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Palestrina Program Notes and Sheet Music

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525 – 2 February 1594) was an Italian composer of the Renaissance. He is considered one of the greatest composers of sacred music of all time, and his work had a profound influence on the development of Western music.

Palestrina was born in Palestrina, a town near Rome, in about 1525. He studied music in Rome, and by the early 1550s he was one of the most sought-after composers in the city. He wrote a wide variety of sacred music, including masses, motets, and hymns. His music is characterized by its simple beauty and its use of counterpoint, a technique in which multiple melodic lines are woven together in a harmonious way.

In the 1560s, Palestrina was commissioned by Pope Marcellus II to write a mass that would set a new standard for sacred music. The resulting work, the Missa Papae Marcelli, is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of Renaissance music. It is a model of clarity, simplicity, and beauty, and it helped to establish Palestrina as the leading composer of sacred music in Italy.

Palestrina continued to compose until his death in 1594. His music is still performed today, and it continues to be admired for its beauty, its technical mastery, and its profound religious expression.

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