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Article

Bonnie J. Blackburn

[Piero]

(b Florence, c1480; d after 1545). Italian theorist and composer. Nothing is known of Aaron’s early training, his teacher, or his career before 1516. He claims to have had ‘the greatest friendship and familiarity’ with Josquin, Obrecht, Isaac, and Agricola in Florence (most likely between 1487 and 1495, and not necessarily at the same time). By 1516 he was a priest in Imola, where he wrote his first book, Libri tres de institutione harmonica, translated into Latin by the humanist Giovanni Antonio Flaminio. A contemporary poem by Achille Bocchi praises Aaron for rescuing music ‘from squalor and dismal neglect’. By March 1520 he was a singer in Imola Cathedral and from the next year a chaplain; he was also paid by the city to teach music to those who wished to learn. His career in Imola ended abruptly in June 1522 when he was wounded in a factional uprising and his chapel in the cathedral destroyed (Blackburn, forthcoming). By ...

Article

Roger Bowers

(b c1420; d 1497). English church musician. He was noted as a fine singer and skilful organist. After service in the household of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (until 1447), and as a lay clerk of Eton College (1447–51), where he was one of the four clerks specially responsible for singing polyphony in the college chapel, he became a clerk of the Chapel Royal in 1451, and Master of the Choristers there from 1455 to 1478. His duties included teaching the boys to play the organ and to sing plainsong and improvised polyphony; also it seems probable that he was instrumental in the introduction about this time of the use of boys’ voices in composed polyphony. The award to him in 1464 of a Cambridge MusB reflects his eminence in the musical profession – he is the earliest known recipient of this degree – while the patronage of Bishop Bekynton brought him valuable sinecures in the diocese of Bath and Wells. His last years were spent as a resident of Sanctuary Yard, Westminster Abbey....

Article

Isabel Pope

revised by Tess Knighton

(fl1482). Iberian composer. He was a singer in the Aragonese royal chapel of Ferdinand V over a period of almost 30 years, from 1482 until 1510. He was presented to various ecclesiastical benefices under royal patronage and held, presumably by proxy, the position of head chaplain of the Dominican monastery in Madrid until 1505.

He was also closely associated with Segovia Cathedral for the best part of his life, being appointed chapel master there from 1 October 1504. For some years he held both positions, but this must have proved incompatible for in the autumn of 1507 he was suspended from his post as chapel master for an unspecified breach of the rules and replaced by Francisco de San Juan. He remained a member of the chapter, however, and was much involved in cathedral business during long periods of absence from the royal chapel during the period ...

Article

William F. Prizer

[Senese, Ser Ansano di Goro, Sano di Goro]

(b c1470; d 1524). Sienese composer, singer and priest. Ansanus can now be identified as Sano di Goro, the son of a Sienese wool shearer, who is first recorded as a clerk in the cathedral of Siena in March 1484. He joined the chapel as a chorister in 1485, and was ordained in 1500, by which time he was an adult singer. He was dismissed from the choir in 1507 after having written a bitter letter complaining about his treatment by the Opera of the cathedral. He returned to the cathedral's services, at least temporarily, from April 1511 to March 1512. In April 1515 he is again listed as a singer there, and thereafter was more or less permanently employed in the choir until February 1524, serving as maestro di cappella in 1517 and again from 1520 to 1524. He died at the end of 1524.

The sole source of his music is the ...

Article

(b Niederhaslach, Alsace, c1450; d Rome, May 16, 1506). Alsatian Cleric and liturgist. Born in a town near Strasbourg, Burkhard began his ecclesiastical career in that city. By 1467 he was in Rome, where he rose through the ranks of the papal curia. An assiduous collector of benefices and curial offices, he passed through the households of various cardinals to become a member of the papal household and, as of 29 November 1483, one of the masters of ceremonies in the papal chapel. While still holding this position, he was appointed Bishop of Orte in 1503. As a master of ceremonies, Burkhard collaborated in producing the definitive papal Caeremoniale and kept a diary (a major source for the history of the period) recording in detail ceremonies and other occurrences at the papal court. Although the presence of the papal choir is often noted, Burkhard did not describe the specifics of musical performance except when referring to innovations, mishaps and occasions when something happened that he did not like. Thus we learn about various mistakes made by celebrants and papal singers, about the new use of polyphony in the singing of the Passion (apparently introduced from Spain), and about the motet ...

Article

Margaret Bent

revised by Roger Bowers

(b c1385, d 1442). English church musician and composer. Nine compositions in the Old Hall Manuscript are attributed to ‘Cooke’ and one piece preserved anonymously there may also be assigned to him; a further, unclear attribution may read ‘J. Cooke’. The name Cooke was common, and it is possible that this music includes works by more than one composer so named. Most if not all, however, is probably attributable to the John Cooke who, as almost certainly a former chorister of the Chapel Royal, was sent from a very junior clerkship there to study at King’s Hall, Cambridge, in 1402/3. He vacated this fellowship in January 1414, but had already been re-admitted to membership of the Chapel Royal as a chaplain (a Gentleman in priest’s orders) by the summer of 1413. He was among the personnel who accompanied the entourage of Henry V on the Agincourt expedition of ...

Article

Hans-Christian Müller

revised by Hans-Otto Korth

[Nickel von Hof]

(b Hof an der Saale, c1485; d after 1546). German Kantor and composer. A member of a respected family of Hof, he matriculated on 16 October 1501 at Leipzig University where he took the Bachelor of Arts and later the Bachelor of Both Laws degrees. He then seems to have entered the church: having made an unsuccessful application to Zwickau, he was made provost of the Benedictine monastery at Steterburg, near Brunswick, in 1519. There he wrote a commentary on Matthew, Summula doctrinam Jhesu Christi ex Codice Matthei (Brunswick, 1521). Parts of it are written in Low German, betraying the influence of Luther (who preferred the use of the vernacular) and the Reformation movement. In January 1522 Decius was appointed rector of the Lyceum at Hanover, but within a few months he returned to Brunswick as a teacher at the schools attached to St Katherina and St Aegidien. It was probably during this year that he wrote three sacred hymns in Low German to replace parts of the Latin Ordinary of the Mass. In ...

Article

Roger Bowers

[?Robert]

(fl ?Salisbury, 1424–68). English church musician and composer. He is probably to be identified with Robert Dryffelde, who was admitted as priest vicar-choral of Salisbury Cathedral on 9 November 1424 and remained in that office until 1468; from 1428 to 1435 he served in addition as Instructor of the Choristers. A paired setting of Sanctus and Agnus Dei (only the latter is ascribed) survives in, respectively, I-TRmp 90, I-TRmdcap (Trent 93), and I-TRmp 92. The tenor of each movement is based on the cantus firmus Eructavit cor meum, the verse of the responsory Regnum mundi; the manner in which the music of all but one section of the Sanctus duplicates that of the first and third sections of the Agnus Dei may indicate some degree of contrafaction, perhaps in compensation for lacunae in transmission. The music is in the style of a younger contemporary of Dunstaple.

D.H. Robertson...

Article

Bonnie J. Blackburn

[Lanfranchinus][Gafori, Franchino]

(b Lodi, 14 Jan 1451; d Milan, 24 June 1522). Italian theorist, composer, and choirmaster. At home in both speculative and practical music, he was the first theorist to have a substantial number of his writings published, and his influence can be traced for more than a century, both in Italy and abroad.

Much of our knowledge stems from the contemporary biography by Pantaleone Malegolo, printed in the De harmonia: Gaffurius was born in Lodi to the soldier Bettino from Almenno in the territory of Bergamo and to Caterina Fissiraga of Lodi. He began theological studies early, at the Benedictine monastery of S. Pietro in Lodi Vecchio (where he was still present in September 1473) and was ordained priest in late 1473 or 1474. His first instructor in music was Johannes Bonadies (or Godendach); Malegolo implies that this was in Lodi, where he briefly returned to sing in the cathedral on Ascension Day, ...

Article

Roger Bowers

[John]

(b c1415; d Wells, 1459). English church musician and composer. He is probably to be identified with the John Garnesey who served as a vicar choral of Wells Cathedral from 1443 to 1458 and (most unusually) was promoted to a residentiary canonry there just a year prior to his death in 1459. His sole surviving work is a setting of Laudes Deo, a troped lesson sung in the Sarum Use during the Mass ‘at Cock-crow’ on Christmas Day; the work is preserved in GB-Cmc Pepys 1236. In the Sarum missal the performance of this lesson is deputed to two clerici, and Garnesey supplied two-part polyphony. It is a suave and resourceful if somewhat extended exercise in manipulation of the imperfect consonances of the 3rd and 6th. Freedom is preferred to rigour in compositional approach; reference to the chant is perfunctory and soon abandoned.

HarrisonMMB S.R. Charles, ed.: ...

Article

Roger Bowers

(b c1455; d after 1520). English church musician and composer. In 1474 there was a clerk of that name in the choir of the collegiate church of Westbury-on-Trym, near Bristol. In June 1484 Hampton became master and organist of the Lady Chapel choir at Worcester Cathedral, retaining this position until September 1521. In the 1470s John Alcock, Bishop of Worcester, had reorganized this choir, adding a permanent team of eight boys and rebuilding the chapel in which it sang. By his indenture of appointment Hampton undertook (among other things) to teach the boys plainsong and polyphony, and to direct the singing of the daily Lady Mass in the chapel, and of the Marian antiphon Salve regina each evening during Lent. A five-part setting of Salve regina by Hampton is in the Eton Choirbook (MB, xi, 1958, no.22). Among Hampton's other activities was the singing of carols with his boys on Twelfth Night. In ...

Article

[Johannes]

(b c1430; d Oct or Nov 1487). English theorist and composer. His father’s name was William. Nothing is known of his early life, nor where and when he became a Carmelite friar and obtained the master’s degree in sacred theology (in 1467 he is called ‘magister’). He may be identical with the John Otteby, Carmelite friar of the Oxford convent, who was ordained subdeacon on 18 December 1451 in Northampton (Emden, p.1409; the belief that Hothby studied at Oxford in 1435 rests on a mistaken identification, p.969). Before settling in Lucca, where he was installed as chaplain of the altar of S Regolo at the Cathedral of S Martino in February 1467 with the obligation to teach plainchant and polyphony, he had, by his own account (Epistola), travelled in Italy, Germany, France, Great Britain (‘Britania magiore’), and Spain. In the Excitatio quaedam musice artis he refers to his fellow student at the University of Pavia, Johannes Gallicus (here called ‘Johannes Legiensis’); this may have been before Gallicus completed his treatise ...

Article

Roger Bowers

(b c1465; d 1513–19). English church musician and composer. During 1476–7 he was a chorister of Holy Trinity College, Arundel; he appears from 1485 to 1504 as one of the lay clerks of the choir there, and during 1490–91 as Instructor of the Choristers. Settings of Salve regina and Ascendit Christus, both for full choir of five voices, were included in the Eton Choirbook ( GB-WRec 178; ed. in MB, xi-xii, 2/1973); the survival of the latter work is only fragmentary. The cantus firmus of Salve regina is appropriately Marian, being Ne timeas Maria, an antiphon at Lauds on the feast of the Annunciation; unusually, the verses are commonly for two voices rather than for three, suggestive possibly of somewhat strained resources at Arundel.

R. Bowers and others: ‘New Sources of English Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Polyphony’, EMH, 4 (1984), 299–349, esp. 303 M. Williamson: ‘The Early Tudor Court, the Provinces and the Eton Choirbook’, ...

Article

John Caldwell

revised by Roger Bray

(b c1475; d London, April 3, 1523). English or Welsh priest and composer. On 4 January 1499 he requested an allowance from the monastery of Thetford, which passed to William Cornysh upon his death. He was a priest in the Chapel Royal in 1505, but his permanent career as a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal began only about 1509. His will, dated 18 January 1519, includes bequests to churches in Caerleon and Bristol. He was in France at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520, after which he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He appears to have returned less than a month before his death. Hawkins described him as a bachelor of music, and the inscription below one of the two puzzle canons by him in the Henry VIII manuscript (ed. in MB, xviii, 1962, 2/1969) reads ‘Flude in armonia graduat’; but the year and the university are unknown. Hawkins added that he was buried in the Savoy Chapel and gave the inscription: ‘Johannes Floyd virtutis et religionis cultor’ with the date of death....

Article

(b ?Cremona, c1470; d after 1520). Italian composer and priest. He is listed as ‘clericus Cremonensis’ in the records of Cividale del Friuli Cathedral, a fact that calls into question Ambros's claim that he was born in Vatellina or elsewhere in the Tyrol, and Disertori's that he was born at Laurana in Venetian territory. He was resident in Rome during the late 15th and early 16th centuries; he wrote Quercus juncta columnus est (RISM 1509²) for the wedding of Marcantonio I Colonna to Lucrezia Gara della Rovere, niece of Pope Julius II, on 2 January 1508. In a Florentine manuscript ( I-Fl Antinori 158), the text of his Donna, contra la mia voglia is preceded by the comment ‘this song was the favourite of Duke Valentino’ (Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI), and this and five others of his pieces in the same manuscript are described as having been brought to Florence from Rome. He is also the most heavily represented composer in a Roman manuscript of about ...

Article

Roger Bowers

( bc 1480; d ?Hereford, by Feb 2, 1548). English church musician and composer . He may have been a lay clerk of the choir of Eton College from June 1501 to Christmas 1506 and in February 1509 was awarded the BMus at Oxford, having resided in the University for one year. At about the same time he took orders as a priest. From March 1509 until June 1510 he was a chaplain and Instructor of the Choristers of the chapel of Magdalen College, Oxford. Mason enjoyed influential friends and patrons; from 1517 onwards he was gaining rectories in the dioceses of Salisbury and Worcester. He may also be identifiable with the John Mason who in 1521 was a chaplain of the household chapel of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. In February 1523 he was collated to a canonry and prebend of Salisbury Cathedral.

The ‘dom. John Mason B.Mus.’ who occupied one of the two Mortimer chantries in Chichester Cathedral from ...

Article

William F. Prizer

[Ludovico de Mediolano; Zoppino]

(b ?Milan, c1480; d after 1537). Italian composer, organist and singer. He was a priest. His name indicates that he was born in or around Milan. He was maestro di cappella and organist at S Michele, Lucca from 1512 to 1514, with a salary of 50 ducats a year. In August 1512, just after being installed in S Michele, he auditioned in Siena for the position of organist at the Cathedral and was offered the large salary of 100 florins a year. For some reason, he either did not accept or the offer fell through, for he returned to Lucca in September. In 1514 he was made a canon at S Martino Cathedral, Lucca. In 1519 he was given a three-year stipend of 24 ducats a year for ‘teaching music to the many youths who so greatly desire it’. He appears to have left Lucca in July 1537...

Article

Frank Carey

revised by Bonnie J. Blackburn

[Frater Jordanus PasetusFra Jordan]

(b Venice, c1484; d Padua, 8 Nov 1557). Italian composer. He was a Dominican friar at the church of SS Giovanni e Paolo in Venice at a time when the maestro di cappella was Petrus Castellanus, Petrucci’s editor. A Credo of his was sent to Ercole d’Este by the Ferrarese ambassador in Venice in 1504, with the remark that he was ‘very gifted in these things’; the mass followed shortly thereafter. An organist, he was given permission to play at the nunnery of Santo Spirito in Venice in 1505, and in 1509 he became organist in SS Giovanni e Paolo. He was elected maestro di cappella at the Cathedral of Padua in 1520, and held this position until shortly before his death. He is chiefly remembered as the composer of a set of madrigals a voce pare printed in 1541 (dedicated to a cathedral canon, Benedetto Contarini): this is the only 16th-century print of secular works known to contain exclusively pieces for equal voices (in this case low, or men’s, voices). Passetto’s vesper psalms are all for double choir, with the second choir consisting of voices of low range....

Article

William F. Prizer

(b Verona, c1470; d, May 1528). Italian priest, composer, singer and lutenist. With Tromboncino and Cara, he was one of the most important frottola composers. He was born in Verona in about 1470, the son of Alberto and Umilia Pesenti. Since he was a priest, he must have studied at the Scuola degli Accoliti in his native city, an institution founded by Pope Eugene IV that produced other cleric-composers, among them Marchetto Cara. Pesenti’s first known position was in Ferrara, where he served Cardinal Ippolito I d’Este, acting as a procurer of music and instruments as well as a lutenist, singer and composer. Already in 1504 he wrote to the cardinal from Venice promising to come to Ferrara as soon as an unnamed gentleman returned his lute. From 1506 his name appears in Ippolito’s payment registers, and it remains there, except for a probably illusory break in ...

Article

John Bergsagel

revised by Roger Bowers

(b c1491). English church musician and composer. He was admitted a chorister to St George’s Chapel, Windsor, in 1499, and was still there in 1504. On 1 March 1510 he became a clerk of the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and left between Michaelmas 1514 and Michaelmas 1515. A John Rasar, who from 1493 to 1496 was a chorister of King’s College, may well have been of the same family. The only extant composition by William Rasar is the five-part Mass Christe Jesu (ed. in EECM, xvi, 1976) in the Forrest-Heyther Partbooks ( GB-Ob Mus.Sch.E 376–81) and in the Peterhouse Partbooks ( Cu Peterhouse 471–4; tenor lacking). The source of the title of this mass is unknown; no plainchant cantus firmus can be identified, and it is perhaps derived from some lost motet. The mass is unusual among English masses of this period in providing a complete setting of the text of the Gloria and Credo and also for being one of the earliest instances in England of a mass composed in duple metre throughout....