Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina • Victimae Paschali laudes

The setting of the sequence for the Resurrection Sunday by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, in an excellent video where you can follow the score, while listening to the fantastic recording by The Cardinall’s Musick. This is a typically palestrinian well-carved work, where the points of imitation are clearly visible (the score even makes it easier to follow). The sequence was one of the two 8-part settings preserved in manuscript at the Collegio Romano.

The sequence is set for double choir (SSAT/SATB), although most of the work is set in a four-part texture, with the verses alternating between Choir I and Choir II. Palestrina brings the choirs together after “Surrexit Christus”, with a clear expressive purpose. This final triple-time section  begins with the choirs responding to each other with new text, which gives some movement to the previous predominantly homorhythmic sections. Responds between the choirs get shorter after the end of the triple-time section, with both choirs only joining at the final word “Alleluia”. The accumulation of choral mass with the gradual intensification of rhythm is a simple device, used quite often by composers, but with much interesting effects.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Michigan Man says:

    Palestrina likely didn’t write for female voices, though, no?


    1. Have no idea if he ever wrote anything for femine choir. The bulk of his immense musical output was destined for the Pontifical capellas (all male) where he worked for. The work is in “high clefs” (chiavette), which might be confusing…


      1. Michigan Man says:

        I personally wish the Church had maintained the tradition of having all male choirs, with boy sopranos and counter altos. Sadly so many bad choirs here in the US


  2. gelsobianco says:

    I love Palestrina, this video e what you wrote about all.
    Thank you.


  3. MJH says:

    Thank you for this! I was just at the Brazilian Embassy in Rome (Palazzo Pamphilj), and got to see Sala Palestrina, with a bust of him on the wall, ‘Musices Princeps’ inscribed below, since his music was so much performed there.


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