Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/647

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on his return to Paris he had great difficulty in obtaining a libretto. A charming song, 'La Mandolinata,' at length drew attention to his merits, and he obtained Coppée's one-act piece, 'La Passant,' which was produced at the Opéra Comique April 24, 1872. Notwithstanding the favourable reception of the music, sung by Mme. Galli-Marie, and Marguerite Priola,[1] three years passed before the appearance of 'L' Amour Africain' (May 8, 1875), in two acts. The libretto of this, though by Legouvé, was not approved, and the music was condemned as laboured. Nevertheless many of the numbers bear traces not only of solid musicianship, but of spontaneous and original melody. Up to the present time Paladilhe's best and most important work is 'Suzanne' (Dec. 30, 1878), an opéra-comique in three acts. Here we find something beyond mere ingenuity in devising effects; the melodies are graceful and refined, and show an unconventionality of treatment which is both charming and piquant. It is much to be regretted that this young composer has hitherto been unsuccessful in finding a really interesting libretto; should he succeed, the French stage will in all probability gain an opera destined to live.

M. Paladilhe has also published detached songs with P.F. accompaniment, marked by flowing and melodious treatment.

[ G. C. ]

PALESTRINA,[2] Giovanni Pierluigi da, was born of humble parents at Palestrina in the Campagna of Rome. The exact date of his birth is unknown. Maria Torrigio and Leonardo Ceceoni fix it in 1528, Andrea Adami in 1529. The inscription on an old portrait of him in the muniment room of the Pontifical Chapel at the Quirinal states that he died at about 80 years of age in 1594, and if this were true he would have been born in 1514 or 1515. The Abbé Baini interprets a doubtful phrase used by his son Igino, in the dedication of a posthumous volume of his Masses to Pope Clement VIII, to mean that his father died at the age of 70 in the year 1594. The truth is that the exact date of his birth cannot be stated. The public registers of Palestrina, which would probably have certified it, were destroyed by the soldiery of Alva in 1557, and no private documents have been discovered which make good their loss. It is certain, however, that at a very early age, and probably about the year 1540, he came to Rome to study music. Towards this career the different capitals of Italy offered many inducements to boys with musical aptitudes, and it is said by Ottavio Pitoni that Palestrina owed his reception into a school to his being overheard singing in the street by the Maestro of the Chapel of Santa Maria Maggiore. The authenticity of this anecdote is at least doubtful. In the first place Palestrina, at all events as a man, had but a poor voice; in the next, a Maestro who had thus caught wild a promising pupil would infallibly have kept him to himself, whereas Palestrina very soon after his arrival in Rome appears as a pupil of Claudio Goudimel, a Fleming, who had opened a public school of music in the city. The personality of Goudimel, a moot point with Baini, Burney, and Hawkins, is no longer doubtful, and a reference to p. 612 of the former volume of this Dictionary will show who and what he was, and that he was killed at Lyons in the St. Bartholomew massacre, 1572.

In 1551 Rubino finally retired from the teachership of music in the Cappella Giulia of the Vatican, and in September of that year Palestrina, who during the eleven years that had elapsed since his arrival in Rome must have given good proofs of his quality, was elected to the vacant post. He was invested with the novel title of 'Magister Cappellæ,' his predecessors having been styled 'Magister Puerorum,' 'Magister Musicæ,' or 'Magister Chori.' His salary was fixed at six scudi per month, with a residence and certain allowances. He was at this time, if we accept Baini's dates, about 27 years of age.

In 1554 he published his first volume, containing four masses for four voices and one for five. These he dedicated to Pope Julius III. It is worth saying, in order to show the dominance of the Flemish school in Italy, that this was the first volume of music that had ever been dedicated by an Italian to a Pope. It was printed in Rome by the Brothers Dorici in 1554; a second edition of it was published by their successors in 1572, and a third by Gardano of Rome in 1591. In the last edition Palestrina included his mass 'Pro Defunctis' for five voices, and another entitled 'Sine Nomine' for six. The other masses in the volume were 'Ecce Sacerdos Magnus,' 'O regem Coeli,' 'Virtute magnâ,' and 'Gabriel Archangelus,' all for four voices, and 'Ad coenam agnum providi' for five.

About this time Palestrina married. Of his wife we know nothing more than that her Christian name was Lucrezia, that she bore to her husband four sons, and that after a long married life which seems to have been marked by uncommon affection, she died in the year 1580.[3]

In the year 1555 Julius III, mindful of the dedication of the book of masses, offered their author a place among the twenty-four collegiate singers of his private chapel. The pay was greater than that which he was receiving as Maestro in the Vatican. Palestrina was poor, and he had already four children. On the other hand he was a layman, he had a bad voice, and he was a married man. For each one of these

  1. A promising singer who died young.
  2. 'Joannes Petraloysius Praenestinus' is his full Latin name: Baini styles him 'J. P. Aloisius.' In the old editions he is called simply Gianetto; or Gianetto with various affixes such as da (or without the da) Palestrina, Falestrino, Pallestrina, Palestina, or Pelestrino; also Jo. de Palestina. (See Eitner, 'Bibliographie,' 1877, pp. 766, 768.)
  3. Ottavio Pitoni, with unpardonable carelessness, so misread an entry in the books of the Confraternity of the Corpo di Christo, of which Falestrina was a member, as to conclude that he had been married twice. The words that misled him are as follows: 'Giovanni da Palestrina, Maestro di Cappella di San Pletro, Lucrezia sua moglie e Angelo suo figliolo, e Doralice sua moglie, e Igino suo figlio.' The Doralice here mentioned was the wife of Angelo, as is proved by the register of the baptism of their daughter Aurelia, still extant at the Vatican.