Music: Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525 - 1594)
Art: Sandro Botticelli (c. 1445 – 1510)
Poetry: William Shakespeare (1564 -1616)
Use the following material for this month's lessons.
Or, if you'd like it planned out for you, see the lessons in Week #1, Week #2, Week #3, and Week #4.
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was Italian and spent much of his life in Rome. Most of his music was written for the Catholic church, and he held important church positions, including music director for St. Peter's in Rome.
Palestrina wrote 104 masses (for choir) and about 450 other sacred works. He was an important composer of the Counter-Reformation. The Catholic church made the decision that "church music should be composed not to give empty pleasure to the ear, but to inspire religious contemplation" (Music: An Appreciation by Roger Kamien). Palestrina's music, therefore, is restrained and serene.
His most famous mass is Pope Marcellus Mass. It's written for an a cappella choir of six vocal parts (soprano, alto, two tenors, and two basses). Listen to it here:
Another mass is Missa in Duplicitus Minoribus:
Palestrina also composed secular madrigals, hymns, and a set of motets.
Here are some of his motets:
And, here are some of his madrigals:
Sandro Botticelli (c. 1445 – 1510) was an Italian Early Renaissance painter who lived and died in Florence, Italy. He is best known for his paintings "Adoration of the Magi" (1475), "Primavera" (1482), and "The Birth of Venus" (1485).
Botticelli was part of the team of artists who created the first paintings in the Sistine Chapel. He was also often given commissions by the powerful Medici family of Florence.
"Giuliano de' Medici" c. 1478/1480 Painting
"Madonna and Child with Angels" 1465/1470 Painting
"Madonna and Child" c. 1470 Painting
"The Adoration of the Magi" c. 1478/1482 Painting
"Portrait of a Youth" c. 1482/1485 Painting
Who was William Shakespeare (1564 -1616)?
William Shakespeare wrote 154 poems called sonnets. Before Shakespeare's time, a sonnet referred to any short lyric poem. But, after he began writing them, the sonnet form became fixed as a one-stanza, 14-line poem, written in iambic pentameter.
Learn more about sonnets here:
Now, read some sonnets!
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long since cancell’d woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish’d sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor’d and sorrows end.
Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace:
Even so my sun one early morn did shine,
With all triumphant splendour on my brow;
But out, alack, he was but one hour mine,
The region cloud hath mask’d him from me now.
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;
Suns of the world may stain when heaven’s sun staineth.
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed, whereon it must expire,
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well, which thou must leave ere long.
To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I ey’d,
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold,
Have from the forests shook three summers’ pride,
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn’d,
In process of the seasons have I seen,
Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn’d,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.
Ah! yet doth beauty like a dial-hand,
Steal from his figure, and no pace perceiv’d;
So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,
Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceiv’d:
For fear of which, hear this thou age unbred:
Ere you were born was beauty’s summer dead.
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action: and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;
Enjoyed no sooner but despised straight;
Past reason hunted; and no sooner had,
Past reason hated, as a swallowed bait,
On purpose laid to make the taker mad.
Mad in pursuit and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind a dream.
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.
If you'd like to read all Shakespeare's sonnets or see them in modern-day language, see them here.