MALE SOPRANI AND OTHER VIRTUOSI
WE may now return to the historical survey. In our study of this period we shall be obliged from time to time to overstep its limits. No inclusive review of these fruitful years can be made without occasional retrospects of the past and flights beyond the border which separates them from the succeeding era.
When the seventeenth century began, the glory of the virtuoso singer, as we have noted, was already spread above the horizon of musical art. His sun had risen, and by the end of the century it was blazing in the intolerable splendor of its high noon. Our prospect is crowded with composers who were singers, singers who were composers or decorators of other men's compositions, women who rivalled the most famous diva of modern times in their amazing skill in florid song, and whose musicianship was such that some of them rivalled their masculine contemporaries as composers, cardinals who were the princely