The Music of Patronage

Centuries ago, artists and musicians were often supported by patrons. They would devote the majority of their work to one person or group who paid for their home, food and other necessities. This system enabled them to create without worrying about earthly matters, and the patron was able to call upon them whenever the need arose for their services. Many of these patrons were wealthy landowners or part of the aristocracy, but the Roman Catholic Church was also a patron of many.

Many of today’s religious musical pieces were written during this era by musicians who were supported by the church, but some were simply part of the musician’s tithe. Europe was mostly Christian, and writing music for the church was considered prestigious. There were many famous musicians who wrote music for masses and special events, and they include Vivaldi , Beethoven, Haydn, Rossini, Liszt and Berlioz.