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Gregorio Allegri

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A member of the same family which produced the painter Correggio, born at Rome c. 1580; died 1652. He was attached to the cathedral at Fermo, as a beneficiary priest, and acted as chorister and composer. The attention of Pope Urban VIII was drawn to him through some of his motets and concerti , and he was appointed, 6 December, 1629, to fill a vacancy among the singers of the Papal Choir, a post which he held until his death. He reached the climax of his fame when he produced his nine-voiced "Miserere" for two choirs, the value of which depends almost entirely upon its execution, in particular upon certain traditional ornaments which give a peculiar, pathetic quality to many passages, but without which it appears to be a piece of almost hopeless insipidity. Allegri's Christian life was in perfect harmony with his artistic occupation; he was, says Proske, "a model of priestly piety and humility, a father to the poor, the consoler of captives and the forsaken, a self-sacrificing help and rescuer of suffering humanity." His published works consist chiefly of two volumes of "Concertini" (1618-19), and two of "motetti" (1621) all printed by Soldi of Rome. But many of his manuscripts are contained in the archives of Sta. Maria in Vallicella, in the library of the Roman College, and in the collection of the Papal Choir ; and the library of the Abbé Santini contained various pieces by him, including "Magnificats", "Improperia", "Lamentazioni", and "Motetti".

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