Antonio Cifra

Antonio Cifra

  • Born
    c. 1584
  • Died
    2nd October 1629
  • Birthplace
    perhaps in Bassiano (near Terracina), Italy
Antonio Cifra was an Italian composer of the Roman School of the Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He was one of the significant transitional figures between the Renaissance and Baroque styles, and produced music in both idioms. Cifra was a prolific composer, with 45 separate publications to his credit: they included psalms, motets, litanies, Scherzi sacri, masses, polychoral motets, and sacred songs, as well as secular music including madrigals in both the Renaissance a cappella and Baroque concertato forms. Stylistically, Cifra's music varies between masses in the Palestrina style, with much use of homophony (as desired by the Counter-Reformation Council of Trent, which had required that polyphonic elaboration be minimized so as to allow for clear expression of the text), and more progressive works in the Venetian style. He also used the technique of monody, as pioneered in northern Italy, for some of his solo madrigals. Some of his concertato madrigals are like small cantatas, and can be seen as foreshadowing this development, which began around the time he died.