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3 - The Protestant Palestrina revival

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 October 2009

James Garratt
Affiliation:
National University of Ireland, Maynooth
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Summary

OLD ITALIAN MUSIC, BILDUNG AND THE GERMAN SINGVEREINE

In examining the relation between the idealization of Palestrina in north Germany and modern composition, two categories of works must be distinguished: pieces written for performance in the Protestant service, and quasi-liturgical works intended for secular choral societies. The ideological and institutional foundations underpinning quasi-liturgical music must be discussed first, since the performance and emulation of Renaissance music were initiated not in churches but in Singvereine. Of these, the most significant for the Palestrina revival were the Berlin Singakademie, founded in 1791 by Carl Friedrich Fasch (1736–1800) and directed from 1800 by Carl Friedrich Zelter (1758–1832), and Thibaut's Singverein in Heidelberg, which flourished in the second, third and fourth decades of the nineteenth century.

In the activities of Thibaut and Zelter, the desire to bolster traditional generic distinctions led to the elevation of earlier works in the church and oratorio styles as models of musical purity. A key role for their choral societies was to restore musical taste through the performance of music epitomizing the true nature of these styles, and thus to provide models for more widespread reform. The activities of the Berlin Singakademie were to provide an important stimulus for the reform of music in the city's churches,and Zelter compared its chief task – ‘to cultivate the serious style of church music and to preserve the few relics of it in their dignity’ – with Palestrina's role as a reformer of church music.

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Palestrina and the German Romantic Imagination
Interpreting Historicism in Nineteenth-Century Music
, pp. 62 - 132
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2002

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  • The Protestant Palestrina revival
  • 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/CBO9780511481796.004
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  • The Protestant Palestrina revival
  • 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/CBO9780511481796.004
Available formats
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  • The Protestant Palestrina revival
  • 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/CBO9780511481796.004
Available formats
×