Jacob Handl

Birth / Death Dates
1550 - 1591

Also know as Gallus, the Latin word for "Rooster" (as is Handl in German). A Slovenian composer known for his sacred music, a rich blend of conservative and innovative styles with daring harmonic progressions. Handl traveled in Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia, was a member of the Viennese court chapel in 1574, and was choirmaster to the bishop of Olm├╝tz (modern Olomouc, Czech Republic) in 1579-85. His most notable work is the Opus musicum (1590), a collection of motets for the entire year. His wide-ranging, eclectic style blends archaism and modernity. He rarely used cantus firmus, preferring the then-new Venetian polychoral manner, yet he was equally conversant with earlier imitative techniques. Some of his chromatic transitions foreshadowed the breakup of modality; his five-voice motet Mirabile mysterium contains chromaticism worthy of Don Carlo Gesualdo. He enjoyed word painting in the style of the madrigal, yet he could write the simple Ecce quomodo moritur justus later used by G.F. Handel in his funeral anthem The Ways of Zion Do Mourn.