Great composers: Palestrina

Course Dates: 07/04/25
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: Keeley Street
Known as one of the three towering composers of the renaissance (alongside Lassus & Byrd), explore the life and works of this most famous polyphonist.
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Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £79.00

Great composers: Palestrina
  • Course Code: MD040C
  • Dates: 07/04/25 - 07/04/25
  • Time: 10:30 - 16:30
  • Taught: Mon, Daytime
  • Duration: 1 session
  • Location: Keeley Street
  • Tutor: Edward Breen

Course Code: MD040C

Mon, day, 07 Apr - 07 Apr '25

Duration: 1 session

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What is the course about?

Often referred to as ‘the saviour of church music’ due to the popularity of his Missa Papae Marcelli, this Palestrina legend was the subject of an opera by Hans Pfitzner (1917)! This course explores the biography and key works of Palestrina to illustrate the range of his style and the variety of modern performances of his works.

What will we cover?

- Biographical details of the composer
- Knudd Jepperson’s book Counterpoint: The Polyphonic Vocal Style of the Sixteenth Century (1930)
- The Palestrina legend and the Council of Trent
- Key works studied will include: Missa Papae Marcelli (Massimo Palombello / The Sistine Chapel Choir), Stabat Mater (Andrew Parrott/The Taverner Consort), Missa Sicut Lilium (Mass and Motet Peter Phillips / The Tallis Scholars) & Missa Prima Toni De Palestrina (Ivan Lantos /Bulgarka).

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Demonstrate familiarity with the biography of Palestrina
- Understand the Palestrina legend
- Use selected musical terminology with confidence
- Enjoy exploring key works by this composer.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is suitable for all levels. We may look at a music scores and identify key features of music notation (how many violins are playing, etc…) so this course will be most suitable for those who are curious and ambitious to learn.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The single session will comprise combinations of lecture, question-and-answer, guided listening, video and manuscript study. You may wish to do extra reading after this class and suggestions will be made for this.
There will also be Spotify and Youtube playlists for this course if you wish to do extra listening.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

PowerPoint slides and reading list provided digitally for this session. You may also wish to purchase some of the music books or recordings discussed in class, for further reading and study: links to these materials will be available online after the session.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

To find out more about music history classes Music history courses in London and online which lists our full programme of classes ordered by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.

Edward Breen Tutor Website

Edward teaches music history and music theory at City lit where he is Head of Programme: Advanced Studies in the School of Performing Arts. His specialism is early music (medieval, renaissance and baroque periods) and he completed his PhD in historical musicology at King's College London (2013) on the performance of medieval music. Outside of teaching, Edward is a regular contributor to Gramophone magazine and has lectured for Dartington International Summer School, London's Southbank Centre and The British Library. He has also worked as a researcher for BBC Proms and written for the journal Early Music (OUP). His recent essays are published in: The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Historical Performance in Music, (Cambridge University Press); The Montpellier Codex: Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music 16 (Boydell Press); Recomposing the Past: Representations of Early Music on Stage and Screen (Ashgate 2018); and 30-Second Classical Music (Ivy Press).

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.