Archive for the ‘Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina’ Tag

Feast of Orlando Gibbons (June 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  Orlando Gibbons

Image in the Public Domain

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ORLANDO GIBBONS (BAPTIZED DECEMBER 25, 1583-JUNE 5, 1625)

Anglican Organist and Composer; the “English Palestrina”

Orlando Gibbons comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via sacred music and my unapologetic Western classicism.  I state without reservation that the quality of church music in the global West has, with few exceptions, declined since the 1500s and 1600s.  It peaked with Giovanni Pierluigi de Palestrina, Thomas Tallis, Gregorio Allegri, Orlando Gibbons, and company.

Gibbons, baptized in Oxford, England, on Christmas Day, 1583, was a great musician from a musical family.  His father was William Gibbons (circa 1540-1595), a vocalist in Cambridge, starting in 1567.  William Gibbons was, in English terms, a wait, a public musician.  Our saint’s siblings included:

  1. Edward (1568-circa 1650), an Anglican priest and a composer; most of his compositions have not survived the ravages of time;
  2. Ellis (1573-1603), a composer; most of his compositions have also gone the way of all flesh;
  3. Ferdinando (born 1581), a vocalist/wait in Lincoln.

Above:  The Music Lesson, by Johannes Vermeer

Image in the Public Domain

The woman is playing a virginal.

Gibbons had a fine musical education.  In 1596, at the age of 12 years, he joined the choir of King’s College, Cambridge.  He became the greatest organist and virginalist in England.  (A virginal was a rectangular harpsichord with strings stretched parallel to the keyboard.)  x  From 1605 to his death, Gibbons served as the organist at the Chapel Royal.  He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Cambridge in 1606.  Our saint became the court virginalist in 1619 then the organist of Westminster Abbey in 1623.

Gibbons composed both sacred and secular music.  His oeuvre contained motets, madrigals, and 40 sacred anthems and services.  He composed sacred music for The Church of England.  His sacred anthems included O Clap Your Hands Together and Drop, Drop, Slow Tears.

Gibbons was a favorite of the Stuart Kings of Great Britain.  He played the organ at the funeral of King James VI/I in 1625.  On the Day of Pentecost, June 5, 1625, our saint accompanied King Charles I to Dover to greet the future queen, Henrietta Maria, arriving from France.  Later that day, on the way back, Gibbons suffered a stroke in Canterbury and died.  He was 41 years old.

Gibbons had seven children.  One son, Christopher (1615-1676), composed keyboard and incidental music.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 24, 2020 COMMON ERA

GENOCIDE REMEMBRANCE

THE FEAST OF SAINT EGBERT OF LINDISFARNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK; AND SAINT ADALBERT OF EGMONT, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT FIDELIS OF SIGMARINGEN, CAPUCHIN FRIAR AND MARTYR, 1622

THE FEAST OF JOHANN WALTER, “FIRST CANTOR OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF SAINT MELLITUS, BISHOP OF LONDON, AND ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Orlando Gibbons and all those

who with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Women:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 728

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Feast of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (February 1)   1 comment

palestrina

Above:  Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Image in the Public Domain

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GIOVANNI PIERLUIGI DA PALESTRINA (1525-FEBRUARY 2, 1594)

Roman Catholic Composer and Musician

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (Latinized name = Ioanes Petraloysius Praenestinus), was a native of Palestrina, near Rome.  His musical training started at a young age; he was a choir boy at St. Maria Maggiore, Palestrina, by the age of 12 years.  By 1544 he was both an organist and a singer at the church.  Giammaria Ciocchi del Monte, Bishop of Palestrina (1543-1550), the future Pope Julius III (reigned 1550-1555), noticed the musician’s talents.  Our saint married Lucrezia Gori in 1547; the couple had three sons:  Rodolfo, Angelo, and Iginio.  The family was in Rome as the maestro di cappella of the Julian Chapel.  In the Eternal City the composer published his first book of Masses and dedicated it to Pope Julius III.  Our saint also sang in the pontifical choir (until Pope Paul IV forbade married men to do so), became the composer to the papal chapel, and, in 1555, became the choir director at St. John Lateran.  That choir, unfortunately, was small in both number an ability.

The composer left Rome in 1560.  He returned to St. Maria Maggiore.  However, our saint returned to the Eternal City six years later.  From 1567 to 1571 he was in charge of the music at the Villa d’Este, Tivoli, under Cardinal Ippolito d’Este.  Then, from 1571 to 1594, our saint held his old job, maestro di cappella of the Julian Chapel.  From 1572 to 1581 he buried his first wife and his first two sons.  Eventually the composer remarried; his second wife was Virginia Dormiti, widow of a wealthy merchant.

The composer died at Rome on February 2, 1594.  He was about 69 years old.

Our saint composed many madrigals, motets, and Masses.  His masterpieces included the following:

  1. O Magnum Mysterium,
  2. Pope Marcellus Mass,
  3. Missarum Liber Primus,
  4. Canticum Canticorum,
  5. Exsultate Deo,
  6. Lamentationes Ieremiae Prophetae,
  7. Missa Brevis,
  8. Missa Assumpta est Marie in Caelum, and
  9. Missa Nigra Sum.

The compositions of our saint have enriched the lives of many people (including me) during the centuries since the 1500s.  He praised and glorified God with his God-given abilities and added much beauty to the world in the process.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT STEPHEN THE YOUNGER, DEFENDER OF ICONS

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK COOK ATKINSON, ANGLICAN CHURCH ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH PIGNATELLI, RESTORER OF THE JESUITS

THE FEAST OF KAMEHAMEHA IV AND EMMA ROOKE, KING AND QUEEN OF HAWAII

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Giovanni Palestrina da Palestrina

and all those who with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728

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