He participated in the Council of Trent and was interested in improving Church music. He published litanies to the Virgin Mary. Cirillo advocated a return to the simplicity and harmony of the earlier forms of Church music rather than elaborate forms of organ music.
Cirillo attacked "modern" church music in a 1549 letter to Ugolino Gualteruzzi. In 1649, King John IV of Portugal wrote a treatise entitled Defense of modern music against the mistaken opinion of Bishop Cyrilo Franco [i.e., Bernardino Cirillo], presenting a point-by-point rebuttal of Cirillo's letter.
Bishop Bernardino Cirillo Franco (c. 1500-1575) wrote, in a letter of 1549, thoughts about sacred music
Bishop Cirillo Franco's attack on 'modern' church music, first published in
Defensa de la musica moderna, a short treatise written in 1649 by the Portuguese King João IV as a point by point response to Bishop Bernardo Cirillo's famous mid-sixteenth-century letter ...In 'New Music' 1400-1600: Papers from an International Colloquium on the Theory, Authorship and Transmission of Music in the Age of the Renaissance (Lisbon-Évora, 27-29 May 2003), ed. João Pedro d'Alvarenga e Manuel Pedro Ferreira, Lisboa, Évora: CESEM, Centro de História da Arte e Investigação Artística, Casa do Sul.
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