Giovanni Pierluigi Da Palestrina

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


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


Ivanov-Boretskii, M. V. Palestrina. Moscow, 1909.
Ferracci, E. II Palestrina. Rome, 1960.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Rostirolla, `La Cappella Giulia in San Pietro negli anni del magistero di Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina', Atti del convegno di studi palestriniani, 28 settembre -- 2 ottobre 1975, ed.
Casimiri, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina: nuovi documenti biografici, (Rome, 1918), p.30.
Baini, Memorie storico-critiche della vita e della opere di Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, 2 vols.
Edizione nazionale delle opere di Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. [2 April 2003] [6 p.
1485-1545), the first representative of the Roman School that culminated with the music of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, wrote a series of counterpoint exercises on a cantus firmus, but the collection was assumed lost.
One particularly pleasing inclusion within the anthology that one would not necessarily have predicted are motets by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Orlando di Lasso, chosen to illustrate the prima pratica.
Nine of the motets discussed extensively in Macey's book do appear in the edition, but these seven important motets do not: Josquin Desprez's Miserere mei, Deus (the earliest Savonarolan motet), settings of Infelix ego by Cipriano de Rore, Nicola Vicentino, Orlando di Lasso, and William Byrd, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina's Tribularer si nescirem, and Lupus Hellinck's In te, Domine, speravi.
The Misa Iste confessor also demonstrates the complexity of Spanish and Italian connections by incorporating long passages of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina's paraphrase Mass on this chant.
Both Perkins and Atlas have consciously sidestepped this approach and its encumbrances and opted instead for creating overviews of music genres (e.g., Masses, motets, chansons) as composed by a given generation of musicians; Perkins, for example, includes chapter segments titled "Rufen and Leisen," "Psalm Motets," and "Motetti Missales or Ducales." When discussing the end of the Renaissance, Perkins organizes his final chapters by composer, focusing on four: Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Tomas Luis de Victoria, William Byrd, and Orlande de Lassus.
Next he comments on the sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus and gives a long list of motet settings from John Dunstable to Tomas Luis de Victoria, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, and even Contino.
9, "Come havra vit', Amor," quotes in three places an earlier setting of t he same text by Ruggiero Giovanelli, which itself quotes earlier madrigals by Cipriano da Rore and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. In fact, most of the motives in Quagliati's setting are related to Giovanelli's; the more direct quotes are valuable illustrations for the solo performance of polyphonic madrigals.
(Musica e Musicisti nel Lazio, 3.) Palestrina, Italy: Fondazione Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, 1995.