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:
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:
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!
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
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!