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Taiazor Licallo (12191 AG - 12277 AG) was first figure in the field of music of the Second Empire. Nearly all the composers and musicians who followed him were influenced by his work. He wrote in all the important musical forms of his day, and brought all of these to their highest fulfillment. In doing so, he was continuing a family tradition of musical performance that had lasted for seven generations.


Licallo himself told the story of his ancestor Veit Licallo, a shopkeeper by trade, who began playing his citheron (an ancient forerunner of the baliset and cittern) in rhythm to the sounds of the bazaar on which his little store fronted. "And that is how music first entered our family," wrote Taiazor.

ily, and in their home province on the planet Chusuk, successive members held the post of court musician at Lectis Maxima, seat of the Bashilius Dilowa, and served as choir directors in the churches of Dilowa and Gegen for two hundred years. When one resigned or died, he or she was replaced by another member of the family. By the birth of Taiazor in 12191, the term licallo had already become synonymous with "musician" in many of the planetary dialects. There are references in Dilovan records to "bands of musicians or licallos…" According to Licallo's first biographer, Mian Tebery, the family used to hold annual reunions at which "they would amuse themselves by singing chorales and folksongs (whose contents were often naughty as well as humorous), all of which were sung in such a way that several parts improvised made a kind of harmony together."

As a boy, Taiazor was taught to play the baliset, the finger pipes, and the Carillon bells, while his greatuncle, the venerable Filip Licallo, started him on the organum. Taiazor continued both his musical and his classical studies when he went to live with his half-brother, Dion Licallo. after he was orphaned at the age of ten. When he was fifteen, Taiazor began to support himself as school organist at St. Gregorica's Collegium in Gegen. Here he advanced his studies in chorus, theory, and composition, and studied advanced keyboard technique under the tutelage of Linan Mobh (b. 12165, Chusuk; d. 12259). At eighteen he left the Collegium and was employed as organist and choir director in the nearby village of Shaobela, but the young Taiazor discovered that since he was only a little older than some of his choristers, it was almost impossible for him to keep order. The Shaobela watch records tell of a public brawl between Taiazor and one of his tenors, who attacked him with a stick. The youths were separated before blood could be drawn, but at the hearing the boy testified that he had acted under extreme provocation: Licallo had criticized his singing of a particularly difficult passage in the liturgy for St. Genesius by using the deadly insult "zipelfagotisti," a word as difficult to translate as it is to pronounce.

The incident was characteristic of the person of Licallo: he spent much of his adult life in one scrape or another, constantly fighting with his superiors, and he had a notoriously short temper. He was utterly frank on matters on which be was an expert, but his lack of diplomacy made him many bitter enemies. However, he was modest about his own art, completely fair, and eager to learn from other composers.

At twenty, he took a leave of absence from his post and went to Dilowa, by then the major center for music on Chusuk, for further study. Upon returning to his position, he was criticized for his introduction of "many fanciful ideas" on the way to play in church, and especially for his bringing to the gallery a young woman from Dilowa as his assistant. The girl was his second cousin Estra, who became his wife in niMiklim of that year (12212); Estra died only two years later, in giving birth to their second child. He remarried the next year, to Rauzmiir Niveam, one of his choir members, who bore him twelve more children. Licallo often joked that he could make a sizable orchestra from the members of his household alone.

In his twenties, in order to teach his children music both vocal and instrumental, Licallo began to create a series of instructional pieces for the baliset, which began with the simplest of melodies and proceeded to extremely complex pieces. These were collected under the title, Etudes and Progressions for Baliset, which G.M. Redbrick praised as "me soul of the baliset." Chi the strength of these pieces he was offered the position of director of music at the newly founded St. Sateel School for Boys, established by endowment from House Chula. It was there that he wrote the bulk of his work.

Among his most famous works is the choral setting of-The Trial of St. Sateel, now regarded as the greatest choral work in the Galach language. When it was first produced it was coldly received as being "too theatrical." Ironically, it was considered too provincial when it was performed in Arrakeen, where Caladan opera was setting the fashion, driving Licallo's similar "tegor strum" out of popularity. In his Art of Tegor and The Counterpoint Treasury, Licallo wrote a veritable encyclopedia of baliset music. In his Silversmith Variations for Organum, he took a simple workman's tune and set it to over thirty variations. In his opera of the Battle of Corrin, Au Koreen Miin, he mimicked the Caladan style even as he created startling new projections for voice.

So much attention has been given to Licallo's instrumental and symphonic work, and his operas performed so often in their languages of composition, Gegesh or Gatach, that little note has been made of his musical puns, the weaving into his songs of the names of his friends, and the like. But the composer was much aware of the conditions of performance, being a performer himself, and when setting words to music he often added marginal notes to guide the acting of whatever the singer was involved in. Thus, in Au Koreen Miin, in the aria "Ii wat sin utaud't tuyaur tubyaud't," the singer is to quickly down a glass of wine, throw the glass over his shoulder, and sing "utaud't" ("toast") in an undulating twenty-five-note passage. In The Seven Sailors, a serious motet "Strai noot fremii fresiidit" ("Do not leave my side") changes to comedy as one by one the singers leave the stage, leaving the tenor looking nervously from side to side as the song ends.

In his later years, the administrators of St. Sateel's paid less and less attention to music, perhaps from some resentment of the fame of their director or from a lack of interest in the subject. Licallo found himself increasingly restricted in his projects, and spent the last years of his life in a constant state of vexation and frustration. He died at the age of 86, after suffering a stroke. He was mourned by musicians everywhere except at St. Sateel's, where the principal is said to have remarked, "Now we can hire a chorus master instead of a virtuoso."1 Licallo's last work, A Sonata for Pipe and Bowed Baliset, was left unfinished.

After his death, the city authorities of Dilowa had a statue of Licallo placed on the roof of the town hall with the single word "Master" carved on a baliset at his feet.

The word aptly describes his life both as performer and composer, just as no words can capture the treasures he gave to the worlds.