Born in 1654 at Castelfranco in the Veneto, Agostino Steffani spent virtually all his adult life in Germany. He served the court of Munich (1667–88) as a singer, organist, Director of Chamber Music and composer of sacred, secular and dramatic works, and that of Hanover (1688–1703) as Kapellmeister, writing operas and chamber duets. Alongside music he cultivated interests in the Catholic church, diplomacy and politics. At Düsseldorf (1703–09) he was employed as a government minister, nominated Bishop of Spiga (Asia Minor) and appointed Apostolic Vicar of North Germany. In 1709 he returned to Hanover, where, apart from a short period in Italy (1722–5), he was based until his death in 1728. During his final years he enjoyed a relationship with the Academy of Vocal (later ‘Ancient’) Music, sending existing works and new pieces to London. La canzona che volete is not ascribed to him in the manuscripts that preserve it, but there are good grounds for attributing the setting to him.