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GIOVANNI PALESTRINA

The greatest Italian composer of sacred music. Was born in 1514. He has been called "The Savior of Church Music." New methods, new instruments and new views have broadened the musical world since Palestrina's time, but his music is still considered magnificent in its simple grandeur.

Palestrina's works were published at Rome and Venice and are not only of remarkable quality but amazing quantity.

Mendelssohn is said to have considered the "Improperia" Palestrina's greatest work. Many of his masses are in common use in the Catholic Church today.

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THE MASS OF POPE MARCELLUS

The existing information concerning Palestrina, in reality quite meager, has been cleverly pieced out by the imaginings of his biographers so cleverly, indeed, that much longtrusted data have only of late years been shown to be erroneous, or at least very doubtful. Now we hesitate over the year of his birth; the extent and fashion of his education; his worldly circumstances, which have been variously stated in all degrees between indigence and extreme prosperity; the quality of his voice, which seems to have been either angelic or very bad indeed; the number of his sons. In short, very little about the "Prince of Music" remains unchallenged, except that he lived, wrote marvelous music (nearly all of which was of a religious character), held various ecclesiastical positions, and was a pious and conscientious gentleman. The one certain myth which has most completely melted away before the sunlight of investigation is that concerning the composition of the "Mass of Pope Marcellus," which was long believed to have justified for Palestrina the title, "Savior of Church Music." This tale to which such honor has been paid is sprung from the brain of Palestrina's enthusiastic biographer, Giuseppe Baini, Roman priest and director of the Pontifical Chapel (1775-1844). It is quite true that in the Sixteenth Century many questionable practices had crept into church music. One of these was taking for the cantus firmus,

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