Servants and Singers

Deep inside the Hôtel de Guise and its three chapels were a host of valets and chambermaids to serve the needs of their aristocratic protector. The Hôtel was different, however, because a select group of these domestic servants were also expected to perform music. An elite section was given, along with food and accommodation, music lessons at the expense of…

5 things we can say for certain about Mazzaferrata

Despite the uncertainty surrounding some key facts, there are some things we can say for definite about Mazzaferrata. Here’s five of them: He worked, from 1665, for a shady sounding organisation called the Brotherhood of Death. Sadly it’s not quite as Dan-Brown-esque as the name might sound. They actually existed to make sure criminals sentenced to death were given proper…

Who? What? When? Where? Why?

Who? Giovanni Battista Mazzaferrata. That’s about as much as we know. What? Composer and an organist. Maybe he played other instruments; maybe he sang. We don’t know! When? He was probably born in the 1620s. He definitely died in 1691; a good innings for the seventeenth century. Where? The early part of his life was spent in Northern Italy- he…