Sunday, June 29, 2008

Peter and Paul

Today, in both the East and the West, our Holy Mother the Church celebrates the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. One of the great pieces done for this day, is "Tu Es Petrus," rendered by the great Renaissance composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525? - 1594). This clip is of a 2006 performance of that piece by the Coro della Polifonica Materana "Pierluigi da Palestrina." At the parish of St John the Beloved, our prayers were lifted by his equally glorious Mass setting, the "Missa Papae Marcelli" (the "Pope Marcellus Mass.")

Legend has it that this Mass was composed to persuade the Fathers of the late 16th century Council of Trent to allow the use of polyphony for sacred music. This was at a time when composers often appropriated popular tunes, the secular lyrics for which would contain themes of revelry and lovemaking. (Sound familiar?) That said, recent scholarship has shown that it was more likely composed as much as ten years before the Council met to discuss the issue.

The opening notes of the Kyrie, heard in this second clip, gives its distinctive qualities away. Today's live performance was totally awesome!

(If you really want to add a festive note to this feast day, our entry for this day from 200X can be found by clicking here. That is, if you feel like baking a cake.)

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