Birth: ca. 1355 in Caserta, Italy
Death: 1402 in Pavia, Italy
Genre: Vocal Music
Antonello de Caserta was a Northern Italian composer and a significant musical figure in the late fourteenth century. He was probably born in the town of Caserta, located on the outskirts of Naples, Italy. De Caserta's ballade Beaute parfaite, bonte soverayne appears in no less than three manuscript sources; in the Wildenstein Collection manuscript in New York it is the only foreign work included in a volume otherwise exclusively devoted to music of Guillaume de Machaut. De Caserta's French works, probably written in the 1370s and 1380s, are so close to Machaut that it's possible de Caserta may have spent some time in France to study with the older master. De Caserta was also a monk, but the identity of the monastic Order to which he belonged is unknown. The first evidence linking de Caserta with a specific location has been found in his one madrigal, Del glorioso titolo d'esto duce, believed written for the coronation of Archbishop Gian Galeazzo Visconti as Duke of Milan in 1395. The ballata Piu chiar che'l sol may have been written for the marriage of the Duke's niece Lucia Visconti in 1399. A branch of the court of the Visconti was centered at Pavia, and in 1402 a friar named "Antoniella de Caserta" was registered as a member of the Duke's retinue in Pavia by a notary working for the Duke. Later, in 1402, an outbreak of bubonic plague took hold in Pavia, ultimately carrying away with it the Duke and most of his Royal household. At that time, it was customary to quarantine the well members of a family along with the sick to prevent the spread of the disease. Mostly this policy had the opposite effect, and it's difficult to reckon under these circumstances that de Caserta would've survived. This is partly confirmed in that de Caserta's surviving works are only found in layers of manuscript that predate the year 1410. De Caserta's works consist of nine ballades, eight ballatas, two rondeaux, a madrigal, a virelai, and a hymn, with a few works being of questionable authenticity. Most are found in the Mancini Codex at Lucca or in a manuscript (M.5.24) at the Archivio di Stato Biblioteca in Modena. Part of this latter source seems to represent an attempt to assemble the musical works of de Caserta in some systematic way.
- Uncle Dave Lewis (All Music Guide)