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Allegri, Gregorio


Priest, composer of the Roman baroque; b. Rome, 1582; d. Rome, Feb. 17, 1652. As a boy he sang under G. B. Nanino at S. Luigi dei Francesi church in Rome from 1591 until his voice changed; he also sang and studied under G. M. Nanino. In 1629, after he had established his reputation as a composer, he was appointed to the papal choir by Urban VIII. As a composer of the late Roman school, Allegri favored the stile antico, with a view to preserving the palestrina tradition, already regarded as the model for liturgical purposes. His most notable work is the nine-voice, two-choir Miserere, which was written down from memory by both mozart and mendelssohn and is still performed in the Sistine Chapel during Holy Week. Many other sacred works exist in manuscript, and concertini for various voice groupings, motets for two to six voices, and a forerunner of the string quartet were published during his lifetime.

Bibliography: g. allegri, Miserere, ed. f. haberl (Augsburg 1936). a. cametti, Rivista musicale Italiana 22 (1915) 596608. k. g. fellerer, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart 1:329330. b. byram-wigfield, "An Unknown Quantity," The Musical Times 12 (1997) 1221. don michael randel, ed., The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music, 1415. (Cambridge, Massachusetts 1996). j. roche, "Gregorio Allegri" in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, v.1, ed. s. sadie (New York 1980) 26667. nicolas slonimsky, ed., Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Eighth Edition 27 (New York 1992).

[f. j. guentner]

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