Giovanni Croce – Cantate Domino
Giovanni Croce (also Ioanne a Cruce Clodiensis, Zuanne Chiozotto; 1557 – 15 May 1609) was an Italian composer of the late Renaissance, of the Venetian School. He was particularly prominent as a madrigalist, one of the few among the Venetians other than Monteverdi and Andrea Gabrieli.
He was born in Chioggia, a fishing town on the Adriatic coast south of Venice, the same town as Gioseffo Zarlino, and he came to Venice early, becoming a member of the boy’s choir at St. Mark’s under Zarlino’s direction by the time he was eight years old. Zarlino evidently found him in a choir in Chioggia Cathedral, and recruited him for St. Mark’s. Croce may have been a parish priest at the church of Santa Maria Formosa, and he took holy orders in 1585; during this period he also served as a singer at St. Mark’s. He evidently maintained some connection, probably as a director of music, with Santa Maria Formosa alongside his duties at St. Mark’s.
After the death of Zarlino, he became assistant maestro di cappella; this was during the tenure of Baldassare Donato. When Donato died in 1603 Croce took over the principal job as maestro di cappella but the singing standards of the famous St. Mark’s cathedral declined under his direction, most likely due more to his declining health than his lack of musicianship. He died in 1609; the position of maestro di cappella went to Giulio Cesare Martinengo until 1613, at which time Monteverdi took the job.