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5 - Palestrina in the concert hall

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 October 2009

James Garratt
Affiliation:
National University of Ireland, Maynooth
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Summary

PALESTRINA IN SECULAR AND NON-LITURGICAL MUSIC

So far, the relation between the Palestrina revival and nineteenth-century composition has been discussed in terms of liturgical music, and to a lesser extent quasi-liturgical works intended for secular choral societies. The idealization of Palestrina had a much broader impact, being reflected in a wide range of vocal and instrumental genres. The forms that such relationships take, and the significances that they have for the works concerned, are extraordinarily diverse. In exploring these relationships and the interpretive problems that they create, this discussion focuses on works by four composers – Mendelssohn, Loewe, Liszt and Wagner – providing examples of how nineteenth-century compositions exploit the associations of Palestrina's music and language.

In secular and non-liturgical religious compositions, relationships to the language of Palestrina and to specific works by him are seldom problematic in terms of originality or historicism: in general, such relationships consist of small-scale references and rarely effect the stylistic orientation of the works concerned as totalities. As a consequence, the concern here is not – as before – with how composers were able to justify the cultivation of historical styles in the light of contemporary aesthetic norms, but with exploring the associative significance of such references. Although delineating the individual configurations of such relationships remains important, the central task must be to reconstruct what the content or essence of Palestrina's music was perceived to be in the nineteenth century,and thus to define the associations brought into play by the use or evocation of elements of his language.

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Palestrina and the German Romantic Imagination
Interpreting Historicism in Nineteenth-Century Music
, pp. 214 - 240
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2002

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  • Palestrina in the concert hall
  • James Garratt, National University of Ireland, Maynooth
  • Book: Palestrina and the German Romantic Imagination
  • Online publication: 12 October 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511481796.006
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  • Palestrina in the concert hall
  • James Garratt, National University of Ireland, Maynooth
  • Book: Palestrina and the German Romantic Imagination
  • Online publication: 12 October 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511481796.006
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Palestrina in the concert hall
  • James Garratt, National University of Ireland, Maynooth
  • Book: Palestrina and the German Romantic Imagination
  • Online publication: 12 October 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511481796.006
Available formats
×