The first in a series of composers’ portraits is Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, 1525-94, the father of advanced polyphony.
Palestrina made some music
which was far too beautiful
to suit His Holiness the Pope,
who thought the music dangerous
in its seducing beauty
luridly diverting people’s minds
from the religious formalism and order
to a better world of spiritual harmonies
which in the long run could outdo religion
as something better and a more spiritual alternative;
so the almighty Pope called forth the Inquisition
to investigate the magic of that lewd musician,
which they did, and found, that his polyphony
was insubstantial like the clouds.
So Palestrina was allowed to go on making music
of his own invention, which is quite ingenious still today
and matchless as perfected polyphonal choir singing
much more to the glory of that God
who had been so misunderstood by that almighty church
which thought it fit to make the Inquisition try some music.