Palestrina – Pars Mea – Sacred Polyphony

The songs of sacred polyphony bring balance and peace to our souls in an undeniable way. The following piece of music is part of the repertoire of the great composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1524 – 1594).

Palestrina left a vast oeuvre, comprising 105 masses, more than 300 motets, 35 magnificats, a cycle of lamentations, 11 litanies, more than 70 hymns and 68 offertories. A group of additional pieces remain of uncertain authorship. His early output is largely indebted to the Franco-Flemish school, reflecting the teaching he received from masters of this school.

However, Palestrina’s compositional aesthetic gradually evolved to simplify polyphony. This did not result in a loss of technical sophistication, but rather an attempt to control the excessive musical ornamentation that characterized much of the Flemish generation. This aimed to make the text clearer and the musical textures more transparent, while at the same time highlighting specific meanings through musical resources.

The text in his work becomes so relevant that it often defines the entire structure of the composition. So, let’s listen to Pars Mea Dominus, for three voices.