excerpt from 'A Memoir of Baron Bunsen Volume 1' pp. 190-191 (351 words)

excerpt from 'A Memoir of Baron Bunsen Volume 1' pp. 190-191 (351 words)

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A Memoir of Baron Bunsen Volume 1

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The first occasion on which the members of the Papal Choir were ever permitted to perform their own especial harmonies out of the Papal residence, was that of a fete given by Niebuhr at his residence in the Palazzo Savelli, in honour of Baron Stem, and of Prince Hardenberg, then Chancellor of State and Prime Minister of Prussia. This invitation was the result of a strong conviction on the part of Niebuhr of the propriety of making such a demonstration of respect, both to his countrymen and to the grandees of Rome, and to the diplomatic body ; and having once made up his mind to do this, the fete was carried out with grand effect, the locality having the advantage, ever belonging to Roman palaces, of suitable space. A fete of the ordinary kind, either with dancing, or a performance of theatrical music, was felt to be too incongruous with the character and taste of the great historian, to be admissible; moreover, it was wholly unsuited to the serious aspect of a house and family, over which the ill-health of Madame Niebuhr cast a continual shadow. In the difficulty of selection of a means of giving object and character to the invitation of a mixed multitude, Bunsen's original suggestion was gladly accepted by Niebuhr, who obtained the assent of Consalvi in the name of the Pope, while Bunsen negotiated on his part with Baini, the selection of singers and of pieces ; in which last the judgement of Kocher was also consulted : and the Missa Papae Marcelli (an early and comparatively cheerful and popular work of Palestrina), the anthem ' Tu es Petrus' (belonging to the Papal Corona tion service, also by Palestrina), and the grand Dies irae (of Pittoni, somewhat later than Palestrina), were chosen as being most effective. Niebuhr himself was neither musical, nor in general fond of music, but he was as susceptible of grand devotional strains, as he was of the echoes of the weal and woe of human races to be found in national melodies: and so far, like Bunsen, he admired what his philosophical reflection approved.

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excerpt from 'A Memoir of Baron Bunsen Volume 1' pp. 190-191 (351 words)


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