A term used to describe melody that is ornamented, either written out by the composer, or improvised by the performer. It can apply to a single melodic line, or to polyphony. In the florid organum of Aquitaine in the early 12th century the upper part of the note-against-note counterpoint is embellished with melismas. The term is also used to describe the musica figurata of early Netherlandish composers such as Ockeghem, in which elaborate polyphony was created by combining a number of equally florid lines. Most often it refers to a profuse style of ornamentation running in rapid figures, passages or divisions, but it can also designate ornamentation in general. For example, P.F. Tosi’s treatise on improvised embellishment, Opinioni de’ cantori antichi e moderni, o sieno osservazioni sopra il canto figurato (1723), translated into English (1742) as Observations on the Florid Song, includes specific ornaments, such as trills and appoggiaturas, alongside various types of passage work.
OWEN JANDER/GREER GARDEN
Florido de Silvestris [Floridus de Sylvestris].
SeeSilvestris, Florido de.
Chaplain at the Ste Chapelle in Paris in 1385, probably identifiable with Fleurie.
A type of trill; seeOrnaments, §1.
British ensemble. Based in London, it specializes in 17th- and 18th-century chamber music on period instruments. Its core players are Ashley Solomon (flute and recorder), Neal Peres Da Costa (harpsichord), Rachel Podger (violin) and Daniel Yeadon (cello and bass viol). Florilegium made its début at Blackheath Concert Halls in 1991, since when it has performed and broadcast regularly at the Wigmore Hall, throughout Europe, the USA, East Asia and Australia. Its many CDs include recordings of Telemann's chamber music and Vivaldi's cello sonatas (with Pieter Wispelwey as solo cellist), both of which received awards.
(b Siena; d Pistoia, Jan 1683). Italian composer and organist. According to Morrocchi he was a pupil of Cristofano Piochi. He was a member of the Servite order. In 1668 he was organist at Budrio, near Bologna, and according to Fétis he was a member of the Accademia Filarmonica at Bologna. Morrocchi referred to him as maestro di cappella at the collegiate church in Siena. In 1680 or 1682 he was appointed vicemaestro of Siena Cathedral and in 1682 maestro di cappella of Pistoia Cathedral. On the title-page of his op.7 he described himself as ‘very aged’. He was one of the most skilful Tuscan composers of his time; all his extant music is sacred, some of it scored for double choir. The title-page of the Compendiocompiled by Girolamo Chiti, which survives only in a manuscript dating from after Florimi’s death, mentions Piochi, Florimi and other composers as the source for some of the information contained in it.
Misse concertate, 5vv, 2 vn, bc (org) (Venice, 1668)
Salmi pieni con il Tedeum, 8vv, bc, op.2 (Bologna, 1669)
Concerti musicali, 4–5vv, bc (org), op.3 (Bologna, 1673)
G.Chiti: Compendio in pratica e in teorica delle principali regole da sapersi per un musico, utile si nel cantare come nel comporre, da diversi autori raccolto (MS, 1703, I-Bc) [partly based on writings by Florimi]
R.Morrocchi: La musica in Siena (Siena, 1886/R), 32, 103
(b San Giorgio Morgeto, Calabria, 12 Oct 1800; d Naples, 18 Dec 1888). Italian librarian, musicologist, teacher and composer. The varied activities of his career were dominated by a single theme: the preservation and glorification of the Neapolitan musical tradition. At 12 (or 15) he entered the Naples Conservatory, where he was a fellow student of Bellini, who became his closest friend and the object of his intense devotion. He was made archivist-librarian there in 1826 and (perhaps his most important achievement) acquired a large part of the library’s rich holdings. He also served as director of vocal concerts and singing teacher there. His widely praised Metodo di canto (Naples, ?1840; Milan, 1841–3, enlarged 3/?1861) was conservative in tendency, claiming to be based on the precepts of the castrato Crescentini, then director of the conservatory’s singing school, and intended to restore the ‘antico bello’ of ‘the only true tradition of Italian song’, that of Scarlatti, Porpora and Durante, which had been displaced by ‘la moda barocca’ of the present age. Florimo composed in all genres except the dramatic, but apart from a Sinfonia funebre per la morte di Bellini (I-Nc*; piano four-hand arrangement, Milan, 1836), only his songs are of interest. Many are in a Neapolitan popular style, and from 1844 he published several collections in the Neapolitan publisher Girard’s series Collezione completa delle canzoncine nazionali napoletane, some of which were reprinted about 1853 by Ricordi in Milan. Even in these, however, it is difficult or impossible to determine to what extent they embody genuinely popular material.
In his old age Florimo turned to historical writing. His Cenno storico sulla scuola musicale di Napoli (Naples, 1869–71) and the supplementary Cenni storici sul Collegio di musica S. Pietro a Majella in Napoli (Naples, 1873) were enlarged as La scuola musicale di Napoli e i suoi conservatorii (Naples, 1880–82/R). In sending the first volume to Verdi in 1869, Florimo wrote: ‘Without being either a man of science or a man of letters, I have ventured to write a book. If the world only regards my good intentions, then it will have indulgence for me, otherwise I shall be lost’. Florimo’s failings as a historian are great, but his collection of unsorted fact, legend and error remains unreplaced and indispensable.
Most of Florimo’s other writings are on Bellini. His Traslazione delle ceneri di Vincenzo Bellini (Naples, 1877; Florimo arranged for the body to be moved from Paris to Catania) was reprinted with a biography, anecdotes and letters in Bellini, memorie e lettere (Florence, 1882). Besides authentic material he published letters, parts or the whole of which he had invented, and made assertions based on ‘remembered conversations’ that could not have taken place; these for many years bedevilled studies of Bellini. On the occasion of the first Bayreuth Festival Florimo wrote a short, highly antagonistic pamphlet, Riccardo Wagner ed i wagneristi (Naples, 1876). After Wagner’s visit to Naples in 1880, when he astutely declared to Florimo his predilection for Bellini, Florimo published a much longer second version (Ancona, 1883) in which he praised Wagner and criticized only his fanatical followers.
Florimo was on friendly terms with many figures of his time, including Rossini, Donizetti and Verdi. His view of Italian musical development was that Rossini had been the great revolutionary who had put an end to the old Neapolitan school, but that his style had been replaced by Bellini’s, and the Bellinian reform had been carried on by Donizetti and completed by Verdi in Don Carlos and Aida. His relations with Mercadante were at times strained during the latter’s directorship of the conservatory (1840–70). As Walker pointed out, the praise of Mercadante in the Cenno storico was much toned down in the second edition, published after Mercadante’s death, and in some cases simply reversed by the addition of ‘not’. In 1870–71 Florimo unsuccessfully tried to persuade Verdi to become director. Even in extreme old age he continued to live in his beloved conservatory and bequeathed to it 37 volumes of his correspondence, an important source that has only begun to be drawn on by historians; some of these documents showed up his own published falsifications.