About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and children.
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“Since the ability of Francisco Guerrero is now abundantly known to all […] he shall henceforth act as master of the boys so long as: ( 1) he must teach them to read, write, and to sing the responsories, versicles, antiphons, lessons, and kalends, and other parts of divine service; (2) he shall teach them plainchant, harmony, and counterpoint, his instruction in counterpoint to include both the art of adding a melody to a plainsong and to an already existing piece of polyphonic music; (3) he shall always clothe them decently and properly, see that they wear good shoes, and ensure that their beds are kept perfectly clean; (4) he shall feed them the same food that he himself eats and never take money from them for anything having to do with their services in church or their musical instruction…” [cont’d]
— Málaga Cathedral Document (11 September 1551)

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The Pope Who Had … A Child?
published 17 January 2016 by Jeff Ostrowski

842 Gregory XIII OPE GREGORY XIII was a great supporter of Palestrina, who returned the favor by frequently dedicating musical scores to him. Palestrina also dedicated compositions (on occasion) to the pope’s natural son. Wait…his son?

Yes, it turns out that—during his early life—Gregory XIII had a son (Giacomo Boncompagni) with an unmarried woman. Someday, I’d like to learn more about this, because it must have been hard for Gregory XIII to encourage Catholics not to break the 6th Commandment, considering his past. For the record, Palestrina seems to have been a very holy man.

The Diario of 1594 records an interesting anecdote about Pope Clement VIII. The pontifical choir sang “In diademate capitis” by Giovanni Maria Nanini. This motet seemed to displease Pope Clement, and he asked whose composition it was. They told him it was Nanini.

Because Nanini was known as a great composer, 1 the pope attempted to soften his criticism, declaring that it was the words of the motet he objected to. However, the maestro di cappella responded that these words came from the Bible…and Pope Clement fell silent!



NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:

1   I’m told Nanini was even a colleague of Palestrina at a special music school.