St. Andrew Corsini

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St. Andrew Corsini,
Bishop and Confessor

by Rev. Peter Richard Kenrick, 1840

St. Andrew Corsini affords us, in his life, an example from which we may learn how efficacious is the intercession of the Queen of Saints, in withdrawing the sinner from the error of his way, and exciting him to aspire to, and attain, a high degree of perfection. Before the birth of Andrew, he was offered to the Blessed Virgin, by his holy parents as the first fruits of their marriage. On the night in which he was bom, his mother, Peregrina, had a dream which filled her with alarm. It seemed to her, as if she had brought forth a wolf, who, fleeing to a church, was changed into a lamb. This was a picture of what was afterwards to happen to Andrew. His pious parents employed every care and precaution, to bring him up in the fear of God; but, as too often happens, through the influence of bad company, an immoderate desire of play, and neglect of duty, he fell into the greatest disorders. Dissipation hurried him from one vice to another; until he was without affection for his parents, whom he disobeyed without remorse; so that all who knew him were full of apprehension for the future.
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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

The greatest composer of liturgical music of all time, born at Palestrina (ancient Praeneste) in 1514 or 1515, according to Baini, Riemann, and others, according to Haberl, in 1526; died at Rome, 2 February, 1594. His early history is practically unknown. Giuseppe Ottavia Pittoni (1657-1743), in “notizie dei maestri di cappella si di Rome che ultramontani, 1600-1700″, a manuscript in the Vatican, relates that young Pierluigi sang in the streets of Rome while offering for sale the products of his parents farm and that he was heard on such an occasion by the choirmaster of Santa Maria Maggiore, who, impressed by the boy’s beautiful voice and pronounced musical talent, educated him musically. As to the identity of the choirmaster, tradition gives no clue. Some hold that Palestrina was taught by Jacques Arcadelt (1514-60), choirmaster and composer in Rome from 1539 to 1549. The opinion, so long held, that Claude Goudimel (1505-72) was his principal teacher has now been definitively abandoned. As far as is known, he began his active musical life as organist and choirmaster in his native city in 1544; his reputation increasing, in 1551 he was called to Rome, entrusted with the direction and musical formation of the choirboys at St. Peter’s, and within the same year was advanced to the post of choirmaster. In 1554, he dedicated to Julius III (1549-55) his first compositions, a volume of masses for four voices, and was rewarded with the appointment as a member of the papal chapel in contravention of the rules governing that body. The pope had set aside the rule requiring those who held membership in the papal choir to be in Holy Orders, and also used his authority to exempt him from the usually severe entrance examination. These circumstances and the further fact that his voice was much inferior to those of the other singers, aroused the opposition, and antagonism of his fellow-members. The papal singers did not appreciate the object of the pope, which was to secure for the gifted young man the necessary leisure to compose. Continue reading