Palestrina and Victoria are as inveterate composers as Beetho ven and Schubert. When Palestrina is uninspired his composition remains efficient ; and when Victoria is uninspired his composition becomes diffuse. Dullness results in both cases. The uninspired Orlando does not become dull, though he may become very ugly. But he reveals to us that he is not normally a composer at all. Like Max Reger, he can sit down to write, with nothing in his head, and brew a kind of musical audit-ale alarming in its con centration. But for him, as for the listener, a long pull at such stuff is impossible. When inspiration comes, the gift of com position comes with it : the sections coalesce and relieve each other with incalculable variety of proportion in forms uniquely right; and the inveterate illustrator is not repressed but raised to a sublime activity. In the wonderful "Justorum animae" (Magnum opus No. 266 [3oi]) the rhythms of "sunt in pace" become vast like the beating of an angel's wings in space. It is one of the supreme passages in music, and is perfectly poised upon its context. Orlando can also become a composer on less powerful impulse. His high spirits will suffice, together with his Shakespearian love of puns, for which the solmization syllables "ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la" give abundant musical opportunities. It is not surprising, then, to find him enjoying caricature, and setting a whole Latin poem written exclusively in false quantities; and making a long motet out of the words "super flumina Babylonis" spelled syllabically (s, u—su; p, e, r —per—super). Even these follies become musical and when the text is itself inspired by genuine high spirits Orlando again rises to power of composition. His setting of Walter de Mapes's "Fertur in conviviis" (given in the Magnum Opus with a stupid moral derangement of the text), and most of his French chansons, are among the most deeply humorous music in the world.
If i6th century music could have covered the range of i6th century drama or of 19th century symphony and opera, Orlando might more easily have proved to us that his humour came from a Shakespearian understanding of the sublime. His Penitential
Psalms stand with Josquin's Miserere and Palestrina's first book of Lamentations as artistic monuments of i6th century penitential religion, just as Bach's Matthew Passion stands alone among such monuments in later art. Yet the passage (quoted by Sir Hubert Parry in vol. 3 of the Oxford History of Music) "Nolite fieri sicut mulus" is one among many traits which are grotesquely descriptive without losing harmony with the austere depths of their context. Such music, if only from its peculiar technique of crossing parts and unexpected intervals, is exceptionally difficult to read; and hence intelligent conducting and performance of it are rare.
Orlando's works as shown by the plan of Messrs. Breitkopf and Miters complete critical edition (begun in 1894) comprise: (I) The Magnum opus musicum, a posthumous collection contain ing Latin pieces for from two to twelve voices, 516 in number (or, counting by single movements, over 70o) ; not all of these are to the original texts. The Magnum opus fills eleven volumes. (2) Five volumes of madrigals, containing six books, and a large number of single madrigals, and about half a volume of lighter Italian songs (villanellas, etc.). (3) Three volumes (not four as in the prospectus) of French chansons. (4) Two volumes of German four-part and five-part Lieder. (5) Serial church music: three volumes, containing Lessons from the Book of Job (two settings) ; Passion according to St. Matthew (i.e., like the Passions of Victoria and Soriano, a setting of the words of the crowds and of the disciples) ; Lamentations of Jeremiah; Morning Lessons; the Officia printed in the third volume of the Patroncinium (a publication suggested and supported by Orlando's patrons and containing eight entire volumes of his works) ; the Seven Peni tential Psalms; German Psalms and Prophetiae Sibyllarum. (6) One hundred Magnificats (Jubilus B. M. Virginis) 3 vols. (7) Eight volumes of Masses. (8) Two volumes of Latin songs not in the Magnum opus. (9) Five volumes of unpublished works.
(D. F. T.)