Perosi, Don Lorenzo

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Perosi, Don Lorenzo

Perosi, Don Lorenzo, distinguished Italian composer of church music; b. Tortona, Dec. 21, 1872; d. Rome, Oct. 12, 1956. He studied at the Milan Cons. (1892–93); also took courses at Haberl’s School for Church Music at Regensburg (1893). He became maestro di cappella at Imola, and then at San Marco in Venice (1894–98). He was ordained a priest in 1895; in 1898 he became music director of the Sistine Chapel and leader of the papal choir; he resigned this post in 1915 owing to a severe mental disturbance; spent some time in a sanatorium (1922–23), after which he nominally held these duties again until his death, although with many relapses. Shortly after his 80th birthday, he led a performance of his oratorio II natale del Redentore at the Vatican before Pope Pius XII (Dec. 28,1952). He was a self- denying and scholarly worker for the cause of the cultivation of a pure church style, both in composition and in performance, and was esteemed above all others as a church musician at the Vatican.


dramatic: oratorios: La passione di Cristo secondo San Marco (I, La cena del Signore’, II, L’orazione al monte; III, La morte del Redentore; Milan, Dec. 2, 1897); La trasfigurazione del nostro Signore Gesù Cristo (Venice, March 20, 1898); La risurrezione di Lázaro (Venice, July 27, 1898); La risurrezione di Cristo (Rome, Dee. 13,1898); natale del Redentore (Corno, Sept. 12,1899); L’entrata di Cristo in Gerusalemme (Milan, April 25, 1900); La strage degli innocenti (Milan, May 18, 1900); Mosè (Milan, Nov. 16, 1901); Dies iste (Rome, Dec. 9, 1904); Transitus animae (Rome, Dec. 18,1907); In patris memoriam (1909; Naples, May 15, 1919); Giorni di tribulazione (Milan, Oct. 1916). other: Some 40 masses, with Organ; Requiem, with Instrumental Accompaniment; Stabat Mater for Solo Voices, Chorus, and Orch.; Vespertina oratio for Solo Voices, Chorus, and Orch.; about 150 motets, Psalms, etc.; 2 symphonic poems: Dovrei non piangere and La festa del villaggio; a series of 8 orch. pieces, each named after an Italian city: Roma, Firenze, Milano, Venezia, Messina, Tortona, Genoa, and Tor ina; Piano Concerto; 2 violin concertos; chamber music; many organ works.


L. Seytre, L’Abbé P.: Sa biographie, son oeuvre (Nice, 1901); A. Damerini, L. P. (Rome, 1924); A. Della Corte, L P. (Turin, 1936); A. Paglialunga, L. P. (Rome, 1952); M. Glinsky, L. P. (Milan, 1953); M. Rinaldi, L. P. (Rome, 1967); M. Bruni, L. P, el cantore evangelico (Turin, 1972); A. Bassi, D. L. P.; L’uomo, il compositore e il religioso (Fasano, 1994).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire