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Antonius Galli

died: 2 April 1565
country: Flanders

Antonius Galli (died 1565—his birth date is unknown but may be hazarded at around 1505–10) was referred to by Maximilian in a letter as ‘my chaplain’, indicating simply that by the end of 1553 he had become a member of the extensive chapel establishment in Vienna. In 1554 he is listed as a ‘Canntor’ but without voice designation. By 1560 he had been promoted to the rank of Elemosinarius (almoner), with the substantially higher salary of 20 gulden per month; and at the very end of his life he had just won further promotion to the highest chapel position of Hofprediger (court preacher). This represents something of a career comeback for Galli, who in 1550 was dismissed as choirmaster of St Donatian’s church in Bruges for neglect of the choirboys in his care. (Such dismissals were relatively frequent, due in part to the fact that most choirmasters had to provide food and lodging for the choristers out of their salaries; the volatility of grain prices meant that they often struggled to do so. Galli, however, was unusual in causing his young charges to frequent taverns.)

Galli seems to have been only a moderately active composer: unlike more prolific contemporaries such as Clemens non Papa he left only three Mass settings, about twenty motets and a few chansons (Clemens’s output was of the order of ten times that amount). His Mass settings all appear to use ‘parody’ or ‘imitation’ technique, where a polyphonic model is taken as a compositional starting point: apart from Missa Ascendetis post filium, the models were Jacquet of Mantua’s famous and often-parodied motet Aspice Domine, and an unknown setting of Stetit Iacob.

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2007


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