Persons related to Chopin Persons related to Chopin

Gregorio Allegri

Gregorio Allegri

Gregorio Allegri

*1582 Rzym, †7 II 1652 Rzym

Italian composer and singer, brother of Domenico Allegri. Allegri’s fame stems largely from his Miserere, a setting of Psalm l, which, up until 1870, was traditionally sung by the papal choir during the Tenebrae Offices of Holy Week.

Allegri’s best music is in the a cappella style, much of it for two choirs: it was copied and recopied into Cappella Sistina manuscripts for at least a century. A fine example is the six-part Missa ‘Vidi turbam magnam’; based on his own motet it shows that the stile antico, far from being insipid, could be the vehicle for superbly controlled sonority and counterpoint, using syncopation to lead to a climax and with a bass line entirely harmonic in function.

Along with other Roman composers, Allegri responded to the new vogue for small-scale concertato church music and his published pieces are mostly in a more modern idiom. Clearly these were not written for the papal choir but for smaller musical establishments in Rome such as Spirito in Sassia, or for a provincial centre such as Fermo, where Allegri was living when they were published. The first book of Concertini has not survived, but the second (dedicated to Duke Giovanni Antonio Altaemps) is written in an unambitious post-Viadana idiom, neither melodious in the manner of the best north Italians nor ornamented. Some pieces include dance-like triple-time sections, but contrapuntal considerations still predominate. The five-part Dilectus meus is very like a late 16th-century madrigal in style, with delicate textural and rhythmic contrasts.


 

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