My thanks to Chello for the picture.

17th? 1525 --- 2nd 1594

Born 1525 Palestrina, Italy Died 1594 Rome, Italy

Giovanni Pierluigi Da Palestrina takes his name from his birthplace, Palestrina, a little hill town not too distant from Rome.

The family name was Pierluigi, but was frequently omitted in the writings of the composer, the name appearing as simply Giovanni Pierluigi Da Palestrina.
His exact birth date is unknown as the official birth records of Palestrina were destroyed by a fire in 1577.

The composer's ancestors had provably lived for several generation in Palestrina, his father, Sante Pierluigi, owned a little land and a home.

Part of the house where the composer was born still stands and is marked with a plaque to designate it today. Giovanni, as a boy, probably sang in the choir at the local cathedral, Saint Agapit.
He later became the organist and the choir director of the Palestrina cathedral. During his tenure there, he married Lucrezia Gori, receiving as a dowry a household of goods, a vineyard, meadows, house and some cash.
Two sons were born to the couple while they resided quite comfortably in Palestrina.

After the Bishop of Palestrina was elevated to the Holy See, becoming Pope Julius III, he requested Giovanni to move to Rome and appointed him director of the Julian Chapel choir.

His first book of masses (1544) was printed at the composer's expense shortly after his move.

The Roman Catholic Church started a counter reformation, a setting in order of its own house.

Much that was secular had crept into the music of the Church, and some authorities questioned whether polyphonic settings of the Mass ensured the text beyond recognition.
Palestrina seems to have been impressed with the artistic soundness of the Pope's directive. and the untimely death of the Pope three weeks later led the composer to write a Mass since known as The pope Marcellus Mass.

Pope Pius IV had organized the Council of Trent to survey the practices of musicians in the various churches to determine whether the plain song ought to be the only acceptable music.

A false legend has arisen that the Council listened to The Pope Marcellus Mass and thereby decided that polyphonic settings of the Mass could be used without obscuring the text.
The title "Palestrina Saviour of Church Music" was devised from this legend. Undoubtedly the Council did hear some of the works of Palestrina, but officially they did little more than reiterate the statements of Pope Marcellus.

pope Paul IV succeeded Marcellus and started a reform within the laws and rules of the church. he was surprised to discover that three married men, including Palestrina, served in the Papal Choir and they were immediately released.

Palestrina found a position teaching music at a seminary at the Church of St John Lateran in Rome for four years. Many of his motets date from these years.

Between the years 1572 and 1580 an epidemic killed his two sons, two of his brothers, and his wife. Grief-stricken, he applied for the priesthood, but before the year was out, he met the well to do widow of a successful furrier and married her.

In addition to managing the details relating to the fur business, he published between the year of his second marriage and his death four books on masses, three books each of motets and madrigals, a book of hymns, and a book of magnificats.

Palestrina returned to service in the Julian Chapel under a more liberal Pope and served in that capacity until his death.

One of his duties on his return was to work on a revision of the plain song, a hopeless task. He tried to discover the original melodies in use under Pope GStevenory and eliminate copyist's errors and later additions, but the records were in such a bad condition that it was impossible to discover the original chants.

The nature of Palestrina's final illness is unknown. His funeral service at St.Peter's was an acknowledgement of his stature in the musical world.

He was buried under the pavement in the New Chapel which was later covered over by the new St.Peter's Cathedral, then in the process of being built. A later effort to locate Palestrina's remains was unsuccessful.

© From "Music Through the Centuries" by Nick Rossi & Sadie Rafferty.

Last Updated on 12th May 2001

And now for the Music

(2152)Missa Pape Marcelli (Mass For 6 Voices)"Kyrie". Sequenced by Robert Andreas Austin.

(2153)Missa Pape Marcelli (Mass For 6 Voices)"Gloria". Sequenced by Robert Andreas Austin.

(2154)Missa Pape Marcelli (Mass For 6 Voices)"Credo". Sequenced by Robert Andreas Austin.

(2155)Missa Pape Marcelli (Mass For 6 Voices)"Sanctus". Sequenced by Robert Andreas Austin.

(2156)Missa Pape Marcelli (Mass For 6 Voices)"Benedictus". Sequenced by Robert Andreas Austin.

(2157)Missa Pape Marcelli (Mass For 6 Voices)"Agnus Dei I". Sequenced by Robert Andreas Austin.

(2158)Missa Pape Marcelli (Mass For 6 Voices)"Agnus Dei II". Sequenced by Robert Andreas Austin.

I like to thank Emily for the sequencing the following piece, to contact please email ("> EMILY.

(1875)"Esercizio Sopra La Scala". Sequenced by Emily Gray

(1876)"Alma Redemptors Mater". Sequencer Unknown

(1877)"Voi Mi Poneste in Foco". Sequencer Unknown

(1878)"Ascendo ad Patrem, Motet". Sequenced by Brian M. Ames

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