The St. Gregory Society Schola : Palestrina and the Tridentine Mass

I was raised in the Catholic Church, educated at Jesuit schools and was an altar boy for several years from the age of eight, or so. I was taught enough of the Latin Mass to be able to assist the priest and recite the proper responses during the mass (we also had four years of Latin … Continue reading The St. Gregory Society Schola : Palestrina and the Tridentine Mass

Gesualdo da Venosa : the music, not the life

Almost exactly one year ago I wrote a short overview of Carlo Gesualdo on the occasion of his 450th birthday, March 8, 1566. I have to admit that I am not entirely pleased with that short article since it played into the recurring stereotype of Gesualdo as an unhinged murdering count. While it is true … Continue reading Gesualdo da Venosa : the music, not the life

Born today, Don Carlo Gesualdo is a much maligned polyphonic genius

Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa (8 March 1566 – 8 September 1613) was Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza. As a musician he is best known for writing intensely expressive madrigals and pieces of sacred music that use a chromatic language not heard again until the late 19th century. He is also known for his cruelty … Continue reading Born today, Don Carlo Gesualdo is a much maligned polyphonic genius

Harry Christophers and The Sixteen : Palestrina

The music of Palestrina was described by Wagner as being timeless and spaceless, 'a spiritual revelation throughout'. With polyphony of utter purity, the Palestrina style has been a subject of study by composers for centuries. Long vocal lines flow in a continuous rhythm, imitative and with an original plainchant melodic motive for each phrase of … Continue reading Harry Christophers and The Sixteen : Palestrina

Thomas Tallys : one of Englands’s greatest composers died #OnThisDay in 1585

Thomas Tallis (c. 1505 – 1585) was an English composer who occupies a primary place in anthologies of English choral music, and is considered one of England's greatest composers. No contemporary portrait of Tallis survives: that painted by Gerard Vandergucht (above), dates from 150 years after Tallis died, and there is no reason to suppose … Continue reading Thomas Tallys : one of Englands’s greatest composers died #OnThisDay in 1585

Antoine Busnois : Worthy of the immortal gods, died #OnThisDay 1492

On this day in 1492, Antoine Busnois died.  He was a Netherlandish composer and poet of the early Renaissance Burgundian School. While also noted as a composer of motets and other sacred music, he was one of the most renowned 15th-century composers of secular chansons. He was the leading figure of the late Burgundian school after the … Continue reading Antoine Busnois : Worthy of the immortal gods, died #OnThisDay 1492

Gregorio Allegri : Renaissance vocal polyphony in its purest form

Gregorio Allegri (1582 -- 17 February 1652) was an Italian composer of the Roman School and brother of Domenico Allegri; he was also a priest and a singer. He lived mainly in Rome, where he would later die. He studied music as a puer (boy chorister) at San Luigi dei Francesi, under the maestro di … Continue reading Gregorio Allegri : Renaissance vocal polyphony in its purest form