Flemish composer; born in ca. 1505 in Flanders or Holland, died 1568 in Paris.
Little is known of Arcadelt's early life. He almost certainly studied under Josquin des Prez, the leading composer at that time. As a young man, Arcadelt spent a considerable amount of time in Italy, in various courts. Arcadelt may have spent some time with Phillippe Verdelot at the court of the Medicis in the early 1530s; his name appears in handwritten manuscripts from Florence. After the assasination of Alessandro de Medici in 1537, it appears that Arcadelt went to Venice until his appointment to the papal service in Rome in 1540 as choirmaster. Arcadelt's early, significant influence upon Italian composers, particularly upon Palestrina, is evident. In 1544, Arcadelt went to work for Charles of Lorraine, later archbishop of Reims, and lived in Reims until around 1562, whereupon he evidently moved to Paris.
Arcadelt began his career composing sacred choral music. His masses, in particular, show a heavy Josquin influence. Among the more notable works in this vein are masses of four to seven voices, published in Paris in 1557, a volume of motets (Venice, 1545), and a Magnificat (1557).
It is Arcadelt's secular works which are better known. According to the article on Arcadelt in www.xrefer.com:
There are extant 126 chansons and over 200 madrigals.
The chansons were very popular, the earlier ones reflecting the influence of Josquin
and the later ones written in Arcadelt's characteristic homophonic style, shifting between
triple and duple time. All are of a sentimental nature and eschew licentious texts.
In the madrigals, the text is of paramount importance, and musical effects are not
permitted to interfere with its rhythmic requirements. One such madrigal,
"Il bianco e dolce cigno" was consistently popular.
As with the chansons, Arcadelt initially mimicked the simpler Italian style of madrigal, and over time we see the development of a more Parisian style: homophonic, with a certain elegance of clean lines. An excellent copy of
the first four books of the madrigals, with other selected compositions
of Arcadelt, is contained in the library of the British Museum
http://www.canticanova.com - article by J.A. Volker
http://homepages.ulb.ac.be/~xhubaut/crngdl/bio/arcadelt.htm - translated from French by Google
Editor's note: http://homepages.ulb.ac.be/~xhubaut/crngdl/bio/arcadelt.htm was accessed at the time of writing. It is now (August 2008) available at http://cornegidouille.be/bio/arcadelt.htm