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Fontanes, Joaquim António Peres

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Fontanes, Joaquim António Peres

(c1750–c1820). Portuguese organ builder. He built two impressive organs for Lisbon Cathedral (one still in the cathedral, the other now in Santa Engrácia), and some instruments for provincial Franciscan churches, including Lamego (1791) and the convent of Nossa Senhora da Conceição (1797) at Ponta Delgada in the Azores. His involvement with the construction of the six organs for Mafra (1792–1807), undertaken by royal command, indicates that his reputation as a builder was more extensive than the surviving evidence suggests. A study of the relevant documentation and a comparison of components of the Mafra organs with counterparts made by Fontanes and António Machado e Cerveira elsewhere suggest that the principal builder may have been Fontanes, and that he subcontracted much of the work to Cerveira. The specifications of the Mafra organs may not have been entirely typical of Fontanes' tonal style. The organs built for Lisbon Cathedral suggest a preference for the older Baroque tradition, with façades that are more Baroque than Classical, a compass of 51 notes (Cd'''), and the inclusion of a small eco division. Nevertheless, there are features which are typical of foreign and contemporary organ building trends. Of 20 half-stops in the bass and treble, 13 are common; there is a Corneta inglesa eco in the treble and a treble Clarinette stop in both the Principal and eco divisions.

There are several references to builders by the name of Fontanes or Fontana, and there is circumstantial evidence to suggest that they were members of the same family. Simão Fontanes, from Santiago de Compostela, built a large organ for Orense Cathedral between 1731 and 1734 in collaboration with Filipe Felix Feijoo. He also built two monumental organs for Braga Cathedral between 1737 and 1738: his inscription on the gospel organ confirms both his Spanish and Franciscan origin. Following the project at Braga, he may have collaborated with his pupil Francisco António Solha in Amarante. Although nothing can be proved because the instrument is now in ruins, from the stylistic aspects it is possible that Fontanes was also responsible for the great organ of S Gonçalo. However, references to Simão Fontanes seem not to exist after 1738. An inscription found inside the wind-chest of the organ of S Vicente de Fora, Lisbon, refers to João Fontanes de Maqueisa and gives the date of rebuilding as 1765. A builder named Fontanes appears to have worked on the organ in the Episcopal palace, Coimbra, shortly before his death at Mafra in 1770, and there is an inscription dating from about 1763 in the organ in the Seminary church, Coimbra, which refers to Bento Fontana de Sequeira (previously interpreted as Maqueixa or Maqueisa by Azevedo and others). The latter builder is known to have sold an organ to the Franciscan church of the Incarnation, Mafra, in about 1770; he was also an assistant organist at Mafra at that time.


G. Doderer: Die portugiesische orgelmusik des 17 jhs. im Spiegeldes Livro de Bouro (Braga) (diss., U. of Würzburg, 1977)

L.A. Esteves Pereira: ‘Braga – Cathedral: Gospel Organ’, FoMRHI Quarterly, xxviii (1982), 24–5

L.A. Esteves Pereira: ‘The Gospel Organ of Braga Cathedral’, Organ Yearbook, xiv (1983), 97–105

G. Doderer: Os órgãos da Sé Catedral de Braga (Lisbon, 1992)


Fontanes, Simão

(fl 1731–8). Portuguese organ builder. He is best known for his two organs built for Braga Cathedral (1737–8). He was possibly related to Joaquim António Peres Fontanes.

Fontei [Fonte, Fonteio], Nicolò

(b Orciano di Pesaro, nr Fano; d probably Verona or Venice, 1647 or later). Italian composer and organist. He had probably settled in Venice before 1634, by which time he was closely associated with Giulio Strozzi and Barbara Strozzi (also see below). There is no evidence of his relationship with them after 1636, though he may well have been one of the musicians who performed at the meetings of the Accademia degli Unisoni, which Giulio Strozzi founded in 1637. In January 1638/9 he was, according to the title-page of his 1638 book, organist ‘in aede Sancte Mariae Cruciferorum’ (presumably S Maria de’ Crocicchieri, Venice), and he may have entered the priesthood at about this time. In the dedication to his op.5 (1640) he mentioned that he and his music had been favourably received at Verona, but its wording does not support Gaspari’s conclusion that he was then living there. He certainly intended to continue his career as an organist in Venice, for on 22 January 1640 he competed against Giacomo Arrigoni, Cavalli and Monferrato for the post of second organist at S Marco. Although he was unsuccessful (the post was awarded to Cavalli) it is likely that he continued to live in Venice, where his only known opera was performed in 1642. In 1645, however, he did move to Verona, where on 13 May he succeeded Simone Zavaglioli as choirmaster of the cathedral and teacher of the acolytes. Apart from an absence between April and November 1646, he remained at Verona until 1647 and may have died there. Federico Mompellio’s suggestion (in MGG1) that he left in 1647 to enter the service of the Duke of Mantua seems to be based on the ambiguous wording of the dedication to his op.6: the desire he expressed there to be regarded as the duke’s servant appears to be a form of conventional politeness rather than an appeal for new employment.

Fontei wrote his first two books of Bizzarrie poetiche poste in musica for Barbara Strozzi; Giulio Strozzi provided all the texts for the first book and most of those for the second. The solo arias, many of them with a ritornello for one or two instruments, which make up the greater part of the first book are characterized by rather clumsy, short-breathed melodic phrases. Fontei’s melodic style matured rapidly, however, and by the time of his op.4 (1639) he was able to handle the sensuous lines of the Venetian triple-time bel canto aria with complete assurance, as can be seen, for example, in the aria over an ostinato bass (marked ‘as slowly as you can’) that forms the central section of the lament La bella Erinna su le sponde. His continuing mastery of the Venetian triple-time aria can also be seen in his sacred music. In the solo motet Peccavi, O bone Jesu (RISM 16453), for example, three stanzas set as strophic variations in an exquisite bel canto style are introduced by an arioso which includes a hint of the genere concitato in the setting of the phrase ‘quoniam irritavi iram tuam’. Although Fontei wrote secular music for only one, two or three voices, the scoring of his sacred music encompasses a wider range, from solo works – some, such as Laudate pueri in op.6, with obbligato and optional instruments – to the eight-part ceremonial Mass in D minor in the same collection, which includes parts for continuo, two violins and three further, optional instruments.

Fontei was a pioneer of rondo or refrain structures in secular vocal music. His settings of Hor tra l’aure and Beltà non ho (both in op.1) seem to be the earliest published examples of rondo cantatas. The first of these comprises an opening section in triple time followed by three stanzas set as a strophic-bass cantata; between the stanzas a refrain in two sections and a ritornello are performed. Each of the three stanzas of the duet Scorre amor (in op.4; ed. in Whenham), the first two set as solos and the third as a duet, is rounded off by a triple-time duet refrain marked ‘presto’. Fontei used rondo structure with more freedom in the pastoral dialogue of Lidio and Lilla, Lilla, se Amor non fugga (also in op.4), a complex work of considerable musical merit. Bearing in mind his connections with Giulio and Barbara Strozzi, it may be more than coincidence that its subject matter – the contrast between, and the interrelationship of, song and tears, love and misery – resembles that of the so-called Contesa del Canto e delle Lagrime, two papers read before the Accademia degli Unisoni and published in 1638. Although much of the text is set in alternate arioso and triple-time sections, focal points are provided by two strophic canzonettas, ‘Amor fra ’l canto è ascoso’ and ‘Amor fra ’l duol s’asconde’, sung by Lilla.


all except anthologies published in Venice


Melodiae sacrae, 2–5vv, op.3 (1638)

Compieta e letanie della Beata Vergine, 5vv, con sue antifone, in ciascun tempo dell’anno, 3vv, e con alcuni duplicati salmi, 3vv, 2 vn, 2 Confiteor, armonizata, op.5 (1640)

Messa, e salmi a diverse voci [1–8vv], et istromenti, op.6 (1647)

Salmi brevi, 8vv, con il primo choro concertato, op.7 (1647)

Laudate Dominum, ps, 5vv, 16413; Congregati sunt inimici nostri, 3vv, bc, 16424; Peccavi, O bone Jesu, 1v, bc, 16453; Lauda Jerusalem Dominum, 5vv, vns, insts, I-Nf (? from op.6)


Sidonio e Dorisbe (F. Melosio), op, Venice, S Moisè, 1642, lost

Bizzarrie poetiche poste in musica, 1–3vv [libro primo, op.1] (1635)

Bizzarrie poetiche poste in musica, libro secondo, 1–3vv [op. 2] (1636); ed. in ISS, vii (1986), 177–244; 1 ed. in Leopold

Bizzarrie poetiche poste in musica, libro terzo, 1–3vv, op.4 (1639); 2 ed. in G. Benvenuti, 35 arie di vari autori del secolo XVII (Milan, 1922); 1 ed. in Whenham; 1 ed. in Leopold



EitnerQ (‘Fonte’ and ‘Fontei’)


GaspariC, ii, v


F. Sansovino: Venetia, città nobilissima et singolare (Venice, 1581, rev. 3/1663/R by G. Martinioni), 168ff

N. Pirrotta: ‘Il caval zoppo e il vetturino: cronache di Parnaso 1642’, CHM, iv (1966), 215–26

E. Rosand: ‘Barbara Strozzi, virtuosissima cantatrice: the Composer’s Voice’, JAMS, xxxi (1978), 241–81

J. Whenham: Duet and Dialogue in the Age of Monteverdi (Ann Arbor, 1982), i, 17, 113, 202, 216–26, 243; ii, 134, 137, 142–3, 448–69

J. Roche: ‘Musica diversa di Compietà: Compline and its Music in Seventeenth-Century Italy’, PRMA, cix (1982–3), 60–79, esp. 64, 70, 73

J. Roche: North Italian Church Music in the Age of Monteverdi (Oxford, 1984), 75, 138

D. Pinto: ‘The Music of the Hattons’, RMARC, no.23 (1990), 79–108, esp. 96

R.R. Holzer: ‘“Sono d'altro garbo … le canzonette che si cantano oggi”: Pietro della Valle on Music and Modernity in the Seventeenth Century’, Studi musicali, xxi (1992), 253–306, esp. 268–9

S. Leopold: Al modo d'Orfeo: Dichtung und Musik im italienischen Sologesang des frühen 17. Jahrhunderts, AnMc, no.29 (1995), 55, 57, 222–3, 245–8, 280; ii, 62–3, 75, catalogue, indexes


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