Biography of San Felipe Neri (1515-1595)

Son of a Florentine notary, was educated in an environment humanist. He/She started commercial life, but soon abandoned this and moved to Rome, where he/she attended the University of wisdom and the Augustinians. Good poet, channeled his natural inclinations at the service of the ideals of the Counter-Reformation. Ordered priest in 1551 and was established with several secular priests in San Gerolamo della Carità, where he/she founded the Congregation of the oratory, and began meetings of penitents and devout, they continued in S. Giovanni dei Florentini and more afternoon in Santa María in Vallicella. At these meetings, the penitents alternated between short sermons and talks singing praises, with texts in vulgar language, as it was the custom in Italy, particularly in Florence. The musicians that were part of the Filipinos were responsible for directing musical performances in the Church, in the Chapel and outdoor, as well as give to penitents a repertoire of laude (see lauda). He/She was excite pity by commissioning music from a biblical text sandwiched between preaching. G. Anumuccia, the Spanish priest Francisco Soto de Langa and father Giovanale Ancina they worked in this field. San Felipe Neri was also in contact with Palestrina and Victoria (who was after 1578 Chaplain of S. Gerolamo della Carità).

The ideal of Neri was music monodic, or at least a simple structure, although its partners failed to always renounce the polyphonic tradition. However, all this work, constitutes a major step towards the monodic style accompanied and the expressive Declamation of the text. On many occasions, dramatic and narrative treatments are considered a precursor of the musical oratory.San Felipe Neri was conspicuous by his works of charity with the neighbor, its simplicity and joy. He/She died in 1595 and was canonized in 1622.


Marc Honegger. Dictionary of music. (Madrid: Espasa Calpe, Second Edition, 1993).

Sopena Francisco Ibanez. History of the music. (Madrid: Epesa, 1974).