Senfl [Sennfl, Senffel, Senfftl, Sennfl, Sennfli, Senfelius, Senphlius], Ludwig [Ludevicus, Ludovicus]
- Stefan Gasch
- and Sonja Tröster
(b ?Basle or Zurich, 1489, 1490, or 1491; d Munich, between Jan and March 1543). Swiss composer, singer, and copyist; he was one of the most significant representatives of motet and Lied composition in German-speaking regions during the Reformation.
Owing to differing contemporary statements, the discussion on Senfl’s birthplace is far from being settled. He was either born in Basle (K. Peutinger in Liber selectarum cantionum, Augsburg, 1520; S. Minervius in Varia carminum genera, Nuremberg, 1534) or in Zurich (F. Sicher in CH-SGs 530; H. Glarean, Dodekachordon, Basle, 1547). However, he might have been born in Basle and raised in Zurich (Geering, 1956), which makes it unlikely that a certain Bernhart Senfly who lived in Zurich from 1488 was his father. The earliest document that probably refers to Senfl is a payment notification by the later Emperor Maximilian dating from 23 July 1498. It states that a ‘poor man from Zurich’ was to be paid with cloth from Amsterdam for bringing a choirboy to the chapel of the King of Romans (Gasch, ‘Capellani’). Senfl thus joined Maximilian’s court chapel in the process of its reorganization during the years between ...