Jacob Handl

This one is more complicated than it looks!

Let's start with the New Groves listing for him: "Handl [Händl, Hähnel, Handelius, ?Petelin], Jacob [Jakob] [Gallus, Jacobus]". That's a lot of names to choose from... but the only two which are listed in bold are Jacob Handl, and therefore that's what he's catalogued here as. You'll see the 'Gallus' name thrown into the mix occasionally on CD covers and the like, but Gallus is merely the Latin form of 'rooster'... and 'Handl' is the Germanised version of exactly the same thing. So having both of them in the mix is redundant redundancy! If you were trying to be consistent about it in Latin, you'd call him Jacobus Gallus; if you were being a consistent German, you'd call him Jacob Handl. It turns out I'm more Germanic than Latinate 🙂

The irony being, of course, that he was born in Carniola, which is in present day Slovenia -though it was part of the Holy Roman Empire back when he was born in 1550. He then worked in Moravia and Bohemia before dying in 1591. Incidentally, the 'Petelin' name you see mentioned above with a question mark next to it means 'rooster' in Slovenian and may have been his original, 'native', name before he germanised it (or latinised it, depending on your mood). A bit like a 'Charles Fox' adopting the name 'Carolus Vulpes'.

He was a prolific composer of both sacred and secular music, including rather spectacular 24-part choral pieces. Anticipating (sort-of!) Johann Sebastian Bach and his cantatas, he wrote a whopping 445 motets,  that could cover the liturgical needs of the entire ecclesiastical year, bundling them up in a six-part Opus musicum. There were also 20 masses and three Passions. It is said that his music bore a distinctly Netherlands imprint, with much inspiration being taken from the likes of Adrian Willaert. Ultimately, however, in the opinion of the New Groves, his music, 'however progressive some of it may have been, exerted little influence on the coming age; instead of pointing the way to the future, it represents the summation of an era".

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Music Plays from my collection
(since January 9th 2021)

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Date of PlayTime of PlayGenreCompositionLengthPlay Count