Ambleville, Charles d’
- Denise Launay
- , revised by James R. Anthony
(b Burgundy, late 16th century; d Rouen, July 6, 1637). French composer. All that is known of his life is that in 1626 he was procureur of the Compagnie de Jésus at Rouen. He left only musical works, from which we may infer that he was director of music of one of the colleges of his order. His Octonarium sacrum (1634) is a set of five-part verses for the Magnificat, using all eight tones; they are fugal and closely resemble similar pieces by Formé. Two years later he published his Harmonia sacra in two complementary volumes for four and six voices respectively. It includes works for double choir in a distinctly modern style originating in Italy that had already been adopted in France by several composers, Du Caurroy and Le Jeune notable among them; each volume also contains several masses and motets for a single choir. The double-choir works are for liturgical use and comprise psalms, motets and hymns. In his preface d'Ambleville states that they may be performed according to the forces available, for example by two groups – one of four soloists, the other a six-part chorus – by a soprano and bass duet from each choir or by a solo soprano, the missing voices being replaced by instruments or, failing them, by organ alone. He normally wrote either in fauxbourdon style (which he also called ‘musica simplex’) or contrapuntally, including fugal textures (‘musica figurata’), which he handled skilfully. Apart from these Latin works he was also, according to Gastoué (p.264), the composer of the music published in ...