- Roman School
In music history, the Roman School was a group of composers of predominantly church music, in
Rome, during the 16th and 17th centuries, therefore spanning the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. The term also refers to the music they produced. Many of the composers had a direct connection to the Vatican and the papal chapel, though they worked at several churches; stylistically they are often contrasted with the Venetian Schoolof composers, a concurrent movement which was much more progressive. By far the most famous composer of the Roman School is Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, whose name has been associated for four hundred years with smooth, clear, polyphonic perfection. However, there were other composers working in Rome, and in a variety of styles and forms.
History and characteristics
While composers had almost certainly been working in Rome continuously for the thousand years since the time of
Gregory the Great, the development of a consistent style around the middle of the 16th century, due in part to the musical requirements of the Counter-Reformation, led to their being grouped together by music historians under this single label.
The music of the Roman School can be seen as the culmination of a development of polyphony through the infusion of music of the Franco-Netherlandish school during the last hundred years. Franco-Netherlandish composers had long been coming to Italy to live and work—Josquin, Obrecht, Arcadelt, and many others made the long journey, and their musical style was decisive on the formation of the Italian styles. Under the guidance of the Vatican, and with the choir of the
Sistine Chapelbeing one of the finest of the time, it was perhaps inevitable that the stylistic center of sacred polyphony would turn out to be Rome.
Council of Trent, which met from 1543 to 1563, had a significant impact on the music of the Roman School: indeed it can be argued that these reforms in the Roman Catholic Church, which were part of the Counter-Reformation, "defined" the music of the Roman School. The Council of Trent recommended that sacred music, especially for use in church, be written in a dignified, serious style. The Council allowed polyphony—a common misconception is that they banned it outright, but this is false—however they did require that text which was sung be clearly understandable. In addition, while they did not ban the use of secular melodies as source material for masses and motets, such use was discouraged.
The combination of the reforms of the Council of Trent with the presence of the extremely talented composers inheriting the Franco-Netherlandish style, was the production of a body of music which has sometimes been held to represent the peak of perfection of Renaissance polyphonic clarity. The subject matter of "16th Century Counterpoint" or "Renaissance Polyphony" as taught in contemporary college music curricula is invariably the codified style of the Roman School, as it was understood by
Johann Fuxin the early 18th century. It is important to recognize, though, that the "Palestrina style" was not the only polyphonic style of the time, though it may have been the most internally consistent. The polyphonic style of Palestrina may have been the culmination of a hundred years of development of the Franco-Netherlandish style, but it was one of many streams in the late 16th century, and significantly contrasts with the music of the Venetian school to the north, as well as the music being produced in France and England at the same time.
Other composers living and working in Rome, while not considered members of the Roman School, certainly influenced them. The most famous of these is probably
Luca Marenzio, whose madrigals were wildly popular in Italy and elsewhere in Europe; some of the composers of the Roman School borrowed his expressive techniques, for instance word-painting, for occasional use in a liturgical setting.
While the Roman School is considered to be a conservative musical movement, there are important exceptions. Rome was the birthplace of the
oratorio, in the work of Giovanni Francesco Anerioand Emilio de' Cavalieri; the score for Cavalieri's "Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo" is the earliest printed score which uses a figured bass. The style is similar to the style of monody being developed in Florenceat approximately the same time; indeed there was considerable competition between composers in those two musical centers. The success of "Rappresentatione" was such that the monodic style became common in much Roman music in the first several decades of the 17th century.
Later composers of the Roman School included
Gregorio Allegri, composer of the famous Miserere (c.1630). This piece was guarded closely by the papal chapel; it was considered so beautiful that copies were not allowed to circulate. A favorite story involves the 14-year-old Mozart, who made the first illegal copy by transcribing it from memory after hearing it only twice. Many of the later composers of the Roman School continued to write in the polyphonic style of the 16th century, known then as the " stile antico", or the " prima pratica", in distinction to the newer styles of monodyand concertatowriting which defined the beginning of the Baroque era.
Members of the Roman School, including some who were active in Rome for only part of their careers, are as follows:
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina(c1525–1594)
Giovanni Francesco Anerio(c1567–1630) (Younger brother of Felice)
Gregorio Allegri(1582–1652) (Composer of the famous "Miserere")
Giovanni Maria Nanino(1543–1607)
Emilio de' Cavalieri(c1560–1602)
Giovanni Bernardino Nanino(1560–1623)
Stefano Landi(1586 or 1587–1639)
Giovanni de Macque(c1550–1614)
Johannes Matelart(before 1538–1607)
Rinaldo del Mel(c1554–1598)
References and further reading
* Various articles, including "Rome" and articles on the individual composers, in "The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians", ed. Stanley Sadie. 20 vol. London, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1980. ISBN 1-56159-174-2
Gustave Reese, "Music in the Renaissance". New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1954. ISBN 0-393-09530-4
Manfred Bukofzer, "Music in the Baroque Era". New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1947. ISBN 0-393-09745-5
* Harold Gleason and Warren Becker, "Music in the Middle Ages and Renaissance" (Music Literature Outlines Series I). Bloomington, Indiana. Frangipani Press, 1986. ISBN 0-89917-034-X
* Lamla, Michael: Kanonkünste im barocken Italien, insbesondere in Rom, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-89825-556-5
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Roman school — The Roman school is the education system of the Ancient Rome.Each school day of Ancient Rome was believed to begin before sunrise, and last until late afternoon. The fixed beginning of the school year was March 24th, which is held in honor of… … Wikipedia
Roman School (disambiguation) — The term Roman School, or Roman school may refer to:* The Roman school, as part of the education system in ancient Rome* The Roman School , a musical movement in the 16th and 17th century Rome … Wikipedia
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Poitiers — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Poitiers (Lat: Archidioecesis Pictaviensis) is an archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic church in France. The archepiscopal see is in the city of Poitiers. The Diocese of Poitiers includes the two… … Wikipedia
Roman Republic — See also: Roman Republic (18th century) and Roman Republic (19th century) Roman Republic Official name (as on coins): Roma after ca. 100 BC: Senatus PopulusQue Romanus ( The Senate and People of Rome ) … Wikipedia
School for Scoundrels — In diesem Artikel oder Abschnitt fehlen folgende wichtige Informationen: Vollständige Handlung Du kannst Wikipedia helfen, indem du sie recherchierst und einfügst … Deutsch Wikipedia
Roman Ludus — A Ludus was a Roman school attended by boys and girls until the age of 11. Ludii were to be found throughout the city of ancient Rome. Schools were run by a Ludi Magister who was often an educater slave of Freeman. School started around six o… … Wikipedia
Roman Law — Roman Law † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Roman Law In the following article this subject is briefly treated under the two heads of; I. Principles; II. History. Of these two divisions, I is subdivided into: A. Persons; B. Things; C. Actions … Catholic encyclopedia
Roman Academies — Roman Academies † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Roman Academies The Italian Renaissance at its apogee [from the close of the Western Schism (1418) to the middle of the sixteenth century] found two intellectual centres, Florence and Rome.… … Catholic encyclopedia
Roman Academies — includes a description of papal academies in Rome including historical and bibliographical notes concerning the more important of these. Roman Academies were associations of learned men and not institutes for instruction.These Roman Academies… … Wikipedia
Roman Yereniuk — is an educator and former public official in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He has been the principal of St. Andrew s College at the University of Manitoba, and was a trustee with the Winnipeg School Board from 1989 to 1995 and again from 1998 to… … Wikipedia