Home » Uncategorized » Simone Molinaro and the Saltarello from Ballo detto Il Conte Orlando

Simone Molinaro and the Saltarello from Ballo detto Il Conte Orlando


Simone Molinaro (c. 1565 – 1615) was a composer of the late Renaissance in Italy, who was especially renowned for his lute music.  Molinaro was born around 1565 in Genoa, Italy. He studied music with his uncle, Giovanni Battista dalla Gostena, who was maestro di capella at Genoa Cathedral. In 1593, Gostena was murdered, and Molinaro succeeded him in his post at the Cathedral in 1599.  The same year he published Intavolatura di liuto, containing lute works both by himself and by Gostena. In addition to his lute works, Molinaro composed a large amount of sacred choral music, most of which does not survive completely because of missing partbooks. However, some five-voice motets have been preserved in the collections of Hasler and Schadaeus.

Molinaro also served as editor of the works of Carlo Gesualdo, publishing editions of that composer’s madrigals in 1585 and 1613.  In his dances for lute, Molinaro dispensed with counterpoint, and showed himself as a pure melodist and harmonist.  Molinaro wrote at the time when lute music was reaching its apogee. Along with Giovanni Terzi, Molinaro’s lute music introduces a finished, graceful, instrumental style, with all shades of expression and a technique usually associated only with the vocal music of the period.  The 1613 publication of the Gesualdo madrigals was ground-breaking because it presented Gesualdo’s music in full score as opposed to partbook format. Molinaro died two years later in 1615.

My collection includes the following work by Simon Molinaro:

Ballo detto Il Conte Orlando: Saltarello.

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