The Writing of Stanko Premrl – Between the Cecilian Movement and Modernism


  • Aleš Nagode



The aesthetic principles of Stanko Premrl (1880–1965), one of the central figures of Slovenian church music in the 20th century, were firmly rooted in the Cecilian tradition. This viewpoint remained unaltered that church music must firstly be subordinated to church precepts so that while its artistic value is important, it is not essential. In his evaluation of church music and in his writings, we can find the same priorities that were present in the older »Cecilian« generation. The first place of importance was given to plainchant and the second, to 16th-century vocal polyphony, which was valued as the ideal for multi-voice church music. He decidedly rejected works from the 18th and first half of the 19th centuries (Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven) as also a preponderance of pre-Cecilian Slovenian church music. In his relationship to contemporaneous church music we can see his considerable development from an initial strict adherence to the principles of the older »Cecilian« generation (modelled after 16th-century vocal polyphony) to a response to the demands of artistic freedom and the advancements of middle 20th-century music. In regard to the latter he also remained faithful to the original Cecilian principle of the primacy of church precepts – his own striving for autonomy of creativity being paradoxically relative to his adherence to the restraints determined by these precepts. Therefore we can also understand this part of his aesthetics relative to church music as building upon a tradition begun with Motu proprio of Pius X, and not as a deviation from the Cecilian movement.


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How to Cite

Nagode, A. (2000). The Writing of Stanko Premrl – Between the Cecilian Movement and Modernism. Musicological Annual, 36(1), 83–90.




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