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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One may not condemn the congregation to worthless music or songs of the cheapest type under the pretext of “pastoral need.” Only a music which attracts the congregation through the power of its beauty, sanctity and general appeal will be pastorally effective. Otherwise the people will turn away in disgust (“a liturgia abhorrebit”) because the music used in the liturgy is inappropriate and banal (“ratione deformitatis seu inanitatis”). Unfortunately, he concluded, this is often enough the case at present.
— Archbishop Nicodemo, speaking during Vatican II (Translation by Dr. Robert Skeris)

Complete Palestrina Edition • Now Online!
published 14 October 2016 by Jeff Ostrowski

772 Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina NTIL RECENTLY, I did not realize the complete works of GIOVANNI PIERLUIGI DA PALESTRINA (d. 1594) are available online. The edition is by Monsignor Francis Xavier Haberl (d. 1910), a student of Proske, and what he produced is nothing short of miraculous. Moreover, his modal sensitivity is not what we might expect from a 19th-century musician. 1

Some might not understand how to read the clefs used by Haberl—but all you have to do is click here. Next week, I’ll demonstrate how these scores can be entered into SIBELIUS or FINALE to avoid archaic clefs.

Credit for these marvelous scores belongs to several groups, especially the IMSLP website. However, many find IMSLP confusing, partially due to numerous dead links. Therefore, a former student of mine created direct links to the complete Masses of Palestrina:

    * *  PDF   •   BOOK 1 of Masses (184 pages)

    * *  PDF   •   BOOK 2 of Masses (162 pages)

    * *  PDF   •   BOOK 3 of Masses (201 pages)

    * *  PDF   •   BOOK 4 of Masses (147 pages)

    * *  PDF   •   BOOK 5 of Masses (151 pages)

    * *  PDF   •   BOOK 6 of Masses (161 pages)

    * *  PDF   •   BOOK 7 of Masses (120 pages)

    * *  PDF   •   BOOK 8 of Masses (150 pages)

    * *  PDF   •   BOOK 9 of Masses (157 pages)

    * *  PDF   •   BOOK 10 of Masses (154 pages)

    * *  PDF   •   BOOK 11 of Masses (140 pages)

    * *  PDF   •   BOOK 12 of Masses (144 pages)

    * *  PDF   •   BOOK 13 of Masses (160 pages)

    * *  PDF   •   BOOK 14 of Masses (158 pages)

    * *  PDF   •   BOOK 15 of Masses (160 pages)

But Palestrina wrote more than just Mass settings!

Click here to download every piece Palestrina ever composed.

THE TREASURES are beyond belief. Consider Palestrina’s hymn settings, including an alternate version of the “Vexilla Regis” for 14 September. Consider his captivating version of “Ave Maris Stella.” Consider the polyphonic settings of the KYRIE at the beginning of his litanies—which are surely the shortest settings of the KYRIE ever composed! Consider the marvelous canons in his Missa Ad Coenam Agni Providi. Consider the awesome power of his six-voice Missa Ave Maria, especially Agnus II.

By the way, the IMSLP website contains numerous authentic part books:

776 Pange Lingua PALESTRINA

We need to ask Nancho Alvarez, the indisputable master of Renaissance scores, to do for Palestrina what he’s done for Victoria, Guerrero, and Morales. But Haberl’s editions will suffice while we wait!


1   Indeed, he demonstrates a better “ear & sense” for musica ficta than some modern scholars I’ve encountered. In graduate school, we were taught to look down on the efforts of Haberl—and that advice was totally wrong!