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date: 20 November 2019

Isaac [Ysaak, Ysac, Yzac], Henricus [Heinrich; Arrigo d’Ugo; Arrigo Tedesco]locked

  • Reinhard Strohm
  •  and Emma Kempson

Extract

[HeinrichArrigo d’UgoArrigo Tedesco]

(b Flanders or Brabant, c1450–55; d Florence, March 26, 1517). South Netherlandish composer. The Latin name-form ‘Henricus’, adopted here, is found in many documents and musical sources. Isaac was a prominent member of a group of Franco-Flemish musicians, including Josquin des Prez, Jacob Obrecht, Pierre de La Rue, Alexander Agricola and others, who achieved international fame in the decades around 1500, influencing the Italian and European Renaissance. His musical output is particularly large and varied. Through his notable link with the Habsburg dynasty he left his mark on German musical traditions, although he also lived and worked for a considerable time in Florence.

Reinhard Strohm

The composer’s father was named Hugo, but he cannot be identified with the Hugo Ysaac who was registered for the MA degree at Oxford University during the period 1451–3 and whose later ecclesiastical career in England is known. Isaac’s precise birthplace is unknown. In authentic documents, he styled himself ‘de Flandria’; Aegidius Tschudi called him ‘Belga Brabanti[n]us’. He might have come from the border area between the counties of Flanders (containing Ghent, Bruges and Ypres) and Brabant (with Brussels and Antwerp); but ‘Brabant’ or ‘Flanders’ often simply refer to the Flemish-speaking part of the southern Netherlands. In Italy persons from that region were often called ‘Tedesco’ or ‘de Alemania’ (both meaning ‘German’), as Isaac was as well. His date of birth is usually estimated as about ...

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