PALESTRINA FOR ALL: Unwrapping, Singing, Celebrating by Jonathan Boswell

PALESTRINA FOR ALL: Unwrapping, Singing, Celebrating

byJonathan Boswell

Kobo ebook | September 24, 2019

Pricing and Purchase Info


Prices and offers may vary in store

Available for download

Not available in stores


This lively new book, written by a general historian, explores the music of the great composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594). Palestrina worked during a tempestuous phase of European history - the Counter Reformation or Catholic Reform. More than four centuries of discussion and controversy have followed, continuing to highlight fundamental issues about music's relationships with emotion, imagination and the sublime. The large numbers and varieties of Palestrina's works are daunting for singers and listeners, but here's a guide to mapping one's way through the labyrinth. Even now much glorious music remains hidden away, still to be performed and enjoyed.

Palestrina's music excels in its sensitivity to text, disciplined consonance and exploitation of the richly contrasting voice parts - cantus, alto, tenor and bass - and their varied interweavings. It delights in part-erotic love poetry while chiefly focussing on religious themes. Here is music for every changing event through the Church's Year, but also for underlying beliefs to be persistently symbolised about the eternal God as beauty, wonder, mercy, love and mystery. Particularly outstanding are certain parts of Palestrina's Masses, the Kyrie, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei. The book explores different ways of enjoying and relating to the music, whatever one's beliefs. The author suggests that its combination of vocal diversity, equality and harmony symbolises good social relationships or ideal community. This is music which strikingly avoids tight metricality, mighty forces, tumult or disjunction. Its prevailing values are those of clarity, ensemble, balance and graceful flowingness.

Title:PALESTRINA FOR ALL: Unwrapping, Singing, CelebratingFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:September 24, 2019Publisher:Jonathan BoswellLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1912643855

ISBN - 13:9781912643851


From the Author

This new book explores the music of the great composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594), its surrounding history and still unfolding potential. It follows the music from love poetry, through changing events in the Church Year, to the composer's record-breaking 104 Mass settings, uncovering many neglected treasures on the way. Its approach is accessible and largely non-technical. There is a focus on relationships with text, belief and ceremony, the individual melodic lines, and the richly interweaving voice parts (cantus, alto, tenor, bass). Not least, the author explores diverse ways - emotional, devotional, imaginative - of enjoying and responding to the music.Here is music which excels in differentiation, equality, consonance and cordiality between the voice parts. Much of it can be interpreted as symbolising ideal community and core beliefs about the eternal God There is a striking avoidance of tight metricality, mighty forces, tumult or disjunction. The music's leading values are those of clarity, balance, affectionate concord and graceful flowingness.{WHAT SOME LEADING PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THE BOOK}'Historian Jonathan Boswell has brought a lifetime's fascination with the life and music of Palestrina to bear in a new book, the first accessible general guide in English to appear for several decades' (Early Music Today, news, June 2019).'Worthy of its title … well-chosen examples … in every way a suitable introduction for music lovers of all descriptions' (Tamesis).'Anyone interested in exploring Palestrina should start with this account … I very much applaud the author' (Peter Phillips, The Tallis Scholars).'So refreshing, so personal, so illuminating … I loved this book' (Harry Christophers, The Sixteen).'A very valuable contribution to the field, and it will immensely enrich all those who engage with it' (Chiara Bertoglio, Professor of Musicology, University of Bologna).'Admirably illuminates the fervent response of a great musical poet to the emotion and theology of the sacred texts and liturgy'(Patrick Russill, Royal College of Music and The London Oratory).'A much needed book … it's first class' (Andrew Carwood, St Paul's Cathedral and The Cardinall's Musick).{CHAPTER HEADINGS, 176 pages}1 - Prince of music ?2 - Palestrina in his own time3 - Love poetry and devotional diversities4 - Sorrow, suffering, hope and glory5 - A music of amity and ideal community6 - 'The quality of mercy': Kyrie eleison7 - Gloria and Credo8 - Controversies, choirs, conductors9 - Sounding the mystery: Sanctus and Benedictus10 - Peace and eternity: Agnus DeiSelect bibliographyIndex of works referred toProduct descriptionAbout the AuthorJonathan Boswell is a general historian whose projects have repeatedly defied narrow specialisation. Following periods in industry he became an academic, working successively at The City University Business School, St Antony's College Cambridge, and the Von Hugel Institute, St Edmund's College Cambridge. He has published books on business history and social ideas.Music has been a lifelong passion. A lover of Palestrina's music since early manhood, Jonathan later sang large quantitites of it in early music choral groups. He loves walking, TV, and chatting about books and current affairs. He lives with his wife in North London. For more about Jonathan and Palestrina for All visit