Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/653

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too freely from one or two stray expressions of half-goodwill. In any case, his report was so encouraging that Boccapadule called a meeting of the college, at which he broached the subject. He was astonished to find an opposition so strong, and expressed with so much warmth, that he not only desisted, but to shield himself he disingenuously laid the whole responsibility of his overtures upon Palestrina. The singers probably knew better than either to believe or to pretend to disbelieve him. But they gave vent to their displeasure by imposing a fine upon the unfortunate Benigni. At a subsequent meeting Boccapadule, remorseful that his emissary should be made a scapegoat, begged him off, telling his comrades that they had not possessed themselves of the true story. Benigni was accordingly excused his fine; but the Pope, who had become highly incensed at the independent action of his choir, was not appeased by their clemency. He immediately struck off the list of singers four of the more prominent members of the opposition. Two of these he subsequently restored; but the other two remained permanent victims to their expression of a jealousy the vitality of which was a disgrace, not only to themselves, but to the whole body to which they belonged. Palestrina, in order to show a generous content with his old position of Compositore to the choir, immediately dowered it with three new masses, two for five voices and another for [1]six; and so drew honour upon himself by an act of courtesy to those by whom a well-deserved honour had been so churlishly denied to him.

In the same year, 1586, he paid to Cesare Colonna, Prince of Palestrina, the homage of a dedication. It was of his second volume of madrigals for four voices. Some of these are the best of his secular works. Not so is his contribution to a volume of sonnets by Zuccarini, written in honour of the marriage of Francesco de' Medici and Bianca Cappello, and put to music by different composers. Whether or not he set himself deliberately to write down to the level of the poetaster's words, as Baini suggests, or whether, as was natural, they only failed to inspire him, it is not worth while to enquire. The fact is sufficient that Zuccarini and the occasion got all that they deserved but no more.

From this time to his death the materials for his biography resolve themselves into a catalogue of publications and dedications. In 1587 and 1588, in answer to the persistent solicitations of Sixtus V, who had tired of the Lamentazioni of Carpentrasso, he wrote a series of three to take their place in the services of the Holy Week. [See Lamentations, vol. ii. p. 86.] In 1589 he arranged a harmonised version of the Latin Hymnal for the whole year. This work was also undertaken at the instance of Sixtus. Its utility was interrupted for a time when in 1631 Urban VIII had the words of the Hymnal revised and reduced to correct Latin and metrical exactness. This reform, by no means unneeded, dislocated altogether the setting of Palestrina. Urban therefore ordered his music to be rearranged in its turn to fit the amended words. This was done by Naldini, Ceccarelli, Laudi, and Allegri, and a new edition of the words and music together was published at Antwerp in 1644. [See Hymn, vol. i. p. 760b.]

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Palestrina in 1572.

While the Hymnal was yet in type Sixtus died. He was succeeded by Urban VII, who only reigned thirteen days. Urban's successor was Gregory XIV, to whom Palestrina straightway inscribed a volume containing fifteen motetti for six and eight voices, a sequenza—the Magnificat—and a setting of the 'Stabat Mater' both for eight voices. This book, otherwise excellent, is marred by the presence of an early production, the seventh of the motetti for six voices, 'Tradent enim vos,' which is unworthy of his old age, being cramped and strained by the leading-strings of Goudimel. The motetti for eight voices are also all inferior. One of them, named 'Et ambulabunt gentes in lumine tuo' is intended unworthily to form the 2nd part of that named 'Surge, illuminare Jerusalem' in the volume dedicated to the Duke of Ferrara. The Magnificat is also below the average of his work. But the true redeeming feature of the book is the 'Stabat Mater.' Dr. Burney's admiration of this was limitless. He obtained a sight and copy of it through the celebrated singer Santarelli, and had it printed in England along with the rest of the music for the Holy Week used in the Cappella Apostolica. It has been often reprinted and has very recently been edited, with marks of expression etc., by no less a person than Richard Wagner. The rest of this volume remains in the Vatican collection, and has within a few years been printed for the first time in full as vol. 6 of the edition of Breitkopf & Härtel.

Old as Palestrina now was, work followed work during the last years of his life. In 1591 he sent his fifth volume of masses to William V, Duke of Bavaria; it contains amongst others the two entitled 'Æterna Christi munera' and

  1. 'Salve Regina,' and 'O sacrum convivium.' both for 5, and 'Ecce ego Joannes' for 6 voices.