(b Rome; d Madrid, 9 April 1738). Italian composer, active in Spain. In his will he stated that he was born in Rome, and his dated works place him there up to early 1724, when his opera Ginevra Principessa di Scozia was performed at the Teatro della Pace. In 1721 King Philip V of Spain had appointed him maestro de capilla at La Granja de San Ildefonso, his new palace then under construction near Segovia. Falconi must have assumed the post shortly after 15 January 1724, when Philip V abdicated in favour of his son Luis and moved to La Granja. The chapel at San Ildefonso was, however, dissolved when Philip regained the throne on 6 September 1724, following the death of Luis on 31 August. Falconi's Missa defunctorum (1724) may have been composed in commemoration of Luis's death. The San Ildefonso musicians were integrated into the Real Capilla at Madrid, where Falconi became a maestro, substituting during the ‘absences and infirmities’ of the maestro actual José de Torres y Martinez Bravo. On 2 July 1725 he was appointed music master of the 7-year-old infanta Maria Ana Victoria. He collaborated with José Nebra and Giacomo Facco on the opera Amor aumenta el valor. It was performed in January 1728 at the home of the Spanish ambassador in Lisbon, the Marquis de los Balbases, in celebration of the wedding of the Spanish crown prince Ferdinand and Maria Bárbara of Braganza.
Between 1729 and 1732 Falconi travelled with the court when it resided in Badajoz, Seville, Granada and other places, and was in charge of the musical entertainment. On his return to Madrid he continued in his various capacities as maestro de capilla and composed sacred music for the royal chapel. Subirá (1927) claimed that Falconi was incompetent in discharging his duties, but there is no evidence to support this. Among the executors of his will, made on 10 February 1738, were the Conde de Cogorani, one of the king's chamberlains, and José de Cañizares, the most popular librettist in Madrid. The Italian composer Francesco Corselli, who on 4 July 1738 succeeded Joseph de Torres as maestro de capilla, later acquired Falconi's sacred works for the new musical archive of the royal chapel. By 1779 Corselli’s successor, Antonio Ugena, considered them to be no longer of any use to the chapel.
Mag, 5vv, org; TeD, 8vv, insts (1728); Litany BMV, 4vv, insts; Off, 8vv, org (Rome, 23 July 1720); Off, 8vv, org (1721); Responsorio 1 del 2 do nott. o de morti, 4vv, bc; Domine ad adjuvandum, 4vv, insts; Domine ad adjuvandum, 8vv, insts (Rome, 25 Jan 1722); Invitatorio de difuntos, 4vv, bc
Villancicos por la noche de los … reyes, 1734, music lost, lib E-Mn
J.Subirá: La música en la Casa de Alba (Madrid, 1927)
N.A.Solar–Quintes: ‘El compositor Francisco Courcelle: nueva documentación para su biografia’, AnM, vi (1951), 179–204
J.Subirá: ‘Necrologías musicales madrileñas (años 1611–1808)’, AnM, xiii (1958), 201–23
B.Lolo Herranz: ‘Phelipe Falconi, maestro de música de la Real Capilla (1721–1738)’, AnM, xlv (1990), 117–32
H.-B.Dietz: ‘Fortunes and Misfortunes of Italian Composers in Eighteenth-Century Spain: Philipo Falconi and Francesco Corradini’, International Journal of Musicology, vii (1998), 83–110
(b Naples, 1585/6; d Naples, 19 or 29 July 1656). Italian composer and lutenist. He may have had lessons with Santino Garsi at Parma, where, according to Pico, he was brought up from an early age by the duke. He was employed as a lutenist at Parma from 1604 and replaced Garsi as official court lutenist by December 1610. After banking his salary for November 1614, he absconded, possibly to Mantua: in a letter of 12 December 1615 from Florence, where he appears to have been a temporary musician at court, he told the Duke of Mantua that he was sending him some of his compositions and recommended that they be sung by ‘Signora Margherita and her sister’, which suggests that he was already familiar with the musical resources there; he also said he was preparing to publish some of his pieces. His first known publication, a book of villanellas, appeared in 1616, and by 1619 he had also published six books of monodies and one of motets. The dedication of the villanellas to Cardinal de’ Medici suggests that he had indeed been employed at Florence, and this may have led to an appointment in Rome. About 1620–21 he appears to have married and moved to Modena as a player of the chitarrone and chitarriglia alla spagnola. Shortly before 24 July 1621 he departed for Spain, leaving behind his wife, one song and some copies of his (lost) book on the Spanish guitar, ‘a work already dedicated in print to the King of Hungary (now emperor)’. He was later ordered to proceed to France and seems to have travelled there and in Spain for some years. In October 1628, however, he took part with Loreto Vittori in the festivities at Florence for the wedding of Princess Margherita de’ Medici and Odoardo Farnese, Duke of Parma, and on 20 April 1629 he returned to Parma as a chitarrone player. Pico said he moved to Modena and Genoa after the death of Duke Ranuccio in 1635, but he was a music teacher at the convent of S Brigida, Genoa, from 1632 until at least 1637; in June 1636 he was denounced by the mother superior for distracting the nuns with his music. He was appointed lutenist in the royal chapel at Naples in 1639. In 1642 he obtained leave to visit his wife in Modena and appears also to have visited Genoa. Following the death of Trabaci in 1647, he was appointed maestro di cappella at Naples and held the post until his death of the plague.
Falconieri appears to have been most prolific as a songwriter but only three of his six or more books of secular vocal music are known to survive. These display a gift for melody and an interest in various musical forms. They are, for instance, among the earliest to reveal a distinction in the same song between recitative or arioso and aria; the best example of this is Deh dolc’anima mia (1619, ed. in Adler and Clercx), but a similar tendency can be found in Spiega la vela nocchiero (1616). His book of villanellas (1616) also includes an aria for soprano and bass, ‘sopra la ciacona’, a favoured duet combination for Falconieri.
His instrumental music survives in two large collections, one printed, the other manuscript. In the former there is little apparent difference between the works labelled ‘canzona’, ‘sinfonia’, ‘fantasia’ or ‘capriccio’: they all comprise two to four sections, all repeated, of which the last is often in triple time; some have descriptive titles, for example ‘L’eroica’, ‘La ennamorada’ and ‘La murroya’. There is also a ‘passacalle’ (32 variations on the descending minor tetrachord) and a ‘folia’ setting (16 variations on the well-known eight-bar bass). The pieces are in a fresh, spirited style with much imitation between melody and bass lines. The manuscript collection was probably copied in Florence or Rome between 1620 and 1640 for Gioseppe Antonio Doni. The attribution to Falconieri is most likely reliable, given his reputation as a lutenist and chitarrone player.
Libro primo di villanelle … con l’alfabeto per la chitarra spagnola, 1–3vv (Rome, 1616); some ed. A. Parisotti, Arie antiche, ii, iii (Milan and Rome, 1885–1900/R); A. Parisotti, Piccolo album di musica antica (Milan, n.d.); L. Torchi, Eleganti canzoni ed arie italiane del secolo XVII (Milan, n.d.); G. Benvenuti, Diciassette arie (Milan, 1922); K. Jeppesen, La flora, iii (Copenhagen, 1949), 10–11; 2 ed. C. Sabatini (Milan, n.d.); 1 ed. in FortuneISS, appx iv, 18–19
Il quinto libro delle musiche, 1–3vv (Florence, 1619); some ed. A. Parisotti, Arie antiche, iii (Milan and Rome, 1885–1900/R); G. Benvenuti, Diciassette arie (Milan, 1922); 2 ed. K. Jeppesen, La flora (Copenhagen, 1949), ii, 14; iii, 12; 1 ed. in Racek, 236ff
Musiche … libro sexto, con l’alfabbeto della chitarra spagnuola, 1–3vv (Venice, 1619); some ed. G. Benvenuti, Diciassette arie (Milan, 1922); 1 ed. G. Adler, Handbuch der Musikgeschichte (Frankfurt, 1924), 378–9 (rev. 2/1930/R), 438–9, and in Clercx, 105ff; 1 ed. in Mw, xxxi (1968; Eng. trans., 1968), 32, 1 ed. Fabris (1987), 171–7
7 motets, I-NF (see Fabris 1987, 167–8)
Sacrae modulationes, 5–6vv (Venice, 1619)
Musiche [4 vols.] (1616–19), lost
Madrigali, 5, 10vv (1619); lost, cited in RiemannL 11, MGG1 (A. Damerini) and LaMusicaD
Il primo libro di canzone, sinfonie, fantasie, capricci, brandi, correnti, gagliarde, alemane, volte, 1–3 vn, va, or other insts, bc (Naples, 1650); 7 ed. in AMI, vii (1908), 106ff 2 ed. Fabris (1987), 180–2
29 works for archlute, 1620–40, I-PEas (facs. (Florence, 1988))