"Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens." - Maria von Trapp

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

The name Palestrina might remind you of strict, proper counterpoint and boring music lessons. And this image isn't new; even before his death, Palestrina was already portrayed as a legendary master of counterpoint. His body of work commands respect with more than 100 missas, 300 motets and many more other religious works. And all of them written with flawless mastery of the composition techniques of his Franco-Flamish predecessors. Besides the quantity and quality of his work, the council of Trent added to this image. The council wished to reform the music of the catholic church: all excessive and secular elements should be withdrawn and the text had the in the foreground, intelligibly. One story tells that it was Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli which was performed during the council to test the intelligibility. Another myth portrays Palestrina as the saviour of sacred music.  In any way, Palestrina was the most central composer in Rome during the 16th century, and his stature lasts to this day. At times, his music is depicted as boring, but if you would give it a listen you will soon find out this is a myth as well!

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