Giovanni Pierluigi Da Palestrina

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Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi Da

 

(Palestrina). Born circa 1525 in Palestrina, near Rome; died Feb. 2, 1594, in Rome. Italian composer; head of the Roman school of polyphony.

From 1544 to 1551, Palestrina was organist and choirmaster at the principal church in the town of Palestrina. In 1551 he came to Rome, where he held positions in the pontifical choir, the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, and the Sistine Chapel. Most of his creative work is religious a capella music. He created striking examples of a transparent polyphony that does not obscure the text. His music is distinguished for a balance between polyphonic and harmonic principles, as well as for a tranquil euphony. Dramatic effects and sharp contrasts, which are typical of works by many of his contemporaries, are alien to his art, which is serene and reflective.

Palestrina achieved a new, clearer, more flowing expressiveness in polyphonic music. He transformed vocal polyphony, revealing its harmonic possibilities. For this reason, like other composers of his time, Palestrina is considered a forerunner of the stylistic revolution of the turn of the 17th century. He wrote more than 100 masses and approximately 180 motets, as well as hymns, magnificats, and spiritual and secular madrigals.

WORKS

Werke, vols. 1–33. Leipzig, 1862–1903.
Le opere complete, vols. 1–29. Rome, 1939–62. (Publication in progress.)

REFERENCES

Ivanov-Boretskii, M. V. Palestrina. Moscow, 1909.
Ferracci, E. II Palestrina. Rome, 1960.
References in periodicals archive ?
Edizione nazionale delle opere di Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.
Palestrina, Italy: Fondazione Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, 1995.
The latest publication issued by the Fondazione Palestrina is this imposing monograph on Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina as man and musician.
Powers juxtaposes Lasso with his great Italian contemporary, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.
Faced with such impersonal performers' parts, conceptually so distant from (say) the generative sketches of Ludwig van Beethoven or Igor Stravinsky, it is easy for the reader to forget that every motet by Josquin des Prez or mass by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina also passed through a process of gestation and formation, conceivably as turbulent as those of the "Eroica" Symphony or The Rite of Spring.
This style of composition, derived ultimately from homophonic falsobordone psalmody (Cavalli's setting of Domine probasil me even contains a passage in falsobordone}, reveals a second kind of stile antico of the seventeenth century alongside the contrapuntal model of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.
In those same years, there were some composers, mostly in places where German was spoken, who labored diligently to craft music that sounded like the polyphony of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, or at least like something from the late Renaissance.
The volume begins, appropriately, with the "Palestrina legend" as handed down by Giuseppe Baini, who wrote the first major biography of the composer (Memorie storico-critiche della vita e delle opere di Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina [Rome: Dalla Societa tipografica, 1828; reprinted 1967]).
True, we are in fairly good shape with the most high-profile composers of the genre: we have complete (or nearly complete) editions of Jacques Arcadelt, Adrian Willaert, Cipriano de Rore, Orlando di Lasso, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Andrea Gabrieli, Giaches de Wert, Luca Marenzio, and Claudio Monteverdi.