulations, double counterpoints, inverted canons, suspensions of every sort, and profound study,” and ends by beseeching the reader to “observe me, reflect upon me, and sympathize with me.”[112]

4.5 Foggia’s placement of this document at the head of a book of masses highlights the increased prominence of masses in theoretical debates in the Italian Baroque. Whereas the era had begun in some sense with Artusi’s attacks on and the Monteverdi brothers’ defense of the Libro quinto secular madrigals, this kind of debate increasingly took place within the repertory of sacred music and often concerned masses.[113] One of the best known and most vindictive of these conflicts was that in the 1660s between Maurizio Cazzati and Giulio Cesare Arresti, respectively, the maestro di cappella and first organist at San Petronio in Bologna. Both Cazzati and Arresti published masses that were subject to published criticism, and both lost their positions at San Petronio in the course of the conflict.[114] Earlier in the century, in 1620s Rome, the dispute between Vincenzo Ugolini and Paolo Agostini also involved the destruction of a career; its end result was Agostini’s replacement of Ugolini as maestro di cappella at St. Peter’s. That conflict arose out of questions Agostini had raised about Ugolini’s contrapuntal abilities, and his first professional activity upon becoming maestro was to publish an imposing series of masses demonstrating his mastery of learned polyphony.[115] Marco Scacchi, though primarily active in Poland, also had his formation in the Roman “school,” and the various theoretical disputes that he fell into—ranging from the Förster/Seifert conflict in northern German lands in the 1640s to the ensuing contretemps with Romano Micheli—involved masses or liturgical music more generally.[116] Indeed, Scacchi’s Missa sine nomine, published in 1633 but then revised in 1643, provides one of the earliest examples of the stile antico, a term enmeshed in the many theoretical debates of the seventeenth century.[117] In sum, Foggia’s decision to preface the 1672 masses with a polemic was consistent with trends seen throughout the seventeenth century.

4.6 Who was the critic against whom Foggia defends himself? The document itself offers few clues, and Rostirolla suggests that perhaps the antagonist was Bonifatio Gratiani.[118] This, however, cannot be the case, as Gratiani had died eight years beforehand in 1664.[119] Rostirolla does rightly observe, however, that whereas Gratiani had served as guardian of the maestri in the Congregazione dei Musici, by 1672 Foggia had still never been elected to the post.[120] Whoever the target, Foggia’s arrow may have hit its mark, for the following year Foggia’s standing improved and his colleagues in the Congregazione finally chose him as guardian of the maestri.

4.7 Though in 1673 Foggia had reached seventy years of age, he commenced the longest term any maestro ever had as guardian, serving in that capacity until 1683.[121] Rather than simply maintain the status quo, Foggia offered progressive leadership. In 1674 the guild began a modernization of its statutes, a long process that Foggia saw through to papal approval a decade later.[122] The city’s musicians must have strongly supported the effort, since all the Congregazione leadership enjoyed exceptionally long terms during this period.[123]

4.8 Foggia experienced another professional satisfaction in 1673, when the longtime music editor and underwriter Giovanni Battista Caifabri brought out a kind of Festschrift, a collection of Foggia’s motets and offertories dedicated to Foggia himself. In the dedication Caifabri confesses to having obtained the works by subterfuge (“occultamente”) and to publishing them without Foggia’s permission or knowledge. Rostirolla plausibly suggests that the edition was intended to recognize the maestro‘s seventieth birthday and also suggests that the coat-of-arms appearing in the frontispiece is Foggia’s.[124] There is independent confirmation that Foggia had acceded to the minor nobility: the same coat-of-arms appears as the frontispiece to the edition of Gratiani motets that Belmonti had previously dedicated to Foggia (see Figure 1 and ref. 25). As this volume had already appeared in 1664, Foggia received this honor no later than around the time of his move to San Lorenzo in Damaso.

4.9 In line with the interpretation of the 1673 Mottetti et offertori as an anniversary Festschrift, Caifabri’s dedication to Foggia shows that he was thinking about time—and believed that Foggia was too. No matter time’s ravages, through publishing one achieves a measure of immortality:

Though mute, [the print is] an eloquent orator, able to retell others’ deeds; though deaf, able to give appropriate answers to questions; insensate, but wise (and the most learned may take counsel with it); voiceless yet a sounding trumpet; motionless yet flies through the universe; lifeless yet retrieves from death he who must die. [The print] is the nest from which fame takes wing to fly. The print is the true antidote against the ravages of time; all in all it is the balm to preserve oneself for the immortal realm.[125]

The line about retrieving “from death he who must die”—”ritoglie dalla morte chi deve morire”—emphasizes one of Foggia’s incentives to publish.

4.10 If publishing offers one “balm for immortality,” having children provides another. Plato’s observation in the Symposium about men’s attempt to achieve immortality through their progeny was echoed in Belmonti’s dedication to Foggia, and this way of thinking was common in the early modern period.[126] In this vein, we see Foggia’s initial efforts, also in 1673, to ensure the professional success of Antonio, the one son intended to carry forward the family’s heritage in church music. Much of what we know about Foggia’s career from this point forward is oriented around this child, born in 1652, a late arrival for Eugenia and Francesco, both then in their 40s. San Girolamo della Carità, which had provided its maestro, the elder Foggia, a supplemental income since 1661, hired Antonio as organist in 1673. This hiring initiated a transition arranged by Francesco, for when he resigned as maestro two years later, Antonio immediately assumed the post and was able to hold it for about another decade.[127] (Around 1682–83 Antonio’s activity there overlapped with that of Alessandro Scarlatti, who some twenty years later also served as Antonio’s assistant at Santa Maria Maggiore.)[128]

4.11 At the same time Francesco was probably involved in an attempt to enhance Antonio’s publishing record. Over the course of his career Antonio would publish very little, but in 1675 a three-voice mass by him was set at the head of five others by his father and released in a volume dedicated to Antonio himself. The dedication was signed by Giovanni Battista Caifabri, the editor with so many other connections to Francesco, and it praises both Antonio’s artistic promise at this young age and his ancestry (which at this point extends to four generations: the Nanino brothers—Agostini—Francesco Foggia—Antonio himself).[129] Caifabri had underwritten Francesco’s Octo missae of 1663, and it was this earlier volume that supplied the five masses that make up the main body of the later one. In fact, these five masses by Francesco were taken directly from unsold copies of the earlier, 1663 print and had their pages bound directly into the new, 1675 print.[130] Francesco had surely authorized this unusual cannibalization of his publication, an important purpose of which was to aggrandize Antonio.

4.12 Foggia also may have lent his encouragement to Antonio in the the arena of the straordinarie. Francesco continued to derive both profit and good repute from these at least through the Jubilee of 1675. A feather in his cap that year was his organizing and conducting the music at Santa Francesca Romana, an old church in the Forum, when some twenty-nine cardinals were in attendance.[131] But many other straordinarie were also in the offing, and some were sent Antonio’s way, including one at Santa Marta, the convent where two of his sisters were cloistered.[132]

4.13 Two years later, in 1677, the elder Foggia makes his final career move, from San Lorenzo in Damaso to Santa Maria Maggiore, and this too relates to Antonio. It took a considerable inducement to convince Francesco once again to take the helm of one of Rome’s chief cappelle with its weighty responsibilities of training and housing choirboys and preparing music for daily services. A few years later Foggia admits the onus of the position: the dedication to the Offertoria, published in 1681 when Foggia was nearing eighty years of age, states that he has been “worn out by these efforts” on behalf of Santa Maria Maggiore.[133] Perhaps the basilica appreciated his pains; around this time the chapter awarded him a tidy gift of ten scudi, “in recognition of extraordinary labors,”[134] and Foggia dedicated that volume to a canon of the basilica, Pietro Filippo Bernini.[135]

4.14 Whatever intrinsic musical appeal the new position offered Foggia—he had the opportunity, for instance, to work regularly with the renowned organist Bernardo Pasquini—the primary motivation was to insure Antonio’s ascent to the first rank of maestri.[136] Concurrent with the hire of Francesco, the chapter of Santa Maria Maggiore agreed to employ Antonio as assistant maestro and, beyond that, implied that Antonio would ascend as principal maestro at Francesco’s death.[137]

4.15 Several obstacles stood in the way of Antonio’s achieving this on his own merits. His compositional aptitude and output seem meager; apart from that one mass of 1675, there are just a few motets and possibly one secular work extant.[138] There is little evidence of the organizational abilities so essential to a maestro‘s success with a large cappella. But the primary impediment, and perhaps the root of the other deficiencies, was apparently his poor health. Franchi details several instances where Antonio was prevented by sickness from fulfilling responsibilities, and at some point his mobility was restricted by gout. Also indicative, in his will of 1686 Francesco himself seems to countenance the possibility that his son might not outlive him.[139]

4.16 In fact, the son did not predecease the father, but this period was nonetheless difficult for the Foggia family. They had survived relatively unscathed through Rome’s numerous disasters in the seventeenth century—devastating floods, epidemics, and famines[140]—but now in the 1680s several family members died, and Antonio had a long-term illness. Eugenia died in 1683, and Francesco fell seriously ill in 1686. The musicians’ guild, undoubtedly appreciative of his long term as guardian of the maestri (which had ended only in 1683), sent gifts of food.[141] In 1688, on January 8, at the age of 84, Foggia died and was buried in the commoners’ tomb in the parish church of Santa Prassede.[142] The Congregazione recognized his passing with a sung mass.[143] According to his will, his belongings were divided between the two sons, with Antonio, now full maestro at Santa Maria Maggiore, acquiring Foggia’s music and organ. Foggia’s overriding wish seems to be that his sons live peaceably together.[144] As it turns out, the next generation did not enjoy such long lives as their parents. Margherita, the daughter who had been in the Montefiascone convent for many years, also died in 1688. She was in her mid-50s, as were both brothers when they died, Paulo in 1695 and Antonio in 1707.[145] With the subsequent generation the Nanino-Agostini-Foggia dyanasty was extinguished, for both of Antonio’s children, two daughters, seem to have been childless.[146]

5. Foggia’s Reputation and Last Publication, the Offertoria

5.1 The last few decades of Foggia’s life saw his reputation throughout Catholic Europe solidify. Already in 1650 Kircher’s authoritative Musurgia universalis names him as one of the most excellent composers, and in 1665 Foggia appears at the head of Musica romana, an anthology published in Bamberg.[147] Similar praise appears in Bononcini’s Musico prattico (1673) a few years after that.[148] Bononcini acclaims composers who “are able to create agreeable and lovely vocal works while observing sound [theoretical] precepts…. In their works one notices artifice and musical beauty united together with sound rules.” Most of the composers Bononcini identifies were dead at the time of publication; Foggia was one of just three living composers on his list.[149] In 1682 the violinist Carlo Mannelli titled the first work in his Sonate a tre in Foggia’s honor, showing that even an instrumentalist oriented toward secular music recognized Foggia’s accomplishments.[150]

5.2 Admiration extended to the papal choir, as well. In 1684 the papal singer Antimo Liberati wrote a description of Foggia so complimentary that it would read as a panegyric had his subject been dead.[151] To be sure, Liberati was unusual among singers of the Cappella Pontificia—he had a strong literary background and a few years earlier had prepared a history of the papal choir at the pope’s own request. Regardless, for a papal singer to lavish such praise on a Congregazione maestro is astonishing:[152]

Signor Francesco Foggia, still alive into his eighties, yet in good health by the special grace of God and for the public good, being the sustainer and father of music and of true ecclesiastical harmony. [This] he has demonstrated with his printed works, making seen and heard such variety of styles, and introducing everyone to the great, the erudite, the noble, the elegant, the simple and the delightful, as much the learned as the ignorant—a [combination of] things rarely found in a single person, who must be imitated by all followers of good taste in music.[153]

5.3 In 1685, the year after Liberati’s testimonial, Foggia was named again as an exemplary Roman composer, this time in the context of the celebrated dispute over Corelli’s parallel fifths. The dispute over a passage in one of Corelli’s trio sonatas evolved into a conflict between Rome and Bologna, with the maestro Giovanni Paolo Colonna backed by his fellow Bolognese musicians and Arcangelo Corelli (who was known nonetheless as “il Bolognese”) by the Romans.[154] As part of his defense Corelli states that the counterpoint has been approved by Foggia, Liberati, and Matteo Simonelli. Like Liberati, Simonelli had acceded to the papal choir and, as such, represented a certain authority for musicians beyond Rome; Corelli obviously believed that Foggia’s reputation would also bolster his cause.[155]

5.4 In his latter years Foggia himself gave considerable thought to his reputation and legacy. What might serve as a crowning achievement to his career? He aimed for a project that would both commemorate his creativity as a composer and serve as an act of devotion to the Church. The Offertoria of 1681 accomplished both. The volumes of masses that Foggia began publishing some two decades earlier suggest self-consciousness of the judgment of history, and with the Offertoria he redoubled his efforts to win a permanent place for his works within the pantheon of Roman sacred music.[156]

5.5 Some details of this publication are explained simply in terms of Foggia’s position at the Marian basilica Santa Maria Maggiore. The volume opens with settings of Offertories for Marian services, it concludes with the Marian antiphon Salve regina, and Foggia dedicated it to a prelate at the basilica (Canon Bernini—see ref. 135).[157] The volume therefore reflects specific aspects of Foggia’s patronage in the 1670s and ’80s.

5.6 But the broader context of the Offertoria indicates that Foggia was looking beyond transient matters of employment and patronage. In the first place, the only previous Roman composer to publish a volume dedicated to the Offertory was none other than Palestrina. This earlier Offertoria was issued in 1593, just a year before the composer’s death. As Harold Powers has argued, the collection reflects Tridentine concerns, both in its adherence to the officially sanctioned liturgical texts and in its arrangement according to the traditional eight modes.[158] The collection both advertised and advanced the Catholic-Reform effort, and in Foggia’s time it was still performed in Rome.[159] (As maestro at Santa Maria Maggiore, Foggia was certainly aware that Palestrina himself had a special relationship with the basilica: the earlier composer had learned music there as a choirboy and returned later in his career as maestro di cappella.) Having almost reached the centennial of the Palestrina publication, Foggia must have conceived of his own as a kind of homage. Certainly the front matter of the Offertoria casts the volume in historic terms. In the dedication Foggia says his works are the result of “the highest study” (“summo studio”), and the anonymous preface describes Foggia as the “glorious heir” to the great Roman compositional tradition (“glorioso avvanzo del armonico Areopago de Nanini, & Agostini”). The parallel with Palestrina in terms of the contour of their careers would not have been lost on Foggia: having already published more masses than any contemporary, in their late careers both of them bring out a companion volume of Offertories, a finishing touch for their summa.

5.7 Foggia’s Offertoria also has a seventeenth-century Roman predecessor—Lorenzo Ratti’s monumental Sacrae modulationes, a three-volume compendium of Offertories, Graduals, and Elevation motets for Sundays throughout the church year, published in 1628.[160] The Ratti and Foggia publications are the only two in all of seventeenth-century Rome devoted to settings of Proper texts for the Mass.[161] An important composer and maestro in his own right, Ratti was renowned for his devotion. A contemporary collection of religious testimonials, Giovanni Vittorio Rossi’s Exempla virtutum et vitiorum (2nd ed., 1645), offers Ratti as an example of pious experience and behavior, and one anecdote there—having to do with an experience he had when fourteen years old—reveals a precocious interest in liturgical propriety.[162] The Sacrae modulationes with their Offertories and other settings of Mass Propers indicate his continued interest in liturgical music. These works were to circulate for more than a generation; a document from 1665 still identifies Ratti’s pieces as important liturgical music for Roman churches.[163]

5.8 The 1665 reference to Ratti’s publication occurred in the context of the ongoing dispute between the papal choir and the Congregazione dei Musici (see above, par. 3.11, and this draws our attention to another factor relevant to Foggia’s Offertoria. Through much of Foggia’s later career, developments in Roman sacred music were dominated by the controversy between the Congregazione and the Cappella Pontificia. The conflict had smoldered since the late sixteenth century, but in the second half of the seventeenth century it erupted into a full-blown battle over liturgical propriety and basic musical principles. Fuller accounts of this debate may be read elsewhere, but in essence it addressed the question of whether all vocal music heard during Mass and Vespers had to set the appropriate liturgical texts.[164] The papal choir mostly adhered to this traditional liturgical requirement, while the other Roman choirs, including Santa Maria Maggiore, San Giovanni Laterano, and all the others Foggia had served, performed a much wider range of works—some with “paraliturgical” texts and others drawn from the “right” feast but “wrong” service (e.g., a setting of a Vespers antiphon text performed during Mass). The papal choir and their advocates in the Curia urged the elimination of non-liturgical settings, at least for those choirs employing concerted music, while the Roman maestri di cappella argued strenuously for the more liberal practice.

5.9 The conflict, which began in the 1650s, had no definitive resolution in 1665 and seems to have affected compositional choices only gradually. Nonetheless, it is clear that by the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century the papal choir and its traditionalist allies had their way. Fewer motets were published, and Roman maestri increasingly focused their compositional output on workaday liturgical settings.[165] Indeed, in 1678 Foggia, despite his age and standing, was required to sign an oath pledging his observance of these liturgical stipulations.[166]

5.10 Hence, in the Offertoria Foggia connects both past and future. The volume pays homage to Palestrina and his preeminence as a composer at the same time that it acknowledges changed expectations going forward for Catholic music. There is little if any evidence to indicate the nature of Foggia’s attitude toward the changes—did he compose the Offertoria as a “true believer,” the way Lorenzo Ratti apparently had done with his Sacrae modulationes, or was he simply acting opportunistically?—but what seems undeniable is his desire to cultivate his legacy. Whatever the case, Foggia’s contemporaries recognized the importance of the collection, and no fewer than ten exemplars of the print and numerous manuscript copies have survived.[167]

5.11 If Foggia calculated his last, most prodigious publishing effort to capitalize on Palestrina’s legacy, music historians ever since have been following his lead. Pitoni, responsible for the first extended biographical dictionary of musicians, describes Foggia as having “imbibed from the pure milk” of Palestrina’s school and connects Foggia through a matrilinear genealogy with Palestrina’s ostensible teaching partners, the Nanino brothers.[168] (Such connections, of course, aggrandize Pitoni himself, as he in turn was Foggia’s own student.)[169] More dramatic still are two recent claims for Foggia as the last heir to the Palestrina tradition. Carl Fassbender states that with the death of Foggia, the “Roman school” was completed, as he held in balance both preservation of the “a cappella” idiom and receptivity to the concerted style.[170] And Saverio Franchi writes:

In Foggia, whose compositional production embraces the central decades of the Seicento, we see “the final stone” of the Roman School of direct Palestrinian descent, as Padre Martini wrote and as Baini repeated.[171]

Franchi alludes here to the trope of the golden capstone—the finishing stone placed atop a pyramid. Foggia, in other words, serves as culmination of the Palestrina tradition. Other scholars, however, especially Gunther Morche, seek to problematize our assumptions about what “school” might mean.[172] Instead of signifying definite pedagogical and stylistic connections, the assertion of a “school” relationship among composers may simply serve cultural or historiographical purposes. Given these objections, it is worth reflecting a little more on the interpretations attributed to Martini and Baini. In so doing we may achieve a more nuanced understanding of how the first scholars to write about Foggia saw his contributions to church music.

5.12 Baini will be of less interest than Padre Martini on this count. Published in the early nineteenth century, Baini’s study of Palestrina is at greater historical remove and, despite Fassbender’s and Franchi’s assertions, does not really claim a privileged position for Foggia.[173] Baini acknowledges Foggia’s importance among Roman liturgical composers—not least because the papal choir, of which Baini was a member and for which he was an apologist, had a couple of Foggia’s works in its repertory—but he never suggests that Foggia represents a culmination of the Palestrina style. To the contrary, when Baini mentions Roman composers who have been particularly faithful to the Palestrina model, he has a special nomenclature for them. Matteo Simonelli becomes the “Palestrina of the seventeenth century,” and Pasquale Pisari “Palestrina of the eighteenth century.”[174] Baini certainly does not present Foggia as a “capstone” of the Palestrina tradition.

5.13 Padre Martini comes closer to according Foggia a favored position within the “Roman school.” The gifted Bolognese musician cast an exceptionally wide historical net in his research, collecting information about Medieval and Renaissance composers, castrati of his own day, and many other performers and composers in between.[175] One of his chief correspondents, Girolamo Chiti, had been mentored by Pitoni and thus served Martini as a firsthand informant about the Roman tradition. It is in his Esemplare o sia saggio fondamentale pratico di contrappunto (1774–75) that Martini takes note of Foggia. Toward the end of this treatise Martini acknowledges that his contrapuntal guidelines may not have universal applicability. Just as there are local “schools” within the visual arts—“the Florentine school of Michelangelo and da Vinci, the Venetian school of Titian,” and so forth—composers too conform to local practices and conventions. The stylistic “schools” Martini mentions include those of Rome, Venice, Naples, Lombardy, and Bologna. Martini exemplifies the Roman school by naming its most esteemed composers—

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina,
the two Nanino brothers, Giovanni Maria and Giovanni Bernardino,
Orazio Benevoli, and
Francesco Foggia[176]

—after which he proceeds to name the “membership” of the Venetian and other schools. In literal terms, then, Martini’s summary of the Roman school does name Foggia last. That does not quite amount to claiming him as l’ultima pietra, the “capstone,” of the Palestrina tradition. From Martini’s vantage Foggia simply represents the most recent Roman composer of the first rank. For other locales he does note composers whose work stretches into the eighteenth century, including Lotti (1666–1740), Leo (1694–1744), and Francesco Durante (1684–1755), but there is no inference from Martini’s text that Foggia’s music reincarnates any aspect of Palestrina’s.

5.14 If Martini does not present Foggia as an inheritor of the “Palestrina tradition,” he nonetheless has the highest regard for Foggia’s achievements. This becomes evident in the second volume of the Esemplare. Here Martini discusses fugal counterpoint with examples drawn from works by some two dozen composers. He includes madrigals by Marenzio, Gesualdo, Monteverdi (e.g., Cruda Amarilli), and Alessandro Scarlatti; mass movements, including a passage from Palestrina’s Missa O magnum mysterium, Agostini’s canonic eight-voice Agnus Dei, and the Christe from Benevoli’s sixteen-voice Missa In diluvio aquarum multarum; and various untexted contrapuntal studies.[177] Foggia, represented by two complete three-voice motets, Ecce sacerdos magnus and Salve regina, stands out in this illustrious company.[178] Only Palestrina, Marenzio, Monteverdi, and Martini’s own teacher, Giacomo Antonio Perti, have more vocal works in this volume of the Esemplare.

5.15 In his commentary on these two motets, Martini lavishes Foggia with praise. He presents the works as models for consideration not just by students, which is the form his advice usually takes, but also by maestri.[179] His account concludes by quoting Liberati’s praise in the Lettera, including the bracing claim for Foggia as the “sustainer and father of music and true ecclesiastical harmony.” Martini took his own advice. He did not simply elevate Foggia on a historical pedestal; he transcribed and studied Foggia’s music closely. Beyond the motets in the Esemplare, he also scored Foggia’s Offertoria, a transcription that reaches more than 200 pages.[180] Given his familiarity with this collection comprising both full-choir and concerted idioms, Martini was well aware of Foggia’s stylistic breadth. By selecting Foggia’s small-scale motets for the Esemplare, Martini highlights Foggia’s cultivation of the concerted style and distances him from the Palestrina epigones and their imitation of sixteenth-century practices. Foggia serves as no standard bearer for the stile antico. He does represent the “Roman school” and offers a pedagogical connection with Palestrina, but Martini’s chief use for Foggia is to present him as an exemplary composer in his own right.

5.16 Foggia’s works, as presented by Martini, thus give the lie to the characterization of seventeenth-century Roman sacred music merely as a preserve of the “colossal Baroque” and stile antico. Doing so, Bukofzer and others identified important strands in the musical fabric of the repertory, but Foggia’s prominence as a composer who continues to work with full-choir, imitative writing expands our awareness of what Rome was capable of musically. While Foggia and many of his colleagues writing liturgical music avoid some conventional elements of Baroque style—he rejects obbligato instruments and rarely writes monody or independent basso continuo lines—his harmonic, rhythmic, and aesthetic orientation are all progressive. Foggia’s creativity falls somewhere between “colossal Baroque” and stile antico, the middle ground where Martini locates Foggia’s compositional excellence.

5.17 Just as Foggia’s style thus challenges the stereotypes established by an earlier generation of musicologists, Foggia’s biography challenges past expectations about how maestri in seventeenth-century Rome pursued their careers. He entered the field of sacred music on the time-honored path of choirboy, yet that opportunity also granted him access to training in monody and gave him familiarity with the most fashionable trends in composition. By his early thirties he had ascended to a much-coveted position as maestro with one of the Rome’s leading cappelle, yet much of his professional experience as singer and maestro came from outside Rome, some of it far afield in German lands. His own family’s origins were humble, yet Foggia was able to marry into the most illustrious musical dynasty of Renaissance and Baroque Rome, the Nanino-Agostini line with its boast of a direct connection to Palestrina. Foggia and his wife, Eugenia Agostini, then had modest success with a dynasty of their own, placing four children in religious service (three daughters as nuns and one son as prelate at San Giovanni in Laterano) and two others in the field of sacred music (the son Antonio followed literally in his father’s footsteps, and a fourth daughter married another Roman maestro).[181] In terms of professional allegiances, Foggia’s service as maestro di cappella inevitably aligned him with the guild of church musicians, the Congregazione dei Musici, yet he seems to have stayed on good terms with its competition, the papal choir. During a century marked by shifting musical fashions and the introduction of many new genres, Foggia made considerable compositional investment in the most traditional genre—the mass—and this is only partly explained by his need to demonstrate professional competency as a maestro. Also of note for that stylistically capricious century, in the last few years of his life Foggia brought out his Offertoria (1681), a publication that linked him with his most illustrious predecessor in Rome, Palestrina (whose Offertoria came out in 1593).

5.18 We may not favor the rhetorical excesses of Liberati, who effused about Foggia as “the sustainer and father of music and of true ecclesiastical harmony” and commanded that he be “imitated by all followers of good taste in music.” But we do now recognize more clearly the central role that Foggia played in many contexts of seventeenth-century Roman music and can affirm that his choices at both the personal and professional level enrich our understanding of those contexts. In so doing we observe Foggia’s admonishment in the preface to his Messe of 1672, where he instructs critics not to make “of every little butterfly an eagle and of every particle an Olympus.”

Copyright © 1995-2017 Society for Seventeenth-Century Music. All Rights Reserved.