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  1. #1
    Senior Member PistolPete's Avatar
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    Friday Night Organ--15th Century BLOWOUT! YEAH party like its 1499!

    The last of the late medieval/early renaissance composers I will feature is Guillaume Du Fey, 1397-1474. Like Dunstable, Power and Paumann Du Fey's music is transitional---musical idioms common to the Renaissance begin to appear---polyphony, counterpoint etc. Du Fey was Flemish born near Brussels and served as a deacon in Cambrai Cathedral. He travel extensively to Italy, the birth place of the Renessance and his music reflects that influence. One of his most famous works Lamentatio sanctae matris eccleesaie Constantinopolitanae is a motet composed upon the theme of the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Du Fey composed in most of the common forms of the day, including masses, motets, Magnificats, hymns and simple chant settings within the area of sacred music, and rondeaux, ballades and chanson types within the realm of secular music. None of his surviving music is specifically instrumental, although instruments were certainly used for some of his secular music, especially for the lower parts; all of his sacred music is vocal. Even so I managed to find his Flos Florum in an excellent performance transcribed by James Roman:



    Next up to bat is Josquin des Prez 1450-1521. a French composer often referred to simply as Josquin. He was the most famous European composer between Du Fey and Giovanni da Palestrina and is considered the central figure of the Franco-Flemish school of music. Josquin is widely considered by music scholars to be the first master of the high Renaissance style of polyphonic vocal music that was emerging during his lifetime. During the 16th century, Josquin gradually acquired the reputation as the greatest composer of the age, his mastery of technique and expression universally imitated and he was so admired that many anonymous compositions were attributed to him by copyists, probably to increase their sales. More than 370 works are attributed to him. Yet in spite of Josquin's colossal reputation, which endured until the beginning of the Baroque era virtually nothing is known about his personality. The only surviving work which may be in his own hand is a graffito on the wall of the Sistine Chapel and only one contemporary mention of his character is known, in a letter to Duke Ercole I of Ferrara. The lives of dozens of less revered Renaissance composers are better documented than that of Josquin. Although contemprary artists of the time often portrayed Josquin seated at a positiv organ no works for this instrument survive.



    In any case here is one of his sacred vocal works: Miserere mei Deus :

    Time and space preclude me getting to Thomas Tallis or Orlande de Lassus---I promise next week--

    We will close out today with the great Giovanni da Palestrina, mentioned above. (1525-1594) Palestrina was born in the town of Palestrina near Rome, then part of the Papal States.. Documents suggest that he first visited Rome in 1537, when he is listed as a chorister at the basillica of St. Maria Maggiore. He spent most of his career in the city. Palestrina came of age as a musician under the influence of the northern European style of polyphony, which owed its dominance in Italy primarily to two influential Franco=Flemish composers, GUESS WHO? Thats right Guillaume Du Fey and Josquin who had spent significant portions of their careers there. From 1544 to 1551, Palestrina was the organist of the Cathedral of St. Agapito, the principal church of his native city. In 1551 Pope Julius III appointed Palestrina maestro di cappella or musical director of the Cappella Giulia the choir of the chapter of canons at St. Peter's Basilica. Palestrina dedicated to Julius III his first published compositions (1554), a book of Masses. It was the first book of Masses by a native composer, since in the Italian states of Palestrina's day, most composers of sacred music were from France, Portugal, or Spain. Palestrina held positions similar to his Julian Chapel appointment at other chapels and churches in Rome, notably St. John Lateran (1555–1560), and St Mary Major (1561–1566).

    In 1571 he returned to the Julian Chapel and remained at St Peter's for the rest of his life. The decade of the 1570s was difficult for him personally: he lost his brother, two of his sons, and his wife in three separate outbreaks of the plague (1572, 1575, and 1580, respectively). He seems to have considered becoming a priest at this time, but instead he remarried, this time to a wealthy widow. GO MGTOW! This finally gave him financial independence (he was not well paid as choirmaster) and he was able to compose prolifically until his death. He died in Rome of pleurisy in 1594. As was usual, Palestrina was buried on the same day he died, in a plain coffin with a lead plate on which was inscribed Libera me Domine. Palestrina's funeral was held at St. Peter's, and he was buried beneath the floor of the basilica. His tomb was later covered by new construction and attempts to locate the site have been unsuccessful.

    Palestrina left hundreds of compositions, including 105 Masses, 68 offertoties at least 140 madrigals and more than 300 motets. In addition, there are at least 72 hymns 35 magnificats 11 litanies and four or five sets of lamentations. The Gloria melody from a Palestrina's Magnificat Tertii Toni (1591) is widely used today in the resurrection hymn tune, Victory (The Strife Is O'er). Oddly for a guy who was a one time organist we have NO organ works which have come down to us. So we'll go ahead and take a listen to the Gloria mentioned above: ENJOY!


  2. #2
    Member Gringo Star's Avatar
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    Re: Friday Night Organ--15th Century BLOWOUT! YEAH party like its 1499!

    Thank you for the music and a most interesting lesson Pete.

  3. #3
    Senior Member GregBO's Avatar
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    Re: Friday Night Organ--15th Century BLOWOUT! YEAH party like its 1499!

    Thanks for the post and the historical background on the composers.

    Was Du Fayt sponsored by an Italian Sovereign House or the Church throughout his career? Great example.

    A very relaxing piece to listen to, thanks.
    "My comfort animal is a Florida Alligator and I take great comfort every time he eats someone!" - PistolPete

    "​My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.​" - Clarence Buddinton Kelland

  4. #4
    Senior Member GregBO's Avatar
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    Re: Friday Night Organ--15th Century BLOWOUT! YEAH party like its 1499!

    Quote Originally Posted by PistolPete View Post
    Next up to bat is Josquin des Prez 1450-1521. The only surviving work which may be in his own hand is a graffito on the wall of the Sistine Chapel and only one contemporary mention of his character is known, in a letter to Duke Ercole I of Ferrara.
    This was another very soothing piece and great for early Sunday afternoon.

    I am very surprised that his work within the Sistine Chapel was not remove much earlier. Was it the case that it is in an obscure location, or was revealed during one of the Vatican's restoration projects?
    "My comfort animal is a Florida Alligator and I take great comfort every time he eats someone!" - PistolPete

    "​My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.​" - Clarence Buddinton Kelland

  5. #5
    Senior Member GregBO's Avatar
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    Re: Friday Night Organ--15th Century BLOWOUT! YEAH party like its 1499!

    Quote Originally Posted by PistolPete View Post

    During the 16th century, Josquin gradually acquired the reputation as the greatest composer of the age, his mastery of technique and expression universally imitated and he was so admired that many anonymous compositions were attributed to him by copyists, probably to increase their sales. More than 370 works are attributed to him. Yet in spite of Josquin's colossal reputation, which endured until the beginning of the Baroque era virtually nothing is known about his personality.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    We will close out today with the great Giovanni da Palestrina, mentioned above. (1525-1594)Thats right Guillaume Du Fey and Josquin who had spent significant portions of their careers there. From 1544 to 1551, Palestrina was the organist of the Cathedral of St. Agapito, the principal church of his native city. In 1551 Pope Julius III appointed Palestrina maestro di cappella or musical director of the Cappella Giulia the choir of the chapter of canons at St. Peter's Basilica. Palestrina dedicated to Julius III his first published compositions (1554), a book of Masses. It was the first book of Masses by a native composer, since in the Italian states of Palestrina's day, most composers of sacred music were from France, Portugal, or Spain. Palestrina held positions similar to his Julian Chapel appointment at other chapels and churches in Rome, notably St. John Lateran (1555–1560), and St Mary Major (1561–1566).

    Palestrina left hundreds of compositions, including 105 Masses, 68 offertoties at least 140 madrigals and more than 300 motets. In addition, there are at least 72 hymns 35 magnificats 11 litanies and four or five sets of lamentations. The Gloria melody from a Palestrina's Magnificat Tertii Toni (1591) is widely used today in the resurrection hymn tune, Victory (The Strife Is O'er). Oddly for a guy who was a one time organist we have NO organ works which have come down to us. So we'll go ahead and take a listen to the Gloria mentioned above: ENJOY!
    ================================================== ================================================== ========
    Another great example and I actually believe that I can hear the transition between examples leading into the third. It might however just be hearing loss, but one never knows.

    Would I be correct in assuming that the Church was responsible for the repository of Palestrina's works? Do you know if it was common practice for apprentices to "borrow and publish" works from their mentors during their careers?

    If so, any thought as to some of Josquin's works actually being ascribed to Palestrina?

    Thanks for continuing this post series.
    "My comfort animal is a Florida Alligator and I take great comfort every time he eats someone!" - PistolPete

    "​My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.​" - Clarence Buddinton Kelland

  6. #6
    Senior Member PistolPete's Avatar
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    Re: Friday Night Organ--15th Century BLOWOUT! YEAH party like its 1499!

    WOW, Lot of Questions there GregBo:

    Yes

    No

    Yes

    Yes

    Yes

    I would explain in greater detail but I'm eating bacon right now so my brain is focused exclusively upon that!

    Just kidding. Indeed, GregBo raises an excellent point. No matter how talented a musician/composer one might be the bottom line is at the end of the day you need to keep a roof over your head and some grub on the table. And in the 14th/15th century that meant you either work for some level of nobility--in which case your compositions MUST please their taste---yes you have to be a sell-out even back then; or you work for the church---which usually pays pretty good but your output is going to be like Palestrina's lots and lots of Masses. AND DON"T you EVEN think about writing early forms of Opera, or evil gratuitous SECULAR stuff! EH GAD! SOME ONE WARM UP THE STAKE FOR THE WISE GUY COMPOSER!

    I said I would get to De Lassus, and I should have on this occasion. Palestrina succeeded De Lassus at St. John Lateran. So technically he is part of this time frame.

    Fortunately in our time line the Reformation approaches---BTW Martin Luther was a BIG fan of Josquin. Just saying.

  7. #7
    Senior Member GregBO's Avatar
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    Re: Friday Night Organ--15th Century BLOWOUT! YEAH party like its 1499!

    Thanks Pete, any thoughts on the posting within the Sistine Chapel? I find it hard to believe that this might have been in a public location.
    "My comfort animal is a Florida Alligator and I take great comfort every time he eats someone!" - PistolPete

    "​My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.​" - Clarence Buddinton Kelland

  8. #8
    Senior Member PistolPete's Avatar
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    Re: Friday Night Organ--15th Century BLOWOUT! YEAH party like its 1499!

    No idea.


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