Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/330

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314

��VITTORIA.

��and if from Arcadelt he caught the gift of sweet and natural expressiveness, from the Spanish masters he acquired something of that depth of feeling which is their special charac- teristic. Proske, speaking of the Spaniard Mo- rales, says ' the reform of the pure church style, which was afterwards perfected by Palestrina, is happily anticipated in many parts of the works of Morales, for his style is noble and dignified, and often penetrated with such depth of feeling as is hardly to be found in any other master ' (Musica Divina, III. xiv.). Ambros too acknowledges that already in Morales ' there is developed out of the vigorous stem of Netherland art, that pure bloom of the higher ideal style, which we are accustomed to call Roman ' (Bd. iii. 588). If it were not that Palestrina has so much overshadowed his predecessors and con- temporaries, it would perhaps be more correct, especially when we take Vittoria into account, to speak of the Hispano -Roman school. We shall not be far wrong in attributing to Spanish influence that particular cast of the religious spirit which breathes out of Palestrina's music, and in considering generally that to the happy commixture of Spanish seriousness and gravity with Italian grace, softness and sweetness, is due that peculiar impression of heavenliness and angelic purity which has so often been noted as characteristic of the Palestrina style in its perfection. In connexion with this, we may also note the fact that it was the Spanish bishops, at the Council of Trent, who by their resistance to the exclusion of polyphonic music from the ser- vices, obtained the appointment of that celebrated commission which gave occasion to the composi- tion of Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli.

It might almost be considered as a symbol of the close connexion of the Spanish music of the 1 6th century with Spanish religion that Avila, the birthplace of Saint Teresa, the most striking embodiment of the Spanish religious spirit, was also the birthplace of Vittoria, the noblest representative of Spanish music. The mystic-ascetical spirit peculiar to Spain is com- mon to both. It is the expression of this spirit in Vittoria's music that vindicates his claim to an independent position of his own beside Pales- trina, and redeems him from being considered a servile follower or imitator. In the preface to his edition of Vittoria's Missa pro Defunctis a 6 1 Haberl casts doubt on the usually re- ceived opinion that Vittoria was born at Avila. Though Abulensis (i. e. of Avila) is found after Vittoria's name on the title-pages of all his published works, Haberl conjectures this to in- dicate that Vittoria was a priest of the diocese of Avila Presbyter Abulensis and that his real birthplace is Vittoria, whence he took his name, as Palestrina took his from Praeneste. But the cases are not parallel, for Palestrina's name in all Latin titles and dedications always appears as Praenestinus, whereas Vittoria's name never appears as Victoriensis, but always T. L. de Victoria Abulensis. The cases are only parallel

l F. X. Ilaberl. Domkapellmeister of Eatlsbon.

��VITTORIA.

if we interpret Abulensis as we interpret Prae- nestinus, as signifying the place of birth ; every- thing rather points to the conjecture that he was ordained priest in Rome. It is better therefore to adhere to the received opinion that he was born at Avila. 3

The precise date of Vittoria's birth has not been ascertained, but the known facts of his life lead us to place it about 1 540. The first authentic information we have regarding him is his ap- pointment in 1573 as Maestro di Cappella to the Collegium Germanicum, on its reorganisation un- der Gregory XIII. It is evident however that he must have been in Rome for some years pre- viously. There can be little doubt that his whole musical training, as a composer at least, was re- ceived there. There is no trace of his having had to work himself free from the trammels of Nether- land scholasticism, the stiffness of the earlier style, and what Baini calls the 'fiammingo squalore,' as Morales and even Palestrina had to do. He appears at once to have entered into the heritage of the new style, indicated by Morales, but first completely won by Palestrina in his Improperia and Marcellus mass. A preg- nant remark by Ambros (iv. 71), implying that Palestrina owed his very superiority to the fact of his having had to struggle out of the Nether- land fetters, suggests that it would perhaps have benefited Vittoria also to have passed through this experience. It gave Palestrina so thorough a command over all the resources of counter- point, canon and imitation, as enabled him to move with the most sovereign ease and bold- ness, and to give full rein to his imagination, in the midst of the most elaborate complexity of parts. Palestrina, starting from science, learned to make all science subservient to the expression of the religious feeling ; Vittoria, start- ing from the religious feeling, and from the vantage-ground won by Palestrina, only used that amount of science which was necessary to give expression to his own religious earnestness. In comparison with Palestrina there is thus a certain limitation in his talent ; he has not the same immense variety, boldness, and originality as Palestrina, though there is often a greater depth of individual expression. We do not know who was Vittoria's immediate master in composition ; he was no pupil of Palestrina in the ordinary sense, but Palestrina was his only real master, and we know that he was bound to him in ties of close friendship and the greatest admiration. By this he must have largely profited. The artistic relation of the two might in some respects be considered parallel to that of Schubert and Beethoven. Vittoria is a sort of feminine counterpart of Palestrina, just as Schubert is of Beethoven. But the parallel does not hold good in other respects. There is nothing in Vittoria's case to correspond with the immense productivity of Schubert, unless MS. works of his should

There Is however the case of one prominent musician which would lend some support to Haberl's conjecture If there were any other evidence in support of It. It has been recently ascertained that the real name of Ludovlco Viadana was Ludovico Gross!, and that he was born at Viadana, and not at Lodi as hitherto assumed.

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