The Oratorio

THE oratorio in its modern form is a musical setting of a sacred story or text in a style more or less dramatic. Its various parts are assigned to the four solo voices and to single or double chorus, with accompaniment of full orchestra, sometimes amplified by the Organ. Like the opera, it has its […]

Palestrina And His Influence On Music

—But one master of the Italian Poly-phonic schools is worthy of lengthy notice, more because of his influence on the music of the Church than his contribution to the new instrumental school then only in its infancy. Palestrina, while acquainted with Galilei, the reformer of Opera, and Neri, the originator of Oratorio, and with many […]

Music Of The Romans — The Early Church

THE art history of the world makes it clear to us that when the art of a country turns to over-elaboration of detail and mechanical dexterity, when there is a general tendency toward vividness of impression rather than poignancy and vitality of expression, then we have the invariable sign of that decadence which inevitably drifts […]

Mystery And Miracle Play

It is interesting to recall the origin of our words ” treble ” and ” discant.” The latter was derived from the first attempts to break away from the monotony of several persons singing the same melody in unison, octaves, fifths, or fourths. ln such cases the original melody was called cantus firmus (a term […]

Golden Age Of Catholic Church Music

As shown in the foregoing, the most striking and effective result of the movement begun by the Renaissance was its bringing to the world’s knowledge the fact that, ages before, there had existed a civilization more refined, more complex, more artistic, than any known during the middle ages. I refer, of course, to the civilization […]

The Renaissance And The Reformation

IN spite of numerous internal doctrinal disputes, the church of Rome maintained its jurisdiction over all the nations of western and central Europe throughout the Middle Ages. During the reign of Maximilian I, however, a religious movement was begun, which led finally to the division of all Christendom into two great denominations; and this movement […]

Music In The Early Christian Era

WHEN Rome was the center of civilization, men sought pleasure, power and riches above all things. During this period was born the Christ, whose message to humanity was diametrically opposed to the prevailing spirit. The classical age, lofty as was its mission and great its perfection, in many ways ignored the claims of humanity. In […]

Music Of The Protestant Church, The Passion And The Oratorio

IN a preceding chapter we followed the development of Catholic church music to its greatest height of artistic excellence at the hands of Lassus, Palestrina and some of their successors, an indirect result of the great Reformation. We have seen that the music of the Protestant Church, immediately after its stormy birth, consisted largely of […]

Music – The Climax Of Pure Choral Music

THE only way to get a true idea of the nature and value of the music of any period, school or composer, is to hear plenty of it, and then (consciously and subconsciously) to generalize from what one has heard. Fortunately, it is today not difficult to find opportunities of hearing the choral music of […]

Music – The Aria, The Suite, The Opera, And The Oratorio ; The Orchestra.

THE Fugue then, choral or instrumental, is a development from early Church Song. Another development from early song, but this time from the Folk Song, not the Church Song, was the extended Vocal Solo, as introduced into Opera and Oratorio. The determination to write for the singing voice in a manner imitating the inflection of […]