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     Vincenzo Pellegrini
 
 

Vincenzo Pellegrini was born in Pesaro, c1562; and died in Milan, 23 August 1630. He studied at the seminary in Pesaro, and from 1594 was a canon in the city's cathedral. It has been suggested that he was also maestro di cappella and organist of the cathedral, but while the first theory might be confirmed by two payments to a "ms Vincenzo m.ro di capella" in 1582, there is no documentation to support the second. His 1599 collection of Canzoni is dedicated to Livia della Rovere, wife of the Duke of Urbino, in whose service Pellegrini worked before moving to Milan. On 23 April 1603 he travelled to Rome with the delegation representing the Pesaro curia. In the same year he was elected vicar-capitular, holding the post until 25 February 1604. During his time in Pesaro he had a number of pupils, including Galeazzo Sabbatini, later organist of the cathedral. On the recommendation of Cardinal Federico Borromeo, Pellegrini was appointed maestro di cappella of Milan Cathedral on 19 October 1611. On 3 February 1612 he asked the Pesaro chapter for three months' leave to visit Milan, but he settled permanently in the city, while maintaining the title of canon of the Pesaro curia. His connections with the Rovere family continued: autograph letters to the duke's secretary, Abbot Giulio Brunetti, survive; the motets of the Sacri concentus (1619) are dedicated to Francesco Maria II della Rovere; and Pellegrini was present at the wedding celebrations between Federico Ubaldo della Rovere and Claudia de' Medici in May 1621.

Pellegrini took up his post at Milan Cathedral on 26 February 1612; with a quarterly stipend of 375 lire, the same as his predecessor G.C. Gabussi. However, under his direction the quality of the choir suffered and Pellegrini was held responsible. Some of the singers were dismissed and in 1625 Pellegrini was under the threat of being replaced (the correspondence relating to this process involved Monteverdi). Pellegrini held on to his post, and in November 1628 asked for an increase in his stipend to enable him to publish some of his works for use in religious services. On 17 June 1630 he made his will, leaving a third of his music to a maestro di cappella in Milan, another third to Pesaro Cathedral, and the final third to the convent of S Agostino, Pesaro. Some of his money was left to Pesaro Cathedral so that a chapel could be built and a patronage established, the obligation being that three masses be said weekly, and the feast of S Vincenzo be celebrated. There is no further reference to him in the cathedral records after 2 August 1630, and it is probable that he died of the plague.

Pellegrini's sacred music, described as austere and conservative, has often been linked to late 16th-century style, respecting the dictates of the Council of Trent. While the bulk of his sacred music is in the a cappella style, in his more modern compositions, such as the solo motets, the use of ornaments, rhythm and dissonances for expressive purposes, suggest the influence of the new stile rappresentativo. Pellegrini's most successful works are his instrumental canzonas. They reveal a lively imagination, clarity and serenity. Most follow a tripartite scheme with sections in duple then triple then duple time with a different theme. Themes return superimposed or juxtaposed with entries following quickly on one another, in a sort of concluding stretto that is particularly effective. Often the initial idea, fragmented, transformed and elaborated, is the source of the entire piece: this characteristic makes him a unique figure in the context of music in Milan.

- Pier Paolo Scattolin (musicologicus.blogspot.com/2010/04/vincenzo-pellegrini.html)


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