10th April 1545
Costanzo Festa was an Italian composer of the Renaissance. While he is best known for his madrigals, he also wrote sacred vocal music. He was the first native Italian polyphonist of international renown, and with Philippe Verdelot, one of the first to write madrigals, in the infancy of that most popular of all sixteenth-century Italian musical forms.
Festa was one of the few Italians in the Papal Choir, which at that time was dominated by musicians from northern Europe. He was a master of the Netherlands contrapuntal technique, however, and his importance to music history is as the one who first brought the two musical styles, the Italian and the Netherlandish, together. In addition, he was an obvious influence on Palestrina, who modeled many of his early works after his.
Most of Festa's madrigals are for three voices, in contrast to the other early madrigalists: for example Verdelot preferred five or six voices, while Sebastiano Festa only wrote for four. He liked quick, rhythmically active passages in his madrigals; this may reflect an influence from the contemporary vocal form of the villanesca. In addition, he wrote extended homophonic sections, showing somewhat less influence from the contemporary motet, in contrast to the motet-like imitative passages found in Verdelot.