Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/533

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SISTINE CHOIR.

Carpentrasso, Giov. Bonnevin, and Bern. Salinas. Later still, we hear of Bart. Scobedo, Jacques Archadelt, Cristofano Morales, Leonardo Barre, and Domenico Maria Ferrabosco : while, in 1555, the list was crowned by the honoured name of Palestrina, who was admitted, by command of Julius III, on January 13, but dismissed before the end of the year, by Paul IV, in accordance with the regulation which forbade the reception of a married man into the College.

The number of Singers, which, at Avignon, had been limited to twelve, was, by this time, increased to twenty-four, and, not very long after- wards, raised to thirty-two, which figure still represents thenormal strength of the Choir, though the assistance of additional ripieni is sometimes permitted, on extraordinary occasions. After the formal admission of the Netherlanders, the Com- positions sung in the Papal Chapel were almost entirely supplied by the Cappellani Canton them- selves. The custom was, when any member of the College had produced a Mass, or other great work, to have it roughly written out, and re- hearsed by the entire body of Singers, who after- wards decided whether or not it was worthy of their acceptance. If the votes were in its favour, the original autograph was placed in the hands of the ticrittori of whom four were usually kept in full employment and by them copied, in stencilled notes large enough to be read by the entire Choir at once, into huge Part-Books, 1 formed of entire sheets of parchment, of which a large collection, richly illuminated and mag- nificently bound, is still preserved among the Archives of the Sistine Chapel, 2 though a vast number were destroyed in the conflagration which ensued on the invasion of Rome by Charles V. in 1527. [See PART-BOOKS, App.].

In the year 1565, Pope Pius IV. conferred upon Palestrina the title of Composer to the Pontifical Chapel, with an honorarium of three scudi and thirty baiocchi per month. The Office was re- newed, after Palestrina's death, in favour of Felice Anerio, but was never conferred on any other member of the College. The most famous Musi- cians who sang in the Choir, after the expul- sion of Palestrina in 1555, were Giov. Maria Nanini, admitted in 1577, Luca Marenzio (1594), Ruggiero Giovanelli (1599), and Gregorio Allegri (16291652). Adami also mentions Vittoria, whose name, however, is not to be found in any official register. Among more modern Maestri, the three most notable were, Tomaso Bai, who held the Office of Maestro in 1714 ; the Cavaliere

1 Mendelssohn, In one of his Letters, gives an amusing description of one of these enormous bucks, which he saw carried in front Of r.aini, as he walked, in Procession, up the Nave of 8. Peter's.

2 The Sistine Chapel was added to the Vatican in the year 1473, by Pope Siztus IV, for whom it was designed, by Baccio Pinelli. in the form of alolty oblong hall, 146 tt. Gin. long, and SO ft. 6 in. wide, with a gallery running round three of its sides. Its walls are decorated with Frescoes, by Signorelli, Botticelli, Uoselli, Ghlrlandaio, Salviati, and Perugino. By command of Pope Julius II, the roof was also painted, by Michael Angelo, and first exhibited to the public, after four years of labour, on All Saints' Day, 1511, the Pope officiating in person. The space above the Altar is occupied by the same great rainier* Fresco of ' The Last Judgment ; begun In the year 1533, and com- pleted in 1541. The upper portion of the Chapel, containing the Altar, the Pope's Throne, and the Cardinals' Seats. Is separated from the lower by a Screen. The Gallery occupied by the Choir is just ithin this Screen, on the right, enclosed by a kind of Grille.

��SLSTINE CHOIR.

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��Giuseppe Santarelli Dr. Burney's friend who entered the Choir as an artificial Soprano Singer in 1749, and died in 1790 ; and the Abbate Baini, who was received into the College in 1795, became Maestro in 1817, and died in 1844. By special favour of Pope Gregory XVI, Baini re- tained his Office for life an honour to which, as the greatest Ecclesiastical Musician of the present century, he was most justly entitled : but, no later Maestro has enjoyed the same privilege. The present Director, Signor Mustafa, formerly a 'Cantore Corale, con beneficio,' at the Cathedral of Agnani, bears only the modest title of ' Direttore dei Concertini.'

The two settings of the ' Miserere ' by Bai and Baini, which, for many years past, have been used alternately with that of Allegri, are the only works added to the repertoire of the Chapel since the death of the last-named Maestro. Indeed, neither the constitution, nor the habits, of the College, have, since Pales- trina, undergone any important change except, perhaps, in one particular, to be mentioned presently: and hence it is that its perform- ances are so infinitely valuable, as traditional indices of the style of singing cultivated at the period which produced the 'Missa Papae Mar- celli,' the ' Improperia,' and the 'Lamentations.' Except for these traditions, the works of Pales- trina would be to us a dead letter : under their safe guidance, we feel no more doubt as to the Tempi of the ' Missa brevis ' than we do con- cerning those of the ' Sinfonia Eroica.'

The one point in which a change has taken place is, the selection of Voices : and it is neces- sary to remark, that, as the change did not take place until seven years after Palestrina's death, the idea that we cannot sing his Music, in England, as he intended it to be sung, for lack of the necessary Voices, is altogether untenable. In early times, as we have already seen, the Chapel was supplied with Soprani, and in all probability with Contralti also, by means of the Orphanotropia, or ScholaeCantorum, exactly as English Cathedrals are now supplied by means of the Choristers' Schools. That this plan was continued until quite late in the i6th century is sufficiently proved by the fact that, between 1561 and 1571, Palestrina held the joint Offices of Maestro di Cappella and Maestro dei Fanciulli di Coro at the Church of S. Maria Maggiore, while, between 1539 and 1553 the post of Maestro de* Putti, at the Cappella Giulia, was successively filled by Archadelt, Rubino, Basso, Ferrabosco, and Roselli. During the latter half of the i6th century, however, these youthful Treble Voices were gradually supplanted by a new kind of adult male Soprano, called the Soprano falsetto, imported, in the first instance, from Spain, in which country it was extensively cultivated, by means of some peculiar system of training, the secret of which has never publicly transpired. 3

3 Nevertheless, this secret does not seem to be altogether lost. A lady traveller in Spain and Portugal, writing some six or seven years ago, amusingly expresses her surprise, on discovering that cer- tain hU'h flute-like notes, which she believed to have been produced by some beautiful young girl, really emanated from the throat of burly individual with a huge black beard and ichttkenl

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