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Frouvo [Frovo], João Álvares

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Frouvo [Frovo], João Álvares

(b Lisbon, 16 Nov 1608; d Lisbon, 29 Jan 1682). Portuguese theorist and ?composer. He was a nephew of the antiquarian Gaspar Álvares de Lousada. He studied at Lisbon Cathedral choir school with Duarte Lobo, and became its choirmaster in 1647. He had meanwhile become King João IV's music librarian, and he continued to hold that post too. His fame rests on his Discursos sobre a perfeiçam do diathesaron, & louvores do numero quaternario (‘Essays on the perfections of the 4th and praises of the number 4’) (Lisbon, 1662), which appears to have been substantially complete by 1649. It was commissioned by the king, and the subject was determined because his name (João) was of four letters, he was the fourth of that name on the throne, the name of God in Latin and Portuguese is a word of four letters, there are four seasons, and for other such reasons. The excellent 100-page work shows how much richer the royal library must have been than the 1649 catalogue of it reveals, for Frouvo quoted a bewildering number of composers, ranging from Machaut through men such as Tristão da Silva, Andreas da Silva, Josquin, Pierre de La Rue, Mouton, Clemens non Papa and Sermisy to Lassus, and the theorists he cited include Philippe de Vitry, Marchetto da Padova, Prosdocimus de Beldemandis, Vicentino, Galilei, Descartes and Avella. To prove the 4th a consonance next in order after the 5th he fell back not only on Boethius and Johannes de Muris but also on Iberian theorists such as Juan Pérez de Moya and Juan Vélez de Guevara. But he admitted that others abroad such as Pietro Aaron, Pietro Pontio and Morley, as well as those at home such as Bermudo and Francisco de Cervera, had demurred. The treatise also includes a section praising João IV's Defensa de la música moderna (1649) and a rebuttal of an anonymous tract crediting Morales's Missa ‘Mille regrets’ with being the first work in which three black breves are treated as the equivalent of two white ones. The numerous music examples in the extant copies of the treatise in the British Library and the National Library, Lisbon, consist of hand-copied notes on a printed staff. The National Library at Lisbon also owns Nicolaus Roggius's Musicae practicae, sive Artis canendi elementa (Hamburg, 1566, 4/1596) in a copy made by Frouvo after he had given his own printed copy to João IV, as well as a copy in his hand of Francisco Tovar's Libro de música prática (Barcelona, 1510). There is, however, no trace now of Frouvo's two-volume Speculum universale in quo exponuntur omnium ibi contentorum Auctorum loci, ubi de quolibet musices genere disserunt, vel agunt (second volume dated 1651, 589 pages), a treatise on practical music, or of the many villancicos and Latin compositions in as many as 17 and 20 parts with which Barbosa Machado credited him.



D. Barbosa Machado: Bibliotheca lusitana, ii (Lisbon, 1747/R), 585–6; music entries ed. R.V. Nery as A música no ciclo da Bibliotheca lusitana (Lisbon, 1984)

J. de Vasconcellos: Ensaio critico sobre o Catalogo d'El-Rey D. João IV (Oporto, 1873), 7, 61, 69

F.M. de Sousa Viterbo: A livraria de música de D. João IV e o seu Index (Lisbon, 1900), 5

M. de Sampayo Ribeiro: Introduction to edn of João IV: Defensa de la música moderna (Coimbra, 1965), xxi ff


Frübert, Joseph.

See Friebert, Joseph.

Frugoni, Carlo Innocenzo [Innocenzio]

(b Genoa, 21 Nov 1692; d Parma, 20 Dec 1768). Italian poet and librettist. Born into an aristocratic family, he was actively involved in the Order of the Somaschi until 1731. However, it was his reputation as a poet which led to appointments at the court of the Farnese in Parma in 1725 and, after a brief period in Venice during the War of the Austrian Succession, as court poet to Duke Philipp of Bourbon (in Parma) in 1749. There his work was admired by Guillaume du Tillot, the duke’s theatrical director. Du Tillot later arranged Frugoni’s successive appointments as secretary of court theatrical productions.

Most of Frugoni’s librettos for the court theatre in Parma were reworkings of earlier librettos by others. He also provided Italian translations for French operas performed at the theatre: Francoeur and Rebel’s Zélindor, roi des sylphes (1757), the pasticcio Gl’Incà del Perù (1757), Mondonville’s Titon et l’Aurore (1758) and Rameau’s Castor et Pollux (1758). Du Tillot’s interest in producing a blend of French and Italian opera at Parma coincided with Algarotti’s recommendations for the reform of Italian opera as expressed in his Saggio sopra l’opera in musica (1755). To Frugoni fell the task of producing Italian ‘reform’ librettos based on two of Rameau’s operas, which Traetta then set to music for production in Parma: Ippolito ed Aricia in 1759 (taken from Pellegrin’s drama of the same name) and I tindaridi of 1760 (an adaptation of P.J. Bernard’s earlier French libretto Castor et Pollux). In these works Frugoni still adhered closely to the traditional design of an Italian aria opera. Departures lay in the mythological plots, which had long been out of fashion in Italian opera, and the French-inspired choruses, programmatic orchestral music, ballet and spectacle. Although Jommelli’s French-inspired operas for Stuttgart in 1755 (Enea nel Lazio and Pelope) preceded these efforts towards a Franco-Italian synthesis in Italian opera, Frugoni’s librettos were the first specifically designed to reform Italian dramaturgical practices. Traetta also set Frugoni’s Le feste d’Imeneo, a festa teatrale, for the wedding of Crown Prince Joseph of Austria and the Infanta Isabella in 1760. In 1769 Frugoni provided a similar vehicle for Gluck, Le feste d’Apollo, which incorporated his Orfeo (1762, Vienna) as the final act. A complete edition (15 volumes) of Frugoni’s works was published in Lucca in 1779–80.


GroveO (W.N. Gibney, M.P. McClymonds [incl. list of librettos])


S. Arteaga: Le rivoluzioni del teatro musicale italiano, ii (Bologna, 1785), 168–70

P.E. Ferrari: Spettacoli drammatico-musicali e coreografici in Parma (Parma, 1884)

G. Cesari: ‘ Un tentativo di riforma melodrammatica a Parma’, Il secolo (1 May 1917)

C. Calcaterra: ‘Il Frugoni, compositore e revisore di spettacoli teatrali’, Storia della poesia frugoniana (Genoa, 1920)

A. Della Corte: ‘Musiche italiane e francesi alla corte di Parma’, La stampa (22 Jan 1929)

A. Yorke-Long: Music at Court (London, 1954)

R. Allorto: ‘ Riformatore agli ordini: Carlo Innocenzo Frugoni’, La Scala, no.90 (1957), 9–14

D. Heartz: ‘ Operatic Reform at Parma: Ippolito ed Aricia’, Atti del convegno sul Settecento parmense nel 20 centenario della morte di C.I. Frugoni: Parma 1968 (Parma, 1969), 271–300

G. Massera: ‘ L’incontro Traetta-Frugoni: riforma o novità?’, I teatri di Parma dal Farnese al Regio, ed. I. Allodi (Milan, 1969), 117–23

M. Cyr: ‘Rameau e Traetta’, NRMI, xii/9 (1978), 166–82

P. Mecarelli: ‘Le feste di Apollo’: conclusione di un impegno riformistico a Parma (Parma, 1991)


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