(b Warsaw, 1828; dSt Petersburg, 4 May 1859). Polish pianist and composer. He studied the piano with Józef Nowakowski in Warsaw, and from 1842 with Chopin in Paris; he also studied composition with H. Reber. After a few years he returned to Poland, but in 1849 moved to St Petersburg, where he spent the rest of his life. He played at concerts in Warsaw (1845, 1849), Vilnius (1852) and St Petersburg (from 1849), and was regarded by his contemporaries as a pianist of considerable ability, though given to sentimentality. He wrote many piano works, including a Piano Concerto (Warsaw, 1853), a Mazurka (Warsaw, 1858), two Polonaises (St Petersburg, 1858), a Morceau caractéristique, nocturnes and further mazurkas and polonaises. These works show a marked influence of Chopin, particularly the polonaises. His piano writing is characterized by rich textures which demand considerable technical accomplishment. Some of his works were left in manuscript, and are presumed lost.
‘Nowości krajowe’ [Local news], RM (1859), 180 only
Werrecore [Vercore, Verecore, Verrecore], Matthias [Mathias] Hermann [Mathias Fiamengo]
(b ?Vercore or Warcoing, Hainaut; d after 1574). ?Flemish composer. Although the various forms of his name suggest that he was Flemish, the records of Milan Cathedral state that he was the son of ‘Eligio’ who lived in Milan. On 3 July 1522 he succeeded Gaffurius as maestro di cappella of Milan Cathedral. On 9 February 1525 he was accused of a misdemeanour, of which no details are known; there is some evidence that he did not always perform his duties satisfactorily. In 1534 he reorganized the cappella and on 31 December of that year he presented himself to the cathedral prefects, demanding the credits due to him from loans made to the cathedral fabrica, including ‘una cum interesse’. On 6 July 1542 he received an increase in salary as reward for his good services. Towards the middle of 1550 he was succeeded, temporarily, by Oliviero di Phalansis, and, in 1557 or 1558, by Simon Boyleau. Werrecore is last mentioned in documents of 9 December 1574 concerning benefices awarded by the chapter. The theory proposed by Kade and Fétis that Werrecore and Matthaeus Le Maistre were the same composer has been disproved by Haberl and others.
Werrecore’s most famous work was the four-voice Bataglia taliana, celebrating the defeat of France at the Battle of Pavia (1525) which ensured Milan’s independence. It was first published in Nuremberg with the German title Die Schlacht vor Pavia and the note: ‘Matthias Herman Verecorensis, who was himself in the line of battle and witnessed the worst miseries, composed this on the way’.
 Cantum … liber primus, 5vv (Milan, 1555)
6 other motets, 15407, 15433, 15641
4 motets attrib. ‘Mathias’ in 15344, 15346, 15382, 154218 (‘Matthias Hermann’ in repr. 15696); 1 ed. A. Smijers and A.T. Merritt, Treize livres de motets parus chez Pierre Attaingnant, ii (Paris, 1936)
Motet attrib. ‘Hermann’ in 15383
Die Schlacht vor Pavia, 154419 (arr. lute in 154423; ed. in DTÖ, xxxvii, Jg.xviii/2, 1911/R), repr. as La bataglia taliana … con alcune villote, 4vv (Venice, 1549, enlarged 2/1552)
F.X.Haberl: ‘Matthias Herman Werrecorensis: eine bibliographisch-kritische Studie’, MMg, iii (1871), 197–210
E.Bienenfeld: ‘Wolffgang Schmeltzl, sein Liederbuch (1544) und das Quodlibet des XVI. Jahrhunderts’, SIMG, vi (1904–5), 80–135
K.Huber: ‘Die Doppelmeister des 16. Jahrhunderts’, Festschrift zum 50. Geburtstag Adolf Sandberger (Munich, 1918), 170–88
G.Benvenuti: Introduction to Andrea e Giovanni Gabrieli e la musica strumentale in San Marco, IMi, i (1931), xcii
PIER PAOLO SCATTOLIN
Wert [Vuert], Giaches [Jaches] de
(b Flanders, perhaps Ghent, 1535; d Mantua, 6 May 1596). Flemish composer active in Italy.
Wert, Giaches de
Wert's early years remain clouded in obscurity. According to a reliable contemporary description he was taken to Italy as a boy to be a singer in the household of Maria di Cardona, Marchesa of Padulla, who mostly lived at Avellino near Naples. The simple, formulaic accompanimental style found in some of his early madrigals, and especially in his Petrarch settings, have been associated with these formative years near Naples, where simple accompaniments were used for elevated vernacular poetry. Although it has been suggested that Wert spent some time in a similar capacity in Rome, under the protection of Giulio Cesare Gonzaga, Patriarch of Alessandria, the evidence is unstable. More secure is the idea that he moved to Novellara, capital of a small county governed by a cadet branch of the Gonzaga family, in about 1550. During the early 1550s he is recorded in both Mantua and Ferrara (where he got to know Rore) before returning to Novellara and the service of Count Alfonso Gonzaga in 1556. Between then and the early 1560s he remained in Novellara; it was there that he married and a number of his children were born (he was to have at least six). It was probably through his connections with the Gonzaga of Novellara that Wert next moved to Milan, where he worked at the governor's court as maestro di cappella until 1565. His letters from Milan present a lively and engaging picture of daily life among the officers of the Spanish garrison.
In the same year, Wert left Milan for Mantua, where he was appointed as maestro di cappella at the recently completed ducal chapel of S Barbara. His appointment evidently aroused considerable opposition from other members of the choir, in particular from Agostino Bonvicino, a minor composer who engineered various attempts to undermine Wert's authority. In 1570 matters came to a head with the disclosure of Bonvicino's adultery with Wert's wife Lucrezia, a member of a minor branch of the Gonzaga, as a result of which she was compelled to return to Novellara. Despite the hostile atmosphere which bedevilled Wert's early years at S Barbara, he resisted offers of work elsewhere. One came in the spring of 1566, when he accompanied Guglielmo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, to the Imperial Diet in Augsburg. According to Francesco Sale, a member of the Cardinal of Augsburg's cappella, Wert's distinguished improvisation at the keyboard resulted in a proposal of work at the Imperial court in Prague. There were also important contacts with the Farnese court in nearby Parma, and Wert implied in a letter of 1567 that he was offered the chance of employment there. In these years he continued to maintain relations with the Gonzaga of Novellara, as he was to do throughout the rest of his career. In January 1568, for example, he was in Novellara to prepare the music and rehearse singers and instrumentalists for an intermedio to accompany a comedy written for the marriage of Alfonso Gonzaga to Vittoria di Capua; among the other artists involved were the Mantuan choreographer Leone de' Sommi with whom he was to work again, notably in preparations for an aborted performance of Guarini's Il pastor fido, at Mantua, in 1591–2 (see below).
Although there is little documentation of Wert's activities and movements during the 1570s, what survives gives a clear impression of his increasingly important contacts with the Este court at Ferrara. While the Mantuan court might be characterized as somewhat Counter-Reformation in spirit (Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga was both austere and devout), Ferrara under Duke Alfonso II d'Este was the opposite. Wert's artistically productive and evidently close contacts with Tasso and Guarini date from this period; for example, Il sesto libro de madrigali, of 1577, contains a setting of Tasso's Tolse Barbara gentil which must have been composed shortly after the verse had been written and before it was published. After the marriage of Duke Guglielmo's daughter, Margherita Gonzaga, to Duke Alfonso in 1579, the ties between the Mantuan and Ferrarese courts were strengthened even further. Wert's connection to both was intensified as well, partly as a result of the extensive litigation over Lucrezia Wert's property, confiscated following the discovery of her part in a plot to overthrow the Gonzaga of Novellara; Lucrezia went to prison, where she died in 1584. In this unfortunate affair, in which Wert found himself opposed to the Counts of Novellara, he was supported by both Guglielmo Gonzaga and his son Prince Vincenzo, as well as by Duke Alfonso, who had jurisdiction over the case. It was not until 1588 that the matter was finally resolved, with Wert being awarded one third of his wife's possessions together with the right to bequeath them to his children. A second reason for Wert's increasingly frequent visits to Ferrara in these years was his attachment to Tarquinia Molza, a niece of the poet Francesco Maria Molza and an accomplished musician and member of the second concerto delle dame. Her affair with Wert began in 1584, and was finally exposed in October 1589 following enquiries ordered by Duke Alfonso. The main issue was to do with class: in such a highly stratified society, it was considered inappropriate for a member of the minor aristocracy, engaged at court as lady-in-waiting to the Duchess of Ferrara, to form a relationship with a servant. Tarquinia was banished from court and returned to Modena. In addition to these personal reasons for visiting Ferrara, Wert was also professionally attracted by the cultural and musical climate of the Este court, and particularly by the virtuoso musical skills of the concerto delle dame. This debt is clearly acknowledged in in the dedication of L'ottavo libro de madrigali, dedicated to Duke Alfonso; many of the madrigals in this book were composed for the concerto. Wert also contributed to Il Lauro secco (15825) and Il Lauro verde (158310), collections of madrigals, mostly by Ferrarese composers, assembled in honour of Laura Peverara, another member of the ensemble. During the 1580s Wert's health began to fail. In 1582, when he fell ill with malaria, Gastoldi was called upon to deputise as maestro di cappella, and the same arrangement was made again in 1585. Finally, in 1592, Gastoldi officially succeeded Wert at S Barbara.
Vincenzo Gonzaga's succession to the Duchy of Mantua in 1587 brought about important changes in the cultural life of the court, which now entered its most brilliant period since the days of Duke Federico I. The cappella at S Barbara was expanded, and the new duke instituted an ensemble of virtuoso singers in imitation of the Ferrarese concerto delle dame. The Vincenzo's fondness for the theatre is reflected in the attempts to produce Guarini's controversial pastoral Il pastor fido at court during the 1590s; together with Francesco Rovigo, Wert provided the music for a projected performance in 1592. In the end this had to be abandoned, partly because of the difficulty of bringing off the ‘Gioco della cieca’, a sung and danced ballo (Act 3, scene ii), and it was not until 1598 that the play was successfully staged in Mantua with music by Gastoldi. Wert's collaboration with Leone de' Sommi over the performance of Muzio Manfredi's Le nozze de Semiramide con Memnone was less troublesome, and Manfredi's published letters suggest that the piece itself was more traditional. This must have been one of Wert's last major involvements in the artistic life of the Mantuan court. The dedication of his L'undecimo libro is dated 18 August 1595; he died in the following spring in his house in Mantua in the Contrada dell'Aquila, close to both the ducal palace and the Mantua residence of the Gonzaga of Novellara, who between them had employed him for most of his career. He was buried in the crypt of S Barbara close to the tomb of another court musician, Francesco Rovigo. A posthumous book of madrigals was put together by his son Ottavio.