Composer Details:

 Name: Gallus 
 First Name: Jacobus 
 Year of birth: 1550 
 Year of death: 1591 
The Slovenian composer Jacobus Gallus / Jacob Handl was probably born at Ribnica, between 15 April and 31 July 1550. He is known for his sacred music. A Cistercian monk, Gallus travelled in Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia, went to Melk Abbey/Lower Austria. He was a member of the Viennese court chapel in 1574, and was choirmaster to the bishop of Olmutz (modern Olomouc, Czech Republic) in 1579-85. His most notable work is the six part "Opus musicum", a collection of motets that would eventually cover the liturgical needs of the entire ecclesiastical year in 1577. The motet "O magnum mysterium" comes from the first volume (printed in 1586) which covers the period from the first Sunday of Advent to the Septuagesima. This motet for 8 voices gives evidence of Venetian influence in its use of the coro spezzato technique (= polychorality). Handl lived in Austria from around 1565 and in 1574/5 he sang in the Vienna Hofkapelle under Monte. After extensive travelling, he became choirmaster to the Bishop of Olomouc from ca. 1579 to 1585, and Kantor of St Jan na Brzehu, Prague from ca. 1586 to 1591. His wide-ranging, eclectic style blends archaism and modernity. He rarely used cantus firmus, preferring the then-new Venetian polychoral manner, yet he was equally conversant with earlier imitative techniques. Some of his chromatic transitions foreshadowed the breakup of modality; his five-voice motet "Mirabile mysterium" contains chromaticism worthy of Don Carlo Gesualdo. He enjoyed word painting in the style of the madrigal, yet he could write the simple "Ecce quomodo moritur justus" later used by G.F. Händel in his funeral anthem "The Ways of Zion Do Mourn". 
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