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[Petrus Abailardus]

(b Le Pallet, nr Nantes, 1079; d Saint-Marcel, nr Chalon-sur-Saône, April 21, 1142). French philosopher, poet and musician of Breton origin. After studying philosophy in Paris, he taught dialectic at the cathedral school. His love affair with Heloise, the young niece of Canon Fulbert, brought him fame as a musician. However, after they had secretly married in 1118 Fulbert had Abelard castrated. Heloise became a nun and he became a monk at St Denis. His highly original scholastic method and his restless and blunt nature aroused opposition to his teaching; principal among his opponents was Bernard of Clairvaux. After condemnation by the Council of Sens in 1140, Abelard found support from Peter the Venerable, Benedictine Abbot of Cluny.

Abelard’s songs are few beside his numerous theological and philosophical writings. Heloise’s testimony suggests that his love songs must have been important from both a literary and a musical point of view. In a later letter (probably revised by Abelard) she declared that he had ‘the gift of poetry and the gift of song’; he ‘composed quite a number of metrical and rhythmic love songs. The great charm and sweetness in language and music, and a soft attractiveness of the melody obliged even the unlettered’. These songs, presumably in Latin, have all been lost: they have not been identified among the anonymous repertory....


Kurt von Fischer

revised by Gianluca D’Agostino

[Magister Laurentius de Florentia; Ser Lorenço da Firençe; Ser Laurentius Masii, Masini]

(d Florence, Dec 1372 or Jan 1373). Italian composer and teacher of music. He belonged to the second generation of Trecento composers. The name ‘Masini’ probably refers to his being the son of ‘Tomaso’. Villani named him together with Bartholus de Florentia as a composer. According to Gallo he was a canonicus at S Lorenzo, Florence, from 1348 until his death. The madrigal Ita se n’er’a star was presumably composed to rival Vincenzo’s setting of the same text. We may conclude from the texts of the Antefana and Dolgomi a voi that Lorenzo was active as a teacher. The partly contemporaneous activity of Lorenzo and Landini at S Lorenzo makes some kind of master–pupil relationship probable. Similarly, the texts of Ita se n’er’a star and Vidi, ne l’ombra strongly suggest that Lorenzo moved in the same circles as Landini, Andreas de Florentia and Paolo da Firenze. The fact that he died in ...


Yves Chartier

(b northern France, c850; d St Amand, June 20, 930). Benedictine monk, theorist, poet, composer, teacher and hagiographer. Though chiefly known as a theorist – ironically for works that have proven not to be his own – he was also a writer (of both verse and prose) and a composer, whose reputation has grown considerably with the progressive discovery of works that can positively be attributed to him. Coming immediately after Aurelian of Réôme (Musica disciplina, ?c840s), he was probably a contemporary of the anonymous authors of the Musica enchiriadis and other related treatises to which his name was assigned (Commemeratio brevis, Alia musica, De modis), composed in the same area at the end of the 9th century. He remains one of the foremost expositors of music theory in the Carolingian era.

Apart from a few sketchy indications found in his own works or in the contemporary ...


Jan Kouba

(b Husinec, Bohemia, ?1371; d Konstanz, July 6, 1415). Czech reformer. He was one of the most influential preachers and teachers at Prague University at the beginning of the 15th century. He was burnt at the stake by order of the Council of Konstanz. He has been associated with a number of Latin and Czech hymns, but there is very little evidence to support his authorship; it seems that he arranged the medieval melody ‘Jesu Kriste, štědrý kněže’ (‘Jesus Christ, thou bountiful prince’) in the Jistebnice Hussite hymnbook, and he may also have arranged or translated the texts of several other hymns, but the best-known one attributed to him, ‘Jesus Christus, nostra salus’, is clearly not by him. Some Czech musicologists (e.g. Nejedlý) have described Hus as the innovator of congregational singing in church, but this practice arose in 15th-century Bohemia only after his death. Hus's aesthetic views on music and singing did not deviate from those of the medieval tradition. Thus musical history was influenced only indirectly by him: the Hussite reformation, of which he was the inspiration, constitutes the first significant chapter in the history of Protestant church music in Europe....


Svetlana Kujumdzieva

(fl Dyrrachion, now Durrĕs, 1280–1341). Composer, singer, teacher, and theoretician. One of the most famous medieval musicians of Bulgarian origin (on his mother’s side), though he is also considered of great significance in present-day Macedonia. Judging by his Vita, he lived from approximately 1280 to 1341 during the reign of the Emperor Andronikos II. In all probability Koukouzeles was born in Dyrrachion (now in Albania). At an early age he was sent to the great cathedral in Constantinople where he graduated from the school for non-Greek children at the church of St. Paul. After his graduation, he became a singer in ‘Hagia Sophia’, the largest cathedral in Constantinople. He then travelled to Mount Athos and settled in the Great Laura, the oldest and largest monastery on the Holy Mountain, where he died. Soon after his death Koukouzeles was proclaimed a saint. His memory is celebrated on 1 October....


Craig Wright

[Jean de Noyers ]

(b c1370; d before Aug 1410). French composer and pedagogue . Tapissier, whose true name was Jean de Noyers, is named along with the composers Susay and Jehan Vaillant in the anonymous Règles de la seconde rhétorique (c1400) as one of the principal French poet-musicians of the day. By 1391 he had been engaged as a chamber valet and court composer to Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. That same year he accompanied Philip and his court on a journey to Milan and Avignon; in the spring of 1395 he made a second visit to Avignon in the ducal service; and in the summer of 1399 he was with Duke Philip in Flanders. The Burgundian court records reveal that Tapissier maintained an ‘escole de chant’ in Paris and that in 1406 three choirboys of the court were sent to his school ‘to learn how to sing’. In ...