Faà di Bruno, Giovanni Matteo [Horatio, Orazio] 83

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Flemish family of musicians of Italian origin.

(1) Pietro Antonio [Pierre Antoine] Fiocco

(2) Jean-Joseph Fiocco

(3) Joseph Hector Fiocco



(1) Pietro Antonio [Pierre Antoine] Fiocco

(b Venice, bap. 3 Feb 1653; d Brussels, 3 Sept 1714). Composer. Nothing is known of Fiocco's life prior to the performance of his prologue to the opera Alceste, given at Hanover in 1681. By early 1682 he was living in Brussels, where he married Jeanne de Laetre on October 22. When his wife died early in 1691 he was left with three young children, including (2) Jean-Joseph Fiocco; a year later he married Jeanne Françoise Deudon, with whom he had 11 children, including (3) Joseph Hector Fiocco.

Fiocco probably served at the Brussels ducal chapel from 1687, succeeding Honoré Eugène d'Eve as director, though he was styled only lieutenant de la chapelle. With the appointment of Maximilian Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria, to the governorship of the southern Netherlands in 1692, Pietro Torri came to Brussels as general director of his employer's musical establishments, although Fiocco enjoyed almost complete autonomy. From 1694 to 1698 he collaborated with Giovanni Paolo Bombarda in the direction of the Opéra du Quai aux Foins, performing mostly works by Lully, including Amadis, Acis et Galatée, Phaëton, Armide and Thésée, for which Fiocco wrote new prologues in honour of the elector. During the War of the Spanish Succession, Torri followed Maximilian Emanuel's retinue, which paved the way for Fiocco's succession to maître de musique de la chapelle royale de la cour in 1703. At the same time he was appointed to a similar post at Notre-Dame du Sablon because of the church's association with the Spanish royal presence. He held both positions until his death.

Fiocco's understanding of French musical language is evident in his prologue and pastorale. His church music, however, reflects the Venetian style prevalent in Brussels throughout the 18th century. Following in this tradition, his motets are written for one, two or four voices with instruments. With delineated sections in related keys, they show little originality; the underlying harmonic constructions and melodic and rhythmic devices are entirely conventional. Although Fiocco was not connected to the collegiate church of Ste Gudule, the manuscripts housed in the Conservatoire Royal de Musique, Brussels, constitute part of the ‘fonds Ste-Gudule’.


sacred vocal

Sacri concerti (Antwerp, 1691): 6 for 5vv, insts, org; 5 motets, 1v, insts, org; 2 for 4vv, insts, org; 1 for 3vv, org; 1 for 2vv, org; also incl. mass, for 4vv, insts, bc [copy in B-Bc]

Missa solemnis, Missa pro defunctis, Missa Sanctia Josephi: all Bc

Motets, Bc: Ad ardores sacri amoris; Amor Patris; Ave regina coelorum; Cedant arma; Laetis vocibus; Regina caeli, doubtful, ? by J.H. Fiocco; Regina superum; Sanctorum meritis

Motets, Br: Creator Spiritus; Stabat mater; 2 Te Deum settings, 1, 1738; Venite exultemus

Motet, adapted by V. Nelson as Clap your hands, GB-Lbl

Motets, Lcm: Date palmas; Festinemus o mortales; Ille rector angelorum; Properemus ad hans gloriam; Si tu fons lucis; Stupete novum sidus; Sublevate vos; Vanae curae Ieves; Veni charae dulcis

other works

Le retour du printemps (pastorale), Brussels, 1699, A-Wn; prol for Alceste (op, A. Aureli), Hanover, 1681, formerly D-HVs, music by P.A. Strungk or M.A. Ziani; prols for revivals of Lully's Amadis, Acis et Galatée, Phaëton, Armide, Thésée, Bellérophon and other ops, all lost

2 Italian arias in Recueil d’airs sérieux et a boire, livre II (Amsterdam, 1696); 1 Italian aria in ibid., livre III (Amsterdam, 1697); sonata, fl, in 10 sonates pour les flûtes (Amsterdam, c1710)

Sonata, 4 insts; Symphonia: both B-Bc


(2) Jean-Joseph Fiocco

(b Brussels, bap. 15 Dec 1686; d Brussels, 29 March 1746). Organist and composer, son of (1) Pietro Antonio Fiocco. Trained by his father and the musicians of the royal chapel, he became maître de chapelle at Notre-Dame du Sablon and at the ducal chapel following his father's death in 1714. In 1715 he married Marie Madelaine Claes, with whom he had one surviving child; shortly after her death in 1730 he married Anne Caroline Rottenburgh, thus connecting two of the city's foremost families of musicians. Eight of their nine children survived to adulthood. Fiocco quit Notre-Dame du Sablon following the fire of 1731 that destroyed the ducal palace, devoting all his efforts to rebuilding the musical establishment of the governor-general, Archduchess Maria Elisabeth. He retired from the ducal chapel in 1744, passing the directorship to Henri Jacques de Croes. He continued to advise other musicians until his death two years later.

Fiocco's melodic writing and imitative technique are more polished than that of his father, though less artful than Joseph Hector's. His two four-voice motets adhere to the French grands motets of the preceding century. His oratorios, written in honour of Maria Elisabeth, were performed in Brussels between 1728 and 1740; their Italian titles can only suggest their musical style, as all are now lost.


[12] Sacri concentus, 4vv, 3 insts, op.1 (Amsterdam, n.d.)

Missa solemnis, 1732, A-Wgm, B-Bc

Partition de 8 psaumes ou motets, 2vv, bc, F-Pc

Motets, B-Bc: O Jesu mi sponse, S, insts; Ad torrentem, T, insts; Levavi oculos, 4vv, insts; Fuge Demon, 4vv, insts


Orats, perf. Brussels, lost: La tempesta di dolori, 1728; La morte vinta sul Calvario, 1730; Giesù flagellato, 1734; Il transito di S Giuseppe, 1737; Le profezie evangeliche di Isaia, 1738–40

9 répons de mort, ?lost, cited in Vander StraetenMPB


(3) Joseph Hector Fiocco

(b Brussels, 20 Jan 1703; d Brussels, 21 June 1741). Composer, organist and harpsichordist, eighth child of (1) Pietro Antonio Fiocco and Jeanne Françoise Deudon. In 1726 he married Marie Caroline Dujardin, with whom he had two children. He was then serving at the ducal chapel under his half-brother and became sous-maître in 1729 or 1730. He resigned in August 1731 to accept the post of sangmeester (choirmaster) at Antwerp Cathedral, succeeding Willem De Fesch.

He returned to Brussels in March 1737 to serve as sangmeester of the collegiate church of St Michel and Ste Gudule following the death of Petrus Hercules Brehy, who had held the post for 32 years. As at Antwerp, Fiocco was a francophone at a predominantly Flemish-speaking institution. Fiocco moved with his family into the choraelhuys (maîtrise) where, as music director, he was required to teach the choirboys as well as compose frequently. He held this post until his premature death four years later. Despite his adequate salary, his widow complained she was penniless and sold the composer's music manuscripts to the collegiate church, where they became incorporated into the ‘fonds Ste-Gudule’.

Fiocco's music exhibits greater stylistic diversity than that of his father and half-brother. His Pièces de claveçin demonstrate the strong influence of François Couperin in structure and harmonic movement, as well as in the melodic figures, which contain many of the compound and simultaneous ornaments of the French tradition; indeed, the table of ornaments is almost identical to Couperin's. The léçons de ténèbres are more varied. The first is highly sectionalized and contains the instrumentation, affective devices and dark sonorities associated with the French tradition; the second typifies the italianate aria style, while the third combines elements of the two. Fiocco's command of larger forms is seen in his other sacred music, which reveal a thorough grounding in the style of Vivaldi and his compatriots.


3 missa solemnis settings, 1, B-Bc: 7vv, insts; 2, 2vv, insts

Motets, 5vv, insts, Bc: Homo quidem/Ecce panis; Salve regina

Motets, 4vv, insts, Bc: Alma redemptoris mater; Ave Maria; Ecce panis; Exultandi tempus est; Homo quidem/Ecce panis; Ite gemmae ite hores; Laudate pueri Dominum, also F-Pn; Libera me; O beatissima; O salutaris hostia; Proferte cantica; Salve regina

Motets, 2vv, insts, B-Bc: Benedicam Domine; Exaudiat te Dominus, 1728

Motets, 1v, insts, Bc: Ave Maria; Beatus vir; Confitebor tibi Domino, also F-Pn; Jubilate Deo

Motets, 4vv, insts, Br: Festiva lux, dated 1803, 4vv, org reduction; Sacra trophaea, dated 1800, 4vv, org reduction; Tandem fuget, 1734

Te Deum, 4vv, bc, in C.J. van Helmont’s Psalmi vesperarum et completi de officiis decanalibus (1737) [survives only in MS, Br]

9 leçons des ténèbres, des mercredi, jeudi et vendredi saints, 1v, vc, bc, Bc

[24] Pièces de clavecin, op.1 (Brussels, 1730)


Lost (cited in an inventory compiled by C.J. Van Helmont, c1745; see Baratz): 5 masses; 1 requiem; 12 motets: Ad te Domine, Ascendit fumus, 2 Ave regina settings, Homo quidam, Nobis gaudia, Non me movet, Libera me, 2 Litaniae de venerabili Sacramento settings, Regina caeli, 4vv, insts (see under P.A. Fiocco), Te Deum




Grove5 (F. Walker)

Vander StraetenMPB

F. Faber: Histoire du théâtre français en Belgique (Brussels, 1878–80)

H. Liebrecht: Histoire du théâtre français à Bruxelles au XVIIe et au XVIIIe siècle (Brussels, 1923)

S. Clercx: ‘Les clavecinists belges et leurs emprunts à l'art de F. Couperin et de J.-P. Rameau’, ReM, no.192 (1939), 11–22

C. Stellfeld: Les Fiocco: une famille de musiciens belges aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (Brussels, 1941)

S. Clercx: La musique en Belgique: le dix-septième et le dix-huitième siècles (Brussels, 1950), 181ff

G. Volpato: ‘Note biografiche su P.A. Fiocco’, NRMI, xiv (1980), 89–94

G. Volpato: ‘Nuovi documenti su P.A. Fiocco’, NRMI, xxii (1988), 215–20

L.R. Baratz: ‘Les oeuvres de Joseph Hector Fiocco (1703–1741) dans la bibliothèque du chanoine Vanden Boom (1688–1769)’, Etudes sur le XVIIIe siècle, xix (1992), 47–77

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