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'nmfroto'yfum in Archive Musico ftasilicae I'aticanae 
Ky kind permission of Messrs. Rreiikoff and Hartel i 



His Life and Times. By 








WERE 1 to place on record here the 
names of all who have given me help 
in writing this book these few lines 
of preface would grow inordinately, but I cannot 
deny myself the pleasure of acknowledging that of 
the late Mrs. Edmond R. Wodehouse, in whose 
hands it would have been my dearest reward 
to place the finished work, and of Mr. J. A. Fuller 
Maitland, to whom my deep gratitude is due for 
valuable criticisms and suggestions. 

For the translation of the Mantuan letters, 
etc., I have to thank Mr. J. M. Rigg, while Dr. 
Ludwig von Pastor and the late Dr. Bannister 
helped me greatly in procuring access to the 
Vatican and other libraries. 

If the result of so many advantages helps any 
lover of sixteenth century a cappella music to a 
better understanding of the subject it will not 
have been in vain. 



With list of published works in chronological order [in brackets]. 



General Survey . xiii 


Birthplace Early life Musical education Appointment to S. 

Agapito Marriage Change in prospects . . . ' I 


Julian choir First Madrigal [First book of Masses, 1554] . . n 


Enters Pontifical choir [First book of Madrigals, 1555] Dismissal 
Becomes choirmaster of S. Giovanni Latcrano Improperta 
and Lamentations ........ 27 


Leaves S. Giovanni in Laterano Goes to S. Maria Maggiore [First 
book of Motets for four voices, 1563] [Second book of Masses, 
1567] Missa Papae Marcelli .... . . 41 


[Third book of Masses, 1570] L'homme atme Cardinal Ippolito 
d'Este as patron [Book of Motets for five, six, and seven voices, 
1 569] Relations with Duke of Mantua .... 59 


Directs the music for S. Filippo Neri at his "Oratorios " Returns to 

Julian choir Madrigali Spiritual} . . . . .81 


Pupils and disciples ........ 94 




[Second book of Motets for five, six, and seven voices, 1572] Death 
of Cardinal d'Este Of his son Ridolfo Of his brother Silla 
New set of Lamentations [Third book of five, six, and seven voice 
Motets, 1575] Signal honour from the town of Palestrina 
Death of his son Angelo Affair of the Directorium Chori 
Death of his wife Remarriage Death of two grandchildren loz 


[First book of Madrigali Spirituali for five voices, 1581] [Second 
book of Motets for four voices, 1581] Project, later abandoned, 
to live in Mantua [Fourth book of Masses, 1582] , . Il8 


M The Company of Rome " [Motets on The Song of Solomon for 
five voices, 1584] [Book of Motets for five voices, 1584] 
Tu es Pastor ovium Assumpta est Maria Composer to the 
Pontifical Choir 130 


Death of Duke of Mantua [Second book of Madrigals for four voices, 
1586] Life in Palestrina Some inquiry into Pierluigi's alleged 
poverty [First book of Lamentations for four voices, 1588! 
[Hymns for all the year, 1589] [Fifth book of Masses, 1590] 
[Offertories for all the year, 1593] [Litanies, four voices, 1593] 
[Sixth book of Masses, 1594] Last illness, and death . . 145 


Last rites Grave Exact place now unknown [Seventh book of 
Masses, 1594] Igino's connection witn his father's unpublished 
works [Volumes VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII of Masses, pub- 
lished by two Venetians] [Second volume of Madrigali Spiritua/i, 
1594] [XIX Century, In the Collected Edition appeared 
hitherto unpublished works : Volumes XXIII and XXIX, Masses ; 
VI and VII, Motets ; XXVI, Litanies ; XXVII Magnificat ; 
XXVIII, Madrigals ; XXV (two sets), Lamentations ; and three 
volumes, XXX, XXXI, and XXXII of incomplete, doubtful, 
spurious, and recently discovered works] . . . .158 


End of Roman School Attempts to rekindle interest in igth century 171 


Controversy as to year of Pierluigi's birth Concluding remarks . 182 

INDEX TO MASSES ..... '93 

APPENDIX . . . . . . ... 21 S 




PORTRAIT OF G. P. DA PALESTRINA . . . Frontispiece 

PRINCIPAL FAJADE OF 5. Giovanni in Laterano BEFORE 1560 . . 38 




IT is a characteristic attitude of the human 
mind to suppose that what is removed 
from the actual generation by some few 
centuries is necessarily either primitive, childish, 
or antiquated. To the student the fallacy of such 
a point of view is at once apparent, and he dis- 
covers that neglect and disuse are often the result 
of changed ideals and customs. The unaccom- 
panied polyphony of the sixteenth century is an 
instance of this indifference to bygone things ; 
a form of music so beautiful that it has never 
been surpassed, but sufficiently ancient for its 
construction to be generally misunderstood and 
its evolution forgotten. Yet, intended for a 
certain purpose, it has lost none of its old power ; 
and this very noble and pure art contains a 
regenerating force which was never more needed 
than at the present time. 

The explanation is a very simple one. Like 
some stream, flowing age-long through its deep- 
cut channel to be diverted, later, by sluice or 



weir, into a fresh course so did music follow a 
certain line of inspiration for centuries ; until it 
was forced by fresh conceptions of progress to 
accept other ideals, aims, and developments. 
These, in their turn, acquired new rules of theory 
and practice, the old formulas were superseded 
and forgotten, the ancient boundaries of the art 
misunderstood, and the individuality and sensitive 
inspiration necessary to its .interpretation lost. 

That it is still capable of retaining its old 
empire on the modern world is shown by the 
terms in which Richard Wagner refers to a per- 
formance of Palestrina's Stabat Mater as " an 
absolute spiritual revelation which filled us with 
unspeakable emotion " one, indeed, finding its 
ultimate expression in the Grail music of Parsifal. 
After that it is hardly necessary to quote his 
opinion that Italian opera is " no legitimate 
daughter of this wonderful mother ; " yet it was 
this new form of musical art which superseded 
the old. It was, indeed, inevitable it should be 
so, for the Renaissance fostered the growth of 
personality, an idea fundamentally opposed to the 
selflessness and objectivity of the old polyphony. 

The following brief review of the causes 
resulting in the phenomenon of a Giovanni Pierluigi 
da Palestrina is intended as an aid to those who 
wish to understand something of the history and 
evolution of this ancient music. 


It was Plato who said : " The movement of 
sounds so as to reach the soul for the education 
of it in virtue we know not how, we call music " 
a definition there would be no difficulty whatever 
in illustrating with the mass in B minor of 
Johann Sebastian Bach or Beethoven's ninth 
symphony. To what extent the music of 500 B.C. 
fulfilled so lofty an ideal there is no means of 
knowing, but it was probably no mere coincidence 
that this conception of the moral value of music 
survived the fall of paganism and formed the 
strength of its appeal to the primitive church.* 
Be that as it may, these Greco-Roman melodies 
were adapted to sacred words and thus became 
incorporated in the ritual. They were handed on 
orally, for all means of writing music down were 
forgotten in the general decay of learning. In 
time singing-schools were established, the authority 
of which was so well recognized that monks were 
sent from far distant lands to learn the authentic 
melodies either the ancient, or new ones con- 
structed on these models but some hundreds of 
years passed before this position was reached. 

It was a foregone conclusion that the Church 
would breathe her spirit into song derived from 

* This material has been exposed and classified by F. A. Gevaert 
in his Melopee Antique, and is there shown to have been derived from 
the melodies sung and played by Greek artists who enjoyed a 
similar vogue in the last years of Ancient Rome to that of Italian 
operatic artists in the early nineteenth century. 


pagan sources, and the singularly beautiful product 
known as plain-song was the result. This early 
flower of Christian art was as the illumination of 
a missal, for it had no significance without the 
text it enriched and beautified. Until the sixth 
century it was the only form of music tolerated 
in connection with the liturgy, after which period 
hymns attributed to St. Ambrose, St. Hilary, 
Prudentius, and others were admitted. Written 
about the fourth century, these were constructed 
on classical poetic metres, which, converted into 
regulated musical accents, may be regarded as the 
ancestors of our own time-system. On the con- 
trary, plain-song is not rhythmical but follows the 
inflexion of the voice in the ceremonial reading of 
the Sacred Text. Though now subject to a less 
strict observance of ancient modes it has retained 
its place in church use. 

On the evidence of the oldest surviving 
melodies* the Greco-Roman theories were held 
authoritative for many centuries. The system of 
construction can be identified with the eight forms 
of the Greek octave scale, and even as late as the 
ninth century the theorists revert again and again 
to the writings of the Greek philosophers, even 
if these were often misunderstood for the lack of 
pedagogic example. But in the tenth century 
writers on music waxed bolder and advanced new 

* Qevaert's Melopee Antique, 


ideas, though the absence of musical notation 
seriously hampered their progress. Finally, it 
occurred to an enterprising musician that certain 
signs used to indicate accents in declaiming the 
scriptures might profitably be employed to show 
the upward or downward course of a melody. 
The signs to be converted to this use were termed 
neumes * and were " aids to memory " a 
pictorial representation of the direction of sound 
by points and dashes first used in Byzantine 
liturgical books. Indication of actual pitch or 
duration was impossible, but the signs could, and 
did, enable a singer to recognize a melody, or to 
distinguish between two with similar openings ; 
and this possibility once established the de- 
velopment of a musical notation was clearly only 
a matter of time. Such, indeed, became impera- 
tive when the composers conceived the idea of 
using two melodies simultaneously. Even in this 
very primitive form of part-singing something 
more definite than a point or a dash was required 
to keep singers together. They quarrelled over 
the interpretation of the neumes, it took years to 
commit the signs to memory in short, musical 
art could scarcely have made further progress had 
it not been for a famous monk, Guido d'Arezzo.f 
Wearied by the labour of teaching his choir, he 

* From neuma, a nod or wink. 

t Now supposed to have been a native of France. 


invented a system by which it was possible to 
learn to read at sight in a marvellously short time, 
and as he quaintly put it "clefs to unlock the 
secrets of the staves." It is not certain that he 
invented the principle of the stave itself. Before 
his time a line was drawn through middle C as a 
definite point and pitch from which other notes 
could be reckoned ; but he certainly carried the 
idea much further, and used other clefs for the 
range of higher or lower voices. Guido died in 
1050. Thus it had taken several hundreds of 
years to systematize what every child knows 
to-day, for until this point was reached everything 
was tentative, experimental, and fleeting. 

While theoretical principles were gradually 
built up, the early uncouth harmonies began to 
give place to other forms showing increasing 
resource and invention. For the first seven 
centuries the history of the Western development 
of music belongs to the South of Europe. 
Charlemagne's great love for and interest in 
the musical part of the Liturgy was the stimulus 
under which famous singing-schools spread 
over the rest of the continent, and now music 
tended to become international. First the Franks, 
then the English, after them the Netherlanders, 
bore the palm. Each influenced all, each carried 
the art a step further, each exhibited some 
national characteristic, differentiating its work 


from that of other nations. The circumstance 
of the Pope's residence at Avignon, at a time 
in which music was ardently cultivated at the 
University of Paris, had far-reaching results ; 
for when the Papal Court returned to Rome it 
was accompanied by the choir of northern 
musicians which provided the Pontifical music 
in exile. These singers became incorporated in 
the Roman choir and brought with them the 
New Discant. 

Some reference has already been made to 
the practice of putting two melodies together. 
One still earlier was to double the melody at 
a different pitch, with the result that a rude 
form of harmony was obtained in consecutive 
fourths and fifths. This so-called Organum now 
ceased to please, and by slow degrees a new form 
of composition was evolved, a union of two 
independent melodies, at first joined arbitrarily 
but gradually acquiring beauty and freedom. 
Such was the New Discant which the Pope's 
Avignon choir took with it to Rome. 

It was a product born of many nationalities. 
The French brought innovation and daring, the 
English charm, expressiveness, and clarity ot 
sound, the Netherlanders subtlety and growth. 
Taking into consideration the well-known con- 
servatism of the Church, it must be considered 
as a most important event in the history of music 


that this infusion of new ideas preserved the 
continuity of the Roman influence and so paved 
the way for the florescence of the great Roman 

The ascendancy of foreigners in the Pontifical 
Choir continued until the latter half of the 
sixteenth century. All the great names of the 
Netherlandish School are to be found in its 
annals, either as singers or composers, for the 
fame of this body of singers drew every ambitious 
musician. Music was on truly international 
ground in Rome, and the art of composition 
now began to go forward with what seems, in 
comparison to preceding centuries, astonishing 
rapidity. To dwell more here on the individual 
points of development is impossible, though a 
bare mention of the device of canonic imitation, 
destined later to yield so rich a harvest, must at 
least be made. As musical devices grew in 
number composers tended more and more towards 
intense complications. Especially did Flemish 
composers display so great and joyous an in- 
genuity in note-values and time-measurements 
that it is little short of marvellous singers with 
the necessary patience could be found to unravel 
them. But if the composers occasionally forgot 
that music is an art first and a science afterwards, 
they certainly put the finishing touches to the 
theoretical structure which the great masters of 


the sixteenth century were to turn to such glorious 

There was, however, a forerunner whose 
work cannot be passed over in silence. This is the 
great Josquin des Pres. The facts of his life 
cannot at present be ascertained with any certitude, 
but it is probable that he was in the Pontifical 
Choir during the reign of Innocent III.,* and 
that he was born in Hainault. He has been 
described as the first composer of genius, and 
he certainly conceived music as a living art, and 
not as a branch of mathematics. Dr. Burney 
devotes thirty-two pages of his celebrated history 
to Josquin, and sums him up as follows : 

" It will perhaps be thought that too much 
notice has been taken of this old composer and 
his works" (Burney writes about 1780), "but as 
he is the type of all Musical Excellence at the time 
at which he lived, the less need be said of his 
contemporaries, who, in general, appear to have 
been his imitators." At Josquin's hands music 
achieved a fully developed technique,! and was 
ready for the final development unaccompanied 
polyphony was to receive at the hands of Giovanni 
Pierluigi da Palestrina. Nevertheless this point 
had not been reached without much opposition 

* Not under Sixtus IV. as previously supposed. 

f For the student these devices may be rapidly enumerated as, 
I. A system of note-measurements. II. Musua ficta (the use of 
accidentals). HI. Imitation and canon. 


on the part of the Church. There was, indeed, 
an intermittent quarrel between the clergy and 
the musicians for a period of time running into 
centuries, from 1322 onwards when Pope 
John XXII. denounced the fantastic compositions 
of the new school and complained that they 
obscured the sense of the sacred text. The 
musicians temporarily submitted, but towards the 
close of the fifteenth century the complaints were 
reiterated, and with reason, for the requirements 
of the Liturgy were overlooked in the triumph 
of the new technique, and the situation was 
aggravated by the vanity and incompetence of 
singers who exaggerated the new artistic devices. 
In the multiplication of voice-parts the sacred 
words were indistinguishable, and when the custom 
arose of employing secular melodies in the inter- 
weaving of the parts, the profane title of the song 
so employed was often that by which the mass 
was known, an obvious and just cause of offence 
to churchmen. At one time nothing less than 
the exclusion of music from the Church was in 
contemplation, but saner counsels prevailed, and 
indeed composers were not lacking who recognized 
the truth of the Church's indictment. 

It was after one of these periodic outbursts 
that Pierluigi da Palestrina sprang to fame.* Any 

* His full name was Giovanni Pierluigi Sante ; according to 
the custom of the times he was referred to by the name of his 


consideration of the life of this great man 
accentuates the fact that he was no meteoric 
appearance such as his zealous biographer Baini 
would have us believe, but the culminating point 
of musical inspiration in successive centuries. So 
much appears from the patient reconstruction of 
his life by later biographers who, put on the trace 
of such discoveries by Baini's monumental work,* 
unearthed documents and facts formerly regarded 
as lost beyond the possibility of finding. Al- 
though exception may be taken to some of Baini's 
conclusions, it is undoubtedly true that without 
his enthusiasm for the works of this great master 
it might have been impossible to distinguish truth 
from legend, by reason of the almost complete 
oblivion to which succeeding generations had 
consigned him. Even so, it is a common thing 
to find that those persons familiar with the 
biographies, for example, of Cimabue or Giotto 
have never heard of Palestrina, yet he was a con- 
temporary of some of the best-known masters of 
the late Renaissance period, and was born in the 
first quarter of the sixteenth century. There 
can therefore be no reasonable excuse for classing 
him with the illuminati of a forgotten age, or for 
the assumption that his art, universally admired 
in that marvellous epoch, may be dismissed as 
either primitive or immature. The unaccompanied 

* Memorie storicO'Criticke sulla vita di Palestrina. 


polyphony of the sixteenth century is a finished 
product, to the making of which went many 
centuries of evolution ; a perfect means to the 
end in view which, in St. Augustine's words, was 
" prayer to God with song." The long con- 
nection of music with the Church bore fruit at 
last and lifted prayer higher than human language 
can soar; finding the right accents for pathos in 
supplication, jubilation in praise, sanctity in con- 
templation. In other words, that consummate 
mastery of the material was now obtained which 
had already found similar expression in painting 
and architecture. Of such was the great dome 
to the new church of St. Peter : its aspect there 
was power. Of such was the face of the Sistine 
Madonna : its aspect there was love, Divine 
Motherhood. The fulfilment of it in music was 
no less wonderful, but just because sound is 
transient, while the picture or building is (in 
comparison) intransient, great music can never 
make so final an appeal, or receive the same 
instantaneous recognition. Nor is this all ; 
music depends on a variety of outward circum- 
sances before it can make any appeal at all, 
so that it cannot undergo the final test of 
property in the same degree as other arts, 
nor command the same consideration from the 
worldly-minded. So when, in the first decade 
of the seventeenth century, a new personal and 


dramatic element, with its attendant appanages of 
beauty of voice and form, fioriture and ornament, 
made its appearance, the old impersonal elusive 
art in its very essence, opposed to all that is 
implied in platform or footlights was superseded 
and the course of music was changed. It became 
more human, less divine. It exchanged its quality 
of ecstatic contemplation of the heavenly mysteries 
for one expressing earthly joys and sorrows. In 
other words, Mary, sitting at her Master's feet, 
was replaced by Martha troubled about many 
things. Men now took from the old unaccom- 
panied polyphony its underlying theoretical 
structure, but transformed it for the development 
of recitative and fixed tonality, and though, for 
many years still, compositions on the old lines 
continued to make their appearance, they were in 
the nature of atavistic phenomena. The great 
Roman School was dead. 



THOSE who have visited the picturesque 
town of Palestrina will agree that in no 
other place in Italy is the great past 
more vividly recalled to the imagination. Built 
on a spur of the Sabine Hills, Praeneste, its 
ancient name, was " a place of cool and fragrant 
breezes," and for that reason a favourite refuge 
of the Romans in summer. Livy laments that 
its pleasures seduced senators from their duties 
on the Capitol, and Horace and Virgil sojourned 
there. It charms even now in its squalor and 
decay, for though sacked and besieged on more 
than one occasion, it still retains magnificent 
remains of pediment, plinth, and cornice, nor can 
anything rob it of its lovely setting in the chains 
of Sabine and Alban Hills, or of the flower- 
scented breezes from the adjacent campagna. 

From its position the town was considered 
almost impregnable. It was further defended by 


fortifications, partly prehistoric, partly Latin, 
against which the forces of Rienzi hurled them- 
selves in vain. It had not always been so for- 
tunate. In a quarrel between Pope Boniface VIII. 
and its Colonna overlords Palestrina suffered 
almost total destruction, and its adjacent acres 
were strewn with salt so that no green thing 
should grow therein. Rebuilt in 1447, the town 
was again ravaged by Charles V.'s soldiery during 
that terrible time, the Sack of Rome (1527), and 
it may be that music ran an extreme danger, for, 
according to the most reliable evidence,* Giovanni 
Pierluigi Sante (generally known by the name of 
his birthplace as Palestrina) was then a tender 
infant. At a time when the high-born were 
reduced to begging their bread, it is possible that 
it was an advantage to be of mean estate ; be this 
as it may, Providence shielded the Sante family, 
although, once more, the town was almost 
destroyed. Again Palestrina rose from its ashes, 
and to-day it is not unreasonable to suppose that 
the tortuous streets, picturesque town-gates and 
fountains, the water-carriers with their graceful 
copper-pots even the shepherds in their long 
wide cloaks and high-crowned hats can have 
changed little since this last upheaval, for they 
are all survivals of a mediaeval past. 

Tradition identifies a rough two-storied 

* The register of his birth has not been found. 


structure as the home of the great musician's 
family. Built almost on the town wall, it is only 
separated from it at the back by a small garden. 
In front, an outside staircase leads to a loggia from 
which a once large room (now divided into four) 
with high open hearth is entered. Here the 
father, with his wife Maria Gismondi, lived, and 
here the boy Giovanni Pierluigi was born, 
probably towards the end of 1525.* There were 
two other sons, Silla and Bernardino, and a 
daughter, Palma. That their circumstances were 
not too narrow may be gathered from the fact 
that they possessed a house, vineyard, chestnut- 
grove, and other property, but beyond that, 
nothing is known of " Janetto's " childhood. It 
may be conjectured that he showed early signs of 
musical genius, and, for that reason, may have 
been placed in the choir of S. Agapito, there to 
acquire the knowledge of those liturgical melodies 
destined to shape his mind to its great end. But, 
whether climbing the steep streets to the over- 
hanging Roccafi listening, as he went, to the 
stornelli sung by the peasants in the meadows 
below those melodies of untold antiquity or 
in the cathedral, following the hand-beat of the 
choir-master as he chanted the long alleluias on an 
Easter morning, it is certain that all musical 

* Weinmann. See Chapter XIV. for evidences. 
f The Colonna fortress. 


sound was to him of deep significance, and that he 
was storing up impressions to be used hereafter 
for the greater good of his fellow-man. 

Only twenty miles from Rome, Palestrina 
was thus near enough to permit of an occasional 
visit hither, and that the boy made the journey 
from time to time is certain. For the means of 
getting there, remained always the chance of a 
seat on horse-back behind a good-natured Colonna 
serving-man, or a place in the Bishop's train on 
his way to visit the Holy Father ; and the boy 
would surely make his way to one of the great 
basilicas to hear a mass by Josquin, or Dufay, or 
Pierre de la Rue. There may even have been 
members of the family residing in Rome, though 
the only reference to any is to be found in a 
document discovered in recent years, the will of 
the grandmother, Jacobella, widow of yet another 
Pierluigi, dated October 22, 1527, the very year 
of the Sack. From the character of the goods 
she bequeathed to her descendants * it has been 
surmised that she kept an inn in the outskirts of 

But the year 1918 has brought to light other 
documents which permit a much discussed 
question to be answered who was Pierluigi's 
master ? Tradition gave him a certain Gaudio 

* In which are mentioned two daughters, two sons, and a 


Mell, whom historians endeavoured to identify 
with the famous Huguenot musician, Goudimel, 
killed in the massacre of St. Bartholemew. It 
has, however, been proved that Goudimel was 
never in Rome. An ingenious attempt was then 
made to recognize Gaudio Mell in a certain 
Neapolitan musician, Cimello by name, whose 
pupils, in a dedicatory address, refer to him as 
learned in Flemish counterpoint,* but this, too, 
has to be relinquished by the discovery of what 
may be regarded as the truth. One legend,f for 
which any justification hitherto lacked, was to the 
effect that Janetto came often to Rome, and that, 
on one occasion, passing the great church of 
S. Maria Maggiore, singing as he went, he was 
heard by the choirmaster of that basilica, who, 
struck by the beauty of the childish voice as well 
as by the manner of singing, took possession of 
the prize for his choir. This story it is which 
receives some degree of confirmation from the 
facts recently discovered.^ According to various 
entries in the Chapter archives of S. Maria 
Maggiore, it now appears that Joannes dt pelestrina 
(sic) was among the six choir boys mentioned 
there on the date 1537, and that, in the charge 
of one of the chaplains, Giacomo Coppola, 

* Michel Brenet in IM Vie de Palestrina. 
f Given by Baini. 

% By Casimiri, and published in his brochure " Gio. Pier, da 
Palestrina." Nuovi documenti biografici Roma, 1918. 


these were instructed in music by the choir- 
master. Further investigations revealed that 
Rubino filled that office until April 24, 1539, 
after which time the records are not clear. A 
certain Roberto is mentioned (of whom at present 
nothing is known), and not until December 6, 
1540, does a name occur in the archives which 
may be taken as that of Pierluigi's master. This 
is Firmin le Bel, first referred to in the record as 
Chaplain of S. Bernardino and, on the 9th of the 
same month, as choirmaster. 

If then Pierluigi was between eleven and 
twelve in 1537, he had over three years before 
him, after which his voice would no longer be 
available. It may therefore be taken that he was 
in the choir of S. Maria Maggiore until the end 
of the year 1541, the last year of his stay there 
coinciding with Firmin le Bel's first year of 
office. As is pointed out by the fortunate dis- 
coverer of these documents, the boy's best years 
of study were precisely those in which he came 
under the influence of the Frenchman. 

But though these records are now silent, 
those of the town of Palestrina are not. An 
entry was found some years ago,* to the effect 
that, "towards this year (1540) one of our 
fellow-citizens, by name Giovanni Pierluigi, went 
to Rome to study music." The supposition is 

* By Cicerchia. 


fair that his townsmen had awakened to the fact 
that great things were to be expected of Giovanni 
Pierluigi otherwise his absence would hardly 
have been considered a matter of public interest. 
The point, however, of importance here is, did 
Pierluigi continue his studies with Firmin le Bel ? 
There may still be an answer to that question, 
but at present there is none. Be this as it may, 
Firmin le Bel became maestro di cappella in S Luigi 
de Francesi, climbing to the altitude of the 
Pontifical Choir on September 4, 1561.* In 
default then of absolute proof no more than a 
mere surmise is possible that during the absence 
referred to by the town archives the brilliant 
young fellow-citizen continued to study with 
Firmin le Bel.f 

The next landmark in Pierluigi's life is 
fortunately less nebulous ; there is, indeed, no 
doubt about it at all. This is his nomination to 
the cathedral of S. Agapito in his native town 
as organist and choir-master. The contract was 
signed on October 23, 1544, and the duties were 
defined as choirmaster on all occasions, organist 
on festivals, and instructor of canons and boys. 
When this contract was first found there was 

* Two compositions of his are to be found in Codex 38 of the 
Sixtine Chapel. 

j- Maestro Casimiri's comment is so amusing, no apology is 
required for quoting it here : " Oh, che forse i posteri ebbero a 
confondere un Mel ; e peggio ancora un Goudimel, o magari un 
Cimello, con Firmino le Bel ? . . ." 


some controversy whether it would not now be 
necessary to assume the date of Pierluigi's birth 
as having occurred some years earlier, for the 
appointment of so young a man to a post of so 
much responsibility was not in accordance with 
the custom of the times. Possibly the reason for 
this departure from precedence is to be found in 
the annals already referred to. If Pierluigi's 
genius was already recognized by the town, there 
would be no hesitation in making an exception to 
the usual rule for one so likely to confer lustre 
on his native place a point of view which 
receives abundant justification to-day. 

The next few years were probably amongst the 
happiest of Pierluigi's life. If he had not already 
reached up to Fame, no jealousies embittered his 
life ; if his income was small (his new appoint- 
ment was remunerated at the rate of a canon's 
stipend), so were his wants, and he had no 
anxieties. Already a person of importance in his 
native town (he was not yet nineteen), he had 
ample time for further study, and was surrounded 
by relations and friends who would watch his 
career with affection and sympathy. Three years 
later he married the daughter of a well-to-do 
citizen Francesco de Goris, on June 12, 1547. 

The personality of Lucretia, his wife, is never 
once thrown into strong relief, yet a tradition 
exists that the marriage was a very happy one. 


The great musician was destined to live through 
much sorrow in later years, and it is good to 
know that in his home was one who would help 
him to find courage. It seems as if his wife's 
father must have died shortly afterwards, for 
Lucretia received her share of the inheritance in 
November of that year. It consisted of a house, 
tannery, vineyard, fields, and meadows ; with 
Lucretia's consent, Pierluigi sold the tannery in 
the following year. 

For four more years the young choir-master 
continued to fulfil his duties in Palestrina, 
where grandiose ruins, lovely landscapes with 
Soracte and the Sabine Hills in the distance, and 
the vicinity of Rome must surely have stimulated 
his expanding genius, and, if he chose to mount 
the rock at the back of the town, the dome of 
St. Peter's, the goal of his ambitions, would 
beckon to him across the wide campagna. 

Then a thing happened the significance of 
which can only be understood if we go back a 
few years in the history of the town. 

On October 5, 1543, Palestrina received a 
new Bishop, in the person of Cardinal Giammaria 
Ciocchi del Monte, formerly Bishop of Pavia 
and Archbishop of Siponto. The son of a famous 
jurist, he was himself a man of great learning and 
artistic tastes. Obviously he had opportunities 
of observing the young musician on his visits to 


his episcopal seat, and of noticing his remarkable 
gifts. He may even have extended to him his 
kindly interest and patronage. 

Great as his position was, it was destined to 
become greater still, and in a very unexpected 
manner. The death of Paul III. on November 10, 
1549, brought about an unforeseen situation in 
the Papacy, for it occurred at a moment when the 
dominant Imperial and Farnese parties were at 
daggers drawn. The consequence was that, 
divided, they were too weak to carry the candidate 
agreeable to their policy, with the result that 
the weaker French party seized the favourable 
opportunity to elect their own candidate, although 
he had already been expressly vetoed by the 
Emperor, Charles V. This personage was no 
other than Giammaria Ciocchi del Monte, who 
ascended the Papal throne as Julius III. on 
February 8, 1550. 

Whether the ambitions of the young choir- 
master were aroused by this brilliant event in the 
history of the town, whether the late Bishop had 
divined his remarkable gifts and felt that he was 
worthy of great opportunities, for one or other 
of these reasons the unusual step was taken of 
annulling his life-appointment to the cathedral of 
S. Agapito, and in September, 1551, he received 
the office of Master of the Boys in the Julian 
Choir, St. Peter's. 


IF the preceding events be duly weighed it will 
be seen that it is not too much to presume 
an interest in the young Pierluigi on the 
part of Julius, especially if the Pope's personal 
idiosyncrasies be considered. Of simple, almost 
uncouth manners, most kindly disposition, his 
well-known love of music was only second to his 
passion for jurisprudence. Though we possess 
no information on the subject, it may be surmised 
that Pierluigi had given proof of capacity and 
zeal in teaching the choir of S. Agapito, while his 
personality and genius marked him out for higher 
opportunities still. He had been trained at one 
of the most important centres of church-music in 
Rome, and in all probability the Pope saw in him 
a fit instrument for work he had very much at 
heart. This was the reconstruction of the Julian 
Choir, a foundation created by his predecessor, 
Julius II., and intended to fulfil a certain purpose 
dear to the hearts of the Romans, no other than 
the attempt to remedy the state of things brought 
about by the infusion of foreigners into the 



Pontifical or Sixtine Choir in 1377, and who 
remained paramount there ever since. 

It is not difficult to understand that the 
preponderating number of Flemish, French, and 
Spanish musicians in the Pope's service hit the 
notoriously jealous Romans in a very tender 
place, namely, their vanity, and they made humble 
protests. Julius II. admitted their legitimate 
ground for discontent, and partly in order to 
remove it, partly to create a convenient training- 
school, founded the Julian Choir. This supplied 
the services of the Basilica, and, at the same time, 
trained boys in the traditions of the Pontifical 
Choir, which celebrated body did not necessarily 
sing in the offices of St. Peter, but was attached 
to the Papal Court for the immediate service of 
the Pontiff, being in attendance at all religious 
functions and ceremonies at which the Holy 
Father himself was present, and accompanying 
him on his State journeys through his dominions. 
It was, in short, as much an adjunct of the 
Pontifical pomp as the Papal Chamberlains, or 
the Gentlemen of the Guard. 

In the creation of the Julian Choir nothing 
drastic was undertaken. Its effect was intended 
to be entirely gradual. By 1526 there was a list 
of sixteen singers on its books, and its charter 
was consolidated by Paul III. ; in 1534 a gym- 
nasium or school was attached in accordance with 


the will of Julius II., who left funds for masters 
in musica et cantu et in grammatica. A year later, 
the proportion of native singers in the Pontifical 
Choir had risen to seven in twenty-two. Not 
before the close of the century, however, was 
its purpose fully effected, when no foreigners 
remained in the Pontifical Choir. 

It seems probable then that it was the 
Pope's personal wish that the choir-master of 
his former cathedral should be offered the post 
of magister in musica et cantu in an institution to 
which he attached so great an importance. The 
first notice to that effect in the archives of the 
Cappella Giulia is dated November, 1551, Pier- 
luigi is referred to as Magister Joannes, and three 
boys are assigned to his charge. 

The change from the little country-town to 
the capital of the world with its brilliant life of 
the late Renaissance was as twilight to sunlight. 
The lustre of the present period is too well 
known to need insistence here, but it may be 
recalled that the works of Raphael, Michelangelo, 
Cellini, with a host of lesser names, in all their 
fresh colours, marbles, and metals, adorned the 
churches and palaces ; that, everywhere, wonderful 
new buildings, in sharp contrast to the narrow 
filthy streets of mediaeval Rome ; such piles as 
the Farnese and Farnesina palaces ; the new wide 
access to the Capitoline Hill with its flanking 


palaces designed by Michelangelo; the Via Giulia, 
due to the wealth of the Florentine magnates; 
and most wonderful of all the great mass of 
new St. Peter's, rising foot by foot to the south 
and west of the old basilica ; all created an atmo- 
sphere of power, growth, and beauty that could 
not but quicken and mature Pierluigi's genius. 
Times were changed, indeed, from those in which 
the little Janetto trembled at the master's frown 
in the choir-school of S. Maria Maggiore ; when 
he, with others clustered round a great volume, 
must school his young shrill voice to the appointed 
entry in a difficult piece of counterpoint, or to the 
requisite length of a pause. Now he had become 
part and parcel of the great religious organization 
to which St. Peter's was head and front, must 
sign his goings and comings in its book, must 
take his share in responsibilities connected with 
its service. Anxiety, too, as well as pride, would 
be in his heart, for he must justify his appoint- 
ment before a hundred jealous observers, and 
hold his own in an artistic world governed by 
foreigners of the greatest reputation. 

In the eclectic group concentrated around the 
Papal throne all the elements existed helpful to 
the arts. Not, indeed, a Maecenas such as Leo X., 
Julius possessed a social habit of mind and ex- 
tended his patronage not only to music for eccle- 
siastical purposes, but to that intended for festive 


occasions from which he saw no reason to abstain. 
In the chronicle of his reign there is frequent 
reference to the Pope's presence at plays and 
banquets in which music is either mentioned or 
inferred, and it may very well be that the young 
magisters duties did not end with the church- 
functions or in the choir-school, and that his 
choristers' voices were occasionally employed in 
singing the famous madrigals of Arcadelt and 
Willaert before the Pope's guests. The merry 
or sentimental words would constitute no barrier 
to their performance before a Humanist Pope 
such as Julius III. was by education and inclina- 
tion, who perceived no incongruity in assisting at 
the representation of a play by Plautus, or in 
patronizing an Aretino. Such influences were 
certainly valuable in ripening and mellowing Pier- 
luigi's genius, trained, as it undoubtedly was, in 
all the erudition and crudities of the Netherlands 

But the sun was setting on Rome of the 
Renaissance, with its social and political life 
in contradiction with the ideals of a pure Church. 
A growing spirit of discontent had already found 
expression in the long fight over the recent 
Papal elections,* and in every branch of society 
these ideas were steadily gaining ground. The 

* It may be of interest to recall that the saintly Englishman, 
Cardinal Pole, was at one moment a prominent candidate for the 
Papacy because of his well-known and burning zeal for reform. 


discussions in the Council of Trent were the 
outward and visible signs of the doubt and dis- 
trust excited in men's minds by the prevailing 
laxity and irreligion. The need for reform 
was felt everywhere, even in music. The re- 
ligious spirit did not here find adequate expression, 
and the requirements of the ritual were too lightly 
considered. The first breath of the new spirit 
was already to be found in the compositions of 
Costanzo Festa, whose death is recorded in the 
archives of the Pontifical Choir on the date 
April 10, 1545. His work shows some percep- 
tion of the Josquinian theory that the sentiment 
was important and that a necessity existed of 
fitting the composition to the character of the 
words. Quite as remarkable was his recognition 
of the principle that the intelligibility of the 
words must not be lost in the weaving of the 
parts. It was a notable step in advance when 
music was seen to be far more than a mere 
embellishment to the ritual ; to be nothing less 
than a form, and a very beautiful one, of prayer 
if conceived in that high spirit a conception 
lost sight of when the ancient melodies gave place 
to the subtleties of a developing technique. 

But there was yet another element in Roman 
music at this period. In the Pontifical Choir 
were many Spaniards in whose compositions an 
austere, idealistic tendency was to be found. 


Morales, a contemporary of Festa's, was un- 
doubtedly the greatest of these. A sentence of 
this grave, ascetic musician curiously recalls the 
old pagan philosopher's definition.* " Music," 
Morales asserted, " should be to educate the 
soul in strength and nobility," and here is the 
measure of the man's art. 

Thus Pierluigi arrived in Rome at the psycho- 
logical moment. The old ideals were changing, 
and dexterity and scholarship had revealed them- 
selves as insufficient. But as yet there was no 
master-spirit to fuse the different elements into 
a perfect whole. Fresh to all these influences, 
Pierluigi showed later that he had been quick to 
grasp their significance. He was, of course, 
thoroughly acquainted with the two noble 
volumes of Morales's works, though the Spaniard 
had already quitted Rome before the younger 
master's arrival. 

For three years the records of Pierluigi's 
Roman life are silent. It was certainly fully 
occupied. On the list of the Julian Choir were 
now sixteen singers, and the training of such a 
choir was no sinecure, involving infinitely more 
labour than that required in teaching the modern 
chorister. It may interest those unacquainted 
with the technique of the ancient music to learn 
what some of these difficulties were. 

* See Introduction, p. xv. 


Contrapuntal music was essentially a structure 
made up of many melodies. One of these, termed 
the cantus frmus, or firm-song, was assigned 
the chief place, and formed the frame around 
which the others were adjusted. While obey- 
ing strict laws in relation to the cantus Jirmus, 
within the limit of those laws the accompanying 
melodies may be said to have enjoyed equality, 
no voice taking precedence, of another ; a funda- 
mental contrast to the modern harmonic system 
with its indispensable bass and treble. In illustra- 
tion of this point some directions given by 
Pierluigi, on presenting a copy of a mass to the 
choir of S. Maria Maggiore^ may be quoted here. 
He says that if it is not convenient to have the 
top-voice part sung this is of no consequence, the 
composition will still sound beautiful ! Thus, 
each singer had necessarily to be self-dependent 
as there was no leader who might be relied upon 
at the beginning and ending of a melody, nor did 
the duration coincide. This was not the worst 
of it. The time-system of the day was a very 
pit for the unwary. A device at the beginning 
served to indicate the value of the division of 
the longest note, but even so, this varied accord- 
ing to -position. As there were few bars, there 
were no strong and weak beats succeeding each 
other automatically at predetermined intervals, no 
definite pulsations according to a time-signature ; 


thus the singer must give close attention and 
possess an accurate knowledge of the elaborate 
system of time-values. The modern musician 
would regard the disadvantages of such a method 
as almost insuperable, but there were great com- 
pensations ; an exquisite quality of smoothness, 
freedom from a foregone conclusion, and sug- 
gestion of soaring infinity, the ear never becoming 
satiated. Other difficulties with which the un- 
happy singer must contend included the necessity 
of translating canon at sight (i.e. of repeating a 
melody at the fourth, fifth, octave, or whatever 
the interval selected) according to strict but un- 
written laws, being forced to fill up the part 
from his theoretical knowledge ; he must learn, 
also, the compound divisions of time-measure- 
ments, so complicated that the most learned 
professor to-day might well hesitate before such 
a task. All this required unremitting labour on 
the master's part and a corresponding expenditure 
of time, for without accuracy and certainty, no 
singer could hope to hold his own in the single- 
stave parts which were all he had to sing from. 
In spite, however, of the work implied in 
training his sixteen singers, Pierluigi must have 
been deeply engaged in composition, though in 
this connection nothing appears before 1554 when 
his madrigal, " Con doke altiero" was published 
by Gardano of Venice in a collection described 


on the title-page as // quarto libra de Madrigali a 
quattro voci a note blanche. There was nothing 
unusual in this, for church musicians had long 
ceased to regard secular music as derogatory, and 
Costanzo Festa, with Willaert, the celebrated 
choir-master of St. Mark's in Venice, were excuse 
enough were any needed. Times were to change 
again, later on, and Pierluigi would think it 
necessary to express regret for his madrigals as 
follies of youth, but while Julius III. was on the 
Papal throne, he was sure of encouragement and 
praise. Indeed, it may be conjectured that this 
first fruit of his prot6g6's pen did not escape 
being sung in the presence of the Pontiff. 

But, this same year, Pierluigi brought out a 
far more convincing proof of his quality, both as 
scholar and musician. This was the first book of 
masses, described by a modern historian as the most 
notable dedication which fell to the lot of Julius, 
for, as was only to be expected, Pierluigi inscribed 
them to his great patron.* 

On the first page appears : 

Joannis Pefri \Lotsij \Praenestini\in basilica\St. Petri 
de urbe capellae Magistri Missarum Liber Primus 

with the publishers' names : Valerio et Aloysio 
Dorico 1554. Four of the masses were for four 
voices, one for five. The dedication runs as 
follows : 

t Von Pastor, Getchichtf dtr Pdpste, 


Julio Tertio. Pont. Max. 

Jo. Petrus Loysius Praenestinus 

Christianas summi Dei laudes exquisitioribus 
rithmis cum cecinissem paucis ante diebus ; nulli magis 
quam tuo nomini eas dicare visum est ; non eo solum 
nomine quod tu unus in terris proxime ad Deum 
accedis ; sed quod natura ita Musicae faves ; ut 
sperare mihi posse videar, non ingratum futurum si 
tuae Sanctitatis dignas aelerno praeconio laudes post 
Deum cantare aggrediar ; quod mihi diu facers ut 
contingat, non minus peto quam op to. Vale. 

Which rendered freely into English is : 

"A few days ago, having set to music in a more 
exquisite manner these Christian praises to the 
most high God, no other name but yours seemed 
worthy of the dedication, not only because you 
alone are next to God on earth, but because you 
are so disposed by nature to encourage music, that 
I may hope that it will not be unacceptable to you 
if 1 sing your praise after that of God and that I 
may well be permitted this favour for a long time 
is both my wish and my prayer. Farewell." 

A quaint woodcut represents Pierluigi on his 
knees, offering a copy of his work to the Pontiff. 
Both the portraits are disappointing, for though it 
is well known that Julius' appearance was bluff 
and almost jovial, the features blunt and coarsely 
cut, these characteristics are here exaggerated and 
give no hint of the real culture behind. The 
musician's face is equally uncharacteristic ; it is 


indeed almost boorish, and without a trace of 
sensibility. But, if the portraits must be regarded 
as entirely inadequate, the dedication, at least, 
serves to give us a glimpse into Pierluigi's mind 
concerning his own work. "A more exquisite 
manner," he says, with pardonable pride. The 
technique is already there if the mastery which in 
a few years more would astonish the world is not 
yet full-blown. The tone* is striking if it be 
considered that the words are those of a young 
composer offering his first important work to the 
head of Christendom. It indicates the power and 
conviction of genius. 

If the adulatory tone of the dedication offends, 
it should be remembered that thus was the 
custom of the times, and that such phrases were 
as the Court-suit of a subject about to enter the 
presence of his Sovereign. 

Of Julius' reception of the momentous 
volume there is no record, but when we read that 
the striking of a fine medal in this reign was 
celebrated hilaritate publica with public joy it 
can hardly be doubted that Pierluigi's masses were 
duly feted. He was, moreover, soon to receive 
a signal proof of the Pope's favour ; but of that 

On opening the book the fact is at once patent 
that Pierluigi was steeped in the learning of the 
Netherlanders. The first mass, Ecce Sacerdos 


Magnus contains examples of Mode, Time, and 
Prolation (as the different divisions of note- 
values were termed) which the school of Josquin 
itself might have envied, as well as instances of 
augmentation, and combinations of duple and 
triple rhythms such as only a close student of 
these matters can hope to elucidate. But the 
most curious feature of the whole, one which is 
not to be recognized without a smile, is the 
delicate compliment implied, not only in the title 
of the mass, but in the treatment of the theme to 
which the words are fitted. Pierluigi has at one 
and the same time seized the opportunity of 
praising the Church and the Pope, his patron, in 
such a masterly compound of learning and 
diplomacy that one hardly knows which to admire 
most, the courtier or the scholar. Through every 
voice-part, throughout each division of the mass, 
stalking through Kyrie, Credo, and Sanctus, 
Ecce Sacerdos Magnus continues its uninterrupted 
progress to a melody which suggests nothing so 
much as a folksong rung out on a carillon against 
the delicate tracery of a Gothic spire in Flanders. 
Could some fifteenth-century Fleming be re- 
embodied, on hearing this, he would surely 
stretch his arms and roll out the words with zest. 
But not if he heard the melody wound in the fibre 
of the mass itself. It would be as easy to find 
the proverbial needle in the haystack. For it may 


be compared to the warp on which the web is 
woven. It was the warp, the cantm Jirmus the 
" firm song " on which the changing melodies 
broke and receded like the waves over a hidden 
rock on the shore. This curious custom of 
employing an obviously secular melody in a 
composition for church use will be referred to at 
greater length, but, for the present, we will pass 
on, merely pausing to give the fine old melody as 
it stands. 


It seems almost superfluous to point out that 
the homage before St. Peter's successor was a 
great deal more than an adroit flattery. There 
was inevitably a fastidious joy in the delicacy of 
the workmanship, in the envelope which con- 
tained the compliment. There is a suggestion 
here of the naive self-congratulation displayed by 
Pierluigi's great contemporary, Benvenuto Cellini, 
on the completion of some object of beauty, 
conceived by his genius. 

The other masses contained in this volume 
were Regem Cceli> Virtute Magna y Gabriel Arcan- 
gelus these for four voices and Ad Cosnam agni 
providi for five. In all of these Pierluigi employs 


the same learned style and complication of device, 
but in Vivtute Magna there are intricacies of 
complex proportion, i.e. subdivisions of time 
according to a duple and triple rhythm, which 
make it extremely probable that it would have 
remained sealed in recent times to all but the 
antiquary were it not for the elucidation given by 
the indefatigable editor, Dr. Haberl, of the collected 
edition of Pierluigi's works, who translated it into 
modern time-measurement. In spite, however, 
of the tremendous subtleties, there is a lightness 
of treatment, a freedom of melodic phrase such 
as no mere dry-as-dust pedant steeped in the 
accumulated learning of centuries would have 
achieved. If Pierluigi set himself the task of 
disarming criticism by a display of erudition 
calculated to dazzle his critics, he certainly suc- 
ceeded ; simultaneously gathering up his strength 
for a fresh advance. 

As far as is known, the Pontifical Choir, 
notoriously jealous of musicians outside its ranks, 
especially when of native origin, took no notice of 
these masses ; that they were performed by the 
Julian Choir was not only a foregone conclusion, 
but seems clear from an entry in its archives. 
There it is set forth that, in November, 1554, a 
payment was made to one Giovanni Belardino 
(sic) Pierluigi for the purchase of a first book of 
masses : this Giovanni Belardino was presumably 


Pierluigi's brother Bernardino who, in that case, 
must have followed his great brother to Rome.* 

One of the results involved in the publication 
of these masses was certainly the wider recognition 
of the young composer's genius. He was now a 
marked man in the world of artists and cognoscenti, 
yet he did not for that reason neglect the daily 
routine of his work in St. Peter's, to which what 
may be regarded as indirect allusion is made in the 
account given by a travelling German of his visit 
to the Eternal City about this time in Holy 
Week, when he speaks of the great beauty of the 
services both in St. Peter and St. John Lateran. 
If only he had been more precise in his com- 
mendations and had informed us what were the 
masses he heard ! 

* See page 39, footnote. 


IN January, 1555, Pierluigi became a member 
of the Pontifical Choir. The mandate was 
in the Pope's own handwriting. Thus, in 
the short space of four years, he reached a 
position coveted by the most renowned musicians 
of Europe. 

The entry in the Choir records, made by the 
Pun fa fore, or registrar, is as follows : 

"Dominica 13 Jan fuit ad missus (sic) in 
nobum (sic) cantorem Joannes de palestrina de 
mandatu (sic) S mi D. Julii absque ulo (sic) 
examine et secundum motum proprium quod 
habebamus et absque consensu cantorum in- 
gresus (stc) fuit." * 

That is to say, Pierluigi was admitted in 
accordance with the will of his all-powerful 
protector, without being subjected to an entrance 
examination ; moreover, the singers themselves 
had not voted in favour of his election. Though, 
on the face of it, it would seem that Pierluigi's 
claims were of the highest order, this autocratic 

* Haberl, Bausteine fur Musikgeschichte, Band III. 


act on the part of the Pope was against the usual 
custom and was sure, for that reason, to be 
secretly resented by the members of one of the 
most jealous and exclusive bodies in Europe. 
There were also actual disqualifications. Firstly, 
Pierluigi was a married man, although, according 
to the regulations, celibates only were eligible ; 
secondly, there are reasons for believing that he 
possessed but an indifferent singing-voice ; and 
lastly, it was usual for members of the Pontifical 
Choir to take ecclesiastical orders. 

As Julius himself revised the rules of 
admittance to the Choir, he must necessarily 
have known very well what he was doing, and, 
indeed, there was a saving clause in the regu- 
lations which permitted him to make exceptions 
at his good pleasure. Thus he was justified in 
using his prerogative. Probably for that reason 
the Pontifical Choir dared to make no protest at 
the time, and Pierluigi certainly thought himself 
perfectly safe as this was a life-appointment. But 
his enemies were soon to have him at their 
mercy, for the Pope's days were numbered. 

With shaken health, afflicted with gout, dis- 
heartened by a long series of untoward political 
circumstances which, being powerless to avert, he 
had even aggravated by a lack of statesmanship, 
of tact, and of self-command, Julius, for the last 
portion of his life, withdrew himself more and 


more from the cares of an office grown too heavy 
for him, and spent much of his time in directing 
the building operations of his new and exquisite 
villa outside the Porta del Popolo, hard by the 
Flaminian Way.* This was the so-called Villa 
di Papa Giulio, begun in 1551, and finished three 
years later. Designed by the famous Ticinese 
architect, Vignola, it was surrounded by gardens 
worthy of Eden.f Little wonder, then, that the 
Pope sought there a refuge from mental and 
physical ills. Who will doubt that he sent for 
his singers, or that many a lovely madrigal floated 
over the neighbouring heights of Monti Parioli 
in the cool of a summer evening ? 

But even these delights could not prolong the 
life of the Pope. A return of his old enemy, 
gout, for which an all too severe hunger-cure was 
prescribed, brought his life to an end on March 
23, 1555, after a short reign of five years. 

In the midst of the turmoil and confusion 
Pierluigi could have had but little time for 
gauging his personal loss. But scarcely was the 
Requiem Mass over with all its attendant cere- 
monies than his natural regret would be tempered 
with renewed expectation, the Conclave electing 
Cardinal Cervini as the succeeding Pontiff.J This 

* Von Pastor. Op. at. 

f The gardens were stocked with 38,000 fruit trees and adorned 
with a nymphaeum, exquisite statues, and fountains, 
t A?"' 9. '55$. 


personage had already attracted the attention and 
admiration of his contemporaries through the 
saintliness of his life, by his gifts and aspirations ; 
in particular, great hopes were placed on him by 
the party for reform. Without entering deeply 
into the political history of this time, it may be 
useful to recall that the recent loss of England 
to the Papacy was regarded by the devout as a 
punishment inflicted on the Church for its laxity 
and worldliness, and as a clear warning of what 
was in store if the handwriting on the wall were 
disregarded. Thus the election of Cardinal Cer- 
vini was significant of the impending change and, 
with the passing of Julius, the spirit of the 
Renaissance, the worship of art, beauty, and 
culture, definitely waned. 

To those so deeply concerned for the spiritual 
welfare of the Church, the election of Marcello 
Cervini doubtless seemed a direct answer to 
prayer. Endowed with great gifts, imbued with 
a passionate sense of the necessity for the purifi- 
cation of the Church, his succession to the Papacy 
was as if a purer air swept over Rome. An in- 
direct confirmation of this statement may be 
found in the diary of one who regarded the 
change from a worldly point of view, and in 
commenting on the reforming zeal of the new 
Pope, observes, "everything is sad, gloomy, 
and funereal." Though the need for a purer 


atmosphere may be conceded in theory, in practice 
it is often a painful process.* 

In the midst of the most weighty affairs 
connected with a world-jurisdiction difficult, to- 
day, to imagine, Marcellus yet found time for a 
matter very close to his heart. On Good Friday, 
on his return from that wonderful service in 
which the Reproaches create so poignant an 
effect, the Pope required that his choir should 
be summoned to his presence, and exhorted 
them to be careful, in future, that the music 
chosen was suitable for days of penitence and 
mourning ; also, that the words of the Mass were 
clearly distinguishable through the web of counter- 
point which embroidered the plainsong. Some- 
thing like this has been heard before, and will no 
doubt be heard again ; but, in one respect, there 
is a remarkable advance to be noted. This may be 
said to be the first official recognition of Josquin's 
dictum, half a century earlier, that music must 
not only sound well, but mean something. Even 
the great Fleming, however, confined his discovery 
to setting the verse of a psalm in a motet, continuing 
to treat the Mass from a ceremonial point of view 
which took little account of the difference in re- 
ligious emotion implied between a Kyrie eleison and 
a Gloria. The Pope, therefore, in making such a 
recommendation to his choir, was instituting a new 

* Quoted by Ranke. 


standard in ecclesiastical music, and in so doing 
revealed himself as a musician of singular insight, 
insomuch that he insisted on the suitability of the 
music chosen for Good Friday.* 

This was certainly no mere coincidence. A 
letter is in existence f which implfes the Pope's 
interest in the purity of the chant as far back as 
1546. A man of the widest cultivation, it may 
very well have struck him that music had not 
yet taken its rightful place in the service of the 
Sanctuary. Of all the Popes in whose reigns 
Pierluigi's life-course was destined to run, not 
one promised to work so beneficent an influence 
on music and musicians as this singularly attrac- 
tive personality Marcellus II. 

As a member of the Pontifical Choir Pier- 
luigi accompanied his colleagues into the Pope's 
presence. Though, unfortunately, only the bare 
mention of what took place has survived, it may 
be surmised that the audience created a great 
impression on at least one member of the Ponti- 
fical Choir, for the seed then sown was destined 
to bear a world-famous fruit, the Mass of Pope 
Marcellus, linking for ever the names of Pope 
and musician. 

But the Pope whose all-too-short reign 

* Massarelli Angelo, Diarium Septimum : translated by Merklc, 
Freiburg by Breslau, 1911. 

f A letter, discovered by M. Dejob, from Cardinal Sirleto to 
Cardinal Cervini. 


created so extraordinary a spirit of hope and 
energy, whose very life seemed indispensable to 
the well-being of the Church, was taken from his 
labours after three weeks, and Christendom was 
again without a head. In the midst of the 
ferment caused by this event the Sacred College 
once more met and just twenty-three days after 
the death of Marcellus a new Pontiff was elected, 
on May 23, 1555, a date Pierluigi was to have 
every reason for remembering. 

Cardinal Pietro CarafFa, who now assumed 
the tiara as Paul IV., while possessed of the 
same zeal for reform as his predecessor, con- 
ceived it from a different point of view. For 
instance, where it might be assumed that any 
peculiar or undeserved hardship created by his 
efforts in the sacred cause of reform would be 
mitigated by a man of such scrupulous and 
idealistic temperament as the highly cultivated 
Marcellus II., Paul, whose association with the 
dreaded Office of the Inquisition was little likely 
to temper with benevolence the natural severity 
of an unbending character, looked neither to 
right nor left but abode by the strict letter of the 
law, no matter what unmerited punishment might 
fall upon his victim. His incessant cry was 
" Reform, reform," with which, moreover, the 
Church had every reason to occupy herself, and 
one of his first activities was connected with the 


revision of the various offices in the Vatican ; 
thus setting his own house in order. 

It may be that the Pope did not arrive with- 
out assistance at the discovery that all was not as 
it should be in the Pontifical Choir. The Punta- 
tore's absque consensu cantorum ingressus (sic) fuit 
was possibly not alone inscribed in the records 
but graven on the hearts of the members of the 
Choir, and jealousy like wine improves with 
age. Besides, Pierluigi, a Roman, bade fair to 
outshine them all in reputation ; therefore the 
Pope's passion for reform might here be turned 
to advantage. Whether this be so or no and 
there is yet another theory that Pierluigi's 
madrigals had offended the rigid temper of the 
Pope his attention was called to the undeniable 
fact that the official number of the Choir had 
been exceeded, that three of its members were 
married men, and that one of them had been 
enrolled in defiance of the statute that a strict 
examination of the candidate should be conducted 
by the members of the Choir. The fiat went 
forth on July 30, 1555 ; Giovanni Pierluigi da 
Palestrina, and with him Leonardo Barre and 
Domenico Ferrabosco,* was to be dismissed 
from the Choir forthwith. 

Against the injustice of this high-handed 

* A member of that family bidden to the English Court, who 
there made muic for a generation or two. 


proceeding there was no redress. Ferrabosco's 
case was particularly hard, as he had relinquished 
a fine appointment in S. Petronio, the great 
Bolognese cathedral, to enter the Pontifical Choir. 
As we have seen, Pierluigi was there in accord- 
ance with the Pope's motfi proprio, by the will of 
Julius III. himself, who framed the regulation he 
chose to disregard. The only sign of considera- 
tion for these hard cases shown by Paul was the 
intimation that a pension of six scudi would be 
paid monthly to the banished members, or a sum 
equal to two-thirds of their stipends. 

The theory that madrigal-writing may have 
influenced the Pope's decision with regard to 
Pierluigi receives some support from the circum- 
stance that both Ferrabosco and Barri were 
prolific writers of these things. Pierluigi, also, 
in this very year, published a collection of his 
own, though not a single copy of that edition has 
survived. There can be no doubt that to 
Paul IV. any connection between members of his 
own choir and compositions which set to music 
verse dealing with love and the beauty of women 
would appear to be little short of sacrilege, and 
some words which Pierluigi employs, later on, 
in a dedicatory address to Gregory XIII., lends 
colour to this view of the case. Be this as it 
may, Giovanni Animuccia, the Florentine whose 
history touches Pierluigi's at so many points, 


was installed in his place as member of the 
Pontifical Choir. 

Pierluigi's situation was grave enough. He 
who had climbed the ladder of fame so rapidly 
now found himself again at the bottom. Without 
wishing to exaggerate the result of his dismissal 
it would surely be interpreted to his dis- 
advantage. That Pierluigi himself so estimated 
his present circumstances seems evident, for the 
choir-attendance book of the Sixtine chapel 
records Palestrina infirmus from July 18 to July 
30, on which date he was dismissed. Nor was 
he present at the official reading of the motu 
proprio at the meeting of the Chapter. At the 
same time, serious as the position was to a young 
man with wife and family, he must have re- 
membered that he was already famous, and that 
to such as he a good appointment would not long 
be lacking. Nor was he without resources. It 
is probable he returned to Palestrina, " the place 
of cool breezes," until summer was over, there 
to recover his health and consider new plans. 
But nothing definite is known of him until his 
appointment as choirmaster to St. John Lateran, 
dated October I, 1555. Baini says he hesitated 
to accept the new post until he was sure he would 
not lose his pension from the Pope. 

According to the most recent researches, it 
does not appear that Pierluigi was invited to 


become choirmaster of St. John Lateran by the 
Canons, as Baini says, but by the Archpriest, 
Cardinal Ranuccio Farnese. There had been 
some irregularities in connection with the choir, 
and the Chapter placed the whole matter in the 
hands of Cardinal Farnese to deal with as he 
thought best. Possibly for that reason, not a 
single entry referring to Palestrina's nomination 
has been found, although in the book of accounts 
for 1555 occurs the following : "To Ms. Joannes, 
master of the choir, for his salary in the present 
month of October, scudi 6." * Further con- 
firmation of the new appointment is to be found 
in the quaint memorandum : " for making the 
cotta of ms. Jo : master of the choir, of the 
aforesaid cortinella (stuff) b. 80." f 

The present building of St. John Lateran 
hardly represents the church with which Pierluigi 
was familiar. Sharing with St. Peter's the proud 
distinction of dating its foundation from Con- 
stantine, it was at this moment in the state in 
which it was left by the restorations carried out 
by Popes Martin V. and Eugenius IV., so that 
neither the principal facade nor the entrance to 
the north transept were in existence. The 
pillars, too, of the interior were differently 

* A Ms. Joanni maestro di cappella per il suo salario del presente 
e d'ottobre scudi 6. Casimiri. G. P. da Palestrina. 
} 80 bajocchi. 


ordered, and the walls adorned with frescoes by 
Gentile da Fabriano. There are two sketches 
by Martin van Heemskerck, a pupil of Jan van 
Scorel, who was in Rome from 1532 to 1535, 
which represent the church as Pierluigi knew 
it,* showing also the highly interesting remains 
of the old palace of the Laterani on the east side 
of the Basilica, once the residence of Constantine's 
wife, Fausta, and given by him to the Popes, 
who lived there until they migrated to Avignon. 
There was the Sancta Sane forum, the small Italo- 
Gothic chapel of S. Lorenzo in Palatio t so-called 
on account ot its most venerated relics which 
gave the entire precincts the sacro-sanct character 
expressed in the inscription over the door : Caput 
Urbis Orbis Mundi Patriarchate et Imperiale. 

The choir of St. John Lateran had been 
recently enlarged by Paul III., and endowed 
by Cardinal de Cupis and was hardly of less 
reputation than that of St. Peter's. In spite 
of the temporary difficulties alluded to above, 
it seems to have been the custom there to bestow 
large gifts in money on the choirmaster and the 
choristers, an agreeable proceeding the Chapter 
wished, later on, to put a stop to. Pierluigi does 
not appear to have taught the boys, which gives 
rise to the supposition that he lived outside the 

* Reproduced in Die Siadt Rom zu Ernie der Renaissance. 
L. v. Pastor. 



precincts. The warrant for this point of view 
lies in the Chapter-accounts from October, 155$, 
until the end of December (after which date the 
books are lost), which give the information that 
not Pierluigi but a certain Bernardino, tenor,* 
governed and instructed the boys. 

The strong inclination of the new Pope 
towards austerity and discipline soon affected 
the moral atmosphere of Rome. As a famous 
historian puts it : f " Now they began once more 
to intone their Confiteor and Credo" inevitably 
turning Pierluigi's thoughts more persistently 
in the direction of Church music. 

These years in St. John Lateran yielded two 
compositions which secured his reputation. These 
are the Improperia or Reproaches of our Lord, 
and a set of Lamentations taken from the Book 
of Lamentations. 

It is certainly a matter for regret that Pope 
Marcellus did not live to hear the most poignant 
Good Friday music ever written. Previously, 
both the Improperia and the Lamentations were 
chanted to a plain-song melody. Pierluigi, with 

* It has been suggested that this Bernardino was Pierluigi's 
brother. Until the present there is no proof. Monsignore Casimiri 
thinks it may have been a certain Bernardino, fellow chorister with 
Pierluigi in S. Maria Maggiore in 1537. G. P. da P., Nuovi 

f Ambros, Geschlchte der Musik. 

j His setting of the Latin hymn Crux Fidelis and some 
Magnificats also belong to this period. 


his unerring instinct for apparent simplicity, the 
result of flawless technique, set them to a 
faux-bourdon or plain harmonization, of which the 
effect is unspeakably grand. Chanted during the 
ceremony of the Adoration of the Cross, it is 
difficult to suppose that these Reproaches could 
leave any hearer unmoved. Popule meus, quid 
fed tibi f aut in quo contristavi te f responde mihi. 

The story runs that when the fame of this 
beautiful work reached him, the Pope desired 
to hear it sung. One cannot doubt there was 
here some small degree of compensation for the 
humiliation of being dismissed from the Pontifical 


THE chief Roman event of the year 1559 
was the passing of Paul IV. (August 13). 
The Pope, whose hasty unbending cha- 
racter brought about some of the gravest crises 
the Church had yet encountered, was no more, 
the penitential season with its cleansing fires was 
to give place to a less exacting r&gime. Along 
with the rest of the Roman world, Pierluigi was 
probably braced and chastened by the rigours of 
a government which had nothing of the soft, 
luxurious Renaissance character. But the com- 
positions belonging to this reign show in what 
spirit he had borne his disappointments and with 
what strength of character he set himself to repair 
his misfortunes. He had his personal reasons 
for regarding with anxiety any change in the 
Papacy ; indeed, it is already obvious how much 
he had to gain or lose by the good disposition 
of the reigning Pontiff towards music and 
musicians, so it must not have been without a 
sense of satisfaction that he received the news of 
Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Medici's elevation to 



the chair of St. Peter as Pius IV., whose artistic 
tastes were well known and who was a warm 
patron of music, taking especial interest in the 
art of composition.* 

To Pierluigi the practical and material side of 
his profession was of the utmost importance. It 
need hardly be said that the conditions of life in 
a small town like Palestrina and in the great city 
were absolutely different. In the Sabine Hills, 
a small settled income, vines, and olives, probably 
provided as many amenities as the circumstances 
required, but now the exigencies of an official 
position and a growing family pressed more 
heavily upon the composer. It has been made 
a subject of implied reproach that he was never 
indifferent to the financial aspect of a question, 
nor ever neglected an opportunity of attaching 
himself to a wealthy patron ; but he should rather 
be praised for precisely those qualities which 
prove him to have been a good husband, careful 
father, and prudent man, qualities all of them 
by no means inseparable from genius. Moreover, 
it is fairly obvious that he could never have 
enriched the world with the extraordinarily large 
number of his compositions had he not possessed 
in a high degree the capacity for managing his 
affairs, and thereby securing the necessary environ- 
ment of calm and comparative ease for intellectual 

* See Ambros, vol. iv. p. 1 8. 


labours. The honied phrases of his dedications 
were the usual custom,* and even in our own 
day not entirely unknown, and it has been wittily 
said that a powerful patron might be considered 
in the light of a policeman, by means of whom it 
was possible to redress one's private wrongs, and 
make headway against one's enemies. Possibly 
he was not altogether satisfied with the financial 
conditions of his new post, in spite of the four 
barrels of wine which, according to the accounts, 
he sold to the authorities of St. John Lateran in 
July, 1559, for eight golden scudi ! f At all events, 
whatever the reason, after five years of office he 
left St. John Lateran so hurriedly that the secre- 
tary to the Chapter thinks it right to emphasise 
the speed of his departure.J This curiously 
worded document, so recently discovered, runs 
as follows : 

Cum Domini Canonici alias ad res cappellae 
cantorum administrandas deputati retulerint, 
et D. lo : Petrum Loysium magistrum dictae 
cappellae una cum filio pen& improuiso 
abscessisse, et per ipsos Canonicos 
id illi facile licuisse, eoquod noluerit 
decreto proximi superioris Capituli stare, 
Ne quid scilicet ei pro uictu cuiuslibet ex 
pueris, ultra Julios 25 quolibet mense daretur, 

* See the Preface to the Bible of James I. for a notable example. 
Casimiri, Nuovi document! biografici, 1918. 
Idem. Idem. 


Omnes id una uoce ratum habuerunt, candemquc 
Canonicorum deputationem confirmarunt 
qui alium in ipsius d. Jo : locum perquirant 
et inuentum admittant. 

The date of this is August 3, 1560, and it 
is preceded by two others, dated respectively 
July 20 and 27, which may, or may not, throw 
some light on Pierluigi's hasty departure, for 
they refer to economies in the management of 
the choir. The great musician shows here some 
evidence of an embittered and irritable state of 
mind. Even if not prepared to accept the new 
financial conditions, it hardly seems in keeping 
with his customary prudence to throw up such 
a position with no other in prospect, and it is 
possible that there was some other motive behind. 
Still neither the Chapter nor Pierluigi appear to 
have nourished a permanent grievance in the 
matter, as will be seen later. 

The intervening six months before Pierluigi 
returned to the church in which he had been a 
chorister twenty-four years earlier, are in our 
present state of knowledge a blank. It can only be 
guessed that much of the time was given to certain 
glorious compositions which were shortly to make 
their appearance. The Chapter decree above 
refers to Pierluigi's son,* already a chorister, and 
about ten years old at this time. Later evidence 

* Ridolfo. 


will show that he with his brothers was carefully 
trained in counterpoint and the playing of various 
instruments, and Pierluigi may have devoted this 
interregnum to his family. 

In the At A Capitotari of S. Maria Maggiore 
against the date March i, 1561, is to be read the 
ratification of Pierluigi's appointment to the Basilica 
Liberiana (S. Maria Maggiore").* His connection 
with it as choirmaster was destined to coincide 
with a very brilliant period of his life. The 
pleasant fancy may perhaps be permitted that his 
genius was spurred to fresh exertions by the classic 
beauty of his environment. One of the oldest in 
that city of old churches, S. Maria Maggiore took 
high rank as one of the four patriarchal churches, 
the other three being St. Peter's, St. John Lateran, 
and St. Paul Outside the Walls, all of them 
churches within whose parochial boundaries the 
whole of the human race is included. In other 
words, their parishioners consisted of the faithful 
irrespective of nationality. The miraculous story 
of its foundation (under Pope Liberius) fixes the 
date of the earliest building little later than the 
reign of Constantine. It was re-erected in the fifth 
century by Sixtus III., to which remote time the 
magnificent nave adorned with mosaics is assigned. 
In Pierluigi's time neither the splendid Sixtine 
nor Borghese Chapels were erected, otherwise the 

* Casimiri, of. oV. 


general aspect of the church can have changed 

As far as is known Pierluigi had the choristers 
under his charge in his new post. That is to say, 
his stipend depended on 'their number. As a 
great deal of discussion has been aroused by a 
sentence in his dedicatory address to a later Pope, 
it may be well to make some inquiry at this point 
into the amount of his present income. 

His monthly salary in S. Maria Maggiore 
amounted at first to thirteen, later, sixteen scudi 
on the addition of another chorister to the three 
already in his charge, in all about one hundred 
and ninety-two scudi.* For this sum Pierluigi 
was expected to feed the boys and give them 
musical instruction. That is to say, he received 
six scudi as salary, and two scudi and a half per 
head for each chorister. As quarters in the 
precincts were always assigned to the members of 
the choir, there would be no expenditure necessary 
for housing. Presents were customary after the 
great festivals of the Church. As we have already 
seen, these became so costly that the Chapter of 
St. John Lateran desired to check the practice. 
To these sources of income must be added 
Pierluigi's pension as ex-member of the Pontifical 
choir, amounting to a yearly sum of approximately 
fifty-eight pounds. Then comes an uncertain sum 

* At present-day value, about ,156 per annum. 


for dedications to rich patrons habitual at the 
time and the organization of music for occasions 
festive or mournful. The present was an epoch 
in which men of wealth and position desired to 
pose as excellent musicians, so that there were 
always compositions to be corrected and put into 
shape, or lessons to give. Of professional pupils 
an account will be given later. According to the 
custom of the times these lived in the master's 
house and became part of his family. As has 
already been seen, Pierluigi had property and 
turned it to practical account. A year or two 
later this was to be added to by the death of his 
father, and until the close of his own life, 
documentary evidences of the acquisition of small 
pieces of property show that this tended to 
increase. Presumably these facts were unknown 
to the Abbe" Baini when he deplores so bitterly 
the poverty of the great musician. He was 
certainly not rich, but, all things considered, his 
income compares not unfavourably with many a 
Church musician of high repute to-day. It will 
be necessary to return to this subject later. 

In this period the Abb Baini places the 
romantic story that in many of the older bio- 
graphies would seem to form Pierluigi's chief 
claim to the veneration of posterity. Increased 
knowledge has, however, thrown a new light on 
his place in musical history, one certainly not less 


great but more logical. One of the recurring 
quarrels referred to in the introductory chapter 
between musicians and clergy led to the intervention 
of Pope Pius IV., who finally decided to place the 
matter before the Council of Trent along with 
many others affecting Church discipline. Accord- 
ing to Baini's version, the dispute was so sharp 
that the Churchmen proposed to exclude music 
altogether from the Office of the Mass ; where- 
upon Pierluigi stepped in and effected the rescue 
of Church music by the composition of three 
masses so blameless, so transcendently beautiful, 
that the Pope compared them to the music of the 
heavenly spheres. That Pierluigi was capable of 
the feat no one would wish to deny, but the story 
as it stands cannot be substantiated in its details. 

There is not a shadow of doubt, however, that 
the clergy did complain and with reason. One 
such remonstrance has survived. It is from the 
Bishop of Ruremonde, who states that after giving 
the closest attention he had been unable to 
distinguish one word sung by the choir.* Nor 
was this the only cause of complaint. The use of 
secular melodies by the titles of which the masses 
themselves were not infrequently referred to, as 
well as the interpolation of non-canonical text,f 
were entirely justifiable grievances. Members of 

* Ambros, Geschichte der Mutik. 
f Or tropes. 


the extreme party may have been of opinion that 
the only remedy was to do away with music in the 
service of the Church, or at all events to confine 
it within the limits of the ancient plain-song ; 
one of the difficulties being that what was done 
and done well in the chief churches was marred by 
miserable execution of other choirs working under 
less favourable circumstances. As conformity was 
sought after as a matter of principle, it seemed 
safer to return to the ancient simplicity rather 
than to endeavour to bring the bad up to the level 
of the good. But it is certain that the friends of 
music would have intervened to protect it from 
such a drastic course. 

The affair aroused the deepest interest. Many 
of the delegates to the Council applied previously 
to their over-lords for advice. The Legate to 
the Emperor Ferdinand I. followed this course 
and received a reply which shows a very pretty 
sense of discrimination on the Emperor's part. 
If the Church excluded sentimental music (mollior 
harmonia) let her retain figured music which so 
often awakens the spirit of piety. The significa- 
tion of mollior harmonia is taken as a reference to 
the practice, just then coming into vogue, of 
modernizing the ancient modes or scales by the 
employment of accidentals (known as musica ficta) 
in order to soften the asperities of awkward 
intervals. The figured music referred to was 



obviously the highly organized counterpoint of 
the great masters of the time. The Council's 
verdict at the historic twenty-second sitting does 
not support Baini's account : ab ecclesiis musicas 
eas, ubi sive organo, sive cantu, lascivum aut 
impurum aliquid miscetur arceant, item s^eculares 
omnes actiones vana atque adeo profana colloquia y 
ut Domus Dei vere domus orationis esse videatur ac 
did possit: thus, instead of debating the banish- 
ment of music they declare it must be purified 
from the secular spirit, from anything profane ; 
and in the twenty-fourth sitting the subject 
comes up again, when the prohibition of mollior 
harmonia is recommended. This mild ruling was 
in the best interests of musicians and clergy, for 
the new and dangerous secular spirit was gaining 
ground rapidly in Venice and Florence. At the 
same time, the Council were not reactionary. 
Figured music, which, as the Emperor Ferdinand 
pertinently remarked, so often awakened the spirit 
of piety, was not to be interfered with. Curiously 
enough, there is a strong likeness between this 
ruling and the words used by Pope John XXII. 
in a thirteenth-century dispute between clergy and 
musicians. Then, as now, it was suggested by the 
clergy that the best way to overcome the difficulty 
was a return to the ancient melodies, and the Pope 
interposed to save the rude harmonies then in use 
because in his opinion they assisted devotion. 


Shortly afterwards Pius IV. appointed a com- 
mittee to see that the general reforms enjoined by 
the Council of Trent were carried into effect. 
This was composed of eight Cardinals, of whom 
two were deputed to attend to the resolutions 
affecting music. Pope Pius, " the friend of 
music," showed his sympathy with its cause by 
appointing his nephew, Cardinal Carlo Borromeo, 
in whose judgment he notoriously placed great 
reliance, and Cardinal Vitellozzi Vitelli, both 
young men of great energy of character and 
passionate lovers of music. These entered on 
their task in a tactful and sensible manner. 
Instead of peremptory injunctions as to what 
should or should not be done, they called 
together eight Papal singers to consider the 
question, showing that they realized reform must 
be undertaken with the co-operation of the 
musicians themselves and not as punitive measures 
against them. At the first meeting a decision 
was easily reached that masses with secular 
themes should be banned, as, also, the inter- 
polation of unauthorized text (tropes). But 
when Borromeo insisted that the words sung 
in the office of the Mass should be intelli- 
gible, the singers declared that this was impos- 
sible ; whereupon the Cardinal pointed out 
this was not so, for Pierluigi's Impropena and 
Costanzo Festa's Te Deum were instances to the 


contrary.* It is probable that Cardinal Borromeo 
had also in mind Pierluigi's Hexachord Mass, the 
theme of which was constructed on the first six 
notes of the scale. This was dedicated to the Pope 
in the preceding year (so what becomes of Baini's 
romance ?) and through its admirable balance of 
sound forms an excellent illustration of the 
argument. It may indeed be assumed that 
Pierluigi's advice had already been sought as to 
the best means of carrying out the Council of 
Trent's recommendations, as it must have been 
long before seen that the future of Church music 
was in his hands. At that moment he was in the 
full tide of inspiration, and besides the Hexachord 
Mass an example of the desired limpidity and 
containing a glorious Pleni for two sopranos and 
altos there is some ground for believing one of 
the most famous of his works was already in 
existence in manuscript form, the celebrated Mass 
of Pope Marcellus. Moreover, a book of motets 
had already appeared, so what becomes of Baini's 
so-called Rescue of Church music ? f 

* The choir attendance-book notes, against April 28, 1565, that 
the Pontifical singers met together in the house of Cardinal Vitelli 
to sing certain masses before him so that he might hear if the text 
was distinct. (Geschichte der Papste, Bd. vii.) The Jesuit de 
Cressolles relates he heard from a third person that Pierluigi himself 
said Pius IV. had withdrawn his opposition to church music on 
account of his (P.'e) masses. 

f This was the first book of motets, dedicated to Cardinal 
Ridolfo Pio, and published in 1563, though not a single copy of 
this early edition has been found. 


A pause may here conveniently be made to 
consider the above-mentioned motets, which 
mark an interesting phase in Pierluigi's develop- 

Custom permitted a greater freedom in the 
composition of the motet than in the mass, and 
modern influences were not so rigorously excluded. 
As the text was taken from the Bible or the 
Breviary the words of the mass were not in 
question, and the Church therefore saw no reason 
to interfere. The rise of the motet coincides with 
the dawn of the Netherlands School and already, 
at Josquin's hands, it received its final shape, the 
essential details changing little hereafter. But 
though the form, that of a cantus firmus accom- 
panied by other voices in graceful florid counter- 
point, changed little, it grew gradually to resemble 
the madrigal in inspiration, as one sister in the 
cloister may resemble another in the world. 
There was no attempt made at dramatic illustra- 
tion of the text, but the music annotated the 
words, often to the extent of an attractive 
ingenuousness. The closeness of the weaving 
gets richer as Pierluigi advances in life, and the 
quality becomes more ecstatic, more fervent.* 
For example, there is a passage in O admirabile 

* Generalization is difficult if it be borne in mind that the 
variety was practically inexhaustible, the text being drawn from so 
many sources. 


commercium where the voices poise on the exclama- 
tion, as if unable from sheer wonder and awe to 
proceed, as if transfixed before a beatific vision ; 
and in the subsequent alleluja there is such a 
jubilation as though the joy. were too great for 
articulation and the air became filled with short 
emotional ejaculations. Not infrequently the 
association of words and music was obtained 
through the selection of a theme from the plain- 
song melody for the day on which that portion 
of Scripture was read. Or one word, such as 
" holiness " or " praise " received a particular 
tone-colouring, or quality of sound, each time it 
recurred, thus impressing it on the mind of the 
listener and giving it significance. Like all the 
really great masters, Pierluigi concealed the art 
of his methods by employing an apparent 
simplicity, in other words, the art of concealing 
art. It is possible that he did, as Baini suggests, 
owe something to Costanzo Festa, who combined 
clearness of structure and expressiveness with the 
most learned contrapuntal dexterity and device, 
Dr. Burney quotes his motet Quam pulchra es, 
anima mea as a model of its kind, but the fact 
will always remain that what Pierluigi learnt at 
the hands of his predecessors and contemporaries 
he transmuted to a more precious metal. 

It is pleasant to think, whether justifiably or 
not, that Pope Marcellus on the historic Good 


Friday of his short reign turned Pierluigi's attention 
to the sincerity and homogeneity of words with 
music which marks that composer's masterpieces. 
In that case, and the supposition is by no means 
far-fetched, the great Mass of Pope Marcellus was 
a recognition and a homage. Not only the general 
consensus of opinion but also the composer's own 
conviction agree that he reached in this work a 
more absolute expression of the ideal than any of 
his predecessors or contemporaries, and, in the 
dedication, his phrase novo modorum genere (of a 
new species of melodies) might be interpreted as 
showing him aware of the fact. It was only 
published in the second volume of the masses, 
Liber Secundus, in the year 1567 but certainly 
existed in manuscript as early as 1564, to which 
year experts assign the oldest existing copy, that 
belonging to the library of S. Maria Maggiore. 
As an example of the unassuming manner in 
which this masterpiece stole upon the world, it 
may be mentioned that copy bears no title 
whatever, and it is therefore impossible to decide 
whether this was accidentally omitted or whether 
it was added as an afterthought. Before stopping 
to consider this beautiful work in greater detail, 
it will be well to mention the rest of the masses 
contained in Liber Secundus. These were five in 
number : De Beata Virgine ; Aspice Domine ; 
Salvum me fac ; Inviolata ; and Ad fugam. As 


is pointed out by Ambros, the last-named is 
not fugal in character but the voices sing in 
perpetual canon. Its inclusion in the second 
book of masses was as if Pierluigi wished to 
heighten the contrast between old and new 
methods and to show in what direction music 

The introductory portion of the Missa Papae 
Marcelli is written in the hypolydian mode with 
occasional incursion to the mixolydian. Begin- 
ning on the fifth it rises to the highest note of 
the mode, sweeping down to its final (C) and 
beyond. But nothing in this fragment of analysis 
could possibly convey to the reader the exquisite 
balance and repose of the opening phrase. It is 
like a benediction, quietening the spirit with a 
heavenly sense of peace ; or it suggests a vision 
of the white wings of a dove folding as they come 
to earth. The short phrases forming the points 
of imitation seem not so much contrapuntal 
devices as passages of sheer inevitability. There 
is no sense of effort ; the melodies shift and 
intermingle as if without design, but always 
forming harmonies which satisfy the mind beyond 
all telling. Perhaps the most striking feature is 
simplicity. In the score the erudition must 
astonish, but in performance the voices blend so 
naturally they impress the hearer with a sense of 
fortuitous confluence. The entire mass is written 


within the compass of two octaves and a fifth, but 
never for a moment is the ear wearied by so small 
a range. The absence of mechanical rhythm, or 
a strong or weak beat arbitrarily applied, permits a 
pure unbroken flow of sound and the sense of a 
calm, sweet, ordered progress, only interrupted as 
the voices rest on their allotted points of repose. 
In the Credo the choice of phrase is extraordinarily 
expressive, but it is in the Sanctus that Pierluigi 
reaches that fullness of sound, that suave harmony 
transfiguring the words as a nimbus adorns the 
pure, pale face of a saint. Extremely simple in 
design, it is full of little scale- passages, joyous 
flights of melodies suggesting the angels in a Fra 
Angelico fresco. This multiplication of similes 
may at least serve to show the imagination and 
idealism the master here displays. Such an 
experience tranquillizes and relieves the spirit, 
and the four-part Benedictus suggests the sending 
of an earthly embassy on high with a message 
of thankfulness and praise. Once again, it must 
be insisted that the apparent simplicity marks 
the perfection of the achievement, the plasticity 
of the material won after endless toil. Considered 
from this point of view, the old Netherlanders 
with their compound time-measurements, their 
canons and all the rest of their diabolical in- 
genuities, all had a hand in the Missa Papae 
Marcelli though the master-mind was necessary 


to divine the ultimate end. If to-day this mass 
can still work its wondrous spell on the jaded 
senses of the modern musician, what must have 
been its effect in the sixteenth century, in all 
the freshness of its revelation ? Those heavenly 
harmonies surely seemed little short of miraculous 
as they echoed through that marvellous nave in 
S. Maria Maggiore^ or down the five aisles of old 
St. Peter's.* 


* The transverse wall already divided the old building into two. 
See pages 160-161. 


THE death of Pius IV. occurred in 1565, 
the year in which he appointed Cardinal 
Carlo Borromeo, his nephew, with 
Cardinal Vitellozzi Vitelli supervisors of the 
reforms enjoined by the Council of Trent. 

Pierluigi thus lost a generous perceptive patron 
who had raised his pension * as ex-member of 
the Pontifical Choir by thirty-six scudi annually. 
He was certainly not alone in regretting the 
late Pope, for in his successor Rome was to 
possess a Pontiff whose remarkable ascetism, as 
well as passionate devotion to the spiritual welfare 
of the Church allowed no time for, or interest in, 
matters of less gravity. It was obviously an 
affair of deep importance to musicians whether, 
or no, the Head of Christendom deigned to 
take an interest in Church music. Even if only 
within the limits of Rome itself (and it is clear 
that the field would be as wide as the domain of 
the Church) the tastes of a music-loving Pope 

* In consideration of past or future compositions for the use 
of the Pontifical Choir. 



must be respected, and he must be received 
on his periodical visitations to the individual 
churches with the choicest music the circum- 
stances afforded. Probably there was consider- 
able rivalry in this respect,- to the great benefit of 
the musicians. It is a phenomenon not confined 
to any particular age or place, and no art is more 
dependent on its environment. 

Like Julius III., delighting in splendid enter- 
tainments, Pius IV. was the last of the Popes to 
exhibit that love of art which characterized the 
periods of the Renaissance. This is abundantly 
apparent in Rome, for he takes high rank amongst 
the building pontiffs of the sixteenth century. 
But it was becoming increasingly evident that the 
great days of architecture were over, that a change 
n artistic formulas was at hand, classical yielding 
to baroque, with a craving for dramatic expression 
which ignored the inherent limitations of the 
material employed. The spirit of music was not 
destined to escape the influence, though the effects 
only made themselves apparent later. This was 
a foregone conclusion, for it follows that when a 
point of perfection has been reached in a certain 
direction, no further progress along the same lines 
is possible, and " old lamps " must be " exchanged 
for new." The result in this instance was the 
creation of opera, a logical development of the 
growth of personality. The first step in this 


direction was the expansion of orchestral accom- 
paniment, though at present this was a purely 
secular development and did not invade the pre- 
cincts of the Church to any extent before the 
end of the century. Thus Pierluigi was more 
fortunate than his great contemporary, Michel- 
angelo, who, denied the happiness of completing 
the new church to San Pietro, felt his long life 
all too short. The musician put the finishing 
touches to his structure and died before the 
sweeping changes brought about by time. There 
is, by the way, no record that these two men were 
acquainted, but they can scarcely have escaped 
meeting on the common ground of their activities, 
and no more fruitful study for a picture of 
Pierluigi's environment can be made than that of 
the literature built round the tall saturnine figure 
in black satin doublet which, about this time, for 
ever disappeared from the streets of Rome.* 

Still, nothing affected the speed of Pierluigi's 
pen. In 1570 Liber Tertius came from the press. 
The titles of the eight masses it contained are : 
Spe m in ahum ; Primi torn ; Missa brevii ; De Feria 
these for four voices ; Lthomme armt ; and 
Repleatur os meum, for five. The two remaining 

* It may perhaps here be recalled that Pierluigi set to music 
words by Michelangelo's friend, the exquisite lady, Vittoria Colonna, 
a slight thread of connection between the three personages consist- 
ing in the fact that Pierluigi was vassal of the Colonna family, who 
were probably not unaware of his remarkable genius. 


masses are for six voices : De beata Virgine? and 
the famous Hexachord Mass inscribed to Pius IV. 
in 1562, the Crucifixus and Pleni of which are 
acknowledged examples of Pierluigi's most angelic 
style. Without stopping to analyse it the student's 
attention may be drawn to the interesting employ- 
ment of the sixth (hexachord) continually pro- 
gressing up and down, a mechanical device which 
in no way hinders the flow or the unusual 
simplicity of effect. By the grouping of the voices 
Pierluigi produces the illusion of antiphonal 

Perhaps it has already been observed that the 
third volume contains a .mass with a secular title, 
and this notwithstanding the Council of Trent's 
prohibition, the words running : " Music must 
be purified from the secular spirit, from anything 
profane." How is this injunction to be reconciled 
with a mass written on the theme of a popular 
song ? The answer may be sought in the 
distinction between the spirit and the letter. As 
was already pointed out, in speaking of the mass 
Ecce Sacerdos Magnus^ it was a sheer impossibility 
for the listener to detect the theme in the web of 
enveloping counterpoint. To the end of his life 
Pierluigi continued to select his cantus frmus 

' The former version in Liber Secuudui is for four voices. 

f It may be permitted to recall in this connection the antiphonal 
choirs S. Ignatius (ist century, AD.) heard in hjs Vision of the 
Divine Birth. 


where it pleased him ; usually calling his mass by 
a non-committal title, such as Sine Nomine (With- 
out Name) or Primi Toni (In the First Tone) so 
that the proprieties were observed. But the 
mass entitled L'homme arme was openly avowed, 
for the celebrated theme had become consecrated 
by custom to such a use. Seventeen masses before 
Pierluigi's day were already written round the 
melody, and these by the most celebrated musicians 
of their time. The composer is unknown, but 
Dufay was the first to use the theme and thus 
started it on its notable career, for which reason 
the suggestion has been made on rather slender 
grounds that Busnois, his pupil, was the author. 
On the other hand, Dr. Burney attempted to 
identify it with one of the oldest traditional songSj 
the Chanson de Roland. The mystification was 
increased by finding a sort of trick-composition, 
made up of the first sections of three separate 
tunes, a practice to which the musical humorists of 
that time were much addicted, and known as 
Quodlibet, Fricassee, Pot-pourri, or Coq-a-1'asne.* 
The words associated with these and strung 
together reading thus 

L'homme, 1'homme arm 

He 1 Robinet, tu m'as le mort donne 

Quand tu t'en vas. 

the want of correspondence between mogd and 

* Brenet in Pit de Pafestnaa* 


tense remaining either unperceived or being set 
down to the inaccurate writing of the time. The 
first section alone of the tune was that identified 
with the words JJhomme arm^ the second line 
was proved to be the first of a song in an MS. 
now in the Bibliothtque Rationale in Paris, with 
its proper context, and thus the riddle was 
solved.* The third line has not yet been 

As Dufay was the greatest master of his time, 
it became a matter of self-respect with succeeding 
musicians to employ this theme and to accompany 
it with every conceivable learned device ; in short, 
a species of self-imposed thesis. Josquin wrote 
two, f " a Netherlandish composition through and 
through, but also one of his most magnificent, a 
really monumental work." Pierluigi worked on 
it twice ; on the first occasion, as we have seen, 
taking no trouble to disguise it ; on the second, 
simply giving his mass the title of Missa Quarta. 
The whole of Pierluigi's Church compositions stand 
as witnesses that he not only succeeded in abolishing 
" anything profane," but found a new and ideal 
expression beyond any expectation the Council ot 
Trent could have formulated. It may therefore 
be assumed this was the reason that his continued 
use of secular themes (to be regarded as so much 

* By Michel Brenet, Vie de Palestrina. 
f Ambros in Geschichte der Musik. 


technical raw material) escaped censure from the 
authorities. This, at least, is a pardonable hypo- 
thesis. Yet another mass in the same volume is 
based on a secular theme. This is the one 
entitled Primi toni, and founded on a madrigal 
by Pierluigi's former companion in misfortune, 
Domenico Ferrabosco, of which the first line is 
"Je suis son giovanetta." Only a few weeks 
before his death, in the last book sent to the 
press, Pierluigi included a mass founded on a 
French song "Je suis deshrite"e," the secular 
words still existing through the curious circum- 
stance that a French composer, by name Jean 
Maillard, in a mass on the same theme published 
at Paris in 1552, put the secular words under the 
liturgical in order * that his ingenious manipula- 
tion of the theme might not escape notice. Little 
wonder, then, that the supposition arose, centuries 
later, that choirs were so lost to all sense of 
decency as to sing the secular words during the 
solemn function of the Mass itself. 

About this time there are indications of a 
certain restlessness, as if Pierluigi considered the 
advisability of obtaining some lucrative and 
congenial post in one or other of the numerous 
Courts in his own land or elsewhere. The 
changed conditions of the Pontifical Court pro- 
bably counted for something in this, or the 

* Again Brcnct. 



example of his celebrated contemporary, Orlando 
di Lassus, may have had its weight. It were but 
human if the Roman observed with envy the 
superb editions which through the generosity 
of his patron, Duke Albert of Bavaria, the Nether- 
lander was able to issue from time to time. 
Whether or no Pierluigi sighed for a princely 
Maecenas who would release him from financial 
anxieties, and regard his work as conferring lustre 
on his reign, it is certain that the second and 
third volumes of masses were dedicated to one of 
the most prominent monarchs in Europe, His 
Most Catholic Majesty, Philip II. of Spain. 
According to Baini, this was at the request of the 
Spanish Cardinal, Pacheco, acting either on his 
own initiative, or because he had received a hint 
that such a dedication would not be unpleasing 
to his royal master. If so, Pierluigi was justified 
in hoping for a brilliant appointment to the Court 
of Spain, and there was much in favour of such a 
step. The dignity and religious emotion of this 
most interesting school of composition are proof 
enough that Pierluigi would have been sure of 
the recognition and sympathy due to his genius. 
But Philip apparently contented himself with a 
bare message of thanks, and between the publi* 
cation of Liber Secundus and Liber Tertius a new 
and celebrated name appears in the chronicle. 
It was already known that in Cardinal Ippolito 


d'Este Fieri uigi found a patron : so much 

was certain from the dedication to the volume 

of motets which appeared in 1569. He refers 

there to great benefits received. One of the 

most princely figures of the late Renaissance, 

Cardinal Ippolito d'Este was a son of the Duke 

of Ferrara by his wife, Lucrezia Borgia, and to 

the advantages of his birth and position were 

added accomplishments quite in keeping with the 

traditions of the period. A man of enormous 

wealth, he built the famous villa at Tivoli, and 

among the palaces he possessed elsewhere, that 

situated on the Quirinal Hill in Rome was 

famous for the number and beauty of the ancient 

Greek and Roman statues collected there. Nor 

were his artistic tastes centred on plastic forms 

alone. It is recorded that, entrusted with highly 

delicate and important diplomatic missions to the 

Court of France in 1561 as Papal Legate, he 

took with him not only four hundred horsemen, 

but, what is more to the present purpose, his 

private choir.* 

In Cardinal d'Este, then, Pierluigi might 
expect to find both an appreciative and generous 
patron. Although still holding his office in 
S. Maria Maggiore he seems to have obtained 
permission to absent himself from his duties there 

* L. von Pastor, Geschichte der Papste, vol. Tii. 


during the three hot months of summer. The 
entries to that effect in the expenses of the Este 
household for 1564 are conclusive.* Evidently 
it was a satisfactory arrangement on both sides, 
for in August, 1567, Pierluigi returned to the 
Cardinal's service, remaining there until the end 
of March, 1571. His salary was at the annual 
rate of 79 scudi romani s 20 bajocchi, and the 
expenses of his living were at the Cardinal's 
charge. Thus it was a permanent appointment 
with a yearly agreement. It is to be hoped that 
further documents will at some time or other 
throw light on this interesting period of the great 
composer's life. Slight as the information is, it 
is corroborated by other entries in the books of 
S. Maria Maggiore and, strangely enough, of the 
Lateran. After his return from the first engage- 
ment with the Cardinal he figures in January, 
1565 as witness to a legal document in the 
archives of the first-named basilica, there styled : 
Jo: Petro Aloysio alias Giannetto da Prenestina 
magistro cappello ; a proof that he remained, in 
spite of his absence, attached to the church. But 
it is not possible to suppose that he retained his 
office there during his four years in the Cardinal's 
service, and as there is evidence that he was at St. 
John Lateran in Holy Week (1567), it certainly 

* G. Campori, Delle relazione di Orlando di Lasso e di Pier Gio. 
da Pales trina T j>rinci]>> estensi, 


seems as if he had already left S. Maria Maggiore 
some months before he entered upon his second 
period of service with the Cardinal. As has been 
justly pointed out,* it is most improbable that 
any church would consent to forego the services 
of its choirmaster in favour of another church at 
such a time as Holy Week. The entry in the 
books of S. Giovanni in Laterano has a delightful 
quaintness. It runs : " A di XII. detto per un 
paro di capretti donati a Ms Gio : da pelestrina per 
or dine del R. do S.r Attilio Cecio per haverci 
aggiutato la settimana santa, bj. 90." f This gift 
in kind reminds us that Pierluigi still had 
property in Palestrina, to which place it is possible 
the goats were consigned. 

But it is evident that Pierluigi still cherished 
thoughts of an appointment at some great foreign 
Court, and this although he had returned for the 
second time to his service with Cardinal d'Este. 
A document J from the State Archives in Vienna 
shows this plainly. It is from the Ambassador 
Arco to His Majesty Maximilian II. and runs : 
" // cantore Giov. di Palestrina si contenta di venir 
a servire la M'* V ra per qualtro cento scudi d'oro 

* Casimiri, op clt. 

f Trans. : "On the izth given for a pair of goats presented to 
M. Gio da Pelestrina (sic) by order of the most Rev. Sir Attilio 
Cecio for having assisted in Holy Week, 80 bajocchi." 

J Given by Dr. Ludwig von Pastor in Geschite der Piipstt, 
vol. viii. p. 152. 


Vanno ; to ho fatto quanta ho potato -per ridurlo 
ancora a meno, ma non ho -potato ottener piu. Adesso 
aspetterd che la M'* V ra mi command* quello ho a 
fare circa quest" huomo, il quale mi wen lodato da 

"The singer (tfV)Giov. di Palestrina is content 
to come and serve your Majesty for 400 gold scudi 
yearly. I have done what I could to reduce it to 
less, but have not been able to obtain more. 
Now I await your Majesty's commands what I 
am to do respecting this man who is praised to 
me by many." 

But something intervened, for on January 3, 
1568, the laconic notice from Arco runs : " Con 
Giov. di Palestrina non passero piu innanzi ; " or : 
" With Giov. di Palestrina I shall not go further," 
and whether there is any connection between 
these letters and a new development in Pierluigi's 
life-history is not at present elucidated. William 
of Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, whose wife was 
a daughter of the Emperor Ferdinand I., and con- 
sequently sister to the Emperor Maximilian II., 
here enters into the chronicle. 

Until this moment there has been little to 
depend upon in the attempt to present Pierluigi's 
life and character in relation to his environment. 
Now, however, comes a remarkable series of letters 
not hitherto translated into English, which were dis- 


covered in the Mantuan archives by the Abb Pietro 
Canal, who published them in his work entitled, 
Delia musica in Mantova, notizie, tratte principal- 
mente detf archivio Gonzaga. The importance of 
them is such that it is, indeed, not too much to 
say that without these letters Pierluigi's personality 
would have remained sealed to the present genera- 
tion. As it is, his relations with the Duke not 
only show the estimation in which the musician 
was held, but also give valuable indications of his 
opinions. Some of the letters were translated 
into German,* and their original number has 
been added to through later researches.! These 
Mantuan records are certainly some of the most 
rich in detail that we possess of life in the six- 
teenth and seventeenth centuries. 

The letters begin early in the year 1568 and 
continue to within a short time of Pierluigi's 
death. Most of them were personally exchanged, 
a few are written, at the Duke's request, by 
members of his entourage. Before proceeding to 
consider them at length it may be as well to 
remind the reader of the pains the reigning princes 
were at, to increase the splendour of their courts 
by the enlightened protection of the arts. This 
largerly accounts for the peregrinations of artists 
almost always at this period a feature of their 

* By Dr. HaberL 

f See Bertolotti, la Musica in Manlo-va. 


life-history. It was quite the usual course to send 
the master of a choir on a journey through Europe 
in order to collect good singers for his lord's 
chapel, and an apposite instance of this is preserved 
to us by one Massimo Trajano. It refers to the 
Duke of Bavaria, the most generous patron of 
Orlando di Lassus.* 

"The Duke, seeing that his predecessor's 
chapel was far beneath his own ideal, sent messages 
and letters, with gifts and promises, through all 
Europe to select learned musicians and singers 
with fine voices and experience. And it came to 
pass that in a short time he had collected as great 
a number of virtuosi as he could possibly attain, 
chosen from all the musicians in Germany and 
other countries by his composer the excellent 
Orlando di Lasso." There were other, and 
nefarious, ways of compassing the same end, for 
in the history of Lassus himself it is related that, 
as a young boy and the possessor of a singularly 
beautiful voice, he was stolen three times ; on the 
last occasion finding himself no/ens volens in the 
service of a Gonzaga, Viceroy of Italy. 

The Court of Mantua, in particular, cultivated 
music with both ardour and generosity, and Duke 
William of Gonzaga remained throughout the 
rest of his life a faithful and fervent admirer of 

* Written variously as Orlando di Lasso, or Roland de 



Pierluigi's genius. Succeeding to the Dukedom 
at the age of fourteen, he was under the tutelage 
of his uncle, the highly cultivated Cardinal Ercole 
Gonzaga. After his marriage to the Emperor's 
daughter, his Court became famous for its 
brilliance, and he spared no pains to attract 
thither the finest singers and instrumentalists. 
Extremely desirous of getting the best possible 
material for the Church of St. Barbara, built 
and endowed by himself, he commissioned his 
choirmaster, Giaches Wert,* himself an excellent 
Flemish musician and an interesting personality, 
to obtain a mass from Pierluigi. A letter, dated 
February, 1568, acquaints us with the result, 
After the many compliments custom demanded 
Pierluigi informs the Duke that the mass is ready 
which his " rare musician Messer Giaches " had 
asked for, and it is herewith despatched if it does 
not come up to expectation he hopes he will be 
allowed to try again, when the Duke must tell him 
whether he desires a long or a short mass, and 
whether he is very particular that the words should 
be clearly heard.f The answer to this letter is 
dated April 19, addresses the musician as Messer 
Giovanni Pietro Luigi da Palestina (sic), and contains 

* Sometimes written " Jachet.'' 

f The first section of this sentence may be taken to apply to the 
difference between a highly ceremonial mass and one for ordinary 
occasions ; the latter section was probably an attempt to find out 
whether the Duke preferred the old or new school of composition. 


an assurance from the Duke that his delay in 
thanking Pierluigi for the mass is not because he 
did not like it on the contrary, it pleases him 
extremely, and as a proof thereof he has desired a 
certain Fiera to demonstrate this ; from which it 
may reasonably be inferred that Cavaliere Fiera 
acted as the Duke's purse-bearer on this occasion. 
At any rate, on May i, a letter was written by 
Pierluigi to the Duke in which he expresses his 
warmest gratitude for the gift of fifty ducats and 
reiterates his earnest wish to serve him per- 

On July 31 of this year Scipio Gonzaga, a 
kinsman of the Duke (who became Patriarch of 
Jerusalem and subsequently Cardinal, with St. 
Maria del Popolo in Rome as his titular church), 
writes to the Duke as follows : 

rt As I well know Your Excellency's inclination 
for music and especially for that of Messer 
Palestrina, I send you two (unspecified) of his 
motets." This evidently led to a fresh com- 
mission, as Pierluigi writes, on December 15, 
apologizing for the delay in sending certain 
motets to words selected by the Duke. " I was 
in bed," he says, " for many days, therefore they 
will be feeble. Your Excellency must not be 
surprised as they come from a convalescent." 
This letter is of particular historical interest, for 
Pierluigi refers to a custom in the Pope's Chapel, 


and describes how the old faux-bourdon y or simple 
harmonization of the original plain-song usual in 
the preceding century, had recently given place to 
a free treatment, much the same as that Pierluigi 
himself employed with such effect in the 
Improperia. A description of this innovation may 
help to make the point clear.* 

" In the Sixtine Chapel the ritually-prescribed 
Miserere was sung to a simple faux-bourdon chant. 
The thrice-crowned friend of music " (Leo X.) 
" seems to have wished for something more artistic 
than this. . . ." And a little further on : "The 
traditions of the earlier period of simple faux- 
bourdon were still easily recognizable with their 
four- and five-part strophes and the nine-part 
closes." Obviously a choir of nine voices singing 
antiphonally and joining for the closes. Cl In many 
places the singers are only given the chord to 
which they must themselves adjust the syllables 
of the text to their proper declamatory accents ; 
this is simple faux-bourdon. Other similar places 
in which the harmony changes are naturally 
written down. But between come flowing 
polyphonic passages with distinct melodic themes, 
with ingenious combinations of beautifully simple 
imitations. The Epilogue unites both choirs in a 
nine-part whole." 

This description well explains the changes 

* Ambros, Gtschichte tier Muiik. 


brought about by the development of polyphonic 
art. The old simplicity was not done away with, 
but served as the surface on which to embroider 
a new and beautiful pattern. The historical 
sequence was there, the antiphonal choir, one of 
the earliest embellishments of the primitive 
church-music ; the ancient melodies, first joined to 
rude harmonies, gradually enriched but always 
chiefly considered as a means of marking the 
proper declamatory accents ; now comes the 
beautiful efflorescence the flowing passages with 
distinct melodic themes ; an art so admirably 
fitted for its purpose of accentuating and adorning 
the words it accompanies, that under favourable 
conditions the effect is stupendous. 

To return to the letters : Pierluigi informs 
the Duke that as no copy exists of this new free 
species of faux-bourdon he has himself written it 
down for the use of the choir in St. Barbara, 
well knowing this would be pleasing to his 

The next letter in order is from Pierluigi 
again, and dated March 23, 1570, from which it 
is evident that the Duke has recently sent to 
Pierluigi a motet and madrigal for correction and 
criticism. Both are here given in a masterly com- 
pound of diplomacy and advice. In spite of the 
flattering terms employed he deals with the Duke 
faithfully, incidentally giving a little insight into 


his own methods of composition. " Mi pare" he 
says, " ancora che per la stretta tessitura delle fughe^ 
si occupino le parole alii ascoltanti" Or, " Also it 
seems to me that the close interweaving of the 
fugues will prevent the words from being audible 
to the listeners ; " and continues, " ho segnati alcuni 
luoghi che mi par che quando si puo far di meno soni 
meglio I 'Harmonia." Or " I have pointed out 
some places where it appears to me the effect 
would be improved by the reduction of parts." 
This letter was sealed with the device of a 
flowering plant, and scrollwise, Joannes. Petra. 

Five months later, on August 12, Don 
Annibale Capello writes to the Duke that he will 
shortly send him a motet by Pierluigi, composed 
for Philip II. of Spain. This is the one entitled 
Domine in virtute tua^ included in the second 
volume of five-part motets published in 1572. 
Capello was the Duke's vassal and acted as his 
agent on many occasions, notably in matters con- 
cerning Church music. He was in the service of 
Cardinal d'Este, and dates this letter from Tivoli. 
The motet was duly sent to Duke William on 
September 2, with apologies for a poor copy, " as 
no one in Tivoli could be found to do it better." 
It may be mentioned here that the first book of 
motets, for five, six, and seven voices, published 
by Scoto, came out in 1569 the preceding year, 


containing such gems as admirabile commercium : 
magnum mysterium ; and the magnificent motet 
for Ascensiontide, Viri Galilaei ; so that the 
Duke's desire to possess new motets from Pier- 
luigi's pen is comprehensible enough. Apart 
from the historical interest of the letters, these 
details serve incidentally to show the recognition 
of Pierluigi's genius by his contemporaries and 
the esteem in which his compositions were 

In 1572 the Duke came to Rome, and though 
without a doubt Pierluigi was invited to his 
presence the records are silent. The ensuing 
letters show increased cordiality. In September 
of that year Capello writes to the Duke that he is 
sending him a book of motets for the use of the 
choir of Santa Barbara, a new arrival from the 
publishing house, Scoto of Venice. He adds, 
Pierluigi thinks it unnecessary to write himself to 
his patron as His Highness will be able to judge 
from the dedication how much he etc., etc., in 
the usual flowery language of the time. Obviously 
Capello was in Rome at that moment, in direct 
communication with Pierluigi. The reception of 
the motets evidently gratified the Duke. His 
secretary, Zibramonte, also in Rome it appears, is 
desired by letter to wait upon Pierluigi and make 
him a present of twenty-five scudi, so "that he 

* In present-day value about ^35. 


may see how much the Duke values the dedica- 
tion." There was a fine flavour in the homage 
certainly not lost on a connoisseur such as His 
Highness of Mantua, for the volume contains 
specimens as erudite as they are beautiful. The 
motet Tribularer si nescirem may be compared to one 
of those subtle locks of Florentine workmanship, 
to the apparent simplicity of which years have 
gone in the making. In it Pierluigi reiterates the 
cry Miserere mel Dem at set intervals throughout 
the whole composition, mounting, a step at a 
time, to the fifth note of the mode, returning in 
the same manner to the final. Only a contra- 
puntist will realize the quality of the achievement. 
Again, in the motet, Gaude Barbara beata, in 
honour of the Patroness of Duke William's 
beloved church, there is perpetual imitation 
between the various parts. It goes without say- 
ing that never once does scholarship here take 
precedence of Pierluigi's habitual grace and 
suavity. The good people of Mantua quite con- 
ceivably listened to the praises of Santa Barbara 
on the day of her fesfa, totally unconscious of the 
musical tour de force to which Messer Giovanni 
Pierluigi treated them. But the Duke knew, 
Giaches Wert knew, and, for the rest, the Court 
of Mantua was a very home of learning, and 
Pierluigi was sure of a discriminating appreciation 
there if anywhere. 


To the dedication on the first page of these 
motets a return must be made later, as it contains 
some highly interesting information, but for the 
moment it will be well to leave Mantua in order 
to consider certain changes which took place at 
this time in Pierluigi's fortunes. 


IT will doubtless not have been forgotten that 
Pierluigi, on being dismissed from the 
Pontifical Choir, was succeeded by Giovanni 
Animuccia, who became likewise Maglster in musica 
et cantu to the Julian choir. This personage, a 
Florentine of saintly life, an excellent musician, 
was in close relation with his fellow-townsman, 
the famous S. Filippo Neri,* one of the most 
striking and lovable personalities of that period. 
Among his many qualities S. Filippo was an 
enthusiastic musician, and clear-sighted enough 
to recognize music as a powerful auxiliary in 
saving souls, certainly his predominant passion. 
He thereupon founded an Order and included 
among the rules drawn up for its discipline " the 
contemplation of celestial things by means of 
heavenly harmonies," a sixteenth-century equiva- 
lent of " the education of the soul in virtue 
by the movement of sounds." Carrying his 

* Obviously "Saint" was a later addition, but it seemed natural 
to speak of him by his better-known title. 

8l G 


conviction to a practical issue in a larger field, he 
inaugurated religious services non-liturgical in 
character about the year 1558, desiring thereby to 
attract those simple souls to whom St. Augustine's 
definition of hymns as " praise to God with song " 
could not fail to make its appeal. 

At first these services took place in a small 
oratory from which his recently instituted Order 
took its name of Oratorians, but they won such 
an instant and overwhelming success that it became 
necessary to move, first to one, then to another 
church, as each in turn grew too small for the 
ever-increasing congregations, and finally Neri 
applied to the Pope for permission to build a 
church of his own, the still-existing S. Maria in 
Vallicella^ popularly known as the Chiesa Nuova t 
or New Church. Long before this evidence of 
success S. Filippo enlisted the services of his 
friend Animuccia, who organized the music in 
conformity with the Saint's wishes. In conjunction 
with motets and litanies, laudi hymns of praise 
originally chanted by Savonarola and his monks 
as they paced the streets of Florence seventy years 
earlier were particularly in evidence. The words 
chosen were adapted to a well-known air in 
order that the people might sing them readily. 
Animuccia soon composed others in addition to 
these, sending them to the printing-press from 
whence they were issued one volume in 1565, 


another in 1570. Soon these congregational 
services became known as " oratorios " from their 
place of origin, the word acquiring later the 
special significance in relation to musical form 
which it has ever since retained. Music was thus 
the bait by which S. Filippo lured souls to his 
net, but he had still other means, labouring to 
bring a love of Nature in its higher aspect into 
the lives of men, thus directing them to the 
Creator. To this end it was his custom to 
conduct his flock to some hill on the confines of 
Rome a favourite spot being the grounds of the 
present Villa Mattei on the Ccelian Hill and 
there engage in spiritual songs, merry conversa- 
tion and the like, using the loveliness of the 
scene before him to illustrate the love of God 
towards mankind. 

In 1571 his friend and coadjutor Animuccia 
died. In the midst of his grief the Saint's 
thoughts turned to Pierluigi, with whom it is not 
unlikely he was already on friendly terms. Be 
this as it may, he invited him to succeed the dead 
musician as musical director of the oratorios, an 
offer Pierluigi forthwith accepted, and applied 
himself to the work with energy. There was 
certainly a divine fitness in the choice, for whose 
music could more effectually assist the congrega- 
tion of the Oratorians, or the community itself, in 
the contemplation of celestial things by means of 


heavenly harmonies ? A happier phrase than 
that could not have been found to describe 
Pierluigi's music. 

But Animuccia's death had other conse- 
quences. The post of -Master of the Julian 
Chapel was once again vacant. Possibly Pier- 
luigi had never resigned himself to his dismissal 
from the service of the Vatican, in spite of the 
important posts he had meanwhile filled elsewhere. 
At all events he left the service of the Cardinal 
d'Este and applied for his old office. It is 
obvious that the Master of the Pope Marcellus 
Mass was not likely to apply in vain, and he was 
shortly back again in the position he filled on his 
first brilliant promotion from the old cathedral 
of S. Agapito.* The only difference was in the 
title. Formerly " Master of the Boys," his new 
style was " Master of the Julian Chapel," with 
four boys under his charge and a monthly salary 
of six scudi and thirty-six bajocchi, instead of the 
six scudi sixty bajocchi and living expenses he 
received from the Cardinal, a sufficient answer to 
the assertion made more than once recently that 
Pierluigi showed a somewhat mercenary spirit. 

According to the Abbe Baini, on taking up 
his duties again at St. Peter's, Pierluigi lodged in 
the choir-school attached to the Capella Giulia, a 
building flanking the atrium of the old basilica 

* April i, 1571. 


not pulled down before 1605. Thanks to sketches 
preserved in the Vatican Library and elsewhere by 
M. v.Heemskerck,Grimaldi,and other anonymous 
artists, there is no difficulty in forming an idea of 
the precincts of old St. Peter's as they appeared 
in the middle of the sixteenth century. These 
show that the great piazza was far from present- 
ing the appearance of to-day. The magnificent 
columns were not in place before 1667 : the 
fountains were erected still later : and the famous 
Egyptian obelisk brought to Rome by Caligula 
the silent witness of so many bloody scenes of 
Christian martyrdom stood at the side of the 
old basilica, where the sacristy now stands, to 
be moved only a few years later, by order of 
Sixtus V. in 1586,* to its present position, the 
centre of the great ellipse. In a drawing by 
Heemskerck, somewhat earlier in date, are shown 
the high walls enclosing the precincts of the 
Vatican, already some seven hundred years old, 
the Loggia, then unglazed, and with a free view 
on to the piazza, and the facade of the atrium 
forming a line with the so-called Benediction 
Loggia, from which, on the Thursday before 
Easter, the Bull " In Coena Domini " was publicly 
read. The whole of the space occupied at the 
present day by the facade alone was then filled by 

* On which occasion Pierluigi's setting of the hymn Vexilla 
Regis was sung. 


buildings, others flanked the atrium on the north 
side, serving various ecclesiastical purposes. In 
one of these, then, Baini asserts that Pierluigi was 
housed, under what conditions there is at present 
no evidence forthcoming. - Here, on the very 
ground soaked by the blood of St. Peter, hallowed 
and sanctified to the faithful by every association, 
the Church's strong citadel, there were signs or 
great changes, the old order giving place to new. 
The ancient church was already half disintegrated, 
already the gigantic drum of the new dome, 
rising slightly to the left of the old building, 
commanded the entire precincts. In this un- 
finished state it remained for many years still, 
after the mighty brain which planned it was at 
rest, for means lacked (from Pius V.'s determina- 
tion to put down the gross abuses connected with 
the sale of indulgences) to proceed with the 
erection of the new building. Another of 
Heemskerck's sketches,* taken from a point 
between the old and new churches, shows the 
ruined north transept, demolished to clear the 
way for the new construction, though a trans- 
verse wall screened it from the rest of the ancient 
basilica which continued for many years yet to 
fulfil its sacred functions. The demolition of this 
venerated building was certainly the most striking 
object on which the great musician's eyes rested, 
* Seep. 161. 


while the erection of the new was a cause of never- 
failing interest. 

From this great centre of the Church's life, 
Pierluigi continued to issue composition after 
composition. Taking into account his creative 
activity, as well as his ordinary professional 
work, it is obvious that his time was very fully 
occupied. But it is pleasant to hear that he 
yet found time to knit with S. Filippo Neri 
a close friendship destined to last as long as 
life itself. Of patrons we have heard in plenty, 
but this is the first friend of whom there is any 
record, and the personality of both saint and 
musician becomes more coherent through this 
simple fact. As Neri was much attached to 
Cardinal Carlo Borromeo it may be that Pierluigi 
found two friends instead of one, both men 
capable of sympathetic comprehension of his genius 
through their love of music. In the absence of any 
definite appreciation of Pierluigi as a man by 
his contemporaries this association acquires a par- 
ticular value. If S. Filippo discovered in the 
musician qualities of mind and heart which won 
and retained his affection, it would be difficult to 
claim a finer testimony to the worth of Pierluigi's 

During these years two more volumes of motets 
appeared, also a new species of composition. The 
so-called Madrlgali Spirituali (not published before 


1581 and 1594 respectively) were written about 
this time for the members of S. Filippo's 
congregations. Simpler in form and composition 
than the style of music considered fitting for the 
Mass, they were thus well "suited to the class to 
whom the Saint's services made their special 
appeal, and it may be assumed that they were 
often sung during those excursions to the hills of 
the Gianicolo and Coslio of which S. Filippo was 
the organizer and leader. Here again was an 
instance of the changing times. To the almost 
pagan enjoyment of beauty and art and learning 
in which the Roman world was steeped when 
Pierluigi first entered it, a careful observance of 
religious ceremonies and duties was substituted. 
Though S. Filippo's teaching was on the same 
theme of beauty, he conceived it from the point 
of view of God's gift to man who, in his percep- 
tion and use of it, must acknowledge this and 
render thanks to the Giver, worship and enjoy- 
ment becoming one. Pan and his pipes had 
again withdrawn to the ilex groves sheltering the 
ruined temples of a classic past, and the populace 
flocked around a new David with his harp. 
These spiritual songs on secular lines opened up 
fresh paths of spontaneity and expressiveness 
destined to bear fruit later on. But Pierluigi did 
not confine his pen to sacred madrigals, writing 
others secular, pikes ^occasion some of them, one 


such being written to celebrate the victory of 
Lepanto in 1571 : * 

" Le seh' avea al lido Eusofto 
II superbe Ottoman colferro tutte 
Recite " - 

what time Don John of Austria and Marc 
Antonio Colonna led the confederated troops 
against the Turks. Such an occasion for a 
madrigal from a loyal son of the Church requires 
no excuse, but there was a diplomatic reason if 
it were needed : Pierluigi and his family being 
vassals of the Colonna and owning property in 
their lordship. 

A second volume of madrigals, though dated 
1586, may be conveniently mentioned here, for 
this was dedicated to Giulio Cesare Colonna, who 
became Prince of Palestrina in 1571 f and died 
in 1581, or five years before the date of publica- 
tion of these madrigals ; thus giving rise to the 
inference that it was a re-issue of an earlier edition 
since lost, a theory strengthened by the innumer- 
able misprints, for which only the circumstance of 
a fresh edition, without the supervision of the 
composer by Venetian publishers, would suffi- 
ciently account. This question of the date is 
otherwise important. Two years before 1586, in 

* The first book of madrigals appeared in 1555. 

f A man of culture and learning and benefactor to his town, 
so that Pierluigi had excellent reasons for desiring to dedicate his 
madrigals to this Prince. 


the dedication of the celebrated motets on the 
Song of Solomon * to the reigning Pontiff, 
Gregory XIII.,f Pierluigi beats his breast over 
the sins of his youth, no other on this occasion 
than the composition of madrigals 1 It is some- 
what difficult to take this Apologia pro madrigali 
sue quite seriously, for he laments he is numbered 
amongst those musicians who consecrated their 
talents and their art to loves unworthy of the 
name and profession of a Christian (1) the mild- 
ness of the offence not justifying so tremendous a 
self-condemnation. This raises the point referred 
to earlier. If the second volume of madrigals 
appeared first in 1586, what becomes of Pierluigi's 
consistency ? Were they, however, written about 
the time Giulio Cesare Colonna became reigning 
Prince of Palestrina (in 1571) the difficulty dis- 
appears, Pierluigi having ample time for repent- 
ance between these dates. Again, it was in 
1571 that S. Filippo Neri invited him to replace 
Animuccia as musical director of his services, a 
time at which it may be supposed he fell under 
the influence of the Saint, and his conscience 
grew more sensitive. However this may be, 
the manifestation of such austerity was nothing 
unusual in these times. Such a spirit had always 
existed, side by side with the looser ideas of the 
Renaissance ; as, for instance, the assertion of 

* Dealt with on pp. 1 3 1 et seq. f Successor to Pius V. 


Morales that he despised " all secular, let alone 
frivolous music : what should be said of such a 
one who prostituted the noble God-given gift to 
the service of frivolous worthless ends ? " These 
words bear a strong resemblance to those used by 
Pierluigi in the dedication. 

Amongst the madrigals in the above-mentioned 
volume is that entitled Alle rive del Tebro> perhaps 
the best known of all. Another, and one of the 
most beautiful, is Amor quando floria : the words 
of which are taken from Petrach's ballata in his 
Death of Laura, between the third and fourth 
cantos. In this form of composition Pierluigi 
was at his best when the words called for a gently 
elegiac setting, suited to the pure passionless 
sounds he of all musicians best understood. Our 
own countryman, Thomas Morley, puts the 
matter so well that we cannot do better than 
quote his words : 

" You must possesse yourselfe," he says, 
"with an amorus humour for in no exposition 
shall you proue admirable except you put on 
and possesse yourself wholy with that vaine 
wherein you compose." For this reason, if that 
alone, Pierluigi was much more in his element 
when he proceeded to the composition of madrigali 
spiritually which combined a beautiful idealism 
with a natural and human vein of expression. 
They may be described as the canti popolari of the 


Church, and certainly served to spread his fame 
amongst that class of people to whom his masses 
and motets, for lack of musical knowledge, would 
make less appeal. 

Pius V. died in May, 1572. He was buried 
in S. Maria M.aggiore> where his tomb in the 
Sixtine Chapel is to be seen to-day. His whole 
strength was put forth in the cause of Church 
reform, and amongst his other activities connected 
with this end he was responsible for the revision 
of the breviary and missal, a logical outcome of 
the recommendations made by the Council of 
Trent during the preceding pontificate. Nor 
did he confine himself to the text alone. Once 
again there is an allusion to the burning question 
of eliminating all music other than the Gregorian 
chant from the Church in letters he wrote, in 
1567, to the Bishop of Lucca, complaining of 
some musical performances during Holy Week 
in that town ; and again in 1570, over Church 
music in Mexico.* As all intercalations of text 
were now made illegal, the Master's mass Ecce 
sacerdos magnus was necessarily shelved ; another, 
De beata Virgine^ was also affected ; but he was 
able to re-write the offending portions of this, 
and to issue a new edition. 

About this time Pierluigi's financial circum- 
stances again improved. According to a will 

* Pastor, vol. viii. 


dated November 7, 1572, his wife Lucrezia 
succeeded to the half of a small inheritance 
through the death of her sister Violante. Thus, 
taking into consideration the power of his 
patrons, the great activity of his pen, and his 
relatively assured position, it may be assumed 
that he was able to devote himself to his work 
without anxiety. 

It is now time to ascertain what influence he 
exerted over contemporary musicians in Rome. 


THE prevailing tendency of musical art 
throughout the sixteenth century has 
already been grouped into two schools, 
each with a great name at its head, Josquin des 
Pres and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. These 
may be said to have divided the century between 
them, for there was no outstanding composer 
between Josquin's death and Pierluigi's advent to 
weaken the earlier influence. There were also 
cross currents : sub-divisions, as it were, starting 
from the purely intellectual problems of the 
Netherlanders and tending towards the expressive- 
ness and suavity of sound which gave the ultimate 
beauty and finish to the Roman School. The 
composers Morales and Festa may be placed in 
this category. Not until the last years of the 
century was there more than a hint of the new 
influences destined to sweep away that contrapuntal 
art so admirably adapted for the great basilicas and 
cathedrals. Thus Pierluigi had not to contend 
with alien influences and changing conceptions 
of artistic beauty, he maintained his prestige 
unimpaired until the end. 



This being so, the number of his pupils, as 
far as is at present known, is surprisingly small. 
Though there are several who exhibit traits 
which stamp them as his spiritual children, only 
two outside his family circle can be named with 
certainty. These are Giovanni Andrea Dragoni, 
who claims Pierluigi as his master in the dedica- 
tory address of a volume of his compositions ; 
and Francesco Soriano, who is claimed by Pierluigi 
as his pupil in a letter written by him to William 
of Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua. The first-named 
pupil became choirmaster in the church of S. 
Giovanni in Laterano from 1581 until his death in 
1594; the second, Soriano, became choirmaster 
in S. Luigl del Frances! about 1581 ; after 1588 
filling the same office in S. Maria Maggiore. At 
some time between these dates he was in the 
service of the Duke of Mantua to whom he 
dedicated a book of five-part madrigals. Born in 
1549 he had, up till 1597, published only two 
volumes of madrigals, after which he turned to 
the composition of Church music. Pierluigi's 
appreciation of him as a musician will appear in 
a letter written to the Duke of Mantua later, 
Soriano composed music to the Passion of our 
Lord according to the four Gospels ; showing a 
dramatic feeling for effect which gives him a place 
between the old and the new school.* He also 

* Ambros, Geschlchte der Musik. 


composed a Hexachord mass described as one of 
the most inspired works of the later Roman 
School.* No mere imitator of his master was 
he, but a man full of energetic force of character. 

But there is one who, -never a pupil of Pier- 
luigi's, produced compositions bearing the same 
spiritual relationship to the master as if Pierluigi's 
genius had found its feminine counterpart. This 
was Tommaso Lodivico da Vittoria, a Spaniard, 
born at Avila about 1540. He appears to have 
been intended for the priesthood, and for that 
reason was sent to the Collegium Germanicum in 
Rome. This celebrated College, founded by 
S. Ignatius Loyola under Julius III. in 1552, 
was considered as one of the most distinguished 
places of education in Rome, nor was it created 
solely for Teutons, but numbered amongst its 
inmates members of noble families throughout 

The date on which Vittoria entered the 
College was 1565, and by 1573 he was filling 
the post of choirmaster there, receiving a com- 
mission to set to music the psalm, "By the 
waters of Babylon," for a particular occasion, a 
farewell service before the departure of the 
students from their old home in the Palazzo 
Colonna to their new one in the Palazzo della 
Valle. The College has had many flittings since 

* Ambros, Geschichtf der Musik. 


then and its present home is in the Via San Nicolo 
da Tolentino from whence its red-garbed students 
continue to illuminate the streets of Rome, but, 
in all that time, it has maintained its reputa- 
tion for good music and possesses a list of 
choirmasters of which any college might be proud, 
including, as it does, such names as Giovannelli, 
Pierluigi's successor at St. Peter's, Anerio, 
Stabile, and the world-famous Carissimi. Vittoria 
remained at the Collegium Germanicum until 1578, 
after which date it is not yet established where he 
lived and worked, though it has been suggested 
that he followed Pierluigi as choirmaster of the 
Altaemps Chapel.* However that may be, he is 
reported to have been on the closest terms of 
friendship with him. An anecdote exists that he 
discarded his distinctive dress as a Spaniard for 
one resembling that customarily worn by the 
master, and trimmed his beard on the same 
pattern. True or not, it is a pleasant story, and 
must have had some foundation. 

But if Vittoria copied Pierluigi's coat, his 
genius remained independent. The most that 
can be said is that the stronger fibre of his 
great friend's mind influenced his own more 
ardent, passionate, less robust temperament, 

* The date of Pierluigi's activities at the Altaemps Chapel has 
not yet been ascertained, only that he was director there for some 


which has been compared in certain aspects to 
that of Teresa of Avila, his compatriot, in its 
glowing mysticism. It is characteristic of the 
man that not a single secular composition of his 
has been found, in which respect he shows himself 
of one mind with his compatriot, Morales. While 
much of his work bears the true Palestrinian 
impress, yet Vittoria never quite reached those 
soaring, majestic heights to which Pierluigi rose 
at will. The Spaniard's note was more personal, 
more human, more pleading ; he gazed at the 
Cross as Mary Magdalene might have done. 

It is said that through the jealousy of the 
Pontifical Choir, Vittoria was given no official 
post in the Vatican. If so, it was their loss. 
The state of his private circumstances is not 
known, but either he had a powerful patron, or 
was in possession of ample means, for he was able 
to bring out sumptuous editions of his works. 

Other contemporaries were the two Naninos. 
The eldest brother, Giovanni Maria, a remarkable 
contrapuntist and one of the most learned 
musicians of his time, had a school of com- 
position in which it has been suggested that 
Pierluigi taught. No confirmation of this can 
be found. Nanino's compositions warrant the 
inference that Pierluigi was his master ; for this 
reason he is sometimes spoken of as the founder 
of the Roman School, a statement manifestly 


absurd ; nevertheless, two of his compositions, 
Hodie nobis coelorum est, and Hodie Christus natus esf, 
are frequently quoted as masterpieces imbued with 
true Palestrinian inspiration. Annibale Zoilo, 
Pierluigi's immediate successor at the Lateran, 
later, a member of the Pontifical Choir ; Felice 
Anerio, who began his career in 1575 as choir- 
boy under Pierluigi in the Julian Chapel and 
ended it in 1614 as Composer to the Pontifical 
Choir in Pierluigi's place (in 1585 choirmaster 
in the English College) ; Giovanelli, pure 
Palestrinian in style, Vittoria's successor at the 
Collegium Germanicum and Pierluigi's successor in 
the Julian Chapel, all these were most excellent 
musicians and in high repute. Both Anerio and 
Giovanelli were particularly famous as madri- 
galists ; indeed, Anerio, until he entered upon 
his duties as Composer to the Pontifical Choir, 
was more known for this form of composition 
than for Church music. Ingegneri, a native of 
Verona born about 1545 (to 1550), whose life 
was chiefly spent in Cremona, and who composed 
Responses for Holy Week which for years were 
considered to be by Pierluigi even appearing in 
the collected edition as Opus dubium until they 
were traced to their rightful owner ; Stabile, 
possibly a pupil of Pierluigi's ; and Allegri, a 
pupil of the elder Nanino, whose Miserere is 
still performed in Passion Week every year at 


St. Peter's, were all educated in the true tradition 
and carried on the glories of the school. Yet 
others were Constantini, said to have represented 
the " pure, noble style in its unadulterated form 
long after the sun was setting on its dominion," 
and Vincenzo Ugolini, again a pupil of the elder 
Nanino, and a typical member of the school.* 

With one important exception t these, then, 
are the names of the more outstanding members 
of the Roman School. Pierluigi's figure domi- 
nates them all; indeed, Vittoria, beautiful composer 
as he was, moves in a subdued light in relation to 
the great Palestrinian. This was clearly recognized, 
even if the Netherlander Orlando di Lasso be 
admitted as a formidable rival. But great as 
Orlando was, there was a quality about Pier- 
luigi's genius essentially individual and essentially 
Roman. If the fancy be permitted, his style re- 
calls the golden light of the Eternal City at 
sundown, a distinctive glory which every one 
familiar with it will at once recognize. This 
is the more noteworthy as Music is the only 
art Rome can claim as her own. Unrivalled as 
she was in the attraction she exercised over the 
great artists of all ages, she borrowed lustre from 

* This is not intended as a comprehensive list. There were 
many others, less celebrated, and men continued to compose in a 
similar vein long after its prestige had been killed by the newer 

f Marenzio. 


their greatness, they were only her sons by 
adoption. In Pierluigi's case this was not so, and 
obviously this fact was a source of peculiar satis- 
faction to the Romans, who may be said to have 
smarted for upwards of three hundred years 
under the foreign yoke of the Pontifical Choir. 
The native musicians later took advantage of 
their ascendancy to organize a society in which no 
foreigners might be admitted, a sufficient indica- 
tion of present strength and ancient jealousy, 
though this rule was subsequently and wisely to 
be relaxed. Such close corporations have always 
proved themselves against the best interests of the 
art they were designed to help. 

For the moment enough has been said to 
justify the assertion that the Roman School was 
an established fact, with Pierluigi as its chief 
figure ; to sum up in the grandiose words of a 
Venetian admirer,* writing some years later, 
"he was the Ocean towards which all streams 

* Giovanni Matteo Asola, 159*. 


A n the end of the year 1572 death removed 
Pierluigi's great patron, Cardinal Ippo- 
lito d'Este. It is to be hoped that more 
will some day be known of their relations. The 
Cardinal's love for all forms of art was as much 
a mainspring in his life as his genius for diplomacy. 
The loss of so discriminating a patron was certainly 
a blow to the musician. 

About the same time, however, an over- 
whelming personal sorrow befell Pierluigi. Of 
its nature we learn in a letter written by Bishop 
Odescalco to the Duke of Mantua, dated from 
Rome on January 3, 1573. This letter evidently 
refers to an earlier conversation between the Duke 
and Pierluigi, probably during the former's stay 
in Rome some months previously. Before giving 
the text we will return for a moment to the book 
of motets mentioned earlier as dedicated to the 
Duke, for the dedication throws some light upon 
the subject.* 

In this the composer says : 

* See p. 78. 



Quapropter haec tuo nomini consecro munu- 
scula, in quibus interpositas quoque fratris, 
liberorumque meorum primitias non negliges 
deliberare, ut tibi non me unum duntaxat, 
veram etiam domum omnem meam plurimum 
debere non obscure cognoscas. 

It thus appears that not only Pierluigi's two 
sons had profited by his teaching but his brother 
Silla also, all three adopting the profession of 
music. By offering these firstfruits from his 
sons' pen Pierluigi probably hoped to fulfil a 
double purpose ; not only to convince the Duke 
of his whole-hearted devotion, but also, with a 
father's far-seeing eye, to secure for his two boys 
the valuable patronage he himself enjoyed. Two 
motets were by his brother Silla, one each by his 
sons Ridolfo and Angelo. It is evident that 
Angelo possessed remarkable talent he was only 
seventeen at the time, while the work of his 
elder brother Ridolfo and his uncle Silla show 
a level of proficiency testifying to the soundness 
of their instruction if not suggesting so much 
force of inspiration. But it seems that Ridolfo's 
talents did not end here. As will presently 
appear, he was a proficient player on several 
instruments, giving colour to the supposition 
that Pierluigi directed and arranged chamber 
music for his patrons, an indispensable feature, at 
this time, of festive occasions. Hitherto Pierluigi's 


inner life has remained more or less closed 
to us. A temporary illness mentioned in the 
letter to the Duke of Mantua, his friendship 
with S. Filippo, his patrons, his surroundings 
so far as it was possible to 'reconstruct them the 
tradition of a happy marriage, these were the 
brief notes of a life which left itself more com- 
pletely to be divined in the serenity and idealism 
of his compositions. But now we get a singularly 
attractive glimpse of a united family, two accom- 
plished sons " of rare morals " of Pierluigi's 
brother, and a devoted mother. 
The Bishop writes : 

"The son promised to your Excellency by 
Palestina (sic) for the service of S. Barbara died 
a few days ago, and after him from sorrow, a 
brother of Palestina himself, lettered, a good 
musician by profession and of good morals. For 
this reason it is useless to think more about it 
and truly I hear from all that this young son of 
Palestina was a young man who besides being 
of suitable age, twenty-two years, was of very 
good and rare morals, a good logician and 
philosopher ; well educated in Greek and Latin, 
and most excellent musician and player on all 
sorts of instruments, so much so that I believe 
he would have been after the heart of your 

Here is a picture of the family of the great 
musician which does him infinite credit. In the 


midst of his own incessant work he yet saw to 
it that his sons received the necessary education 
for taking up a good position in life. " Most 
excellent musician and player on all sorts of 
instruments " might be expected, but " a good 
logician and philsopher " suggests culture and 
refinement beyond the ordinary. In the year 
1566 both sons were entered as students in the 
Seminarium Romanum, but appear later to have 
abandoned the intention of becoming priests. 
The Bishop continues 

" There remains still another son of eighteen 
to nineteen, who has almost all the same good 
qualities, but I hear his mother will never consent 
to be deprived of him, having lost that one of 
so much promise as well as his uncle in twenty 

Of Ridolfo the eldest son, there was already 
a glimpse in earlier days, as choir-boy in the church 
of S. Giovanni in Laterano. That was twelve 
years ago ; now it was a question of establishing 
him in life, and his father hoped to place him in 
the brilliant court of Mantua for the service of 
which he had so well prepared him. Pierluigi's 
brother, Silla, is a more shadowy figure, " lettered, 
a good musician by profession and of good 
morals." It remains still to be discovered if he 
held any important post in one of the Roman 
churches, or whether he devoted himself to his 


celebrated brother, helping him in his professional 

This double bereavement marks a turning- 
point in Pierluigi's career, and from henceforth 
sorrow dogged his footsteps. Soon come many 
references to ill-health and misfortune. But he 
never faltered in his work and it may very well 
be that composition was the staff on which he 
leant in those dark days, and which brought him 
comfort. On April 17, 1574, the veil is again 
lifted for a moment when Annibale Capello writes 
to the Duke that Pierluigi is too busy to criticize 
a mass written by his great patron in Mantua, 
whose ambition has evidently been spurred on 
by praise. In Capello's courtier-like phrases the 
almost startling truth emerges that Pierluigi is 
engaged on work of even more importance than 
that most important mass which reveals the 
Duke as much " master of the Muses as of the 
Mantuans ! " a neat compliment which it is to 
be hoped the Muses, who are more used to be 
wooed than governed, did not resent. The 
momentous work on which Pierluigi was engaged 
was a new set of Lamentations commissioned by 
the Pope himself (Gregory XIII.). In Capello's 

words : 

" Et a credere insieme che 1'occupationi di 
M. Gio da Palestina (sic) in comporre alcune 
lamentationi per ordine del Papa e nella cappella 


di quest! giorni santi hanno fatto tardare esso 
M. Gio a fare alcune poche consideration! et 
auertimenti sopra la detta compositioni : le quali 
si conosce bene essere stati da lui pretermessi per 
hauer atteso a cose maggiori." 

Which may be translated : 

"And likewise to believe that M. Gio da 
Palestina's labours in composing some lamenta- 
tions by the Pope's orders and in the choir 
during these holy days have caused M. Gio to be 
behindhand in making some few remarks and 
observations on the said composition, which we 
can well understand have been pretermitted by 
him because he had to attend to greater matters." 

This letter, not hitherto mentioned in 
existing biographies, refers to a set of Lamenta- 
tions which it may be well here to point out were 
anterior to those composed some years later for 
Sixtus V., not those, in short, which that Pope 
insisted (to the discomfiture of the Pontifical 
Choir) upon substituting for some hitherto in use 
by Carpentras. Pierluigi wrote four sets in all, 
the last being the first set to be published.* The 
Lamentations referred to by Capello were either 
those found in the Altaemps Chapel, or still 
another set supposed by Haberl to have been 
written while Pierluigi was Master of the Choir 
at S. Maria Maggiore. The evidence is in 

* It is to be found in vol. xxv. of the complete edition. 


favour of the latter hypothesis, as there exists in 
the library of the Cappella Julia a beautiful codex, 
on the first page of which is written in Pierluigi's 
handwriting : 

" libro contenente le lamentation! della settimana 
santa del Palestrina ; " 

identified as that attributed to the S. Maria 
Maggiore period. The point is of importance, 
as the first three sets bear neither date nor 

On the same date as that on which Capello's 
letter was written Pierluigi himself wrote to the 
Duke, apologizing for his delay and making a few 
rather perfunctory criticisms, though they were 
set forth with the usual complimentary additions. 
Ten months later, on February 9, 1575, he 
writes again, addressing the Duke by his 
recently acquired title "Duke of Mantua and 
Montferrata," bestowed by the Emperor Max- 
imilian II., and it is evident, from the nature of 
the letter, that he has been commissioned by his 
patron to set a canzone to music, though this has 
not yet been identified. One more incident in 
this year : the Chapter of S. Maria Maggiore tried 
to tempt Pierluigi to return to them by the time- 
honoured expedient of offering him a larger salary. 
Pierluigi took the favourable opportunity of 
convincing the Chapter of St. Peter that they 


had necessarily no monopoly of his services, and 
the Chapter recognized the cogency of the 
argument by raising his very moderate stipend to 
fifteen scudi, " in consideration of the worth and 
excellence of his person," thus honouring them- 
selves in their appreciation of their Magister 
Capellae Juliae. The matter was settled by the 
employment of white and black beans ; those in 
favour of the proposition using white, those 
against, black. A single black bean was dis- 
covered in the urn. It would be interesting to 
know who was the Beckmesser ! 

This pleasant little episode was hardly needed 
to show that Pierluigi was now receiving full 
public recognition. It was not to be expected 
that this should yet be complete a man's 
reputation rarely attains to this in his lifetime, and 
when it does it is not infrequently an unhealthy 
sign for its duration. But in the same year and 
in the last place where a prophet's fame is 
supposed to establish itself in his own country 
Pierluigi's fellow-citizens gave a signal proof of 
their pride and joy in their great townsman. 

It was the year of the Jubilee, and a great 
procession of some fifteen thousand persons 
streamed through the ancient gate of Palestrina 
on their way to Rome. The banners of the 
Confraternities of the Crucifixion led the way, 
followed by the Blessed Sacrament. The 


Palestrinians formed themselves into three choirs, 
and entered Rome singing Pierluigi's music. 
What they sang has not been recorded, only that 
it was " tre belle musiche," a statement easy of 
acceptance. This beautiful homage and public 
recognition from their own people was cer- 
tainly very gratifying to Pierluigi and his wife 
Lucrezia, and the memory would long abide with 

But joy was short-lived. Another great 
sorrow befell them, and their son Angelo died ; 
at a moment when life must have presented its 
most desirable aspect. Married while extremely 
young he cannot have been more than nineteen 
at the time he chose a wife from his father's 
birthplace, a rich burgher's daughter who brought 
him as dowry some 1740 scudi.* In February, 
1574, the young couple hired a house in the 
Eorgo (as the district within the fortified Leonine 
City was called) in the Piazza dell't Scarpellini y 
and there their first child was born who was 
baptized in November of that year. In 1576 
a son, Angelo (the first was a daughter, Aurelia) 
followed, the year of his father's death. There is 
nothing to show what struck the young man 

This, according to custom, was secured on her father-in-law's 
property, and we incidentally learn that Pierluigi possessed one house 
in the contrada Egypti, another in the regione Parionis in contrada 
Sard, and a vineyard near the ancient and beautiful church of S. 
Lorenzo outside the walls. 


down, but this new blow fell only three years 
after the death of Ridolfo, so it is no matter for 
astonishment that Pierluigi's health was shaken. 
Even the most buoyant nature could scarcely hope 
to react from so much grief, and in Angelo it is 
probable Pierluigi's hopes of a successor were 
centred, for the motet which is all that is at 
present known of his compositions much 
surpasses that of his brother or uncle. Though 
Ridolfo and Angelo were the only sons mentioned 
in the Bishop's letter : there was still a younger 
one, by name Igino. Of his personality the 
accounts are somewhat conflicting, but on the 
whole are not in his favour. Of him more later. 
There is no doubt that in Ridolfo and his brother 
Angelo Pierluigi possessed sons who would have 
brought great credit to their father's name, and 
with them disappeared much of the happiness 
life could afford him. 

We now come to a transaction which is far 
from clear. On October 25, in that year (1576), 
the Pope issued a brief that the Directorium Chori 
was to be revised. This was an inevitable 
sequence to the revision of the Breviary and 
Missal already completed in the previous reign. 
Obviously a colossal undertaking, it demanded 
unremitting attention and a corresponding ex- 
penditure of time. As was only to be expected, 
Pierluigi, with Annibale Zoilo, his successor at 


S. Giovanni in Laterano, was requested to do the 
work. It is said that the Graduate was actually 
completed, Pierluigi undertaking the Temporale 
and Zoilo the Sanctorale as their respective 
shares, when, for some unknown reason, they 
abandoned the project and made no attempt to 
get their already completed work published. 
Why ? There are various conjectures but no 
certainty. One explanation was that the revisers 
treated the ancient chant too drastically ; making 
alterations in the melodies and thus incurring the 
wrath of conservative persons. In support of 
this theory it remains on record that a certain 
Fernando de Las Infantas complained to no less 
a person than Philip II. of Spain on the subject, 
gaining his approval and valuable support in 
subsequent representations to the Holy Father. 
Another suggestion is that Pierluigi and Zoilo 
found they were expected to do the work for fame 
alone and, not being content with this, left it 
uncompleted. Were it so, that were as good a 
reason as any other : the labourer, indeed, being 
worthy of his hire ; but that would have consti- 
tuted a grievance, and there is no reason to 
suppose that Pierluigi considered himself badly 
treated. In 1582 the Bolognese, Giovanni 
Guidetti, one of Pierluigi's reputed pupils, also 
Chaplain to Gregory XIII., brought out his 
revision of the Qirectorium Chori, with a laudatory 


preface by Pierluigi. Surely this disposes effectu- 
ally of the supposition that there was anything 
unpleasant in the affair ? Guidetti followed this 
publication up with a setting of the Passion 
according to each of the four Gospels, an Office 
for Holy Week, the Lamentations, and the 
Prefaces. All these without any protest whatever 
from either Pierluigi or Zoilo ; indeed, in one 
instance, Pierluigi's co-operation is actually sus- 
pected. As far as posterity is concerned, it is 
evident that Pierluigi was more advantageously 
employed in giving to the world his masses and 
motets than on work which any good musician 
with the historical sense, with judgment and 
accuracy, could do as well ; and it is not im- 
possible that, perceiving this himself, he nominated 
Guidetti as a substitute. Yet one other possible 
explanation, a reference to which occurs in a letter 
from Annibale Capello to the Duke of Mantua 
under the date October 1 8, 1 573, may be advanced 
here. He tells the Duke that Pierluigi has been 
unable to give effect to certain wishes expressed 
by his patron on account of grave indisposition 
affecting both his head and his sight. Here is 
sufficient reason for abandoning a task involving 
great strain on eyesight, as well as close applica- 
tion. A letter from Pierluigi himself, a fortnight 
later, refers to his illness and in the following 
terms ; < 



" God knows that when the cantl fermi * were 
brought to me 1 was more distressed at my 
inability to serve you than by my illness." 

In a preceding letter Capello had written on a 
subject very near to the Duke's heart, the purity 
of the plainsong, and Pierluigi in his reply pro- 
ceeds to give interesting details upon the disposi- 
tion of the voices in a mass he had recently 
composed, the wording of the whole permitting 
the inference that the Duke had given him a 
similar commission to the one he was at that time 
engaged on for the Pope, the revision of the 
Ecclesiastical Chant. Here is the passage 

" Et se 1'Altezza V si contentara si mandaranno 
in stampa con il graduale che nostro signor mi ha 
commandato ch'io emendi." 

That is 

" If Your Highness agrees, these chants can be 
printed with the Gradual with whose revision 
His Holiness has commissioned me." 

As in the next letter a princely gift from the 
Duke of one hundred scudi f is mentioned, it 
may be assumed that Pierluigi had completed the 
work and satisfied his patron. During the rest 
of that year he continued to be deeply engaged 

* The Duke evidently selected the melodies himself on which 
he wished certain compositions to be constructed. 
f About ^125 in present-day value. 


in his service, for he himself mentions three 
masses undertaken at the Duke's request, and 
Capello refers to others. 

From 1580 to 1583 there is a gap in the 
letters and it is necessary to turn to other sources 
of information for particulars of Pierluigi's life 
during these years. Through the Register of 
Deaths belonging to St. Peter's, we learn that 
Lucrezia, Pierluigi's wife, after a married life 
lasting thirty-three years, died and was buried on 
July 23, 1580, in the Cappella Nuova of St. Peter's. 
The mother did not therefore long survive the 
death of her sons. Pierluigi, however, does not 
appear to have been left entirely alone. His 
youngest son, Igino, married Virginia Guarnacci 
in 1577, and in the register of St. Peter's 
occurs an entry referring to the baptism of 
their son Tommaso whose godfather was no less 
a person than Cardinal Sirleto. This member 
of the Sacred College occupied himself keenly 
in questions affecting the conservation of the 
ancient chant in its purity,* which may be taken 
as a sufficient explanation for his patronage of 
Pierluigi and his family. But it is to be surmised 
that the domestic situation was no easy one. 
Pierluigi had not only lost his beloved wife but 
the head of his household. As Master of the 

* It will be recalled that Sirleto wrote to Cardinal Cervini before 
he became Marcel lus II., on this subject. 


Julian Choir he had boys under his care, and a 
young daughter-in-law with small children a 
baby was born only three days after Lucrezia's 
death may quite conceivably have lacked the 
experience and leisure for the management of so 
complicated a household. Be this as it may, in 
1581, Pierluigi married again, choosing a wife 
suitable to a man of advancing years and failing 
health.- Victoria Dormuli was a rich widow and 
beyond this little is known of her, the only docu- 
ments throwing any light on the subject dealing 
with the business transactions incidental to a 
prosperous fur business she inherited from her 
first husband. From this she chiefly, though 
not entirely, derived her income, and according to 
a document discovered in recent years, Pierluigi 
figured in it as her partner until the business was 
placed in other hands for management. As 
nothing was known of this second marriage until 
the end of the nineteenth century, the Abbe* 
Baini, relying on the circumstance that Pierluigi's 
first marriage was known to be a very happy one, 
built up a romantic story of his despair, proceeding 
to give pathetic details of compositions produced 
under its influence. Obviously Pierluigi's speedy 
remarriage does not in any way exclude the 
genuineness of his profound sorrow. No one 
has the right to gauge the quality of such a grief 
on grounds Jike these. All honour to Victoriji 


Dormuli, who was ready to aid the great musician 
at so sad a crisis in his history. And before the 
year was out Death robbed him of his little grand- 
children, Angelo's son and daughter, who were 
left to their grandfather's charge on the re- 
marriage of their young mother. Is there any 
cause for astonishment that Fieri uigi sought to 
make headway against his misfortunes by building 
up his life again, or had felt the need of assistance 
in protecting the two young children in his care ? 


IN the year 1581 a new name appears in the 
annals of Pierluigi's life, that of a man to 
whose splendid and attractive figure it would 
not be difficult to write dedicatory epistles con amore. 
This was the young Duke of Sora, a son born to 
Gregory XIII. before he entered the priesthood. 
Tiepolo, the Venetian ambassador at the Papal 
Court, in a confidential report to his Government, 
describes him as well-versed in letters, graceful in 
manners, of a noble and liberal mind, with ability 
and judgment for anything to which he might 
apply his powers. In the Colonna Palace, hard 
by the church of the Santi Apostoli^ he and his 
wife a daughter of the House of Sforza lived 
magnificently ; and his entertainments were esti- 
mated as among the most brilliant Rome afforded, 
no light estimation in those days of gorgeous 
hospitality. The guess may be hazarded that 
Pierluigi had the direction of the inevitable music 
at these, for, in a dedication, he speaks of favours 
received from the Duke who, as was to be ex- 
pected, would hardly fail to enlist the services of the 



foremost musician at the Papal Court in organizing 
those noble fetes. The Palazzo Colon na was in 
itself a miniature Court, frequented by all who 
wished to be in the favour of the Pontiff, and if 
as is probable the Duke shared his father's 
marked predilection for the society of musicians 
(a predilection which was actually made a subject 
of reproach to the Pope in the last years of his 
Pontificate), the connection may be regarded as 
not only profitable but adding largely to the 
amenities of Pierluigi's life, Be this as it may, he 
dedicated to his young patron a book of motets 
for four voices, and the first book of madrigali 
spiritual! already mentioned as written for the use 
of S. Filippo's congregations. 

In the following year a fresh volume of 
masses appeared, dedicated to His Holiness. Of 
these, four out of seven were copied into the 
choir-books of the Sistine Chapel under distinctive 
titles, Pierluigi previously having designated them 
only by numbers. Missa Prlma thus became 
Lauda Sion ; Missa Tertia, Jesu nostra redemptio ; 
while a second Missa Tertia for five voices the 
preceding were for four received the title O 
magnum mysterium. This mass was already written 
in 1 57 1, the year of Pierluigi's return to St. Peter's, 
as is shown by the date worked into the orna- 
mental design of the Q in Qui tollis. Missa Prima 
has as its basic theme a melody proper to the 


Feast of Corpus Christi ; Missa Tertia, for four 
voices, the hymn for Ascensiontide, Jcsu nostra 
redemptio ; while Missa Tertia for five voices is 
taken from Pierluig'fs motet magnum mysterium. 
" Why," it may be asked, '* was it necessary to 
disguise these masses under a numerical nomen- 
clature if, as appears, the origin of their themes 
was in conformity with the injunctions of the 
Council of Trent ? " There is a reason though 
one only recently discovered. Missa Quarta 
conceals an old friend under its non-committal 
title. It is the second of Pierluigi's masses 
written on the famous melody " L'homme arme," 
again a proof that Pierluigi saw no harm in the 
practice of using secular themes as long as they 
were so employed that the mere layman had no 
opportunity of being scandalized thereby. 

It is curious to learn, at this time, that not- 
withstanding his favourable circumstances in 
Rome, Pierluigi evidently contemplated going to 
live in Mantua under the Duke's protection. It 
may be that he was grown restless under the 
savage blows Fate had dealt him, * and desired to 
seek fresh scenes, unhaunted by sad memories. 
At first there is no direct reference to the affair, 
but it may be inferred, after some preliminaries of 
which there is no record, that the Duke sent his 

* Indeed, within only a few months he had lost another grand- 
child, Igino's little son, 


secretary, Aurelio Zibramonte, to sound Pierluigi 
on the subject. If so, it was approached in what 
may be termed the diplomatic manner, for Zibra- 
monte asks Pierluigi to give his opinion on the 
merits of other musicians, subsequently writing to 
the Duke as follows : 

" Messer Giovanni da Palestrina discussed 
with me the project of making Messer Annibale 
Zoilo your choirmaster and will find out his point 
of view, and Don Annibale Capello tells me that 
Palestrina would be ready to serve your Highness, 
also commending his son who is a good musician, 
but I do not know the conditions to which he 

This letter, dated March 26, 1583, was 
followed by another a fortnight later : 

" Palestrina finds that Zoilo will not leave 
[Rome] on account of his wife and children and 
therefore falls back on Messer Luca Marentio, who 
serves the Cardinal d'Este, and S.S.S. thought of 
sending him to the King of France, for which 
reason he would not concede him to the Duke of 
Ferrara his brother." 

Here are highly interesting references to 
matters which require more explanation than they 
receive in the letter. Luca Marenzio so his 
name is usually spelt was not mentioned amongst 
Pierluigi's contemporaries in the short account 
given of these, for he cannot altogether be 


considered a typical member of the Roman School, 
but rather as a genius trained in it and finding 
his own brilliant path later. He takes rank as 
one of the most important musicians towards the 
latter decades of the century t Born in the neigh- 
bourhood of Brescia about 1550 he was thus a 
man of thirty-three at this time. As a writer of 
Church music his motets O quam gloriosum and 
Hodie Paulus /ipostolus are particularly fine ex- 
amples of a style based on the Palestrinian 
School ; but as a writer of madrigals he stands so 
high as to need a niche for himself. In this form 
of composition he uses chromatic harmonies pre- 
viously unknown, and though a great quantity of 
his works have not yet been translated into 
modern notation, sufficient is in existence to con- 
vince the student that Marenzio was little short of 
three hundred years in advance of his time. 
This is not, however, the place for the study of 
so interesting a personality. His reputation at 
the moment in which Zibramonte wrote to the 
Duke was already so high that he might well be 
considered a dangerous rival to Pierluigi himself 
" who," the letter continues, " affirms that this 
Marentio is not a better man than Soriano," 
Pierluigi's pupil, " neither in science, nor as a 
director of music (in attitudine di gonernar 
tnusici), and therefore counsels your Highness to 
think of some one else." There is no reason to 


suspect Pierluigi of insincerity here, nor of undue 
preference for his pupil, Soriano, who, as has 
already been pointed out, was a remarkable 
musician. Marenzio's madrigals were not here in 
question and as a writer of Church music, his 
work might fairly be compared with that of other 
excellent composers of that school, of whom 
Soriano was a typical example. It seems highly 
probable that Pierluigi was out of sympathy with 
Marenzio's secular compositions which, it is even 
reasonable to suppose, may have struck him as 
fantastic, revolutionary, almost unintelligible. 
Verily the old order changeth, giving place to 
new, and those of the old order often suffer from 
an inability to grasp the significance of experiments 
outside their own artistic experience. So much, 
then, for Marenzio, though the subject is tempting 
enough. But there remains another reference to 
a matter of historical interest which affords another 
instance of the high estimation in which music and 
musicians were at this time held. The Cardinal 
d'Este mentioned by Zibramonte was not, of course, 
Pierluigi's former patron, who had been dead for 
some years, but a son of Duke Ercole II., brother 
of the reigning Duke, Alfonso II. This Cardinal, 
Luigi d'Este, filled the ecclesiastical office of Pro- 
tector of France, for which reason he was styled 
Sua San fa Signoria, abbreviated as the S.S.S. of 
the letter. This sufficiently explains why he 


desired to perform the pleasing service of sending 
His Majesty the King of France such a distin- 
guished musician as Marenzio. 

Pierluigi's pupil Soriano was, at this moment, 
in the Duke of Mantua's service, but it appears to 
have been in the nature of a temporary appoint- 
ment which might become permanent ; some such 
inference may be drawn from Zibramonte's next 
letter, dated four days later : 

" Messer Giovanni da Palestrina has been to 
tell me this morning that for the love he bears his 
pupil Soriano it would displease him if he lost his 
position in your Highness's service on his account, 
but being devoted, as he is, to your Highness, 
does not wish to fail in holding himself ready to 
serve you, together with his young son aged 
twenty-two, who has a wife and a little son, and 
is studying the law, hoping to take his degree as 
Doctor in a year, after which your Highness will 
be able to employ him in your service as you may 
think suitable. I tried to find out what salary he 
desired, but always with much modesty he replied 
that he would serve your Highness for nothing if 
his circumstances permitted. He would be satis- 
fied with what was seemly and desired as much as 
would provide for himself and his family so that 
he was relieved from care on their account. Here 
he has 200 ducats (each of the value of 10 Julii) 
from the Chapter of St. Peter's for life as long as 
he serves them. He has a letter from His Holi- 
ness on this point according to which he cannot 


be deprived of this sum during his service. This 
proceeding has displeased the Chapter and in- 
terferes with the privilege of His Holiness to 
dismiss him at their pleasure.* Besides this, from 
other sources of income and from casual fees he 
receives about 50 ducats. He has also a certain 
income from His Holiness that he hopes will not 
be taken away from him if he enters your High- 
ness's service. His family numbers seven mouths, 
namely himself, his wife, his son, his daughter-in- 
law, the little grandchild, a man-servant, a maid. 
He wishes your Highness to pay the cost of the 
journey to Mantua and to house them in such a 
manner that they may live comfortably." 

This highly important letter gives the first 
opportunity of making an authoritative statement 
of Pierluigi's income at this time, and its discovery 
was the first indication of the hitherto unknown 
fact of his remarriage. Though the value of 
money constantly changed according to its pur- 
chasing power in the sixteenth century, the sum 
of two hundred ducats which formed Pierluigi's 
salary from the Chapter of St. Peter's may be 
reckoned as equal to fifty pounds, at present-day 
value two hundred and fifty pounds. About a 
quarter of that sum may be added to it from un- 
certain sources. The amount of the pension from 
the Pope's private purse is not specified. These 

* Apparently the Chapter were annoyed that the Pope had 
bpund himself to retain Pierluigi's services independently of thfir vrill, 


amounts, which are reckoned at the rate of a little 
over five times and a half as much, or rather 
under than over the estimated value according to 
modern computations, were the reward of his 
labours in connection with St. Peter's and do not 
include such items as fees for dedications to 
patrons, or for professional work elsewhere, for 
instance, in the Altaemps Chapel, etc., for it can 
hardly be supposed that these went unremunerated. 
Nor is there any mention here of income invested 
in private property, which would naturally remain 
outside the present discussion. The reference to 
his son, Igino, in the letter throws much light on 
that young man's history. There is no allusion 
elsewhere to his professional calling, though Zibra- 
monte's first letter states he is a good musician. 
Evidently Pierluigi regarded this as sufficiently 
important to be worthy of mention. He foresaw 
for his son a sphere of usefulness in a double 
capacity at the Mantuan Court. Now that Igino's 
profession is revealed it goes far to explain the 
love of litigation characteristic in later days, as 
well as a certain tendency to sharp practice which, 
however, defeated its own ends. Once again this 
letter illustrates Pierluigi's admirable care for his 
family, his desire to include them in any good 
fortune he might enjoy. There can be little 
doubt that this wrecked the project. " Provision 
for seven mouths," that illuminating phrase, was 


a heavy addition to the Duke's budget, and 
William of Mantua was, although a generous 
patron, a prudent man. In spite of his appre- 
ciation and admiration of the great musician, his 
earnest desire to give to Mantua the best the 
times afforded, he was careful not to imperil his 
engagements towards others already in his service 
by a too lavish expenditure on a new undertaking. 
So much is shown by the letters during the 
months of April and May, for those written on 
behalf of the Duke, while displaying eagerness, ask 
for a more explicit statement of Pierluigi's wishes 
regarding salary and expenses, desiring to know 
whether he is strong enough to bear the strain of 
Court life, the constant journeys in the Duke's 
train, the consequent separation from wife and 
family. To those acquainted with the chronicles 
of Court festivities in Milan and Ferrara to 
mention only two of the numerous Courts 
throughout Italy celebrated for the splendour of 
their entertainments these inquiries will seem 
pertinent enough. They may even have sug- 
gested doubts to Pierluigi himself, at this moment 
not far removed from sixty and in failing health. 
The Bishop of Alva, who now acts as go-between, 
is requested by the Duke to confine the bargain 
within certain financial limits and to inform Pier- 
luigi that his Highness possesses a house in 
Mantua where he and his family may live in 


comfort ; further, that the expenses of the journey 
will be borne by the Duke. In another letter, 
from the Duke's secretary, Giaches Wert's name 
is mentioned, and we learn that he is content with 
a salary of one hundred sctyfi, a house, and pro- 
vision for two mouths ; still, it is evident his 
Highness is very anxious to persuade Pierluigi, 
for after a night's reflection, he follows up this 
letter with another desiring the good Bishop to 
tell Pierluigi he will undertake to employ the 
son who is about to receive his doctor's degree, 
and that his Highness's service, always lucrative, 
will be made doubly so to one coming from 
Rome, and thoroughly conversant with ecclesi- 
astical procedure. But the Bishop writes that he 
has not succeeded in getting a definite statement 
from Pierluigi, though he hears from a third 
person, Annibale Capello, that the great musician 
will not leave Rome without a yearly stipend of 
two hundred ducats, the sum he already receives 
from the Chapter of St. Peter, not forgetting the 
provision for seven mouths. This constitutes a 
deadlock. The correspondence here breaks off 
and the rest is silence. Whether the Duke 
desired Annibale Capello to tell Pierluigi that his 
terms were too high, whether a letter from Pier- 
luigi, withdrawing from the transaction, is lost, 
the net result was that he remained in Rome. 
Possibly other considerations had their weight. 


Rooted deep in the life of the Papal Court, Pier- 
luigi was no longer young, Mantua was far from 
Rome and friends, far, too, from his property 
both here and in Palestrina ; his heart may very 
well have failed him before the final step. In any 
case, from whichever side the decision came the 
negotiations left no bitterness behind. The cor- 
respondence proceeds on the old lines of mutual 
respect and appreciation. After all, who could 
regret that Pierluigi remained in Rome, the faithful 
servant of St. Peter's, head of that grand school 
of composition recognized and admired by all ? 
Something in weight and dignity he would 
assuredly have lost as the Duke's choirmaster, 
even were the material advantages greater. Rome 
moulded him, crowned him, if sometimes the 
crown was of thorns, and the time was coming 
when her sacred dust would mingle with his, the 
imperishable part of him remaining to pulsate 
through the mighty church and to the summit 
of the great dome that her musician did not 
live to see completed. Considerations such as 
these may very well have stood for something in 
the abandonment of a plan, it may be, born of 
restlessness, the outcome of his sorrows, of the 
daily frictions and annoyances which attend the 
life of every great artist. 


BETWEEN the years 1582 and 1584 
details are again lacking of Pierluigi's 
life. But in 1583 there is just one 
glimpse of him, for the Company of Rome so it 
was styled came into existence, a society created, 
it appears from the evidence, to assist that scheme, 
dear to the heart of every Roman, of ousting the 
foreigner. In this object it obviously co-operated 
with the Julian Choir, partly founded for a similar 
purpose. This conclusion is based on two facts : 
that the Pontifical Choir, composed largely of 
foreigners, fought it tooth and nail, passing a 
resolution condemning any of its members to a 
fine who had dealings with the Company of Rome, 
and that the list of the Company consisted ex- 
clusively of native musicians.* On this ground 
an explanation of the circumstance that Vittoria 
the Spaniard was not made a member may be 
sought. The quarrel between the Pontifical 
Choir and the Company of Rome did not endure, 

* Thus were the foundations laid of a national school which, 
in a reorganized form, exists to-day as the Academy of St. Cecilia. 




for already in 1589 a collection of madrigals 
issued by the latter and edited by Anerio, there 
described as Master of the Choir, included 
amongst the compositions of Pelestino (sic) Dra- 
goni, Soriano, Marenzio, Stabile, Giovanelli, Ber- 
nardino Nanino and others, works by three 
members of the Pontifical Choir. The publica- 
tion, by the way, was quaintly entitled le gioie, or 
the jewels. 

From 1584 onwards the thread may be picked 
up once more as there are two letters from Pier- 
luigi to the Duke of Mantua, the first of which, 
dated August 27, begins: "The boundless 
obligations I have towards your Highness," and 
proceeds to offer him a copy of the " new book of 
motets on the Song of Solomon.*' These magni- 
ficent compositions had a complete and instant 
success. Baini surpasses himself in their pane- 
gyric and with reason, for the Master is here a 
creator of a new species of composition. It must 
always be borne in mind that if a modern com- 
poser wishes to set this or that text to music he 
has an inexhaustible fount of musical types to 
choose from, proceeding to adorn it by the light 
of any originality in himself. He may, indeed, 
accomplish his task in a form having all the appear- 
ance of a new idiom ; it will not be long, however, 
before the critics have discovered this or that 
analogy ; this or that derivation from other 


composers ; or, failing that, the use of some ancient 
theory of sound or scale. In the sixteenth century 
it was otherwise. Composers, then, were not 
compelled to choose between a more or less 
marked plagiarism or eccentricity. They were 
groping their way step by step along a beautiful 
strange road ; led spiritually, with the better 
expression of the Church's meaning as their 
guiding star. In the preface Pierluigi speaks of 
genere alacriore of a more animated species. 
There was already a breath of this spirit in the 
madngali spiritually hardly ecclesiastical, certainly 
not secular ; rather warm, human, expressive. 
But here he is aided by the quality of the text 
and the marvellous imagery of the Eastern King's 
poem, liberating a quality of expressiveness which 
the reticence of the Church musician had pre- 
viously held in reserve. There must be no 
misunderstanding here. There was no attempt 
at realism, for the Bible was still the Sacred Book, 
not having yet become the gold-mine for the 
scene-painter, the playwright, the musician. To- 
day, danced to a chromatic tone-scheme which has 
little or nothing in common with the music of the 
East, the story of the Baptist and the daughter of 
Herodias furnishes a stage-setting for the newest 
dancer or for the display of the latest harmonic 
effect. Joseph provides a study of erotic emotion ; 
Samson the spectacle of the strong man entangled 


in the siren's toils. Already Solomon's beautiful 
poem is transferred to the film of a cinematograph, 
possibly with music illustrative of " The beloved 
skipping upon the hills," or "The little foxes 
spoiling the grapes." Without dwelling further 
on the consequent loss and degradation, Pierluigi's 
music may be recommended to those who grieve 
at such a state of things. In these exquisite 
motets, written before the operatic idea had taken 
root in human consciousness, is to be found the 
one tolerable medium for conveying a passionate 
symbolism that only man in the beauty of a 
pastoral simplicity might dare to use. Not a 
vestige of the dramatic or the sensuous is there^ but 
a longing so etherealized, so rare that it forms a 
truly wonderful expression of soaring idealism. 
The music interprets an inner ecstasy not to be 
reached through the medium of words. Here is 
something more than the old Platonic definition 
of the movement of sounds so as to reach the 
soul for the education of it in virtue ; much 
more than the Renaissance ideal of pure beauty, 
for it adorns these conceptions with spirituality. 

In the letter accompanying the gift of this 
volume to the Duke Pierluigi communicates the 
fact that he has another work in hand. This was 
probably his fifth book of motets, published in 
that year by Gardano of Rome, and dedicated to 
the young Cardinal-prince, Andrea Bathory, 


nephew of the famous and knightly Stephen, King 
of Poland. This young man, of extremely pious 
disposition, was sent by his uncle on an embassy 
to the Papacy late in 1583. Delighting in music, 
he naturally sought out Pierluigi, who was at that 
moment in full enjoyment of the fame and 
acclamation his motets on the Song of Solomon 
brought him. Delighted with the pleasant, grace- 
ful manners of the young prince, Pierluigi forth- 
with desired to pay him the compliment of a 
dedication before his departure from Rome, and 
hurried this fifth book of motets through the 
press, adding compositions not originally intended 
in the scheme. Thus Surge Sancte Dei de hablta- 
tione tua and Ambula Sancte Dei ad locum pre- 
destinatum are motets belonging to the year 1580 ; 
written for certain solemn festivities which took 
place in connection with the transference of the 
relics of St. Gregory Nazianzen. While Bathory 
\vas in Rome Gregory presented him with the 
Cardinal's hat, for which reason his stay was 
prolonged beyond his original intention, and 
Pierluigi therefore had the pleasure of presenting 
the new volume in person. It was a high com- 
pliment to pay, for among the contents of this 
book, surely worthy of the title given by the 
Company of Rome to their firstfruits, are to be 
found such "jewels" as the motet for Ascension- 
tide, Tempus est ut revertar and the exquisite Salve 


Regina. The flummery of the dedication reads 
in sharp contrast with the high morality of these 
noble works, but these things must be accepted 
with philosophy. Disparities in station and rank 
yawned wider then than now ; though kings 
might, and did, pick up the paint brushes of 
geniuses, though an amazing liberty of speech 
was permitted between Pope and craftsman, 
though poetasters and dramatists enjoyed nothing 
less than public adulation, the barrier was in- 
surmountable and all were at the mercy of a more 
or less arbitrary will. There were always bold 
spirits whom not even a dungeon could subdue ; 
still, for the most part, the artist, intent on 
securing a quiet and safe life for the prosecution 
of his studies, surrounded himself with patrons as 
great and as powerful as circumstances permitted, 
and addressed them in language as obsequious as 
their ratio of usefulness was high. Before pre- 
suming to condemn Pierluigi for following the 
custom of his time, it may be well to ask ourselves 
if the spirit which prompted these courtier-like 
effusions is as dead now as were to be wished ? 
More adroit it may be, less servile it certainly is, 
as the sense of humour has developed. Pomposity 
and long-windedness are elbowed out by rapid 
locomotion ; " Your Highness's most obleeged " 
is as superannuated as the blunderbuss on 
Hampstead Heath. The man of genius and no 


cash must find other and more subtle ways of 
achieving that union between capital and labour 
which forms the desired goal, but the probabilities 
are that had he lived in the sixteenth century he 
would not have found the slightest inconvenience 
in comparing his patron to Phoebus Apollo, such 
being the custom, and would have meant no more 
by it than the more discreet and self-respecting 
phrases in usage now. 

Another letter to the Duke of Mantua is in 
existence for the year following. Evidently 
accompanying compositions, not specified, it is 
interesting on account of a phrase Pierluigi 
employs there a reference to himself as quasi 
seniliy " getting old " ; a reminder that he is now 
fifty-nine and stands at the beginning of his last 
decade. Nevertheless these were years yielding 
some of his noblest compositions. In the same 
letter he makes a playful reference to himself as 
" il Palestina," showing that this quaint variation 
of his name at the hands of the Duke's secretaries 
had not escaped him. 

Earlier in this year* Gregory XIII. 's ponti- 
ficate came to an end. It was one of stirring 
incidents, such as the war with the Turks, the 
question of the Huguenots, the dispute over the 
jurisdiction of the Church ; events in which, as a 
loyal Churchman, Pierluigi certainly took deep 

* '585. 


interest. The inevitable political and social un- 
rest attending the death of the Head of Christen- 
dom, the accompanying ceremonies a matter of 
personal import to the Master of the Julian 
Chapel to which by this time he was well 
accustomed,* the uncertainty attending the election 
of the new Pope ; all these factors indubitably 
affected his life and work at this time. At one 
phase in the proceedings of the subsequent conclave 
it seemed not unlikely that Cardinal Sirleto would 
be elected as Gregory's successor. From his 
well-known interest in Church music it is to be 
presumed that such an election would have been 
favourable to the musicians, but the tide turned in 
the direction of Cardinal Montalto, who, " elected 
as an old man threw away his crutch, and he who 
had before pretended incapacity, disease, old age, 
and an almost timid complaisance was then at once 
made active, vigorous, and haughty, and began to 
exhibit his unheard-of ferocity." f Unfortunately 
for those who prefer a picturesque tale, this 
account is as fantastic as that of Pierluigi's start 
in life as a beggar-boy,J the truth being that 
Sixtus V. was " a man in good health, active and 
full of life ; nay, that he was still so vigorous and 
in the full force of his years, is adduced as one of 

* Gregory was the sixth Pope elected since Pierluigi's residence 
in Rome. 
f Ranke. 
J Given by the older biographies. 


the motives of his election " ; an interesting 
instance of varying points of view. 

On the occasion when Sixtus made his cere- 
monial entry in St. Peter's it is on record that a 
mass was sung composed expressly for the occasion 
by Pierluigi, who had chosen for his theme the 
subject from his motet with the title Tu es Pastor 
ovium ; but the choice of words was not sufficient 
to ensure its approval by Sixtus, who is reported 
to have compared the music unfavourably with 
that of the Missa Papae Marcelli. Whether or 
no this statement can be relied upon, at all events 
Pierluigi was not dissatisfied with his mass, for he 
included it shortly before his death in a volume 
of others. If his enemies rejoiced over the 
Pope's adverse criticism, their triumph was short- 
lived. Tu es Pastor ovium was followed by a 
masterpiece of the first order. This is the famous 
mass Assumpta est Maria, of which it is hard to 
speak in sober terms. From the opening phrases 
of the Kyrie the elevation of spirit, suavity, virgin 
quality of sound, grip the hearer and convey the 
instant conviction of greatness. It has been 
remarked that Pierluigi must have had a special 
veneration for the Queen of Heaven. Certain 
is it that in all text relating to our Lord's mother 
he employs what may be described as a certain 
atmospheric quality, a purity, clarity of tone in 
remarkable harmony with the attributes of the 


Virgin-mother. An analysis of the mechanical 
means by which he achieves this reveals only a 
certain grouping of the voices, an inclination to 
employ the higher registers of these, thus creating 
an open, pulsating effect, very sweet and calm. 
In the Gloria he illustrates the passage Tu solus 
ahissimus with an ascending passage culminating 
on the final word (in the part assigned to the first 
tenor) with the triumphant sweep upwards of an 
octave. The satisfying effect of this simple 
device is heightened by the apparently ingenuous 
scale-passage down which the voices proceed to 
the final "Amen." Its simplicity recalls the 
work of Fra Angelico, the more subtle in its 
power over the imagination by reason of its 
inherent quality of apparent candour. Attention 
may be called to this mass as a remarkable in- 
stance of Pierluigi's method of dividing the voices 
antiphonally. An instance occurs in the opening 
bars in the first Kyrie where two sopranos and 
the first tenor are grouped against contralto, 
second tenor, and bass. In this way he obtains 
that contrast of timbre which is so extraordinarily 
effective in a great space where resonance has free 
play. The first performance of this chef aceuvre 
was on August 15, 1585, the Festival of the 
Assumption. It is said that so much haste was 
required to get it finished that Pierluigi left 
insufficient time for the copying of the voice- 


parts, resorting, at the last moment, to the 
printing-press from which, in five days, the first 
impression was issued, without date, composer's, 
or publisher's name. The ceremonies of thefesta 
took place as usual in S., Maria Maggiore, and 
Sixtus is reported to have left the church smiling, 
remarking that the new mass could be from no 
other pen but Pierluigi's, an amende honorable 
perhaps if necessarily obvious. One of the results 
of this triumph may be identified in a curious 
affair, the threads of which are difficult to unravel. 
A few months later another attempt was made to 
include Pierluigi among the members of the 
Pontifical Choir, this time as Maestro della Cappella. 
Did Pierluigi desire it, or was the initiative to be 
sought elsewhere ? Did Sixtus wish that the 
lustre of this great musician's name should be 
added to his official choir ? The accounts are so 
deficient and so confused that it is impossible to 
arrive at a conclusion. The probabilities point to 
indiscreet action on the part of Pierluigi's ad- 
mirers, roused, it may be, to enthusiasm by his 
latest masterpiece, for it is almost inconceivable 
that Pierluigi, who knew his Rome, should have 
placed himself in a position to be flouted by the 
Pontifical Choir. Here are the facts. The 
project was set on foot by a person unknown. 
A certain Monsignor Antonio Boccapadule under- 
took the office of go-between, and not the least 


remarkable part of the affair is that he himself 
was Master of the Choir, the very person, it 
might have been thought, interested in keeping 
Pierluigi out. This may be regarded as an 
argument for the theory advanced by some, that 
Sixtus himself had a hand in the matter, for who 
so well able to compensate Boccapadule for his 
self-abnegation ? At first he proceeded in a 
diplomatic manner, canvassing the younger mem- 
bers of the choir. On finding that one of these, 
a certain Tommaso Benigni, was in favour of the 
scheme he commissioned this personage to sound 
the other members. His enthusiasm for the 
matter in hand appears to have misled him : 
possibly, indeed, the choir was backward in 
giving an opinion, not desiring without strong 
support to advance into the open. Benigni took 
this caution for assent, and from his account of 
the matter considered himself justified in calling 
a meeting at his house. To his astonishment 
opposition of the most determined character 
manifested itself, the members of the choir object- 
ing thus did history repeat itself that Pierluigi 
was a layman and married. Boccapadule did not 
at once lose courage, possibly thinking the 
opposition would die down. This was not the 
case. A few days later a meeting was called at 
the Chapter-house, all the singers being present, 
and not only was the proposal quashed, but 


Benigni was subjected to a severe reprimand and 
to a fine for introducing a measure he well knew 
to be contrary to the fundamental laws of his 
corporation. But according to Baini the matter 
did not rest here. Taking the view that Sixtus 
himself desired Pierluigi's election but did not 
wish to appear as prime mover in the project, 
knowing full well that it was not in accordance 
with the regulations the Abbe proceeds to tell 
us that the Pope forthwith dismissed four singers 
in excess of the stipulated number, as if desiring 
to give an emphatic hint that such sticklers for 
the strict letter of the law as the Pontifical singers 
revealed themselves to be should set their house 
in order. True or not, one fact may with 
certainty be established. Shortly afterwards the 
official title of "Composer to the Pontifical 
Choir " was formally bestowed by the Pope on 
Pierluigi. This may be taken as a reparation for 
a painful affront, for it can scarcely be doubted 
that the affair was intensely disagreeable to the 
great musician. Thus his standing was defined 
and, though not actually a member, his new title 
gave him the coveted official position in the 
celebrated choir. As a coda to the proceedings, 
Sixtus, in the following year, issued a Bull con- 
firming the pretensions of the Choir to elect their 
own Master from amongst themselves one with 
fifteen years' service behind him, or failing that, 


the next in order of seniority. This might 
certainly be advanced as an argument against 
Baini's account that Sixtus had something to do 
with the scheme to make Pierluigi Maestro della 
Cappella Pontificate. In any case the singers vindi- 
cated their attitude and prevented any further 
attempt to tamper with their statutes. 

Possibly in celebration of his new appoint- 
ment, Pierluigi presented the Choir with two 
masses at this time : Salve Regina for five voices 
and Ecce ego Joannes for six. Ambros relates that 
little care was taken of the original manuscripts ; 
they were not, as was customary, copied into the 
great choir-books, and had not the choirmaster 
Orfei, after Pierluigi's death, put them into a 
safe place they would have been lost. As this 
cannot be attributed to ignorance it must be set 
down to jealousy of a peculiarly petty kind. If 
the world could have afforded to lose any of 
Pierluigi's works it would certainly not have been 
that most noble work Ecce ego Joannes, for although 
presenting points of contrast with the style 
of Missa Papae Marcelli and Assumpta est Maria t 
it reveals no diminution of strength, but rather 
a ripeness of conception, a philosophic cast of 
thought which stamp it as one of the greatest of 
his masses. It is evident that Pierluigi might dare 
to style himself quasi senili> for his intellectual 
vigour was worthy the envy of younger men. 


His genius was of that order which time only 
ripens, and, until the end, there was to be 
no faltering in the stately procession of his 
works. The curious story is fairly typical of 
experiences common to every great man. Indeed, 
it may be argued that without these petty vexa- 
tions fame cannot be considered as secure. 
Jealousy, conscious or unconscious, welcomes 
every opportunity of diminishing the success of a 
rival, and only great souls can resist its prompt- 
ings or withstand its attacks. But the surmise 
may be permitted that Pierluigi had already 
acquired that serenity born of the conviction that 
brain and intellect have reached the goal for which 
every genius strives, that self-expression which 
brings its own reward. 


PIERLUIGI'S connection with the House 
of Gonzaga came to an end with the 
death of the Duke in the year 1587. 
His relations with William of Mantua had never 
been anything but creditable to them both ; on the 
one side the connoisseur capable of appreciating 
the greatness of the artist, on the other a dignified 
service for the favours received. Flattering as 
the phrases are in Pierluigi's dedications to his 
patron there is a ring of sincerity, for the artist 
perceives him capable of discrimination, and for 
that reason well worth serving. A study of the 
Mantuan records shows that the Duke's love of 
the arts was no mere accident. Very early in its 
history the Court of Mantua established its repu- 
tation as a centre of cultivation and learning, and 
William was not the first of his house to interest 
himself in the theories of composition. Amongst 
the archives for the year 1553 there exists an 
account of the performance of Ariosto's / Sup- 
itiy the entr'actes for which were composed by 

'45 L 


Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga,* regent of Mantua 
during Duke William's minority. Unfortunately 
none of the Duke's compositions, up to the 
present moment, have been traced, but entries in 
the Court accounts referring to the sending of 
music-paper from Venice, from the year 1560 
onwards, correspond with the particulars of the 
Duke's compositions as revealed in his letters and 
serve to indicate this as no temporary whim but 
a serious and ardent study, to which he particu- 
larly applied himself (according to a statement in 
one of the letters) on those villegiature during the 
summer months which the notoriously unhealthy 
climate of Mantua rendered at this time impera- 
tive. In 1583 he sent a set of madrigals to the 
press, " not," as he quaintly explains, " through 
ambition, but that it be not labour lost," former 
works, it seems, having been lost, " and," he con- 
tinues, " so as to be able to enjoy the fruits of 
past industry." Here is the measure of the man, 
intellectually humble, discerning, not to be cajoled 
by courtiers, conscious how hard it was for a 
prince to receive the benefit of honest criticism. 
These published madrigals are doubtless those of 
which he sent a copy to the Court of the Estes, 
also in the year 1583, and of which Ludovico 

* It is truly astonishing that this most powerful Cardinal, who 
had a finger in every diplomatic pie in Europe, yet found time for 
the art of composition. 


Agostino, its choirmaster and composer, writes as 
follows : " The madrigals were sung in very good 
company, and they caused every one who heard 
them to marvel, not only through their excellence 
but because they appeared worthy of imitation.'* 
The latter part of the sentence may be taken as im- 
plying a certain amount of originality on the part 
of the princely composer, or it may be a reference 
to that bello stifitio and spirito vivo alle parole of 
which Pierluigi speaks in the letter, already quoted, 
of March 3, 1570. The Prince was noted for 
his generosity, and not alone to his dependants, 
one of his last acts being the gift of his Abbey of 
Fellonico to the Pontifical Choir, to be used by 
them as a place of relaxation and repose, the in- 
come from which was to remain at their disposal ; 
a practical instance of his interest in all matters 
affecting the musical portion of the Roman 
Liturgy. While it is impossible to regret that 
Pierluigi's life was not spent in the smaller world 
of the Mantuan Court, it is highly probable that 
it would have been calmer, freer from anxiety. 
If, however, the point be considered objectively 
it will be seen that here is, after all, only another 
reason for satisfaction that Pierluigi remained in 
Rome ; what great artist was ever the better for 
freedom from those very cares which act as a 
stimulus to his genius ? 

The Mantuan correspondence continues to 


within the last month of the Duke's life. The 
final letter, dated July 6, 1587, was from Pier- 
luigi, written to introduce a certain Stefano 
Ugeri, a Cremonese, whose name is to be found 
in the Papal Choir lists from 1585 to 1591. He 
was the bearer of unnamed compositions from 
Pierluigi's pen, and the letter further informs the 
Duke that Ugeri is an inmate of his house, an 
interesting detail apparently warranting the as- 
sumption that Pierluigi admitted other musicians 
to his board beyond those he received in his 
official capacity as Master of the Julian Choir.* 
Or it may be read as a proof that he did, as 
Baini maintains, live in the choir-house at the 
entrance to the atrium of the old basilica, osten- 
sibly intended for the Julian Choir but possibly 
capable of housing more than the regulation 
number of musicians attached to that foundation. 
Meagre as the reference is it is very welcome, for 
so little information can be gleaned as to Pier- 
luigi's domestic circumstances. Thus this highly 
interesting correspondence closes, and Duke 
William of Mantua passes out of Pierluigi's 

For one more detail of this year we turn to 
the archives of Palestrina, where it still remains 
on record that Pierluigi added yet another to the 

* Between 1612 and 1615 Ugeri was Maestro di Cappella in 
the Pontifical choir. 


vineyards he possessed there.* The guess may be 
hazarded that no summer passed without a sojourn 
in that place of cool and fragrant breezes so 
conveniently situated for the long villegiature 
essential to all persons residing in beautiful but 
insalubrious Rome. A tradition, indeed, exists 
that he spent much time there, honoured by his 
townsmen and surrounded by kinsfolk. A few 
of the latter maybe established with certainty, the 
organist (since 1571) of S. Agapito, Cesare 
Veccia,f with others of that name ; Pierluigi's 
sister Palma, married to a burgher of the town in 
1562, her celebrated brother, as head of the 
family, providing the indispensable dowry. Until 
1581 his two grandchildren, Angelo's son and 
daughter, during their pathetically short lives, 
were much with their maternal grandfather, Pier- 
luigi paying for their keep. Near enough for 
frequent visits, far enough to provide a pleasant 
haven of rest from the busy Roman life, the 
musician's birthplace must often have been in his 
thoughts. The lovely chains of hills around it 
were typical of those contrapuntal chains from 
which he wove his suave and ecstatic melodies ; 
the glories of a dying sunset over the Campagna 
of those melting, sighing closes to a Benedictus or 

* A similar purchase is recorded under the date of 1584. 

f The Veccias were relations of his first wife, Lucrezia. In 
1566 he placed two boys of that name, his nephews, in the Roman 


Agnus Dei. Beauty enveloped him here, he had but 
to interpret its message interpret, yet something 
more. Is not genius the critical faculty in man 
born of that Spirit which breathed over the beauty 
of the Creation and " saw that it was good " ? 
Surely the "eyes to see" went with the "ears to 
hear " in Pierluigi's artist-nature so that he rested 
better in these surroundings than elsewhere. With 
the Psalmist he might have said, " O what great 
troubles and adversities hast Thou showed me, 
yet didst thou turn and refresh me, yea, and 
broughtest me from the deep of the earth again." 
And he could well have added, "Thou hast 
brought me to great honour and comforted me on 
every side." Where the capacity for suffering is 
great so is that for joy, and it is pleasant to think 
that, like a patriarch amongst his vines and olives, 
Pierluigi in Palestrina found this true. 

His creative activity during the next few years 
was truly remarkable. It was as if he realized that 
his time was getting short, and wished to provide 
the Church he served so indefatigably with com- 
positions for every conceivable ecclesiastical 
function. A fresh set of Lamentations, Magnifi- 
cats, hymns, litanies, and offertories composed 
for the whole of the Church year succeeded each 
other. The inexhaustible riches of his imagina- 
tion were never more apparent than in his treat- 
ment of the ancient plain-song melodies forming 


the basis of these volumes, than in his freedom and 
variety within the limits of a litany , hymn, or Magnifi- 
cat. One word as to the Lamentations. These, the 
only set published during his lifetime, were dedi- 
cated to the Pope, and this dedication is known 
to all students of Pierluigi's life, as giving rise to 
suppositions which, in the light of recent discovery, 
no longer seem to be justified. In it he complains 
bitterly of his poverty, the basis of Baini's view 
as to the bad state of his finances. What, then, 
was its true explanation ? Sixtus, a man of force- 
ful character, was certainly not to be hoodwinked 
by pleas of poverty designed to open his purse- 
strings, and nothing we know of Pierluigi warrants 
such a theory, though it has been freely advanced. 
Probably Haberl is right when he surmises that 
the great composer was thinking not only of the 
splendid volumes which Orlandus Lassus, and Vit- 
toria were able to bring out, but also of the large 
quantity of his still unpublished works, not only 
unpublished during his lifetime, but even remain- 
ing so until the end of the last century. In this 
connection it is significant that not until his 
marriage to a woman of considerable means was 
he enabled to bring out fine editions. This fact 
speaks for itself. After all, words are relative, 
and Pierluigi was given to a certain picturesque 
expression of his experiences, as may be deduced 
already from the dedication to his first book of 


masses (inscribed to Julius III.), and from his 
exaggerated repentance for those secular com- 
positions so innocuous to modern eyes. In this 
instance he may have had hopes of persuading 
Sixtus into ordering a collected Vatican edition 
of the works of the " Composer to the Pontifical 
Choir," and if so, there was nothing extravagant 
in such an aspiration ; but the Pope, whose splen- 
did architectural schemes were cribbed, cabined, 
and confined by the depressed state of the Ponti- 
fical exchequer, and who was notoriously in 
difficulties with regard to the funds for the 
completion of the new basilica, remained deaf to 
the hint, and Pierluigi gained nothing by his 

Sixtus died in August. The five years of 
his active reign brought about many changes in 
Rome, and Pierluigi was now able to walk into 
the new cathedral and marvel at the mighty enter- 
prise. Here is a contemporary account of its 
state at the moment of the Pope's death. 
Though still unfinished, " the great dome and the 
smaller dome, and also the enclosure which they 
call the greater chapel, together with other smaller 
chapels, and the whole building of the new church 
dedicated to St. Peter the Apostle" were in 
existence.* This was the great fact of Pierluigi's 
life and, in some aspects, must have appeared 

* Cardinal Santaseverino (Ranke's translation). 


more astounding then than now, as there was 
no facade to conceal the extraordinary size 
of its proportions as it rose, symmetrical and 
dominating, from the mass of scaffolding and 
half-ruined buildings a portent of the new 

Another period of uncertainty and unrest 
followed the great Pope's death. His successor, 
Urban VII., did not survive his election more 
than a fortnight. A fresh conclave was imme- 
diately called, but an immense time was consumed 
in deliberations, and it was not before December 5 
that Cardinal Ugo Buoncompagni of Bologna 
assumed the tiara as Gregory XIV. Gorgeous 
ceremonial, stately Requiem, alternating with the 
street-rows which invariably attended the election 
of the Pontiff, Te Deums and shouts of Evviva il 
Papa centred around the spot where Pierluigi 
had his dwelling namely, the precincts of the 
Vatican from which he concluded in this year 
the purchase of a vineyard in the neighbourhood 
of Rome.* Unfortunately, the document which 
substantiates this statement merely states "in 
his house by St. Peter's," so we are no wiser 
than we were before. Earlier in the year he 
again added to his possessions in Palestrina, buy- 
ing a garden, stable, and certain plots of land. 

One of Gregory XIV.'s first official acts affected 

* Haberl. 


Pierluigi pleasantly enough the augmentation of 
the salaries of the Pontifical Choir, amongst whom 
was included their Composer. Just before this, a 
fifth book of masses made its appearance, contain- 
ing the exquisite little Iste Confessor and the equally 
well-known &tcrna Christi munera. It was dedi- 
cated to Duke William of Bavaria,* the generous 
patron of Lassus. There is no record of any 
acknowledgment from the Duke of this dedi- 
cation, which was possibly prompted by a desire 
on Pierluigi's part to show himself in friendly 
rivalry with Lassus. Once again a mass may be 
mentioned constructed on a secular theme, Nasce 
la giola mia. Baini is at great pains to explain 
this away, dwelling on the fact that Lassus had 
done the same thing, but, as has already been 
pointed out, Pierluigi was indifferent to the letter 
of the law if the substance was respected ; relying 
on his skill in transforming the material. Imme- 
diately after the appearance of this volume he 
brought out the Magnificats already referred to, 
dedicated to Gregory XIV. They appeared only 
a few days before that Pontiff's death, which 
occurred on October 15, 1591. 

The events of the previous year now repeated 
themselves. Innocent IX. was elected, only to 
die on the last day but one of the year. A con- 
clave sat throughout the whole of January, at the 

* He succeeded Duke Albert, his father, in 1579. 


end of which time Cardinal Ippolito Aldobrandini 
was chosen, and seated himself on the Papal throne 
as Clement VIII., bringing about the curious co- 
incidence that Pierluigi's life was spanned between 
the reigns of Clement VII. and Clement VIII. 
No fresh works were issued from the press during 
this year, for which Baini accounts by an illness, 
though on what evidence does not appear. In 
the following year the afore-mentioned Offertories 
and two volumes of Litanies were published, the 
first of these dedicated to a new patron, a French- 
man of noble family, the Abbe de Baume, a fer- 
vent admirer of the Master at this period, who 
gave him cause for warm expressions of gratitude. 
Simultaneously another patron appears, the young 
Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, a nephew of the 
Pope, who had been trained in that order of 
Oratorians which owed its foundation to S. Filippo. 
To this young man Pierluigi dedicated his sixth 
book of masses, containing Dies sancttficatus ; In 
te Domine speravi ; his second mass with the title 
Sine NominCy concealing a fresh employment of a 
secular theme " Je suis desheritee " ; Quampulchra 
es for four voices and Di/exi quoniam, for five. 
While these were yet in the press Pierluigi dedi- 
cated a book of madrigali spirituah to the wife of 
Ferdinando de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, 
who, originally a Cardinal, succeeded on the 
death of his brother to the Grand Duchy, and, 


relinquishing his Cardinalate, married, never 
having taken vows. 

These are the last works of which Pierluigi 
actually superintended the publication, though a 
seventh book of masses 'was already sent to be 
printed when he was seized with violent illness. 
This was an attack of pleurisy on January 26, 
1594, from which his enfeebled constitution was 
unable to rally. Baini gives many touching details 
of these last sad days, of which, however, no cor- 
roboration can be found. That Pierluigi was, as 
he asserts, supported during his illness by his friend 
S. Filippo Neri has only probability in its favour, 
but if so, he was in the best of hands. He who 
had instituted the Order for the contemplation of 
celestial things by means of musical harmonies 
could understand, could help, as no other. And 
when the light grew dim and the world receded, 
surely the dying musician heard in the gathering 
darkness harmonies more supernal, more ravish- 
ing, than any finding their way to earth through 
his brain and hand " the voices of harpers harp- 
ing with their harps ; and they sung as it were a 
new song before the throne, and before the four 
beasts, and the elders ; and no man could learn 
that song but the hundred and forty and four 
thousand which were redeemed from the earth." 

The boy-genius from the Sabine hills had done 
his work. Step by step, emerging from obscurity 


to fame, he bore music aloft and taught it to 
express all that the tongue dare not utter, because 
such emotion, such ecstasy, is too great for 
words defiled by common use. Now silence was 


PIERLUIGI was buried, according to 
custom, on the day he died. His body 
was enclosed in a plain coffin with a 
leaden plate, on which was inscribed 


That the funeral rites were performed with 
all possible honour and dignity can be established 
from contemporary accounts. Here is one from 
the Puntatore or Registrar of the Pontifical Choir 

"February 2, 1594. This morning died the 
most excellent musician, Signor Giovanni Pier- 
luigi, our dear companion, and Maestro di Cappella 
at St. Peter's Church, whither his funeral was 
attended not only by all the musicians of Rome, 
but by an infinite concourse of people, when 
Libera me Domine was sung by the whole College." 

Another account adds the detail that Libera 
me Domine was sung to his setting, a five-part 
psalm for three choirs.* According to Baini, the 

* For other account see Torrigio, Le Sacrt Grotte ^aticane. 


distance from the choir-school being so short, the 
coffin was first carried round the Borgo, thus 
giving sufficient space for the marshalling of the 
long procession, divided into three sections by 
the chanting choirs. It is to be regretted that 
the Puntatore did not give more details, if only 
for the reason that the mere enumeration of names 
would have served to supply certain deficiencies 
in the life-histories of some of the best-known 
of these musicians of Rome. For instance, did 
Vittoria, he who loved the dead musician so 
greatly as to fashion his clothing on his, follow the 
Master ? Was Marenzio there ? or was he still 
in the Court of Poland, a prized and honoured 
guest ? But though these questions must remain 
unanswered, there is enough to show it was a 
great funeral pageant ; the bier borne high on 
stalwart shoulders, between lines of sandalled 
friars grasping dripping, flaring candles and chant- 
ing the Prayers for the Dead as they go ; the 
Pontifical choir ; the Julian choir ; the " Company 
of Rome," mourning their brightest "jewel " ; a 
great concourse of friends S. Filippo certainly 
amongst these, with the last sad scenes at the 
bedside fresh in his mind ; the crowd, made up 
of every conceivable element ; the Swiss guards 
(in the picturesque dress designed for them by 
Michelangelo) keeping order difficult enough in 
these narrow streets of the Borgo, but easier as 


the long procession breaks into the great space 
of the piazza. Here the voices of the singers 
would achieve their greatest effect, supported by 
the impressive tolling of St. Peter's bells cele- 
brating, with mournful clang, the passing of their 
colleague in the service of the Sanctuary, on his 
final progress to the ancient basilica. 

Libera me Domine de morte aeterna in die iUa 
tremenda y the beautiful mournful chant was Pier- 
luigi's last prayer as his body descended to the 

In the Liber Mortuorum Parochiae S. Peter de 
urbe inceptus die prima Januarii 1545 that is to 
say, the parish-book of interments in the Church 
of St. Peter, the following entry occurs : A di 
2 Feb. 1594 Messer Gio. Lui. da Palestrina maestro 
di cappella di S. Pietro sepolto alia cappella nova. 
This perfectly plain statement in appearance con- 
ceals a mystery, for at the present moment no one 
knows where the body of Pierluigi rests. For 
this reason: when Julius II. (1503) determined 
to build a magnificent tomb for himself he 
abandoned his first idea of adding a chapel to 
the existing church which, it was found, was in a 
crumbling condition, and decided to carry out 
the scheme favoured by his predecessor Nicholas 
V. of constructing an entirely new edifice. His 
first act was to build a transverse wall shutting 
off a little more than half the basilica ; the larger 


half being known in future as the basilica nuova 
or new church, the smaller half, which continued 
to be used for its sacred purposes as before, as the 
basilica vecchia or old church. In the basilica 
nuova all the ancient chapels were demolished and 
the bones of those buried there transferred to 
a recently discovered vault under the round 
chapel of St. Petronilla, formerly outside the 
walls of ancient St. Peter's, but now included in 
the scheme of the building about to be erected. 
In Paul III.'s reign (1534) in consequence of the 
collapse of a wall in the old building, the Sacra- 
ment-altar was reinstated in the chapel of St. 
Simon and St. Jude, situated between the fifth 
and sixth columns of the old basilica which the 
authorities proceeded to adorn very richly with 
precious marbles, paintings and gilding. From 
henceforth this chapel was known as the Cappella 
Nuova or New Chapel. There Pierluigi was 
buried.* In the subsequent reign of Paul V. 
(1605) it was decreed that the old church (basilica 
vecchia) should forthwith be taken down, and 
therefore the Sacrament-altar was transferred once 
more ; this time to the other side of the trans- 
verse wall, the basilica nuova, where the finished 
chapel erected by Gregory XIII., and for that 
reason known as the Gregorian Chapel, was ready 
to receive it. The bodies of St. Simon and St. 

f His wife, Lucrezia, was also buried in the Cappella Nuova. 



Jude were transferred to a chapel prepared for 
them on the left side of the new cathedral on the 
site of the former chapel of St. Petronilla which 
now received the name Chapel of St. Simon and 
St. Jude. While engaged in the necessary ex^ 
cavations the workmen found another vault or 
receptacle in the neighbourhood of the first and 
to this all the bones and coffins left in the basilica 
vecchia were now brought, amongst them, it is 
supposed, those of Pierluigi. The vergers to-day 
point with certainty to a space in front of the 
present altar of St. Simon and St. Jude as 
Pierluigi's grave ; but when this spot was opened 
in conformity with certain investigations carried 
out in 1914,* no coffin of the Musicae Princeps was 
found. If it be considered that twelve years had 
already elapsed since Pierluigi was buried in the 
Cappella nuova of the basilica vecchia, that he was 
moved with a vast quantity of other remains to 
his new resting-place, and by workmen, it is not 
altogether a matter of surprise that this doubt 
exists ! It was largely a contractor's job, not 
necessarily implying any lack of order or decency 
though there are historical instances where the 
results have been equally unfortunate ; as for 
example : the body of Pope Urban VI., tossed 
out of its sarcophagus so that this receptacle 
might be filled with water for moistening the 

* By Dr. Ludwig von Pastor. 


mortar employed in the new building of St. 
Peter's ; or a case very much nearer our own 
time of Mozart thrown into a common grave 
without even a friend standing by to mark the 

To return once more to Pierluigi's funeral 
ceremonies. On February 14 a Requiem Mass 
was performed to his memory, sung in the chapel 
of S. Maria del Soccorso in the basilica nuova ; this 
was the chapel to which the body of St. Gregory 
Nazianzen had been transferred with so much pomp 
in 1580, the occasion on which Pierluigi composed 
the two motets included later in the volume dedi- 
cated to Cardinal Andreas Bathory. If, therefore, 
pilgrims to the tomb of the great musician are 
foiled in their pious purpose, they may instead 
cross the great nave to the Chapel of the Madonna 
del Soccorso and reconstruct for themselves this last 
act of devotion to Pierluigi's memory. 

The farewell mention of Pierluigi's name in 
the Choir-books concerns the final payment to his 
son and heir, Igino, of his monthly salary. Shortly 
afterwards the book which Pierluigi had already 
delivered to the printers the seventh volume of 
masses appeared, with a dedication to Clement 
VIII. penned by Igino. Under the date March i 
he informs His Holiness that his father charged 
him, during the last moments of his life, with the 
publication of all his remaining manuscripts ; that 


it was his intention to fulfil this charge as his 
means gave him opportunity, in which filial duty 
he humbly hoped for the assistance of the Holy 

It cannot be denied that the character of Igino 
is subsequently shown in anything but a favourable 
light, as that of a man devoted, at any cost, to the 
task of making money. At the same time, to 
describe him as an " unprincipled scoundrel," a 
" wild and worthless man," is to stretch the facts 
to breaking point. The tangled skein of the 
Graduale reappears to confuse the evidence against 
him, and it becomes exceedingly difficult to dis- 
tinguish facts from mere accusations. Before 
giving an account of these transactions it is only 
fair to suggest that part of Igino's unworthy con- 
duct may have been actuated by a sentiment of 
resentment against the Vatican authorities, prompt- 
ing him to dispose of his father's manuscripts 
outside Rome rather than have any further 
dealings with them. While, however, going so 
far in his defence, it would be easy to find harder 
terms for his bad management of his father's 
affairs and for the little consideration he showed 
for his father's posthumous dignity. For this it 
is impossible to forgive him. 

A few months before Pierluigi's death, he was 
approached by a certain Leonardo Parasoli, who 
invented a form of musical type, of unusually 


large size, in which he proposed to print a revision 
of the Gradual and Antiphonary. In this scheme 
he desired to enlist Pierluigi's services, not only 
for the sake of his great reputation but as a means 
of persuading the Vatican to countenance the pro- 
ceeding which the Medicean printing house (of 
which Parasoli was an employe) was to carry 
through. Apparently Pierluigi showed no dis- 
inclination to forward the enterprise, for which he 
was offered the handsome sum of 800 sc. There 
was the already completed work lying by, the 
whole of the Temporale, useless since the 
abandonment of the former project undertaken 
at the instance of Gregory XIII., and probably a 
quantity of half-completed material ; rendering 
the present one a very different proposition from 
that made earlier, which entailed an enormous 
amount of research and time expenditure with- 
out any corresponding pecuniary advantage. But 
death intervened. How much of the work was 
already completed it is impossible to say. Igino 
now resolved to turn the affair to his advantage. 
He began by asking twice as much as his father 
had done, and in order to do this he obviously 
represented the work as finished. Even then the 
publishers did not withdraw, having reason to 
hope that the Sacred Congregation of Rites would 
enjoin the use of the new Gradual and Anti- 
phonary on the faithful throughout Christendom. 


Not finally rejecting the idea, the Congregation 
nevertheless hesitated to enforce conformity in 
this drastic way, though, on March 29, they 
were pressed into the admission that it was 
desirable all non-conformity should cease in the 
celebration of the offices ; whereupon the pub- 
lishers decided to proceed. But Igino made one 
excuse after the other for not delivering his 
father's manuscript, and eight months elapsed 
before it passed into the publishers' hands. The 
next step was to submit it to the Sacred Congre- 
gation of Rites, who imposed this condition on 
the publishers before giving a partial sanction to 
publication. Upon this Igino made an outcry, 
complaining that the Congregation were not com- 
petent to criticize his father's work. Suspicions 
were aroused. The manuscript was shown to 
experts who declared that the Sanctorale could 
not possibly be by Pierluigi, that it was full of 
mistakes and inaccuracies. Nor was this all. 
Thoroughly suspicious by this time of the whole 
transaction, the Sacred Congregation of Rites 
refused their permission for the appearance of 
the work. The publishers naturally withdrew 
from their contract with Igino and desired to 
return the manuscript which he refused to receive, 
demanding payment of the sum agreed on. The 
result was a lawsuit which dragged on inter- 
minably. In the end Igino could neither enforce 


payment, nor would he accept the return of the 
manuscript, which actually found its way to the 
Mont-de-pite where it still remained at Igino's 
death. It was only taken out in 1610 by order 
of Paul V., who gave it into the hands of Anerio 
and Soriano. They edited it as the Edith 
Medicaea, published in the year 1614. As may 
readily be imagined, this disagreeable affair put 
the Vatican thoroughly on their guard against 
Igino and if as Baini states the Pope seriously 
contemplated bringing out a complete edition of 
Pierluigi's works, he may well have hesitated 
before committing himself to dealings with the 
great composer's son. On Igino's side, he saw 
no great chances of profit, was in a very bad 
temper over the failure of his schemes, and in 
order to save himself expense in publishing, also 
possibly to annoy the Vatican, he sold the re- 
mainder of his father's manuscripts to two Vene- 
tians, Tiberio de Argentis and Andrea de Agnetis, 
who proceeded to edit volume after volume of 
hitherto unpublished masses ; brought out with 
one exception by the Venetian house of Scoto, 
this remaining book receiving publication at the 
hands of Amadino of Venice. The works were 
arranged in the following order : 


Volume 8. 1599. 

Quern dicunt homines ; 
Dum esset summus pontifex ; 
O admirable commercium (from the beauti- 
ful motet of that name) ; 
Memor esto ; 
Dum complerentur ; and 
Sacerdotes Domini. 

Volume 9. 1599. 

Ave Regina coelorum ; 
Vent sponsa Christi ; 

Vest'wa i colli (based on Pierluigi's mad- 
rigal of the same name) ; 
Sine nomine ; 

In te Domine speravi ; and 
Te Deum laudamus, 

Volume 10. 1600. 

In ilk temp or e ; 

Giafu chi mvebbe cara.; 

Petra sancta ; 

O Virgo simil et mater ; 

Quinti toni ; and 

Illumina oculos meos. 

The last-mentioned mass, based on a theme 
taken from a motet composed by Andre de Silva, 
and which figures in a fanciful account of the 
rescue of Church music as related by Baini, had 
already appeared in the second edition of the 


seventh volume published by Coattino of Rome, 
under the title Ad bene placitum. 

Volume ii. 1600. 

Descendit Angelas Domini ; 
Regina coeli ; 
Quando lieta ; 
Octavi torn; and 
Alma redemptoris. 

Volume 12. 

Regina coeli ; 
rexglori* ; 
Ascendo ad patrem ; 
Qua! e il piu gran' amor ; 
Tu es Petrus ; and 
Viri Galilei. 

The thirteenth volume contained four masses, 
the last of which had already been published. 
They were respectively : 


Laudate Dominum ; 

Hodie Christus natus est (both taken from 

motets with similar titles) ; 
Fratres ego enim accepi ; and 

Surely this long list of works waiting for 
publication must have weighed heavily on Pier- 
luigi as his last hours ebbed. In spite of his 
great reputation, of the wide recognition of his 


genius, he knew that an immense number of 
his best compositions (far from being completed 
by this list) were at the mercy of circumstances 
loss, neglect, or wilful destruction. " I have 
been a poor man all my life," was true in this 
sense. What if he had housing, clothes, food, 
and to spare 1 These children of his brain were 
unhoused, unclothed, and he had to die leaving 
them so. He was probably aware of the de- 
ficiencies of his son and to what poor hands he 
was consigning his manuscripts. There is at 
least some cause for thankfulness that, in the 
result, it was no worse and that to the Venetians 
fell the credit of publishing such sublime and 
delightful works as Dum complerentur and O 
admirabik commercium. The four-part interlude 
in the Gloria of the former Doming Fili unigenite 
Jesu Christe, Doming Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris 
is one of the most inspired moments in any of 
Pierluigi's works and constitutes in itself a supreme 
act of worship ; as if the angels themselves veiled 
their faces with their wings as they recited the 
titles of " the Lamb worthy to be slain." 

Let us now take leave of Igino. The best 
that can be said for him is that he has not given 
his account of the matter ; the worst, that he was 
the unworthy son of a great father. Yet, from 
the latter point of view, there seems a little incon- 
gruity in the close of his life, for it is related of 


him that, after losing his wife, he took orders and 
was made a canon of S. Agapito in his father's 
native town to which he retired for his remaining 
years. But he only enjoyed this position twenty- 
one days, dying in 1610. Of his children there 
is no further mention. The direct line of descen- 
dants came to an end in or after 1677. 


(Concluding remarks) 

A PER the issue of the thirteenth volume of 
masses this wonderful stream of com- 
positions was stemmed. It is true 
there was a reprint, in a mutilated form, of three 
masses in 1619 with subsequent re-edition until 
1689 ; motets also, and hymns constantly re- 
appeared, but until the advent of the great col- 
lected edition at the end of the last century no 
hitherto unpublished composition by Pierluigi 
saw the light. The Roman School was virtually 
dead and the signs of the times were there for all 
to read when it became possible to bring out 
arrangements of compositions originally a cappella 
with instrumental accompaniments. An accom- 
paniment implies harmony. The chord became 
of paramount importance, that is, the sound com- 
bination formed by the organized contact of many 
voices. One of the first things a student of 
counterpoint is called upon to learn is to consider 
his melody or voice-part horizontally, while the 
student of harmony must regard his from a 



perpendicular point of view, each junction of the 
voices forming a dissonance or consonance which 
must be approached and quitted according to rule. 
The moment instruments were employed to ac- 
company part-singing the perpendicular chord 
was all important, the strong and weak beat con- 
trolled the accents and a certain quality of in- 
definiteness which was as the very breath of the 
unaccompanied polyphonic school was gone for 
ever. Paradoxical as it may seem, modern music, 
while gaining in subtlety, colouring and weight, 
has lost in size. An unaccompanied six-part 
mass (obviously there is no restriction in the 
multiplication of voices) is practically im- 
measurable, for it is confined in no limit of 
rhythmic beat, thematic structure, or chromatic 
formula. Not that there is no beat, no structure, 
no key-scheme ; such a course would result in 
chaos ; but the beat is not limited by regularly 
recurring bar-lines, or the structure by fixed 
patterns if the expression be allowed of de- 
velopment. Again, the chromatic formula is that 
peculiar to the ecclesiastical modes, which, as 
already pointed out, differed fundamentally from 
our modern scale system and particularly as to 
the treatment of the " full close " or point of 
repose. The uniformity of timbre through the 
sole employment of the human voice, the absence 
of percussion, or of violent changes of any sort, 


create a certain atmosphere on which the spirit 
floats. To borrow a simile from architecture 
it is unlikely that any one could enter the Pan- 
theon in Rome without a sudden and startling 
sense of the vast space. Reflection alone reveals 
the art hidden in the cunning gradations of the 
enormous dome, the coffering of which directs the 
vision to the limitless vault beyond as seen through 
the circular opening in the centre. In other words, 
there is no apparent standard by which to gauge 
the proportions of the whole. In Pierluigi's 
music there is the same absence of a definite point 
of comparison by which to measure, and if the 
score be examined this seems even more remark- 
able, as nothing in the disposition of the voices 
would lead one to anticipate this quality of infinite 
space, this effect of divine freedom. There is 
something inexpressibly quietening in these " ex- 
quisite rhythms," for time and space fall away and 
with them the contemplation of earthly things. 
But appreciation of these heavenly chains of 
melody does not necessarily imply regret that the 
modern development of music took the course it 
did. Such a postulate would be merely ridiculous, 
for, as the sense of individual consciousness and 
responsibility grew, the selfless, passionless music 
of the Roman School ceased to express it* 
Actuality, at all events in some measure, can 
never be dispensed with if art is to be living. 


Still, while conceding so much to modernity, it is 
a matter for regret that musicians have so often 
failed to perceive the innate divergence of religious 
and secular ideals. The Latin races, particularly, 
have sinned in this respect, and even to-day, in 
spite of a determined effort towards purification, 
it is possible to visit churches celebrated for the 
beauty of their music and to hear O salutaris hostia 
sung with exactly the same sentiment and colour- 
ing as would be suitable in a performance of the 
Preislied. And it may be added that ninety-nine 
people out of a hundred will murmur "how 
beautiful," and think they are listening to Church 
music. Yet, strange to say, at least fifty out of 
that hundred will readily perceive the exaggera- 
tions and distortions of sentiment in the post- 
renaissance schools of painting, the influences 
which killed, though very much more slowly, those 
qualities of self-restraint and physical quiescence 
which are necessary to a truly religious form of 
musical art. In this wide generalization it is 
impossible to particularize, or to consider the 
influence exercised by the masterpieces of Johann 
Sebastian Bach on Church music. The assertion 
that the element of dramatic expression, although 
confined to a stern and intellectual realism, never- 
theless constituted a fall from those spheres of 
pure contemplation to which Pierluigi conducts us, 
should be substantiated by careful comparison of 


corresponding passages for which there is no 
opportunity here. 

What the course of music in the West might 
have been if the influences of the Roman School 
had not been arrested by the instant and over- 
whelming success of opera 1 may be surmised if the 
corresponding line of expansion be considered in 
Russia. The marvellous vitality and freedom 
from convention in that most interesting national 
school may be, in no small measure, attributed to 
the hold unaccompanied polyphony retained over 
the minds of the people. They passed from one 
musical formula to the other without experiencing 
successive stages. That is to say, when they, 
very much later in time, conceived the idea of 
writing opera, they brought to bear on it artistic 
experiences inspired by a true polyphonic tradition. 
It only became necessary to add the strongly- 
marked rhythms of their characteristic dances, 
and their school of national opera received its 
distinctive features. Such a result was only 
possible in a country where a national conservatism 
went hand in hand with a comparative isolation 
from western modes of thought and where a 
process of evolution was superseded, or very 
much curtailed, by a most remarkable intellectual 
intuition.* It may seem strange enough to those 

* In Moscow and Petrograd there were choirs until recently 
whose singing alia cappella must have clonely resembled the finest 
standard of sixteenth-century art 


brought up in the Classical and Romantic School 
created around the glorious names of musical 
literature, that so much insistence should be 
made on a more or less bygone form of art. 
To these the contention that anything has been 
lost in the supersession of ancient ideals by 
methods of chromatic development, thematic 
expansion, and pyschological expression would be 
simply foolish. And there is nothing to cause 
astonishment in this point of view. The secrets 
of the great schools of painting, and the influence 
they exercised, may be sought for on the walls of 
a museum or art gallery, but the opportunities of 
making acquaintance with the masterpieces of a 
remote musical past are indeed few and far 
between. And it may safely be said that he who 
trusts to an instrument of percussion for the 
reproduction of these melodic chains will not be 
indisposed to say, " Let the dead past bury its 
dead," for it will be to him as a very valley of dead 
bones. The contrapuntal art may indeed astonish 
him, but the suavity, purity, and spirituality of in- 
vention cannot be conveyed by these means. For- 
tunately, if rare, there are other and better ways, 
as more and more attention is now being given to 
this ancient school, and in no capital of Europe 
may they be heard to better advantage than in 
London, in the appropriate atmosphere and spirit* 

* At Westminster Cathedral, 



Although the Roman School was deposed 
from its great position by the overpowering 
craving for dramatic expression and ornament, 
it was inevitable that, sooner or later, an attempt 
should be made to reinstate it. Possibly the 
first to call the attention of his countrymen to the 
works of the school in general and of Pierluigi in 
particular, was Dr. Burney,* who writes in these 
unmistakable, if quaint, terms : " It is hoped that 
no apology will be necessary for the length of the 
article " (on the Roman School), " which the reader 
can make as short as he pleases. . . . In a general 
history of Ancient Poetry Homer would doubtless 
occupy the most ample and honourable place, and 
Palestrina, the Homer of the most Ancient Music 
that has been preserved, merits all the reverence 
and attention which it is in a musical historian's 
power to bestow." But Burney 's voice was that 
of one, more or less, crying in the wilderness, for 
the world had grown indifferent and the psycho- 
logical moment had not yet come. The century- 
glass turned once again and the Abbe Baini took 
up the burden, but he wrote for his countrymen 
and Northerners had no opportunity of hearing 
the works, which, to do him justice, he repro- 
duced with so much zeal and enthusiasm in the 
services of the Sistine Chapel. The Englishman 

* Burney published in his " History of Music " the celebrated 
Stabat Mater, the Improperia, and the motet Fretres ego enim accept. 


who arrived in Rome for Passion- week in his 
travelling-coach with courier and men-servants 
was not frequently the clay of which musicians 
are made, and even if he enjoyed a passion for 
the art, the idiom was coldly unfamiliar. With the 
rich, warm, fiontura and Southern fire of the 
operatic singer most in vogue at the moment 
ringing in his ears, what was he likely to make of 
a form of music for which pre-eminently one 
must possess the " ear to hear " ? Then the 
Germans intervened, primarily from a sense of 
the degradation into which ecclesiastical music 
had fallen ; for no one who had studied the 
history of Church music could fail to perceive that 
the abuses complained of by the Council of Trent 
were almost all common features of the day. 
Dr. Karl Proske, priest and scholar, devoted him- 
self to its purification, and very wisely went to the 
source from whence the waters flowed crystal 
clear ; for which reason his tombstone records 
him as Musicae divinae restaurator ingeniosissimus. 
In the prosecution of this intention he visited 
Rome in the year 1834, and the diary of this 
journey constitutes one of the most interesting 
accounts extant of the state of Church music at 
that time. On November i, 3, and 4 respectively, 
he heard a performance in the Sistine Chapel of 
Pierluigi's Missa Brevis and Requiem, in S. Carlo 
al Corso, his /teterna Christi munera, serving to 


show that Baini, still active though already in 
ill-health, had succeeded to some extent in rein- 
stating the works of the Musicae Princeps. But the 
difficulties experienced by Proske in fulfilling his 
object that of cataloguing the unpublished works 
of the great period were well-nigh prohibitive. 
Jealous suspicion alternated with crass indifference, 
forming an almost insuperable barrier. With 
patience and tact he partially overcame his diffi- 
culties. His catalogue reveals, under the circum- 
stances, a triumphant result, containing as it does 
the whole of the masses contained in the 11, 12, 
I 3> X 5> X 6, and 22 volumes of the Breitkopf and 
Hartel edition, as well as a miscellaneous collec- 
tion of smaller works constituting in themselves 
a formidable achievement. Thus the way was 
marked out and followed by such men as Dr. 
Franz Xaver Witt, the founder of the Society of 
St. Cecilia, Espagne, Theodore de Witt, Franz 
Commer, Bauerle, and last, but not least, by 
Haberl. He it was who gathered up the labours 
of his forerunners into the gigantic enterprise of 
a collected edition completed on the three 
hundredth anniversary of the great musician's 
death, with the co-operation of subscribers in 
England, France, Holland, Austria, Germany, 
and Italy. This naturally dwarfs all other efforts, 
such as those of Choron and the Prince of la 
Moskowa, or of the yet more important services 


of the Choir of St. Gervais in Paris, the Bach 
Choir, and other societies in England. The 
celebrations in connection with the tri-centenary 
all over the world, and notably in Rome, helped 
to advertise the revival, and since that time a 
growing interest has been quickened by the motft, 
proprio of Pius X., issued on November 22, 1903, 
who, in this document, insisted on a return to 
the plainsong melodies of the Primitive Church 
coupled with those works of the Roman School 
that "agree so well with it."* But the obstacles 
are still many. The Israelites could not make 
bricks without straw, and the churches cannot 
produce choirs capable of coping with the diffi- 
culties of alia cappella singing without money, 
which means good training and good voices. 
Very considerable spade-work remains before 
those interested in restoring this great beauty to 
the churches at large. It is not, indeed, only a 
matter of money but of education, and that is 
perhaps the hardest part of all. 

* It should perhaps be mentioned that the ultimate results of 
Pius X.'s motu proprio was to discredit the whole of the Ratisbon 
publications in favour of the purer art of Solesmes ; but this only 
refers to plainsong. 


(Concluding Remarks continued) 

A allusion was made in the preceding 
chapter to the tri-centenary festival in 
1894. In 1914 a curious scheme was 
set on foot in Palestrina to celebrate the four 
hundredth anniversary of the great townsman's 
birth, thus postulating its occurrence in 1514.* 
In the opening chapters dealing with the early- 
life it was considered inadvisable to check the 
flow of the narrative at that point with an inquiry 
into the various dates assigned by different 
authors to this interesting fact, but it is obvious 
that no book pretending to deal with Pierluigi's 
history can afford to ignore the controversy which 
rages round this question. The statement was 
made that he was born towards the end of 1525, 
but the dates given by the best known authorities 
range from 1514 to 1529. The first of these has 
still many adherents, particularly in Palestrina 
where it has attained to the force of a tradition 

* A statue was unveiled there in October, 1921. 


hence the project just referred to. It is founded 
on the inscription discovered on that portrait of 
Pierluigi formerly in the Quirinal, now in the 
Sixtine Chapel. This runs : Joannes Petrus 
Aloysius Praenestinus Musicae Princeps, sub Julio III. 
prius cantor^ mox sub Pio IV. , modulator pontificius, 
lateranae et liberianae, demum bis vaticanae basilicae 
capellae magister. Obiit IF. Idus Februarii 
MDXCIV* vixit prope octogenarius ; sepultus est 
sub Sacello vaticano St. Simonis et Judae. This is 
authoritative enough ; but it has now been estab- 
lished that the handwriting is later in date than 
the portrait, corroborated by the circumstance that 
it was unknown to Andrea Adami, writing in 
1711. But until this fact was discovered, the 
inscription was regarded as authoritative, coin- 
ciding, as it did, with the statement made by 
Igino in the dedication of the seventh book of 
masses to Clement VIII. : Joannes Petraloysius 
pater meus septuaginta fere vifae suae annos in Dei 
laudibus componendi consumens. . . .f It was pointed 
out that Pierluigi probably went into the choir 
of St. Agapito at the age of ten, thus entering 
on the service of " nearly seventy years " to 
which Igino refers. On the other hand, Baini 
took Igino's statement literally, even the qualifying 

* "... He lived to be nearly eighty." The rest of the inscription 
is taken up with his various appointments, etc., etc. 

f Giovanni Pierluigi, my father, spent nearly seventy years of 
his life in composing to God's praise. 


fere receiving scant attention. Thus, seventy 
years subtracted from 1594 left the date 1524; 
so Pierluigi was, on the evidence of his son, 
indubitably born in 1524. Round these central 
positions most biographers ranged themselves, 
though yet others selected "the year 1520 based 
on the ground of certain Memorie incerte de- 
posited by Baini in the archives of the Sixtine 
Chapel after the publication in 1826 of his 
Memorie storicocritiche della vita e delle opere di 
Giovanni da Palestrina, or 1529, the date chosen 
by Adami, who as the oldest writer on Pierluigi 
was supposed to be the most reliable. Haberl 
himself accepted the date 1514 after investigations 
he was able to make on the spot (in Palestrina), 
but was first shaken, then convinced, this time 
irrevocably, by finding another inscription on the 
last sheet of the tenor-part in a volume of French 
masses. Written in an educated hand was the 
following : . . . Cum igitur hec omnia Musicae 
munera nemo his temporibus melius Prenestino 
nostro prestiterit, lure optimo Musicae parentem 
ut homerum poeticae possumus nominare. Mori- 
tur mense februarij die purificationis beate 
Mariae virginis Anno virginei partus 1594. 
Sedente Clemente P.P. VIII. Fuit sepultus in 
dicta Basilica maxima cum pompa funerali et 
magna cantorum comitante caterva et qui vidit 
hec scripsit Melchior major. Vixit annis LXVIIJ. 


Ut re mi fa sol la ascendunt, sic peruia coelos 
Transcendit volitans nomen ad astra tuum (o Prenestine). 

O mors inevitabilis, mors amara et improba, mors 
crudelis, que templa dulcibus sonis privas et aulas 
principum, Prenestinum dum necasti, ilium nobis 
abstulisti, qui suam per armoniam illustravit ec- 
clesiam ; Propterea tu Musicae die requiescat in 
pace. Melchioris sum.* 

Thus, for the first time, a definite statement 
was made by a contemporary which corroborated 
the figurative sentence in Igino's dedication, for 
the latter was not meant to be taken literally ; it 
was a poetic statement, approximately true, such 
as is often made in similar cases. 

At first Dr. Haberl scarcely seems to have 
realized the importance of his find. Who, then, 
was Melchior ? f On what grounds should his 
statement be accepted as final ? Dr. Haberl 
spent two years over the uncertainty. But the 

* Which, freely translated, runs 

Therefore, as our Palestrina was before all others in our times 
in the display of all these gifts of music he may truly be called the 
Father or Music, as was Homer of Poetry. He died in the month 
of February, on the Purification of the B. V. Mary, A. D. 1594, in 
the reign of Clement VIII., and was buried in the aforementioned 
great basilica (St. Peter's) with funeral pomp and accompanied by 
a great body of singers, as he who writes this, Melchior Major, 

Ut, re, mi, fa, so], la ascends, and in like manner 
Rises thy name to the stars, O Palestrinian. 

O miserable Death, Death bitter and horrible, cruel Death, who 
robbeth the temples and the halls of the princes of such sweet sounds 
in slaying Palestrina, thou hast also taken from us one who glorified 
the Church by his harmony, therefore bid music, rest in peace, 
t See Appendix, G. P. da P. Casimiri, p. 36. 


internal evidence was too strong. It had every- 
thing in its favour ; Pierluigi's extraordinary in- 
tellectual vigour between the years 1584 and 
1594 astonishing enough in a man of sixty to 
seventy, almost incredible in a man of seventy to 
eighty ; his willingness to abandon Rome for the 
service of the Duke of Mantua an improbable 
decision had he been in reality over seventy, but 
by no means unusual at sixty ; even the fact of 
his remarriage the step being much more natural 
at sixty than at seventy, all these circumstances 
corroborate the accuracy of the date. But cer- 
tainly the strongest link in the chain of evidence 
is afforded by the fact that Pierluigi's first pub- 
lished madrigal, Con dolce altiera, was dated 1554. 
If born in 1514 he was already forty at the time I 
Surely that speaks for itself? These and yet 
other considerations caused Haberl to reconsider 
his position, and in 1888 he wrote : * "Our eye- 
witness (Melchior major f) has given trustworthy 
proof of Palestrina's age and, consequently, for 
the year of the Roman master's birth : not in 1514 
but in 1526 is it my well-grounded conviction 
that Palestrina was born." 

This testimony was considered final, all sub- 
sequent writers following Haberl's lead. But a 

* Haberl, F. X., Bibliographischer und thematischer Musik- 
katalog. 1888. 

f Haberl made a slip and wrote it Mafor instead of Major. 


new pamphlet cuts the matter still finer.* There 
it is pointed out that Melchior stated Pierluigi's 
age on the day of his death to be sixty-eight. 
In that case he was sixty-eight. If, then, his 
birthday did not happen to fall in January he was 
already sixty-eight in the year 1593, in which case 
68 subtracted from 1594 left the date of his birth 
1525, not 6. The difference, it is true, is not 
great, but it is a practical emendation, so much 
so that in future it will be necessary to give the 
great Palestinian's birth as "between the years 
1525 and 1526." 

In connection with this inquiry the following 
curious story may not be without interest. It 
was related to the present writer by a prominent 
biographer and fellow-townsman of Pierluigi. 
He discovered, during some research work, a 
manuscript in a certain Augustinian monastery 
which he considered, on a hasty inspection, to be 
highly important ; in particular, bearing on the 
burning question of Pierluigi's birth-date. As it 
was very difficult to decipher, and as he was 
unable at the moment to give it the attention it 
undoubtedly deserved, he left it on that day, but 
lost no time in writing to the monastery for per- 
mission to have the document photographed. 
Unfortunately, between the request and the 

* Palestrlnas Geburtfjahr. Line historisch-kritische Uniersu- 
chung --von Karl IVeinmann. Regtnsbiirtr und Rom. 1915. 


subsequent permission the manuscript had dis- 
appeared. Some one, following hard on this 
student's heels, had likewise gauged the extreme 
importance of the discovery, and, less scrupulous, 
quietly put the MS. in his pocket without 
troubling about the formality of asking. This 
was in 1912, and it may be that the events which 
filled the ensuing years are alone responsible for 
the circumstance that the world is still in doubt 
or at least in conflict as to the year of Pierluigi's 

However this may be, the enormous output 
achieved by the Master were his life ten years 
longer than Melchior Major has given posterity 
reason to believe would still remain amazing. 
Ninety-three masses, two hundred and fifty-six 
motets,* four books of madrigals, not counting 
the hymns and offertories for the whole of the 
Church year, the three books of Magnificats, the 
same number of Litanies, of Lamentations ; two 
books of Madrigali Spirituali, constitute a formid- 
able list and prove Pierluigi to have been an 
extraordinarily hard worker. Assuredly they 
were not all on the same grand level of inspira- 
tion, how should they be ? which is, after all, 
only another way of saying that Pierluigi was 
human. Some of the compositions were " sur 
commande," others contrapuntal tours de force. 

* Including one or two doubtful or wrongly attributed. 


Nevertheless, the number of masterpieces is 
marvellously high. Baini distinguishes with 
more ingenuity than usefulness eight styles or 
genres of composition in the Master's art which 
he proceeds to subdivide into yet others : for 
instance, a first epoch in which Pierluigi was not 
yet freed from his Netherlandish fetters ; a second 
while under the influence of Festa and the post- 
Josquin School ; a third dominated by Morales 
and the Spaniards. In the fourth Baini pro- 
nounces him to have found himself and so on, 
and so forth. It may be questioned whether such 
arbitrary landmarks in the life of a great man 
serve any useful purpose. A more fruitful study 
would possibly be an inquiry into the different 
founts of expression if the term be permitted 
to which he went for his inspiration. As it was 
customary to compose the six sections of a mass 
on one theme, or different sections of one theme, 
it was a matter of extreme importance to find one 
that lent itself to a characteristic and suitable 
treatment. It has already been pointed out more 
than once in the foregoing pages what these 
themes usually were, and to a limited extent the 
choice determined the particular treatment ac- 
corded to the composition. Thus, if the theme 
were more or less secular in character it was often 
(though certainly not always) the occasion for a 
most elaborate contrapuntal exhibition in which 


Pierluigi delighted to show his extraordinary 
mastery of the material. Instances of this are 
afforded by the masses Ecce Sacerdos Magnus^ 
L'homme arrne, and Ad fugam. Taken from a 
Gregorian melody it often received a devout, in- 
spired yet ceremonial impress in keeping with its 
sacerdotal origin. In the masses of greater scope, 
such as Ecce ego Joannes or Dum complerentur^ the 
invariable strength of phrase and intensity of 
expression are in direct contrast with some of the 
smaller though equally beautiful works, such as 
Aeterna Christi munera^ lite Confessor^ and Missa 
brevity in which the musical phrase is shorter, 
more defined, and simpler in design ; or such 
works as Assumpta est Maria and the motets on 
the Song of Solomon display a quality more 
emotional, more direct, more personal. If 
Pierluigi selected a theme with strong Church 
associations he did not need so much to consider 
the form in which he should work on the imagi- 
nation of his hearers as to enrich the texture 
by the reiteration of chosen phrases treated 
canonically. Examine the mass Iste Confessor , 
constructed on the Vesper hymn of that name, 
and it will be seen that in the first section of 
fourteen bars* there are no less than seven 
entries of the initial phrase of the hymn ; in the 

* The modern edition has been put into bars for the con- 
venience of present-day musicians. 


second, of fifteen bars, there are nine entries of the 
second phrase of the theme ; and in the third 
section of fourteen bars, there are eight entries of 
the third phrase of the theme. Thus, in a com- 
position comprising forty-three bars, Pierluigi 
employs three sections of his theme no less than 
thirty-four times. This is certainly an instance 
of close weaving, and it might have been expected 
that the result would be a strained and stilted 
work as " cribbed, cabined, and confined " as 
some Byzantine Madonna of the late period when 
measurements restricted the artist's imagination 
within iron limits and forced him to conform. 
Yet the Kyrie flows with inimitable suavity from 
start to finish, nor does the ear detect the constant 
reiteration of a given phrase. The art the 
wonderful art of it ! It is like some marvellous 
piece of needlework, of web-like pattern, gleaming 
with gold, silver, and soft colours, obeying the 
hidden law of the design, but presenting an in- 
definite yet gorgeous whole. The eye endeavours 
to distinguish the course of one thread, only to 
be deflected by another. It receives no exact 
impression, but the vague perception it conveys 
to the brain is of an agreeable harmonious whole, 
rising to sensations of acute pleasure. This 
simile, however, fails in one important aspect. 
No general perception of colour could affect the 
mind so powerfully as sound, or produce the same 


moral effect. Pierluigi's music penetrates the 
depths of the soul, and its selflessness widens the 
conception of things appertaining to the spirit. 
More, far more than a new formula of art, it was 
founded on antiquity and built up on inter- 
national inspiration. It was the consecration of 
sound, or to recall S. Filippo's admirable phrase 
for the last time, the contemplation of celestial 
things by means of heavenly harmonies. 

It may be that the years will see a return to 
the ideals of unaccompanied polyphony ; there are 
many beautiful secrets there for the finding.* 
But first it is necessary to train those ears to hear, 
which, like the eyes to see, are indispensable for 
the contemplation of all things, celestial or other- 
wise ; in other words, the inner vision. 

* Such seem already to have inspired Hans Pfitzner since the 
above sentence was written, whose opera Pakstrina is so described : 
" Ein Werk von so reiner Gesinnung und einem so erhabenen Eniste, 
der dem Idealismus seines Schopfers das Opfer einer Selbstverleug- 
nung ohne jeden Seitenblick auf die Giiter dieser Welt auferlegt 
. . . wird me die Huld der Masse finden," etc. 


NOTE. The prefaces to each volume of masses by the editors of the 
Collected Edition, published by Breitkopf and Hiirtel, Dr. P. 
Wagner's History of the Masses, Ambros' History of Music, 
have been largely drawn upon for the analytical remarks to 

Valeria et Aloysio Dorico 1554. Five subsequent editions. 
Vol. x. Collected Edition, is reprinted from that of 1591, 
containing two additional masses Pro defunct'u and Sine 
nomine. First edition dedicated to Julius III. 

I. Ecce sacerdoi magnus. 4 v. In mixolydian mode. 

Theme derived from Choral Antiphon in Missa 
de Confessore Pontifice. An example of highly com- 
plicated note measurements tempus imper/ectum, 
prolatio perfecta, etc., with instance of Hemolia 
Minor (i.e. emphasis changed from triple to duple 
rhythm ; other examples may be found in the 
motet Diet sanctifoatuSy and a particularly beautiful 
one in the exquisite motet O magnuum mysterium at 
Collandantes Dominum). This is a cantus Jirmus 
mass built on the ancient model ; the theme re- 
maining independent of the other voices. Owing 
to the interpolation of non-liturgical words it 
became obsolete after the injunctions to that effect 
from the Council of Trent. C. Ed. Vol. 10, p. 3 

II. Regem coeli. 4 v. Another mensural curiosity, 

the theme from double sources, a responsorium in 
use during the Christmas octave * and a motet by 
Andreas Silva ; f it is thus an instance of a missa 

* Haberl. t P. Wagner. 

193 O 


parodia, a newer form much affected by Josquin 
and the writers of his time. C. Ed. Vol. 10, 32. 

III. Virtute magna. 4 v. In mixolydian. Also from a 

double source a Responsorium in Easter week or a 
motet by Andrea de Salva therefore to be classed 
as a missa parodia. It is composed in the same 
highly complicated manner, the Osanna being in 
tempus'magnus imperfec. and pnportlo tripla maj. with a 
canon in the Agnus Dei. C. Edit. Vol. 10, 55. 

IV. Gabriel Archangelus. 4 v. In transposed dorian, theme 

from a motet by Verdelot.* C. Ed. 10, 80. 

V. Ad coenam agni providi. $ v. Theme from Easter hymn 

originally with same title, now altered to Ad regias 
agni dapes through changes in the breviary. An 
interesting example of the employment of canon 
in all five voices, on fragment of subject treated 
freely. In the Christe the original theme is given 
out by the fourth voice in semibreves. C. Ed. 
10, 105. 

VI. Pro defunctii (only included in 4th edit. 1591). 5 v. 

The only example of a mass for the dead from 
Pierluigi's pen. It consists of Kyrie, Offcrtorium 
Sanctus and Agnus, the remaining portions of the 
mass Introitus, Graduate, Tractus, and Communio 
being sung in plainsong. For this reason the 
Kyrie is in the hypolydian mode, the Offertorium 
in hypodorian, Sanctus and Benedictus in dorian, 
and Agnus Dei in hypomixolydian transposed. 
C. Ed. 10, 138. 

VII. Sine nomine (only included in 4th edit. 1591). 6 v. 

In transposed phrygian. So far the theme has not 
been traced, it is characteristic of plainsong forms 
by which it seems to have been inspired. C. Ed. 
10, 153- 

MISSARUM . . . LIBER SEGUNDUS. Rome, 1567. Published 
by the successors of Dorici. This volume was dedicated to 
Philip II. of Spain. In complete edition, Vol. n. 

I. De beata Virglne. 4 v. Inspired by the liturgical 

# Idem. 


melodies usual on this festival, which Pierluigi 
employs in different designs, sometimes giving the 
theme to one voice as written, or cutting it up into 
points of imitation and dividing it between the 
parts, or turning it into the subject for a canon. It 
conforms in mode to the different melodies, Kyrie 
dorian, Gloria mixolydian, Credo hypophrygian, 
Benedictus and Agnus Del transposed ionian. C. Ed. 
n, i. 

II. Inviolata. 4 v. Takes its title and theme from an 

official melody usually employed in Advent. In 
hypolydian or transposed hypoionian. C. Ed. 

II, 21. 

III. Sine nomine. 4 v. In hypophrygian mode. Its 

theme has not yet been traced. C. Ed. Vol. 11,41. 

IV. Ad fugam. 4 v. The title must not be understood 

in the modern sense. The evolution of contra- 
puntal art had not yet proceeded so far. It refers 
here to a type of composition after the manner of 
Josquin and may be recommended to the student 
as a valuable instance of " spade work " through 
which the heights of Missa Papae Marcelli and 
Asiumpta est Maria were reached. In the original 
only the Cantus and Bassui exist. While the 
astonishing dexterity of the double canons must be 
admired, the limits in which Pierluigi has here 
chosen to work are too narrow for beauty. C. Ed. 

" 57- 

V. A spice Domine. 5 v. Theme taken from the third 

Responsonum on the first Sunday in November.* 
In Dorian mode. C. Ed. Vol. II, 71. 

VI. Salvum me fac. 5 v. Related in type to the 5th 

Responsorium for Matins on Palm Sunday * also bears 
some resemblance to a motet by Jachet.f Transposed 
dorian. C. Ed. Vol. n, 97. 

VII. Missa Papae Marcelli. 6 v. Theme from plainsong. 

In mixolydian mode. This mass should be studied 
for the transparency and suavity of phrase ; for the 
new and surprising harmonic effects achieved by 

* HaherJ. t P. Wagner. 


passing notes and without departing from the strict 
rule ; for the frequent use of the ancient device of 
" nota cambiata " (changing note) in the melisma. 
C. Ed. Vol. u, 128. 

MISSARUM . . . LIBER TERTIUS. Published in 1570 by 
the same firm as the precedent volume and with a similar 
dedication. Four re-issues, that of 1599 without the Hexa- 
chord mass. 

I. Sfeminalium. 4 v. Based on istnocturn for 5 th Sunday 
in September.* The theme suggested by a model of 
Jachet's.f In aeolian mode. C. Ed. Vol. 12, 3. 
IL Pr'tmi font. 4. v. The theme has been traced to a 
madrigal entitled " lo mi songiovinetta" supposed 
to be by Domenico Ferrabosco. This missa parod'ia 
affords an instance of a double canon in subdiapente, 
the answer following at the space of a semibreve, 
which constitutes a remarkable contrapuntal achieve- 
ment. Transposed dorian. C. Ed. Vol. 12, 26. 

III. Brevis. 4 v. This beautiful mass is founded on one 

by Goudimel Audi filia. It is one of the best 
kno%vn to-day on account of its moderate length 
many others, timed for the lengthy ceremonies in 
St. Peter's, proving quite unmanageable for ordinary 
occasions. It takes its title from the first note 
(breve) of the theme, and is in transposed ionian 
(XI). C. Ed. Vol. 12, 50. 

IV. De Feria. 4 v. In phrygian mode. Theme from 

plainsong takes its title from the days for which it 
is intended. C. Ed. Vol. 1 2, 66. 

V. Uhomme arm'c. 5 v. In- the mass Ecce sacerdoi magnut 

an example of the finest shades of mensural com- 
bination and counterpoint were to be found ; but, 
considered from the point of view of artistic per- 
formance it would hardly be thought worth while 
to-day to prepare a hearing of this mass. Adfugam, 
again, is to be regarded as a remarkable study in 
contrapuntal device, so closely knit that even 
Pierluigi's genius does not succeed in breaking out 

* P. Wj^ner, 


into the free air of Heaven ; but in the " Omme 
arm" (No. I there were two) is to be discerned 
not only a " tour de force " so extraordinary that 
even as late as 1592 and again in 1613, when 
already this species of art was dead Zacconi and 
Cerone, the theorists of their time, give an analysis 
of it but a masterpiece which would certainly 
make as profound an impression to-day as it did 
many years ago when performed by a picked choir at 
Regensburg. Though Pierluigi has here chosen the 
older form of a cantus firmus mass, his procedure is 
essentially modern (of his time) and he gives it new 
life, enclosing the theme with a wealth of melodies, 
proceeding with so much freedom in his treatment 
of the parts, grouping his voices with so much con- 
trast, that it would certainly never be suspected by 
the uninitiated that each step was subject to an all- 
controlling law and that the path was so narrow 
which led to salvation. The mode is hypomixo- 
lydian. While the tenor sings in Tempus ferfectum 
cum prolatlone the other voices are in tempus perfectum 
integri valor, which, as has been remarked,* gives in 
reality tempus imperfectum. C. Ed. Vol. 12, 75. 
VI. Repleatur os meum laude. 5 v. Of this mass it has been 
said that " it breathes canons in every possible in- 
terval." f It opens with one in diapason. In the 

first Agnus Del the sign qrtf~ ffi^ is to be taken 

as indicating that the canon must be deciphered 
with half-time note values.! Two sources are given 
for this theme, a responsorium for Thursday in the 
second week after Epiphany t and a motet by 
Jachet. In phrygian mode. C. Ed. Vol. 12, 105. 
VII. De beata Virgine vel Dominicalis. 6 v. Once again 
Pierluigi employs as theme the melodies set apart 
for this festival. The tropes Mariam gubernans 
Mariam coronans, or intercalation of non-liturgical 

* Haberl. t P. Wagner. 

J Haberl. Wagner. 


text, once customary but later abolished by the 
Council of Trent, were removed in the 1599 
edition, and liturgical words inserted in their place. 
The Kyrie, Gloria, and Credo are respectively in 
the dorian, phrygian, and aeolian modes, etc. 
C. Ed. Vol. 12, 135. 

VIII. Uf, re, ml, fa, sol, la. 6 v. Or Hexachord mass. 
Pierluigi here follows the example of Brumel and 
others in taking as his theme the Guidonian Hexa- 
chord in two out of the three forms durum and 
naturale (see Appendix) ; the molle is discarded on 
account of its modulating property (mi-fa or A-Bb). 
It is sung by Can/us II. as a cantus frmus and thus 
the mass forms a particularly interesting example of 
the older model combined with a sense of effect, of 
proportion and clearness, a foretaste of the perfec- 
tion shortly to be reached in the Marcellus mass. 
It was copied into the choir-books of the Sixtine 
Chapel as early as 1562. The mode is ionian. 
C.Ed. Vol. 12, 165. 

MISSARUM . . . LIBER QUARTUS. Dedicated to Gregory 
XIII. and published by Angelo Gardano of Venice. The seven 
masses it contains are without distinctive titles. These were 
added to some extent in the collected editions as the themes 
were traced. 

I. Missa prlma (Lauda Slon). 4 v. The theme is taken 
from the sequence appertaining to the Festival of 

Corpus Chrlstt , , I . I. In 

Lau - da Si on Sal - va - tor - era 

hypomixolydian. -C. Ed. Vol. 13, I. 

II. Missa secunda (Prlml ton'i). 4 v. In transposed dorian. 

Theme hitherto not identified. C. Ed. Vol. 13, 15. 

III. Missa tertia. (Jesu nostra redemptio.') 4 v. From the 

Pentecostal hymn of that title. 

j _ 1 - j _ 

Je - su nijs - tra re - demp- ti - o A - mor et de si - Uo ri - um 

In hypophrygian mode. C. Ed. Vol. 13, 29. 


IV, Mitsa quarta. 4 v. Pierluigi's second mass over the 
celebrated theme of L'homme arme and the varia- 
tion of treatment is highly interesting. As has 
recently been pointed out * the subject here is in 
the dorian, which, from our point of view, con- 

stitutes a minor key A* with 

yy ,, ,, a? ey "~5r 

tJ *Z> & *^^> 

its minor 3rd. In the first mass, however, it is in 
the mixolydian mode ; or, again, from the modern 
theoretical standpoint is major 

This obviously changes the whole character of the 
composition, and the contrast does not alone con- 
sist in this. In mass No. I Pierluigi was, as it were, 
entering the lists to break a lance with some very 
redoubtable knights. In short, his reputation was 
at stake. In mass No 2, no such considerations 
were necessarily present, therefore the mass is shorter, 
less astonishing, on a later model and written in the 
style which he brought to such perfection, the 
voices moving throughout in perpetual imitation. 
C. Ed. Vol. 13,45. 

V. Mitsa prima (Eripe me de inimicis). 5 v. Taken from 
the verses for the 9th Sunday after Pentecost 

' j i ih \ fi*j and under that title in 

E-ripe me 

a Codex in the Vienna Court Library. In dorian 
mode. C. Ed. Vol. 1 3, 59. 

VI. Missa secunda. 5 v. Theme not traced. Transposed 

dorian. C. Ed. Vol. 13, 85. 

VII. Missa tertia. (O magnum mysterium.) 5 v. Taken 

from Pierluigi's beautiful motet of the same title, 
this theme as those of Nos. I, III, and V, serves 
to prove that the numbered mass did not necessarily 
conceal a secular origin. The mode is hypo- 
phrygian. C. Ed. Vol. 13, no. 
* P. Wagner. 


MISSARUM . . LIBER QUINTUS. Published in Rome by 
Coattino and dedicated to Duke William of Bavaria the 
patron of Lassus in 1590. 

I. Aeterna Christi munera. 4 v. Theme taken from a 
hymn sung at Matins on Apostles' and Evangelists' 
days. It runs thus : 

Ae - ter - na Chris -ti mu - ne - ra 

One of the best known of Pierluigi's shorter masses 
in modern times on account of its fresh well-con- 
trasted part writing, moderate difficulty, and con- 
venient length. The mode is transposed ionian. 
C. Ed. Vol. 14, i. 

II. Jam Chriitut astra ascenderat. 4 v. Theme from 

Ascentiontide hymn. Transposed dorian. C. Ed. 
Vol. 14, 15. 

III. Pants quern ego dabo. 4 v. Two sources have been 

suggested for the theme of this mass a motet by 
Johannes Lupus * and another by Jachet.f In 
hypodorian mode. C. Ed. Vol. 14, 34. 

IV. Itte Confessor. 4 v. This beautiful mass, another 

of the best known amongst the shorter masses, is 
founded on the Latin hymn of the same name. 
Indeed, one cannot help wondering whether 
Pierluigi was not indisposed to give Lassus a 
practical illustration, in dedicating this volume to 
Duke William of Bavaria, that a worthier source for 
his themes than that from which the great Nether- 
lander frequently took them was at hand in music 
already dedicated to the Church. Mode hypo- 
dorian. C. Ed. Vol. 14, 54. 

V. Nigra sum. 5 v. This Missa Parodia is founded on 

Pierluigi's motet from the beautiful series 29 in 
number on the Song of Solomon. The mode is 
transposed hypoaeolian. C. Ed. Vol. 14, 66. 

VI. Sicut lilium. 5 v. A similar source. In transposed 

aeolian. C. Ed. Vol. 14, 95. 

* Haberl. f P. Wagner. 


VII. Nasce la gioia mia. 6 v. Theme from a madrigal 
written by Gio. Leonardo Primavera dell' Arpa, 
published in 1565.* Transposed Dorian. C. Ed. 
Vol. 14, 1 1 8. 

A re-edition in the following year by Scoto of Venice con- 
tained the additional mass Sine nomine already mentioned as 
included in the 1591 edition of Liber Primus. (See p. 193, 

CINATUS. This volume, dedicated to Cardinal Pietro Aldo- 
brandini, was published by Coattino of Rome in the year 
1594. It appeared a month after Pierluigi's death. 

I. Dies santificatus. 4 v. The theme taken from Pierluigi's 

motet in four parts (there were two the second in 
eight parts) with a similar title (Vol. 5 of Collected 
Edit. p. 3). It is in the mixolydian mode. While 
the opening is almost identical he works up his 
thematic material, the result being much richer in 
effect and thus forming a valuable example of the 
master's methods. The hemolia minor should be 
noted. C. Ed. Vol. 15, i. 

II. In te Domine jferavi. 4 v. Apparently based on 

Offertorium for the ist Tuesday in Lent.t In 
dorian mode. C. Ed. Vol. 15, 22. 

III. Sine nomine. 4 v. The theme has been traced to a 

mass composed by J. Maillard on his own theme 
" Je suis desherit^e," which was published by the 
Parisian firm Adrian le Roy and Robert Ballard in 
1557. C. Ed. Vol. 15,44. 

IV. Quam pulchra es. 4 v. In Vol. 4 of C. Ed. is to be 

found a motet with similar title in five parts but 
different thematic material. The subject of the 
mass in question has been traced t to one by J. 
Lupus on the same text (from the Song of 
Solomon) in the Vienna Hofbibliothek. The 
mode is ionian. C. Ed. Vol. 15, 60. 

V. D'tlexi quoniam. 5 v. Words taken from Ps. 114 

(English Prayer-book 116). This mass, which 

* P. Wagner. t Haberl. + P. Wagner. 


takes rank with Pierluigi's most inspired work, was 
copied into the Papal Choir's book in the first year 
of Sixtus V.'s reign (1585), and is still sung. It 
is in the mixolydian mode. C. Ed. Vol. 1 5, 84. 
VI. Ave Maria. 6 v. This mass was only included 
amongst the foregoing in the 2nd edition of this 
volume, issued by Gardano of Venice in 1596. It 
was probably sold by Igino to the Venetian pub- 
lishers after his father's death.* As the Sextus 

sings the C. F. 

to the words Ave Maria gratia plena this circum- 
stance justifies the identification of this mass as of 
earlier origin.! It is written in a certain simple, 
genial, pastoral vein, and it has therefore been sug- 
gested that it was intended for Christmastide. The 
mode is transposed ionian. C. Ed. Vol. 15, 113. 

This volume, published in Rome by Coattino in 1594, was 
hurried through the press immediately after Pierluigi's death 
by his son Igino. It is probable that the Master had its con- 
tents already in contemplation, for the dedication bears the date 
March I, 1 594. Igino, on hearing that His Holiness considered 
a scheme for bringing out a complete edition of his late com- 
poser's works, dedicated this volume to Clemens VIII. The 
record of the Pope's intention is made, as follows, by the 
Puntatore to the Papal Choir the occasion was the anniversary 
of the Pope's coronation : " Di poi la messa si andi a cantar 
li motteti al Papa mentre desinava, e di poi entrammo dentro 
la stantia dove desinava. Et Sua Santita domand6 a chi erano 
restate le opere della bo me de Messer Giovanni di Pelestrino 
(sic) Glie fu resposto che erano restate al figluolo ; et soggiunse 
che voleva dar ordine che fussero di nuovo stampate e quello 
anco, che non erano in luce, per utile delle chiese." J It is 
in Igino's dedication to Pope Clemens VIII. that he makes use 
of those ambiguous terms which gave rise to so much con- 


t P. Wagner. 

+ Preface to Vol. 17, C. Ed. 


troversy. "Pater meus, scptuaginta fere vitae suae annoi in Dei 
laudibus components consumens." * The 2nd edition in 1595 
had an additional mass, Ad beneplacitum, included in Liber 
Decimus under the title lllumina oculos meos, the theme of which 
has been traced to a motet of the Papal singer Andrea de 

I. Ave Maria. 4 v. Theme derived from 2nd Antiphon 

usual on the Festival of the Annunciation. Trans- 
posed dorian at the upper 5th. An interesting 
example of the manner in which Pierluigi works 
up a flowing but not particularly interesting subject, 
with an additional part (5 parts) in the second 
Agnus. C. Ed. Vol. 16, i. 

II. Sanctorum mentis. 4 v. Theme from the hymn Sanctorum 


Sane - to - rum me - ri - tis in - cly - ta gau - dia 

etc. (see also Pierluigi's hymn, C. Ed. 8, p. 113). 
In phrygian mode. An example of Pierluigi's most 
suave and limpid part-writing, the Crucijixus and 
Pleni sunt in three parts and the contrasts marked 
between the higher and lower voices. C. Ed. 
Vol. 16, 22. 

III. Emendemus. 4 v. Another mass in a similar vein. 

It has been suggested that the theme resembles that 
of Sine nomine in Liber Sextus (i$th Vol. C. Ed.) ; 
but whether that be so or no (and there are 
certainly points of resemblance) Baini gives yet 
another derivation which it is, however, impossible 
to verify. He says it is founded on a motet by the 
Spaniard Gabriel Calvez, of which no trace can now 
be found. The mode is transposed hypodorian. 
C.Ed. Vol. 16,44. 

IV. Sacerdos et pontifex. 5 v. Derived from Magnificat Com- 

mune Conf. Pont. Mode II., transposed 4th above. 
With the other masses Ascendo ad Patrem and Tu es 
Petrus it was copied into the Sistine Chapel choir 
books in 1602. In hypodorian mode. C. Ed. 
Vol. 1 6, 60. 

* See page of G. P. da Pales., 183. t P. Wagner. 


V. Tu es pastor ovium. 5 v. Dedicated to Sixtus V. in the 
year of his accession. Taken from the 2nd part of 
motet with same title which itself is derived from 
the Gregorian melody of the Magnificat antiphon 
on the Festival of St. Peter (C. Ed. 31, 63). In 
dorian mode. C. Ed. Vol. 1 6, 85. 

(The new edition, 1595, contained an additional mass, Ad 
bene placltum or, as it appeared in. a 1600 edition, "lllumina 
oculos meos" printed in Vol. 19, p. 109, C. Ed.) 

MISSARUM . . . LIBER OCTAVUS, 1599, published by Ti- 
berius de Argentis and inscribed as follows : 

Admodum : 

R.P.D. Sy/vio Maioli Palavino Priori meritissimo P. Salva- 
toris in Lauro de Urbe ac Totius congregations S. Georgii 
in Alga Procuratori Generali. D. Tiberius de Argentis 
foelicitatem Veneti'u 1599 Die vigesima Mensis Aprilis. 

I. Ouem dicunt homines. 4 v. Haberl totally disagrees with 

Baini's criticism of this as a youthful work, saying 
it belongs to a ripe period and is " fresh and living." 
In hypomixolydian mode. Dr. P. Wagner thinks 
it is derived from a motet by Jean Richafort. C. 
Ed. Vol. 17, i. 

II. Dum esset summits pontifex. 4 v. Derived from Anti- 

phon to Magnificat for znd Vesper in the Commune 
sanctorum summorum pontijicum. In Dorian mode. 
C. Ed. Vol. 17, 23. 

III. O admirable commercium. 5 v. Inspired by his own 

motet (with similar title) which was derived from 
the first Vesper Antiphon for the Christmas octave. 
Written in mixolydian mode, it is a composition 
of peculiar loveliness. C. Ed. Vol. 17, 39. 

IV. Memor esto. 5 v. From motet with similar title. 

C. Ed. Vol. 17, 63. 

V. Dum complerentur. 6 v. From motet of same name. C. 

Ed. i, 3. Copied into Codex 32 of Sistine Chapel 
in 1585. Full of the spirit of Whitsuntide. 
Transposed ionian. C. Ed. Vol. 17, 85. 

VI. Sacerdotes Domini. 6 v. Pierluigi has here taken the 

words of the Offertorium on the Festival of Corpus 
C At is ft, Sacerdotes Domini incensum et panes off (runt 


Deo, etc., and with the memory of the Festival of 
the Trinity in his mind, has set himself to illustrate 
the mystery with a marvellous double canon, in- 
scribed Trinltas In unitate. No mere example of 
pedantic learning, it is a triumphant statement of an 
article of faith. It is in the VIII. mode. Haberl 
remarks that the 8th Volume is one of the best and 
worthiest collections of masses written by the Master. 
The Editor, D. Tiberius de Argentis, sums them 
up : " Divino furore afflatus vir recolendae memoriae 
Joann. Petraloysius Praenestinus hoc nostro scecolo ad- 
mirabilii in components cantibus pro uso Ecclesiae 
Catholicae has praeiertim Mtssas composuif." Between 
1599 anc * 1601, D. T. de Argentis edited the 
8th, 9th, nth, 1 2th, and I3th books of masses. 
In dedicating Vol. 8 to the Prior of the congre- 
gation, 5. Salvatoris in Laura de Urbe (Rome) and 
S. Georgii In Alga (Venice), it is not yet clear what 
his position was in regard to this congregation. It 
has been suggested that as the church S. Salvatore 
in Lauro (Rome) was frequented by the Papal 
Singers, in this way, D. T. de Argentis came into 
possession of Palestrina's masses (Haberl). C. Ed. 
Vol. 17, 113. 

MISSARUM . . . LIBER NONUS. This volume was brought 
out by D. T. de Argentis ten months after Liber Octavus. The 
date is Feb. 20, I 599, but owing to differences in the Venetian 
Calendar this should probably be altered to 1600. The 
description is as follows : Cantus \ Joannis. Petraloysis Prae- 
nestini \ Missarum cum quatuor, quinque, et sex vocibus \ LIBER 
NONUS | . . . Venetiis Apud Haeredem Hieronymi Seoti 
MDXCIX. This volume also was dedicated to a member of 
the Congregation of S. Giorgio in Alga, Giovanni Cisani of 

I. Ave regina coelorum. 4 v. Inspired by ist Antiphon, 

B.M.V., and in the same mode (hypoionian). A 
mass of similar length to Iste Confessor and Aeterna 
Christl muera. C. Ed. Vol. 18, I. 

II. Vcni sponsa Chrlsti. 4 v. Taken from his motet, 

based on the Gregorian melody Pent Sponsa Chr'uti 


(Antiphon to Mag. Commune Virginum). C. Ed. 
Vol. 1 8, 21. 

III. Veitiva i colli. 5 v. Taken from his madrigal of 

same name. It has also been suggested that it 
owes something to the Sequence Victimae Paschali 
laudes, as it is full of Easter joy. In dorian mode. 
C. Ed. Vol. 1 8, 38. 

IV. Sine nomine. 5 v. A marvel of contrapuntal dexterity. 

In the 1st Kyrie a canon in the upper fifth resolved 
after one half pause : in the Christe a canon in the 
upper fourth resolved after two half pauses. In the 
last Kyrie a canon in the octave resolved after three 
half pauses, in Et in terra canon in the lower second 
after four half pauses, in the Qui tollis canon in the 
upper second after five half pauses, in the Patrem 
canon in the upper third after six half pauses, Et in 
spintum canon in the lower third after seven 
half pauses, Sanctiu canon in the upper sixth after 
eight half pauses, Hosanna and Benedictus canon in 
the lower sixth after nine half pauses, first Agnus 
Dei in the lower seventh after ten, second Agnus Del 
canon in the upper seventh after eleven half pauses. 
This tour de force, as was only to be expected, is 
not one of Pierluigi's most genial works. In dorian 
mode. C. Ed. Vol. 1 8, 64. 

V. In te Doming , speravi. 6 v. Baini rightly praises this 

mass for its clarity, strength, magnificence, its 
elegance of proportion, vocal qualities and spon- 
taneity. It is certainly one of the most delightful 
compositions in the Master's suave and soaring 
manner. It appears to be based on the Gregorian 
melody of the Ambrosian hymn.* In the XI. 
(ionian mode). C. Ed. Vol. 18, 91. 

VI. TeDeum laudamus. 6 v. Like the plainsong melody 

from which it is derived, in Phrygian mode (two 
forms), copied into Codex 32 of Pap. Ch. with 
date 1585 at the same time as Deus complerentur, 
Viri Galilei and Aspice Domine. The mode gives 
the mass a certain severity of colouring but is full 
of holy fire.f-C. Ed. Vol. 18, 119. 
* Haberl. f Idem. 


MISSARUM . . . LIBER DECIMUS. This was published in 
1600 by Andreas de Agnetis, also a Venetian, of whom nothing 
is known. He bought the masses from Igino. The original title 
of the volume runs : Cantus \ Joan \ Petraloysii \ Praenestinus 
Missarum cum quatuor, quinque, et sex vocibus \ LIBER DECI- 
MUS | ... Venetiis A pud Haeredem Hieronymi Scoti M.D.C. 

I. In illo tempore. 4 v. Probably an early work derived 

from motet of same title. In dorian (I.) mode. 
Only one Agnus Dei, in canon at the upper fourth. 
Haberl considered it an uneven and unpractical 
mass. C. Ed. Vol. 19, i. 

II. Giafu chi nfebbe cara. 4 v. Taken from the madrigal 

in z8th Vol. C. Ed., p. 26, published in 1555. 
Baini says : "a breve armoniosa, ben misurata net 
periodi, leggiera, e vivacetta" An unusual feature is 
the double canon in the Eenedlctus. This mass is 
to be found in a Folio Codex 1692, from the 
Hospital of S. Spirito in Sassia, Roma, with the title 
"Jam fuit," and the author is given as Palestina 
Praenestinae 1 C. Ed. Vol. 19, 22. 

III. Petra Sancta. 5 v. Theme untraced. In aeolian 

mode. Baini's criticism is " severe and weighty." 
C. Ed. Vol. 19, 37. 

IV. Virgo simulet mater. 5 v. Based on the motet with 

similar title (C. Ed. 2, 3) published in 1572. 
Haberl draws attention to the first bar, p. 79, 
between ist alto and tenor, where are to be found 
examples of fifths " which are no printer's error." 
C. Ed. Vol. 19, 63. 

V. Quinti toni. 6 v. This mass, ostensibly in the lydian 

mode, is, in Haberl's opinion, so-called by the 
editor Agnetis on finding it without a title, for, 
according to Venetian custom, the lydian was 
treated as the ionian mode, i.e. with the flat fourth. 
As this was not Pierluigi's custom it would be a 
matter for astonishment had he departed from it 
here. Baini says of this mass "e bellissitna, (fun 
effetto mirabile, ricercatissima nella modulazione, e ri 
debbe avere per una delle piu solenni e subllmi tnesse che 
usdssero della fenna di Giovanni" C. Ed. Vol. 
19. 8 5- 


VI. Illumina oculos meos. 6 v. A particularly earnest and 
devotional mass, too much so, indeed, for Baini's 
Latin taste, which assigns it to the " scuola fiam- 
minga." It is, nevertheless, one of the composer's 
masterpieces. Taken from a motet by A. de Silva 
this mass was already included in the second (1595) 
edition of Liber Septimus under the title of Ad bene 
placitum. C. Ed. Vol. Ty, 109. 

MISSARUM . . . LIBER UNDECIMUS was issued by Girolamo 
Scoto of Venice and dedicated by the editor, Tiberius de 
Argentis, to the Prior, Daniel Rosa, of the Congregation of S. 
Gregorius in Alga with S. Gregorio and S. Vitale. The full 
title is as follows : Cantus \ Joannis Petraloysii \ Praenestini I Mis- 
sarum cum guator, qulnque et sex vocibus : \ Liber Undecimus | 
VenetiiS) Apud Haeredem Hieronymi Scoti M.D.C. | Date of 
dedication November 10, 1600. 

I. Descendit Angelus Domini. 4 v. Derived from a motet 

by Hilaire Penet.* In ionian mode, translated in 
the upper 4th with a [7. Simple, clear, and agree- 
able though somewhat spun-out.t The illustration 
of the text in the Gloria should be noted where the 
Cantus touches G on the word altissimus for the 
only time throughout this section, also the joyous 
sequential passages in the opening of the Credo. 
C. Ed. Vol. 20, i. 

II. Regina coeR. 5 v. This joyous mass in the same mode 

as the preceding derives its subject from the Anti- 
phon proper to Easter, a fresh development of 
which is easily traced in the Christe. The Hosanna 
in excelsis is a paean of transcendent joy, the effect 
of which is in some measure due to the change of 
rhythm, the time signature being y. C. Ed. Vol. 
20, p. 22. 

III. Quando lieta sperai. 5 v. Dr. Wagner has traced this 

subject to a madrigal by Cyprian de Rore. The 
mass is in the aeolian mode. A copy without the 
title is to be found in Cambridge in the Fitzwilliam 
Museum. C. Ed. Vol. 20, p. 50. 

* P. Wagner. t Haberl. 


IV. Octavi font. 6 v. This mass, in the hypomixolydian 

mode, is interesting on account of its tonality, 
much in advance of the period. It might almost, 
indeed, have been considered from an early har- 
monic standpoint. A cantus jirmus allied in cha- 
racter to that employed in Ecce sacerdos magnus 
runs through the 2nd soprano voice-part of the 
Kyrie, Sanctus, and Benedict in breves, adapted to 
triple measure in the final Agnus Del. C. Ed. 
Vol. 20, p. 80. 

V. Alma Redemptoris. 6. v. This beautiful mass, in- trans- 

posed ionian, is another instance of Pierluigi's 
exaltation in connection with the Mother of God. 
Founded on the antiphon usual in the Advent 
season it is written in a spirit of intense devotion 
and holy joy. The 6-part hosanna in triple 
measure, divided between the higher and lower 
voices for the first ten bars, is especially remarkable. 
C. Ed. Vol. 20, p. 1 06. 

MISSARUM . . . LIBER XII. was dedicated by Tiberius de 
Argentis to another of the canons of S. Giorgio in Alga, the 
Vicar, J. B. Bordone, the contents, with one exception, hitherto 
unpublished. It was issued by Scoto of Venice and dated 
April, 1 60 1. 

I. Regina ceeli. 4 v. This mass (in transposed hypo- 

ionian mode) though founded on the same theme 
as the 5 -part mass published on p. 22 of Vol. 20, 
C. Ed., is treated differently, for that reason form- 
ing an interesting comparison. C. Ed. Vol. 21, I. 

II. O Rex glonae. 4 v. The master's motet (5th Vol. 

C. Ed. p. 26) formed the basis of this mass in 
transposed hypodorian. Not alone the influence 
of the tonality, but the awe and veneration in- 
spired by the season (Ascensiontide) accounts for 
the deeply solemn spirit in which this mass is 
composed. Possibly an early work. In the Bene- 
dictus and Agnui Dei are to be found examples of a 
canon in unison. C. Ed. Vol. 21, p. 22. 

III. Ascendo ad Patrem. 5 v. Another Ascensiontide mass, 

but here the joy of the wonderful event outweighs 


the awe. It opens with the rise of an octave, 
imitated in all the parts ; a naive illustration of the 
title. Haberl describes this mass as a costly pearl, 
and the student is unlikely to challenge this 
appreciation. The Sanctus especially, conveying 
the sense of soaring rapture, and the cumulating 
Hosanna (in which there is a change to triple 
measurement and a Falso-bordone effect, expressive 
in its simplicity) cannot fail to make a deep im- 
pression on the hearer. C. Ed. Vol. 21, p. 38. 

IV. Qua/ il plu grand 'amor. 5 v. Dr. Wagner finds 

some resemblance in the theme to a madrigal by 
Cyprian de Rore. In any case its origin is probably 
from some such source. It is in the hypoionian 
mode (transposed). C. Ed. Vol. 21, p. 62. 

V. Tu es Petrus. 6 v. This fine mass (in the mixolydian 

mode) is founded on the 5th Antiphon at Vespers 
on the Feast of S. Peter and Paul. It was copied 
as late as 1612 into the choir books of the Papal 
Chapel with Sacerdos et Pontifex and Axendo ad 
Patrem. A second mass with this title, equally in 
mixolydian mode, is to be found in Vol. 24, C. Ed. 
C.Ed. Vol. 2 1, p. 86. 

VI. Virl Gafilaei. 6 v. Pierluigi's motet with similar 

title is the source of this mass in the dorian mode 
(transposed a 4th higher). From the character of 
the mode it is not so jubilant as other Ascensiontide 
masses, though a beautiful work enough ; indeed 
Baini says " iublimemente M/a."C. Ed. Vol. 21, 
p. in. 

MISSARUM . . . LIBER XIII. (Vol. "-22 of the C. Ed.) ap- 
peared 20 days only after Vol. 12. Published by Amadino of 
Venice, it was the last issued by Tiberius de Argentis, dedicated 
to the Father General of the canons of St. George. Tiberius 
in this dedication compares Pierluigi to the sun amongst the stars 
(So/ infer sidera), which shows that the great composer's reputa- 
tion had not waned in the intervening seven years since his 
death, and suggests that the 8-part masses contained in the 
present volume are amongst his most celebrated works. In 
Venice these would naturally meet with particular success, 


where the broad effect of contrasting choirs was much developed. 
At the same time there is more subtlety in the parts where the 
number of voices is confined to five or six, the interweaving 
receiving no aid from mere "effectiveness," but depending on 
solid counterpoint. The first three masses of this series were 
unpublished before this date (1601); the fourth appeared 
in Pierluigi's lifetime. 

I. Laudate Dominum omnes gentes. 8 v. On Pierluigi's 

motet of same title. The Christe is sung alone by 
the first choir. A similar contrast is obtained in 
the Crudjlxui. The mode is transposed dorian. 
C. Ed. Vol. 22, p. i. 

II. liodle Chrlstus natus at. 8 v. The delightful and 

well-known Christmas motet with similar title is 
the basis of this mass. The effective change of 
rhythm in the motet to the words no-e, no-e, is trans- 
formed in the mass to Hosanna in excelsis following 
the Benedictus. Here the two choirs are contrasted 
in quality, the first consisting of high, the second of 
lower voices, giving a very rich effect. The mode 
is mixolydian. C. Ed. Vol. 22, p. 40. 

III. Frattes ego entm accept (double choir). 8 v. From 

the 8-part motet of similar title. In transposed 
dorian. Haberl points out a passage in Agnus Dei 
between the altos of the first and second choirs 
with octaves, which Baini later corrected. C. Ed. 
Vol. 22, p. 74. 

IV. Confitebor tibi Domine (double choir). 8 v. From a 

similar source and in same mode. It was published 
in 1585. Written in a reflective, earnest style it 
displays certain beautiful effects, such, for instance, 
as the opening bars of the 2nd choir (cantm and 
a/tus) on the high G and its octave. C. Ed. Vol. 

22, p. HO. 

Volume 23 of the C. Ed. contains six hitherto unpub- 
lished masses, which were put into score from MSS. in the 
Vatican or Sixtine Chapel libraries. Baini had already made 
copies, which were checked with the original MSS. and used 
in the collected edition. 

I. In majoribus duplidbus. 4 v. Pierluigi took the 


customary Gregorian melodies for this class of 
festival, either in the original mode or transposing 
them a fourth higher. Thus, the Kyrie is in the 
phrygian, the Gloria in the mixolydian, the Sanctus 
and Benedictus in transposed dorian (upper 4th), 
and the Agnus Dei ionian. C. Ed. Vol. 23, p. i. 

II. In minoribus duplicibus. 4 v. Of similar origin. The 

fundamental melodies are to be found under the 
heading in festis duplicibus in the so-called Ortii- 
narium missae. Pierluigi has transposed the modes 
(originally dorian and phrygian) in the upper 4th, 
Credo dorian, Sanctus and Benedictus mixolydian 
(transposed upper 4th), Agnus Dei lydian (trans- 
posed upper 5th). C. Ed. Vol. 23, 26. 

III. Beatus Laurentius. 5 v. Pierluigi wrote two motets 

with this title. The present mass is inspired by 
that one published in C. Ed. Vol. I, 61, based on 
5th Vesper Antiphon for August io(St. Lawrence). 
The mode is transposed hypomixolydian. Baini 
distinguishes the maturity of style in the mass from 
the motet written earlier. C. Ed. Vol. 23, 48. 

IV. O sacrum convivium. 5 v. A similar source. In 

ionian mode. This masterpiece was copied into 
the choir-books in 1594 (Codex 30). C. Ed. 
Vol. 23, 71. 

V '. Assumpta est Maria. 6 v. In spite of the anecdotes 
Baini relates in connection with this mass, Haberl 
is of opinion it was not published before the year 
1612 to 1630. Ambros considers it to belong to 
that group of masterpieces such as the Marcellus 
mass, the Stabat Mater, and the Song of Solomon 
motets. It is in the mixolydian mode. C. Ed. 
Vol. 23, 97. 

VI. Vcni Creator spiritus. 6 v. This mass was copied 
into Codex 57, possibly in 1571, without a title, 
but the Pentecostal hymn forms the groundwork of 
the entire mass. In mixolydian mode. C. Ed. 
Vol. 23, 122. 

The final volume of masses, No. 24 in the C. Ed., contains 
none published before the nineteenth century. 


I. Paternoster. 4 v. Pierluigi's motet, published in 1575, 

was founded upon the Gregorian melody associated 
with these words, around which he weaves his rich 
counterpoint. The mass is on similar lines and in 
hypodorian mode. C. Ed. Vol. 24, I. 

II. Panem nostrum. 5 x. From the same source and 

mode. C. Ed. Vol. 24, 20. 

III. Salve regina. 5 v. From the Antiphon Salve regina, 

but, as Haberl remarks, not used as cantus frmus 
but as a leading motive, fully stated in the Kyrie, 
Sanctus, and Benedictus. C. Ed. Vol. 24, 46. 

IV. Sine tltulo. 6 v. It has been suggested that this 

mass is derived from a mass of Orlando di Lasso's 
(Haberl), or a motet of Josquin des Pres (Wagner), 
entitled Benedicta. Be that as it may, its broad 
and suave style is in the most characteristic manner 
of the master. It is in the hypomixolydian mode. 
C. Ed. vol. 24, 72. 

V. Tu es Petrus. 6 v. The second mass with this title 

derived from second half of the motet of same 
name, Quodcumque llgaver'is. In mixolydian mode. 
C. Ed. vol. 24, 105. 

VI. Ecce ego Joannes, 6 v. The long list of masses closes 

with one of the most inspired compositions of the 
Master. The beautiful words from the liturgy on 
the Feast of All Saints receive fitting illustration, 
and there is true prophetic dignity and authority in 
a work some would even place at the head of all 
others. C. Ed. Vol. 24, 129. 


THE theory on which the works of the great Roman 
School were constructed was third in the order of suc- 
cession, and took shape somewhere between the appear- 
ance of Johannes Tinctoris' Expositio Manus, about 1470, 
and Pietro Aron's De harmonica institutione, in 1516 : 
its predecessors being the neumes, and the solmisation 
or mutation, system. The first-named was a method of 
demonstrating direction but not duration or pitch ; the 
second, beginning with a fixed point of departure the 
first line of a stave standing for the bass F developed 
into a scale of twenty notes, the five-lined stave, and a 
system of modulation within those limits by means of a 
movable hexachord which, under the successive names of 
hexachordum durum, hexachordum naturale, and hexachordum 
molle covered the whole of the constituted scale. But 
there were certain difficulties, and in resolving these the 
theorists paved the way to very radical changes indeed. 
Up to this point the whole structure of music rested on 
the foundation of ancient modes or scales in which the 
Church melodies were written. Any change in these 
was regarded as little short of sacrilege, and when this 
was found to be unavoidable, musicians invented the 
formula of musica ficta^ a way of correcting the obnoxious 
interval of a tritone or augmented fourth known 
throughout the Middle Ages as a diabolus in musica by 
means of a flat. Though the application of the principle 
was new, a similar idea is to be found in the transposi- 
tional scales of the Greeks, from which the device 
of bridging the hexachords by a series of tetrachords 



was also probably taken, 
constituted as follows : 

The Guidonian * system was 

ee la 

dd la ^ sol 

cc sol fa 

bb fa mi 

aa ........ la "} mi re 

g sol / re \it ) Hexachordum durum super acutum. 

f . fa I ut ) . Hexachordum molle acutum, 

e la \ mi 

d . . la 'N mi re 

c .. sol I fa ut ) . . . Hexachordum naturale acutum. 

b . . fa f mi 

a la 'N mi [ re 

G BO! I re I ut J . . . . . Hexachordum durum acutum. 

F fa (^ ut / ....... Hexachordum molle grave. 

la mi 

D sol re 

C fa ut ./ Hexachordum naturale grave. 

B mi ' 

A re 

T ut J Hexachordum durum grave. 

N.B. The Hexachordum molle in every case is founded 
on a b rotundum.^ 

And it will readily be seen that each of the tetrachords 
had the semitone, or mi-fa, in a similar place ; that in the 
case of the hexachordum molle it was necessary, in order to 
bring this about, to employ a b rotundum instead of a 
b durum. a change too drastic to be acknowledged, but 
left to the singer who recognized the necessity by the 
rules supplied him. This theory of the hexachord was 
never superseded, it became incorporated in its successor ; 
just, indeed, as the neumes supplied the models from 
which sixteenth-century notation arose, and this homoge- 

* Guidonian, from Guido d'Arez2O, who either adapted or 
invented the mutation system in the second quarter of the eleventh 

f Quoted by Ambros, Geschichte der Musik, vol. ii. p. 190. 

\ b rotundum = B|y ; b durum or quadrum = BH. 


neity is a direct consequence of the veneration in which 
the ancient melodies were held, although the enormous 
developments which took place in the interval bore little 
resemblance to the primitive methods of early composers. 
Josquin was the first musician bold enough to break 
tradition so far as to insert a b rotundum where otherwise 
the employment might remain a matter of uncertainty ; 
but this innovation was resented by the singers, who, 
themselves mostly composers, regarded the signs as insults 
to their capacity. They went so far as to call them 
asininos (little asses). Nevertheless, it was obviously 
impossible as music grew in subtlety to trust to the 
intelligence of the choirs, and asininos had come to stay. 
Even so, composers used them as little as possible, and 
there is many a passage in the works of Pierluigi and his 
followers which present to the modern musician con- 
siderable difficulty of elucidation. Help may be sought 
in the contemporary theoretical works, though, unfor- 
tunately, they do not always agree. 

The wonderful growth in musical theory during the 
fifteenth century was due not to the theorists, but to the 
composers, the extraordinary vitality of whose ideas is an 
astonishing feature of this period. The treatise writers 
followed, not led ; explaining, criticizing, condemning, 
or praising. Josquin's art was the crown of this great 
period, and his gift to the coming generation was a new 
freedom of which they were not slow to take advantage. 


At the beginning of the sixteenth century these stood 
thus constituted : there were six authentic scales and six 
nlagal or derivative scales, the latter bearing a certain 
amount of analogy to a minor modern scale, with funda- 
mental differences. In each and all of these the pos.non 
of the semitone constituted the peculiar feature or cha- 
racteristic of the mode. 


The list and order is as follows : 

AUTHENTIC Dorian . . . D E*F G A fit D 

Phrygian . E*F G A fife D E 

Lydian . . . F G A B'C DJ<f F 

Mixolydian . G A B^C D A p G 

Aeolian . . . A B^C D E*F G A 

Ionian . . . C D A F G A B^C 

PLAGAL Hypodorian . AbcDefga 

Hypophrygian . BcdEfgab 

Hypolydian . CdeFgabc 

Hypomixolyian DefGabcd 

Hypoaeolian . EfgAbcde 

Hypoionian . GabCdefg 

(In the foregoing scales the semitones are marked as 
they occur and, in the case of the plagal scales, the finals 
are indicated by the second majuscule.) It will thus 
readily be seen that the authentic and its plagal (bearing 
the prefix hypo} possessed a common final or point of 
repose. In every composition the cantus firmus or tenor 
was required to finish on the final of the mode. At first 
sight it would seem impossible to ascertain whether the 
work was composed in an authentic or plagal mode. 
This question is only to be answered by an examination 
of the compass of the scale. Generally speaking, in the 
case of an authentic mode the melody did not proceed 
lower than a second below the final. On the other hand, 
the plagal scale might ascend one note higher than its 
octave and, in the case of the hypolydian and hypomixo- 
lydian modes, might descend to a fifth below its final. 
If, however, the course of the melody ran between the 
extreme points of a plagal and an authentic mode it was 
classified as mixed. There was yet one other distinction 


between an authentic mode and its plagal. This con- 
sisted in the natural division of the scale. The authentic 
mode was made up as follows : 

Dorian |DEFGA (sth) |ABCDj (4th). 

The plagal, on the contrary, was made up as follows : 
Hypodor. |AbcD| (4th) [Defga (sth), 

and this division served to mark the difference between 
an authentic scale and a plagal beginning on the same note. 

Ex. Dorian , . D E F G A B C D. 

Hypomixolydian D e f G a b c d. 

In the case of a composition written in the dorian the 
dominant (A) would play an important part ; were the 
composition, however, written in the hypomixolydian 
A would be of less importance, being the sixth of the 
mode, the final being G. It is only possible here to give 
a general idea of a highly complicated subject. Each of 
the modes, whether authentic or plagal, had its particular 
characteristics, which, if all were given here might only 
serve to confuse the reader. One word, perhaps, should 
be added with regard to the break in the order of the 
modes as shown above. This occurs between the aeolian 
and ionian authentic scales and their respective plagals, 
caused by the rejection of the intervening scales on 
account of the tritone and its inversion the diminished 
fifth. If it be inquired why the lydian (the first four 
notes of which constitutes an augmented fourth) and its 
plagal (with the inversion thereof) were allowed and not 
the Locrian (as it was called) and its hypo, the answer lies 
in the natural division of the scale : 

i i 



by which it is demonstrated that the essence of the 
Locrian was a diminished fifth and tritone, zvery diabotus 
of a scale indeed ! 


In order to accommodate the voices of the singers it 
might become necessary to change the compass of the 
mode. This could not be done at will but within certain 
arbitrary limits. A mode might be translated a fourth 
above or a fifth below : or, a rare exception, a fifth above 
and a fourth below. It is obvious that in performing this 
operation the sequence of the tones and semitones had to 
be preserved or the mode lost its individuality. But, if the 
dorian (for example) be transposed a fourth higher the 
natural disposition will either be changed, or the dorian 
order must be created artificially : 

Dorian D E^ G A B~C D 

Transposed Dorian G A Bb C D E^F G 
i i 

Here came in the b rotundum, and by the sixteenth century 
it took its place openly at the beginning of the stave, 
signifying that the mode was a transposed one. But in 
the case of a momentary modulation to another mode 
where a b rotundum was necessary it either appeared at the 
side of the note affected, or did not but was musica ficta 
and supplied by the singer. In the treatises are to be 
found examples of the rarely used inversion at the fifth 
above ; this process necessitated a sharp called a diesis in the 
form of a St. Andrew's cross, otherwise this form was little 
used, a b durum often being substituted for it. In con- 
sidering these and similar points it is absolutely necessary 
to dismiss from the memory all modern theories of key- 
signatures. The employment of one flat does not con- 
stitute the key of F major, the employment of one sharp 
the key of G major, which perhaps, after all, the reader 
has already discovered for himself. 


Other examples : 

* ^ 

Mixolydian G A 60 D EF , 

trans. C D E F G A B}> C. 

Phrygian EFGABCDE, 

trans. A^Bb C D F G A. 


These comprised the different forms of the C, F, and 
G clefs, though towards the middle of the sixteenth 
century the G clef on the first line of the stave and the 
C on the last went out of general use. Though those 
most employed were the four used in ordinary score 
the choice was determined by the range of the me- 
lody, an important rule being that no voice-part should 
overflow the limits of the five-lined stave, its strictness 
being gauged by the scarce instances to the contrary. 
Thus, if the composition was in four parts, each voice had 
practically the choice of three clefs, the cantus or soprano 
being written in the two forms of the G, or the soprano 
C clef, the altus in the three forms of the C, soprano, 
mezzo-soprano, or alto ; tenor in the alto, tenor or 
contra-tenor ; and the bassus in the three forms of the 
F clef, to which, indeed, might be added the two lowest 
forms of the C. Thus, if the student wishes to study 
the original scores for himself, without which it is im- 
possible to form a true idea of polyphonic art, it is 
essential to master the use of the clefs. 


This was very complicated, admitting a duple, triple, 
or triple and duple subdivision of the note according to 
position. As there were no bar-lines limiting the 
difficulty of the problem to a small section of the stave 


there was no object in arranging the parts in score. 
Usually the voice-parts were contained in separate 
volumes ; in the case of the great Roman editions and 
some others, the voices might be grouped two on a page, 
each, however, for itself, bearing no relation to the other. 
Thus, a continuous calculation on the part of the singer 
was necessary which, in the present day, has amusing 
and inconvenient results, for, in deciphering old scores, 
the misreading of a sign has not infrequently resulted in 
pages of cacophony and an appreciation of the unfortunate 
composer as primitive and barbarous ! Thanks to the 
splendid labours of the editors of the collected edition 
Palestrina escaped this fate, but the added bar-lines have 
destroyed the appearance of the parts and imitation be- 
comes harder to detect when the notes, to suit the 
exigencies of modern notation, are cut up into smaller 
values and slurred. Sixteenth-century time-signatures 
tended towards simplification if compared with those of 
the preceding century, but in order to appreciate this fact 
and to acquire a general idea of the system, it may be as 
well to give the table of note values, even though some 
of them were already out of use. The notes were 
grouped under three headings, Mode, Time, and Pro- 
lation. The mere choice of these terms is misleading to 
the modern student, the word Mode not here signifying 
the scale, the word Time not referring to all forms of 
rhythm. Therefore he must begin by disassociating 
these words from their accepted meaning and accept 
them at their sixteenth-century valuation. 

Mode referred to the longest values ot notes and 
their immediate subdivision.* It was susceptible of a 
double classification, modus major perfects or the greater 
mode perfect, and modus minor perfectus or the lesser mode 
perfect, this subdivision again holding good in the case 
of modus imperfectus. Without spending much time on 

* The Large and the Long only appear in sixteenth-century 
music to mark a long-held note at the close of a composition. 


what was already obsolete by the middle of the sixteenth 
century, it may be pointed out that perfect signified a 
triple subdivision, imperfect a duple : that modus major 
referred to the Large and its next smaller value, modus 
minor to the Long and its next smaller value. The 
modus major, perfect and imperfect, had these signatures : 

I'crf. Imperf. 

flp^rppJRFS and the modus minor, perfect and im- 

Perf. Imperf. 

perfect, these : g(gT(Trn=. The difficulty is increased 

by the want of uniformity in the use of time-signatures, 
but a circle always indicated perfect or triple time unless 
accompanied by the figure 2, the half-circle imperfect or 
duple time unless accompanied by the figure 3. The 
next species is Time, referring to the breve and its next 
value. Again of two kinds, its signatures were as 

Perfect. Imperfect. 

follows: .1 . .^-.-UL.-U " , . Prola- 

tion concerned the semibreve and its next value defined 
as major and minor on a similar principle, and by 
Pierluigi's time it was again susceptible of a further duple 
division into the semi-minima or chroma, where the rami- 
fications of rhythm ended.* So far it was simple enough, 
though a composition might require two or three signatures 
to express, for example, modus major perfectus, tempus imper- 
fectus and prolatio minor, which is to say that at one and 
the same time the Large had a triple division, the Breve 
a duple, and the Semibreve a duple, sufficiently puzzling 
to a modern intelligence.! But the matter was com- 
plicated by black notes, which lost a fourth of their value 

% Greater. 


* Signatures of prolation :^7^ 

t The duration of these notes is not to be gauged by modem 
estimates of tempo. 


through their colour, by points of perfection, or of 
alteration, varying the usual procedure. These things 
require much study and experience, as also the ligatures, 
from which our slurred note, sung to one syllable, are 
descended. The account of here would only serve 
to confuse the reader, for the different groups are very 
subtle and varied. The best way to approach their study 
is to take a good modern edition and compare it with the 
original. The following specimen may serve to illustrate 
these remarksand form a point of departure for future study.* 

O Rosa Bella Dunstable. 

From Tinctoris. 

L'ommc arnie. 

Lomme lomrae lorarae ar - - me, 

Et Ro - bi 

net Tu m'as la mort don - n. Quand tu t'en ras. 

Translation. (Ambros, Vol. II., Gttchicktt dtr Musis.) 

Tempus imperfectus. 


73 r~^ f rj : P~ 

i ' ' i 1 


I j 

2a ( *' 

4qi> g, = 

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'iUJ't? f -J 

1 1 r~ " - - t r~r~ ~ 

* See page 29. 



While it must never be forgotten that the Roman 
school owed its theoretical development to an inter- 
nationalism which reached its highest point in the 
Netherlands, it displayed from the first certain qualities 
more or less indigenous. These may be summed up as 
a stronger feeling for lucidity, taste, and proportion ; yet 
it is worth noting that, to some extent, the general trend 
of the sixteenth century elsewhere was in this direction.* 
Be this as it may, the best way to approach the study of 
the great polyphonic works of the Roman masters is 
surely through those of an earlier period, when it will be 
seen that the Southerners quickly distinguished themselves 
by a golden suavity partaking in its very essence of the 
environment in which they lived and worked. At the 
same time all the devices of the learned Netherlanders 
writing in the latter half of the fifteenth century are to 
be found in the compositions of the sixteenth in 
Italy, and there is abundant evidence that Pierluigi him- 
self, while conscious of the direction in which his genius 
was leading him, was by no means inclined to forego the 
reputation of being even so learned a practitioner of his 
.art as any of his Northern predecessors. 

As a mature instance of this statement his Hexachord 
mass may be quoted, showing the fusion of old and new 
ideals. Written somewhere betweed 1561 and 1562 
the date of its dedication to Pius IV. is 1562 it displays 
the characteristic clarity of phrase combined with a rich 
contrapuntal texture, with the most ingenious employment 
of its simple and at first sight uninteresting subject, 

* The compositions of the little-known Clemens non Papa (of 
whom it is gravely asserted that he owed his curious name to the 
necessity of distinguishing him from the reigning Pontiff Clemens 
VIII.) furnish remarkable instances of this statement. 



teeming with instances of tempus perfectus, close, even 
continuous, imitation and examples of hexachordum 
naturale and durum ; * with a canon in sub diapente, in- 
version of the cdntus firmus y etc., etc. Notwithstanding 
this overwhelming display of erudition, it remains light and 
flowing, successfully concealing its prowess from the unin- 
itiated. The Crucifixus is one of the most striking examples 
of the " Palestrinian " style the master ever penned, and 
announces his approaching zenith. It was indeed written 
to all appearances immediately before the Marcellus mass. 
Many of his shorter compositions are elaborate examples of 
the most complicated counterpoint from start to finish, as 
for example a passage in one of his magnificats where one 
tenor sings his part to its reversal in a second tenor part ! 
One of his favourite devices was to repeat a short phase at 
measured intervals, each time one degree of the scale 
higher, and in his Missa sine nomine, in the eighth volume of 
the complete edition, there are instances of double canons 
at the second and third which are a marvel of dexterity. 
Some of his most beautiful and characteristic effects, how- 
ever, are also entirely simple. A case in point is his 
treatment of the fifth, which constituted a favourite 
opening chord. This venerable interval, along with the 
fourth and octave, was revered by the Greeks and revelled 
in by mediaeval musicians to the extent of whole com- 
positions.f Tinctoris recommends it as an opening 
chord with what propriety may be ascertained in the 
works of the great Palestrinian. Pierluigi's usual method 
of procedure is to sound one or other of the requisite notes 
alone, completing the chord on the entry of the second 
voice. Its acoustic perfection explains the peculiar satis- 
faction with which the ear receives it, and no doubt the 
large open spaces with lofty roofs in which these works 

* Not molle, which would have led to difficulties of tonality. 

t The late learned Belgian musician and critic, F. A. Gevaert, 
defended the cause of the fifth in parallel voices vigorously, claiming 
that although without an accompanying third the effect was cha- 
racteristic and not inartistic. 


are usually performed are for something in the sense of 
delight aroused in the hearer. It was this apparent 
simplicity of effect which constituted the great beauty 
of these a cappella works. It is, indeed, a curious fact 
that the complication of rhythm, so extreme, was allied 
with a chord relationship which eliminated complication 
of any kind. The whole trend of fifteenth century and 
sixteenth century teaching was in the direction of smooth- 
ness, of gliding progressions from one chord to another. 
The strict contrapuntal law permitted the use of only 
two chords, the triad and chord of the sixth. To these 
might be added certain suspensions, a device known as 
the nota camblta y which momentarily relaxed the strict 
rule that a discord was not allowed unprepared, and the 
freedom of passing-notes, which last, indeed, educated the 
ears of the musicians to many chords with a very modern 
sound. The result of these suave gliding harmonies was 
a very beautiful freedom, to which the absence of a leading 
note or as sixteenth-century musicians would have 
expressed themselves the sub-semitone to the Final 
undoubtedly contributed. With this curiously simple 
material Pierluigi united his Canones in c&ncriza ; * his 
time combinations ; augmentations and diminutions of 
the theme ; yet the flow and effortlessness of these great 
works made them instruments fit for the service of the 
Church. It is impossible to consider them apart from 
their object. 

Some seventy out of the amazing total of ninety 
masses t are based on fragments of the ancient church 
melodies antiphones, hymns, sequences, or responses. 
The Glorid and Credo invariably waited on the open- 
ing liturgical chant of the officiating priest, the choir 
taking them up respectively at Et in terra and Tatrem 
omnipotentem. These were not the only bonds imposed 

* Or literally, crab-like canons, i.e. proceeding backwards, 
t These figures are taken from Dr. Peter Wagner's Geschic/tte 
der Messen. 

Q 2 


by the ritual. In the Gloria the tenor or cantus firmus 
must rise a major sixth to express Tu solus altissi- 
mus t a sufficiently unusual freedom of the voice-part 
to mark the significance of the words. Throughout the 
mass the composer was bound by the convention imposed 
by the ritual : the Kyrte with its three sections, the 
Gloria with two, the Credo two, possibly three, parts, the 
Sanctus three, the Benedictus two, the Agnus three. 
Such was the structure ; the form of the mass, however, 
might be one of three types: cantus fir mus masses, choral 
masses, and missae parodiae, that is, masses constructed 
over motets, madrigals, infrequently masses. The first 
mass Pierluigi published was a cantus firmus mass, Ecce 
sacerdos magnus t disqualified later, in conformity with the 
will of the Council of Trent, to rid the Ordinarium of 
interpolated text, or tropes. Another was the alreadv 
mentioned hexachord mass which exhibits Pierluigi s 
invention at its highest, owing nothing as it does to 
the beauty of its theme, or even association. 



Ad coenam agni providi, 24, 194 

Ad fugam, 56, 195 

Aeterna Christ! munera, 154, 179, 

Agapito. See S. Agapito 

Agostino Ludovico, 147 

Agnetis Andrea de, 167 et seq. 

Albert Duke of Bavaria, 66, 72 

Aldobrandini Ippolito. See Cle- 
ment VIII. 

Cardinal Pietro, 1 55 

Allegri, 99 

Alle rive del Tebro, 9 1 

Alma redemptoris, 169 

Altaemps Chapel, 97, fn., 107 

Alva, Bishop of, 127 

Ambros, 39, fn., 48, fn., 56, 64, fn., 

75 95> fa- 
Am bula sancte Dei, 134 
Amor quando floria, 91 
Anerio Felice, 97, 99, 131 
Animuccia, 35, 81 et seq. 
Antiphonary, 165 
Appendix, 215 
Arco, 69, 70 

Argentis, Tiberio de, 167 et seq. 
Ascendo ad Patrem, 209 
Aspice Domine, 195 
Asola, Giovanni Matteo, 101 
Assumpta est Maria, 138, 190 
Ave Maria, 202, 203 
Ave Regina coelorum, 205 
Avignon, xix, 38 


Baini, xxiii, 5, fn., 47, 84, 86, 178, 

183, 189 

Barre, Leonardo, 34 
Bathory, Cardinal Andrea, 133, 

134, 163 

Baume, Abbe" de, 155 
Beatus Laurentius, 2 1 2 

Bel, Firmin le. See Firmin 
Belardino. See Palestrina's family 
Benigni, Tommaso, 141 142 
Bernardino, 39, and fn. 
Bertolotti, 71 

Boccapadule, Antonio, 140 
Boniface VIII., 2 
Borgia, Lucrezia. See Ferrara 
Borromeo, Cardinal Carlo, 51, 52, 

Brenet, Michel, 5, fn., 63, fn., 

64, fn., 65, fn. 
Buoncompagni, Cardinal Ugo. 

See Gregory XIV. 
Burney, Dr., xxi, 54, 63, 178, 

and fn. 
Busnois, 63 

CANAL, Abbe Pietro, 7 1 
Capello, Annibale, 77, 106, 113, 

114, 115, 121, 128 

Carpentras, 107 

Casimiri, Monsignor, 5, fn., 7, fn., 

37, fn., 39, fn., 43, fn., 69, fn. 
Caraffa, Cardinal Pietro. See 

Paul IV. 
Carissimi, 97 
Cervini, Cardinal Marcello. See 

Marcellus II. 
Charles V., 10 
Charlemagne, xviii 
Choron, 180 
Cicherchia, 6, fn. 
Ciocchi del Monte, Cardinal 

Giammaria. See Julius III. 
Clement VII., 155 

VIII., 155, l6 .3 '83 

Collegium Germanicum, 96 
Colonna, House of, 2, 3, fn. 

Marc Antonio Colonna, 89 

Giulio Cesare Colonna, 89 

Vittoria Colonna, 61, fn. 
Colonna palace, 1 1 8 



Commer, Franz, 180 
Company of Rome, i 30, 1 34 
Con dolce altiero, 19 
Confitebor, 211 
Constantini, 100 
Coppola, Giacomo, 5 
Crux fidelis, 39, fn. 
Cupis, Cardinal de, 38 

DE BEATA VlRGlNE, 62, 92, 197 

De feria, 61 

Dejob, 32, fh. 

Descendit Angelus Domini, 169, 


Dies sanctificatus, 155, 201 
Dilexi quoniam, 155, 201 
Directorial!! Chori, in, 112 
Dormuli, Victoria, 116 
Dragoni, Giovanni, Andrea, 95, 


Dufay, 63 

Dam complerentur, 168, 190, 204 

Dum esset, 204 

ECCE EGO JOANNES, 143, 190, 213 
Ecce sacerdos magnus, 22, 62, 92, 


Emendemus, 203 
English College, 99 
Espagne, 180 
Este, Cardinal Ippolito d', 67 et 

seq., 69, 77, 84, 102 
, Cardinal Luigi d', 121, 123 

FARNESE, Cardinal Ranuccio, 37 
Fellonico, Abbey of, 147 
Ferdinand I., 49, 70 
Ferrara, Duke Ercole II. of, 66 

, Duke Alfonso II. of, 121, 

123, 146 

Ferrabosco, Domenico, 34, 65 
Festa, Costanza, 16, 20, 51, 54, 94 
Fiera, 74 

Firmin le Bel, 6, 7 
Fiat res ego enim accepi, 178, fn., 

21 I 

Gaude Barbara beata, 79 

Gaudio Mell, 4, 5 

Gevaert, xv, xvi 

Gia fu chi, 207 

Giovanelli, 97, 99 

Giudetti, Giovanni, 112, 113 

Gonzaga. See Mantua 

Goudimel, 5 

Goris, Francesco de, 8 

Graduale, 165 et seq. 

Gregory XIII., 106, in, 112, 

1 1 8, 134, 161, 165 
-XIV., 153, ,54 
Grimaldi, 85 
Guido d'Arezzo, xvii, xviii 

HABERL, 25, 71, fn., 107, 151, 

1 80, 1 84 et seq. 
Heemskerck, Martin van, 38, 85, 


Hexachord mass, 52, 62 
Hodie ChristuB natus est, 99, 211 
Hodie nobis coelorum est, 99 


Ingegneri, 99 

In illo tempore, 168, 207 

In majoribus duplicibus, 211 

In minoribus duplicibus, 212 

Innocent IX., 154 

In te Domine speravi, 155, 168 

Inviolaia, 56, 195 

Iste Confessor, 154, 190, 200 

JACOBELLA. See Palestrina's 


Jam Christus astra, 200 
Janetto. See Palestrina's family 
Jesu nostra redemptio. See Missa 


John XXII, xxii 
John of Austria, Don, 89 
Julian Choir, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 

25, 84, 108, 109, 116, 130, 148 
Julius II., n, 12, 1 60 
III., 9 et seq., 20 et seq., 27, 

28, 35, 60, 96 

LAMENTATIONS, 39, 106, 107, 150, 
151, 188 



Las Infantas, Ferdinando de, 112 
Lassus, 66, 72, too, 151 
Lauda Sion. See Missa prima 
Laudate Dominum, zi i 
Lepanto, Victory of, 89 
L'homme artne, 61, 120, 190 
Litanies, 150, 155, 188 


155, 188 

Magnificats, 150, 188 
Maillard, Jean, 65 
Mantua, House of 

William of Mantua, 70 et seq^ 
95, 102, 108, 113, 114, 127, 
1 3 f '3 6 145 ttttq. 

Duchess of Mantua, 70 

Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga, 73, 

Cardinal Scipio Gonzaga, 74 
Marcellus II., 29 / ^7., 54, 55, 

115, fn. 

Marenzio, 100, fh., 121 et seq. 
Maria Maggiore, S. See S. Maria 

Mass of Pope Marcellus, 52, 56, 

57, 5 . 

Massarelli, 32, fn. 
Maximillian II., 69, 70, 108 
Medici, Cardinal Angelo. See 

Pius IV. 

, Ferdinando d', 155 

Melchior, 185 et seq. 
M6lop6e antique, xv 
Memor esto, 204 
Michelangelo, 61 
Missa brevis, 61, 179, 190, 196 

prima, 198, 199 

. secunda, 198, 199 

tertia, 198, 199 

quarta, 199 

Montalto, Cardinal. See Sixtus V. 
Morales, 17, 91, 94 
Morley, Thomas, 91 
Moskowa, Prince de la, 1 80 

NANINO, G. Bernadino, 131 

, G. Maria, 98, 99 

Nasce la gioja mia, 154 

Neri, Fillipo, 87, 156, 192 
Netherlandish School, xx, 53 
Neumes, xvii 
New Discant, xix 
Nicholas V., 160 
Nigra sum, 200 


78, 1 68, 204 
Octavi toni, 169, 209 
Odescalco, Bishop of, 102 
O magnum mysterium, 78, 119, 


Oratorians, 82, 155 
O Regem coeli, 24, 193 
O Rex gloriae, 169, 209 
Organum, xix 
sacrum convivium, 212 
O Virgo simil, 168, 207 

PACHECHO, Cardinal, 66 

G. P. da Palestrina's family 
Jacobella, grandmother, 24 
Pierluigi Sante, father, 3 
Maria Gismondi, mother, 3 
Silla, brother, 3, 103, 104 
Bernardino, brother, 3, 26 
Pal ma, sister, 3, 149 
Ridolfo, eldest son, 44, 103 

et seq. 
Angelo, second son, 103, no, 

Igino, third son, in, 120, fn., 

126, 163 et seq., 171, 183 
Veccia family, cousins, 149 

Panem nostrum, 213 

Panis quern ego dabo, 200 

Parasoli, Leonardo, 164 

Parsifal, xiv 

Pastor, Dr. Ludwig von, 29, in., 
67, fn., 69, fh. 

Pater noster, 213 

Paul III., 10, 38, 161 

IV., 33 et seq., 41 

V., 161, 167 

Petra sancta, 207 

Pfitzner, Hans, 192, fn. 

Philip II., 66, 77, 112 

Pius IV., 42,48. S't 59, 60 



Pius V., 86, 92 

X., 181 

Pontifical Choir, xx, xxi, 12, 13, 

27, 3 2 > 3 6 "9> 1 3> H> H*> 

158, 159, 160 
Primi toni, 61, 65, 196 
Pro defunctis, 194 
Proske, Dr. Karl, 179 

Quam pulchra, 54, 201 
Quando lieta, 169, 208 
Quern dicunt homines, 168, 204 
Quinti toni, 168, 207 

REGINA cut LI, 169, 208, 209 

Repleatur os, 61, 197 

Requiem, 179 

Ridolfo. See Palestrina family 

Rienzi, 2 

Rubino, 6 

Ruremonde, Bishop of, 48 

S. BARBARA, 73, 76, 78, 104 

S. Gervais, 180 

S. Giovanni in Laterano, 36 et 

*y.i43i45> 6 9 95, *S, " 2 
S. Luigi dei Francesi, 95 
S. Maria Maggiore, 5, 6, 18, 45 

et seq., 55, 67, 68, 92, 95, 105, 

107, 108 

S. Maria in Vallicella, 82 
S. Paole fuori le mura, 45 
S. Petronio, Bologna, 35 
S. Petronilla, Chapel of, 161 
S. Pietro, 26, 45, 115, 119, 124, 

128, 158, 160, 183 
Sacerdos et pontifex, 203 
Sacerdotes Domini, 168, 204 
Sack of Rome, 2 
Salve Regina, 134, 143, 213 
Salvum me fac, 56, 195 
Sanctorum meritis, 203 
Sante. See Palestrina's family 
Sicut lilium, 200 
Sine nomine, 194, 195, 201, 206 
Sine titolo, 213 
Sirleto, Cardinal, 32, fn., 115, 137 

Sixtine Chapel. See Pontifical 

Sixtus HI., 45 

V., 85, 107, 137, 140, 142 

151, 152 
Song of Solomon, motets on, 131, 


Sora, Duke of, 118 
Soriano, 95, 122, 124, 131, 167 
Spem in alium, 61, 196 
Stabat Mater, xiv, 178, fn. 
Stabile, 97, 99, 131 
Surge Sancte Dei, 134 


Tempus est, 134 

Tinctoris, 215 

Tu es Pastor ovium, 204 

Tu es Petrus, 210, 213 

Tiepolo, 118 

Trajano, Massimo, 72 

Trent, Council of, 16,48 et seq., 62 

Tribularer si nescirem, 79 

UGERI, Stefano, 148 
Ugolini, Vincenzo, 100 
Urban VI., 162 
VII., 153 

Veni Creator, 212 
Veni sponsa Christi, 168, 212 
Vestiva e colli, 168, 206 
Villa di Papa Giulio, 29 
Viri Galilei, 78, 210 
Virtute magna, 24, 194 
Vitelli, Cardinal Vitellozzi, 51, 59 
Vittoria, Tommaso Ludivico da, 
96, 100, 151 

WAGNER, xiv 

Weinmann, 3, fn. 
Willaert, 20 

Wert, Giaches, 73, 128, 195 
Witt, Franz Zaver, 180 
, Theodor de, 180 

ZIBRAMONTE, Aurelio, 78, 121 
Zoilo, Annibale, 99, 111, 112, 

1 13, 121, 122 

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