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Article

Burkhard Kippenberg

revised by Lorenz Welker

[Der wilde Alexander]

(fl mid- to late 13th century). German poet-composer. He is not attested in official documents or mentioned in contemporary literature. The only biographical clues are certain allusions in his poetry to historical events between 1285 and 1288 but more recent study shows additional allusions to events from 1247 to 1252. In two manuscripts he is named ‘der wilde Alexander’, perhaps because of his unusual style or his restless itinerant life, and in the Jena manuscript he is called ‘Meister Alexander’. But the Meistersinger did not regard him as one of the 12 masters.

Alexander was one of the most important Minnesinger and composers of Sprüche (see Spruch) after the time of Walther von der Vogelweide. In the surviving sources he is represented mainly by 24 Spruch strophes (in only one Ton), but also by two Minnelieder and one Leich. The principal themes of his Spruch...

Article

Jack Sage

[Alfonso X]

(b Toledo, Nov 23, 1221; d Seville, April 4, 1284). Spanish monarch, patron, poet and composer. The son of Ferdinand the Saint, he became King of Castile and León in 1252. ‘El Sabio’ may be taken as both ‘the Wise’ and ‘the Learned’, for Alfonso’s works show his conviction that learning begets wisdom. He was a remarkable patron of the arts, sciences and culture; he recognized the importance of Spain’s Islamic as well as its Roman and Visigothic heritage, and his court became celebrated as a meeting-place for Christian, Islamic and Jewish scholars and artists. He has long stood accused of sacrificing his family relations and political stability to impractical schemes for liberal reform but, though out of favour with those close to him in his latter years, he fostered notable social, educational and judiciary reforms, encouraged the use of the vernacular in learning and art, and made Spain respected in Europe. In ...