Lassus [Orlando di Lasso], Orlande [Roland] de
- James Haar
Member of Lassus family
(b Mons, Hainaut, 1530 or, more probably, 1532; d Munich, June 14, 1594). He was one of the most prolific and versatile of 16th-century composers, and in his time the best-known and most widely admired musician in Europe.
Lassus was born at Mons in Hainaut, a Franco-Flemish province notable for the number of distinguished musicians born and trained there during the Renaissance. Nothing definite is known of his parents, nor is there any solid proof that he was a choirboy at the church of St Nicholas – much less for the legend that he was three times abducted because of the beauty of his voice. The first known fact about him, attested to by his contemporary and earliest biographer, Samuel Quickelberg, is that at about the age of 12 he entered the service of Ferrante Gonzaga, a cadet of the Mantuan ducal house and a general in the service of Charles V. Gonzaga was in the Low Countries in summer ...