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David Palladius (Composer)

Born: unknown date - Magdeburg, Germany
Died: unknown date & place
Active years: 1572-1599

David Palladius was a German composer and writer on music. He may have been a pupil of Gallus Dressler, who was Kantor of the Lateinschule at Magdeburg from 1558. From 1572 to 1599 he was Kantor at the Martineum in Brunswick, and as such was responsible for the music at the church of St Martin, where Johann Zanger had been appointed pastor in 1571. He is not heard of after 1599 unless he was the David Palladius who was Kantor at Stade from 1605 to 1625. He was a typical German composer of the Orlando di Lasso school. His principal work is the Nuptiales cantiones, a collection of 22 wedding pieces, mostly for six voices. The 16 motets based on biblical texts bear witness to his solid, workmanlike training, while the settings of the six metrical texts, which include an ode by Horace, show in addition one or two individual features. Compared with earlier composers of humanist odes Palladius loosened the musical fabric: instead of having all the voices declaim the text homophonically, he added counterpoints, set one group of voices against another, inserted polyphonic sections and created lively rhythms by means of syncopation.

David Palladius' Isagoge musicae is in the tradition of school song compendia but differs from them in both content and form. Using as examples the openings of several motets, especially by Orlando di Lasso, Palladius explained how to use the key signature to find the first note and which solmization syllables are to be chosen. For the practising of solmization he wrote, instead of the notes, only the solmization syllables between the lines of the staff. A treatise announced in the preface from which the pupils were to learn the correct method of setting a text evidently never appeared.


Ein newe Lied dem Hochwirden … Herrn Hinrico Julio … und der lِblichen Stadt Brunswig zu Ehren … gemacht, 6vv (Magdeburg, 1590)
Nuptiales cantiones, 4-7vv (Wittenberg, 1590-92)
Der 122. Psalm neben 2 anderen Sprüchen aus dem 41. Psalm und aus dem 4. Buch Mosis (Helmstedt, 1595)
Motet, 4vv, 15978 ; ed. in Handbuch der deutschen evangelischen Kirchenmusik , i/2 (Göttingen, 1942), 115
4 motets (incl. one in 15978), 4vv, D-Lr KN 144
Motet, 6vv, formerly Biblioteca Rudolfina, Liegnitz (now ?PL-WRu)
Several other works, D-ZGh (see BoetticherOL, i, 837)

Isagoge musicae (Helmstedt, 1588)


Source: Grove Music Online, © Oxford University Press 2006, acc. 5/24/06 (Author: Martin Ruhnke)
Contributed by
Thomas Braatz (January 2006, May 2006)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schar, Chorale Motet for 5 voices

Ein Kind geborn zu Bethlehem (Puer natus in Bethlehem)

Links to other Sites



F. Welter: Katalog der Musikalien der Ratsbücherei
Lüneburg (Lippstadt, 1950)
K.G. Hartmann : ‘Die Handschrift KN 144 der Ratsbücherei zu
Lüneburg’, Mf, xiii (1960), 1-27
K.W. Niem
ِller: Untersuchungen zu Musikpflege und Musikunterricht an den deutschen Lateinschulen vom ausgehenden Mittelalter bis um 1600 (Regensburg, 1969)
B.K.F. Wilson: Choral Pedagogy: Crossroads of Theory and Practice in Sixteenth-Century Germany (diss., Boston U., 1995)

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Last update: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 23:20