Giulio Bonagiunta

Giulio Bonagiunta, interesting figure of singer, composer and publisher of Marche, born in San Ginesio  around 1530, his biography remains shrouded in mystery, at least until 1560. In that year, officially began his career as a musician in Loreto, where he was a cleric and singer from 15 December 1560 to 7 June 1561 and where he was appointed canon  on 1  April , 1562.

     From Loreto, Bonagiunta moved to Venice. From October 14, 1562, was hired as a contralto, with a salary of eighty shields a year, in the Chapel of the Basilica of St. Mark's music,then directed by Adrian Willaert Flemish master and one of the most famous in Europe.


During his stay in Venice, documented until 1568, Bonagiunta was able to improve its financial situation through the opportunities offered by the lagoon city in music: the singers of St. Mark were hired by both large and small schools of the city and private citizens for various functions, from weddings to parties of the parish, from ceremonies to "monacare novices" in celebrations of all kinds.


Bonagiunta was able to assist the profession of the other singer, surely the most prestigious professional and economic terms, a publisher, which began in October 1565. Giulio devoted himself intensively to the new activity, producing in just four years seventeen music editions. We have counted the most illustrious names of that inexhaustible hotbed of music in the second half of the sixteenth century in Italy, Orlando di Lasso (which he published five collections of various sacred and secular music) to Adrian Hawil from Alessandro Cipriano de Rore to Striglio, which exclusively relied on Bonagiunta his unpublished work "lest ...... not so easily in the hands of each of them is divulged," by Claudio Merulo Andrea Gabrieli, from Palestrina to Francis and many other Aryans .


The San Ginesio musician formed a kind of commercial enterprise with the publisher Venetian: he simply offered the typography, Bonagiunta instead dealt with the retrieval of music manuscripts for publication and funding, as well as the proofreading, printing costs fell in the on the characters to whom the work was dedicated, in part on printers associated with him (in the case of issues with printers' different from those used by Scotto) and partly on the same Bonagiunta.


What made him a skilled and prolific as a publisher was, apart from its undoubted musical competence, the vast network of musicians, writers and patrons of music in which Marche between Venice and Bavaria was able to establish fruitful contacts, kept alive due to frequent trips - mostly documented - made during his stay in Venice. Among the friends of Bonagiunta include de Lucchis Vincent, Bishop of Ancona, Giovanni Ferri, son of Octavius, scholar, lawyer and professor since 1540 at the fledgling University of Macerata, a man of culture and generous patron of poets and musicians and musician himself, the scholar of Civitanova Annibal Caro and his nephew Giovan Battista, Francesco Adriani of San Severino and Giovanni Ferretti, to say nothing of some members of the Farnese family.

In the field of music Bonagiunta wove a special relationship, in the environment of Venice, with Claudio Merulo, organist at St. Mark's in the same year in which Giulio worked with him and two of the greatest musicians of the time: Orlando di Lasso and Cipriano de Rore, of which published, as already mentioned, different compositions.

The personality of Bonagiunta appears as that of a musician immersed in their own time, able to use his musical competence and his social skills , the publishing, which in those years, was the most flourishing business. Bonagiunta is not the only case of musician-editor, but usually the treatment of volume music represents for the musicians of the sixteenth century a fact more or less occasional,contrary for Boangiunta is configured as an assiduous and continuous(at least for some years), able to ensure a smooth rounding to his salary as a singer.


If the great fortune smiled to Bonagiunta as collector and editor of other people's music, his fame as a composer binds only to some nice songs included in the folk tune "First book of Neapolitan songs for three voices, two to venetiana of Giulio Bonagiunta from  S. Ginesio". And in the second book of "Neapolitan songs for three voices... Giulio Bonagiunta from S.Ginesio... ", published in Venice on 25 October 1565 (reprinted in 1567) and November 20, 1566. The two books of songs ended up missing over the years in various libraries in Italy and Europe. Written separately, according to the custom of the time, for single items (singing, tenor, bass) are able to send to us, filtered through the musical taste of the time, the temperament disenchanted of their author , inclined by nature to a vein pretty straightforward, no of intellectualism and literary affectations.

His familiarity with the great masters of the Flemish school, the familiarity with the greats musical architectures and his virtuosity intellectual indulged in that school, leaving virtually irrelevant the composer Bonagiunta , that to his songs for three voices entrusts the folksy spirit in which they may hide  its origins ginesine.

After the Venetian period, as we have seen very intense and very busy, we find him in Parma, where he was given the task of the Court Musician of Ottavio Farnese, with the burden of leading a "company of pifferari", to educate music "li putti del cantar" and to do lessons to the princes of the Farnese family. How much is lasted this job is not clear, but perhaps until 1570, after this date will not be traced further news of the San Ginesio musician, but that of his death, which occurred at Parma, as recently discovered, 16 February 1571.

The rediscovery of Giulio Bonagiunta in his country of origin is related to the birth, in 1981, the Polyphonic Choir which adopted its name and has released, in a few years, even abroad, in his many concert tours.

At the Choir is ascribed the merit of having found the two books containing songs written by Bonagiunta, respectively at the "British Library" in London the first book (the only part of song) and the second (only the part of the Low) and at the "Austrian National Library" in Vienna two complete books of the three voices (Song, Tenor, Bass). 

Once recovered the two books, it immediately felt the need to shed light on the figure of the San Ginesio's musician and his music: this is why, after a long and patient work was published in the book "Giulio Buonagiunta from San Ginesio - the half , his music ", with the collaboration of eminent scholars such as two prominent American academics, Professor Donna G. Cardamone, ordinary musicologist at the School of Music at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and prof. Giulio Maria Ongaro, Professor of Music History and Literature at the Flora L. Thornton School of Music in Los Angeles, the musicologist Prof. Lucia Fava, an expert in their particular area of History of Music in the Marche, and the master Emiliano Finucci, choir conductor, violinist and composer, scholar of Renaissance and Baroque music.


 After rebuilding around the figure of the musician, whose features biographical slender and elusive, San Ginesio's environment in which he was born and was formed before taking flight to Loreto, Venice and Parma, thanks to a careful and painstaking research of historical documents by the ex director of Choral Prof. Mario Baldassari, the publication presents the compositions of Giulio Bonagiunta through a modern edition of old scores.

The transcription, personally supervised by the teacher Finucci is accompanied by essays that illustrate widely and thoroughly musical and artistic characteristics. It's also analyzed in its various connotations of singer, composer and publisher especially, the multifaceted personality of the musician San Ginesio, defined by prof. Giulio M. Ongaro "leading figure in the history of the music press of the sixteenth century and one of the most interesting Italian music of the Renaissance", by Professor Donna G. Cardamone "attitude innovative composer ... whose production represented a significant turning point in the evolution of the kind of dialect songs for three voices."

The publication of the book could not be accompanied by the performance of music bonagiuntiana, according to the absolute respect of the musical techniques of the sixteenth century. The first June 2003, on the occasion of the presentation of the book of Giulio Bonagiunta, the Ginesio's choristers  conducted by maestro Emiliano Finucci and accompanied by musicians of Ancient Instruments Group "Alter Eagle" Eagle, performed for the first time some of the bonagiuntiane compositions, finally realizing the dream of Giulio Tallè, first president of the Choral Bonagiunta, who died in 1999: "to listen, after four and a half centuries of oblivion, through the voice of his countrymen the ancient song of Giulio Bonagiunta, ingenuity multi-faceted musician, publisher and singer. "

The bonagiuntiane songs were performed in Venice, into which he had seen born in the sixteenth century, during two successful tours conducted in November 2003 and May 2004.

In 2005 it was finally recorded the CD "Canzon Neapolitan" containing all the compositions bonagiuntiane, the preparation of which have worked the chor of San Ginesio and instrumental group "Alter Eagle", still under the direction of maestro Emiliano Finucci. After the discovery of the two songs and the publication of the book dedicated to him, was thus achieved the third objective of the Choral Bonagiunta has set as part of the project to discover, study, play and make known musician from which it takes the name, Giulio Buonagiunta from San Ginesio.