Bontempi, Angelini

, a native of Perugia, and author of the first history of music in the Italian language with which we are acquainted, was an able professor, of considerable learning, who flourished about the middle of the seventeenth century. His work, which has for title “Historia Musica di Gio. And. Angelini Bontempi,” was published at Perugia, in small folio, 1695. It is become somewhat scarce, which enhances its value with collectors of books; but Dr. Burney’s opinion is unfavourable. He says that with great parade of his learning, science, and acquaintance with the Greek theorists, that are come down to us, he leaves us in as utter darkness concerning the practice of ancient music as ever, and has furnished us with but little information concerning the modern of his own time, with which, however, as a contrapuntist, he seems to have been perfectly well acquainted. Indeed, by the frequent use he makes of scientific terms, his book, when casually opened, has more the appearance of a dry mathematical treatise, than the history of an elegant art. The most curious and interesting part of his work is, the account which he gives of the discipline of the college of singers in the service of the pontifical chapel, and of the great masters who then flourished at Rome, who had distinguished themselves in writing “Alia Palestrina” for the church: secular music was then but little cultivated, and less respected there, till operas and oratorios had made some progress in polishing melody, and in the just accentuation and expression of words. 2


Burney’s and Hawkins’s Hist, of Music.—Rees’s Cyclopædia.