Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/110

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98
LASSUS.
 

d'Orlande de Lassus'—often quoted but containing little new matter. At the close of the year, at the diet of Spires, the Emperor grants letters of nobility to Lassus.[1] At the time this honour was conferred upon him, Lassus was probably on his way to the court of France, where we find him during the greater part of the year 1571. Some circumstances of his stay there may be gathered from the 'Primus liber modulorum á 5,' published by Adrian Le Roy, in whose house he lodged during the visit (Paris, August 1571). The publisher's dedication to Charles IX. states that—

'When Orlando di Lassus lately entered your presence, to kiss your hand, and modestly and deferentially greet your majesty, I saw, plainly as eyes can see, the honour you were conferring on music and musicians. For to say nothing of the right royal gifts which you have bestowed on Orlando—the look, the countenance, the words with which you greeted him on his arrival (and this I was not the only one to notice) were such, that he may truly boast of your having shown to few strangers presented to you this year, the same honour, courtesy and kindness you showed him. And even I, Adrian, your subject and royal printer, did not fail to share with him some of that courtesy and consideration on your part. For inasmuch as I accompanied him into your presence, (because he was my guest,) You, seeing me constantly by his side all the time we were in your court, asked me more than once about music,' etc., etc.

Ronsard, the French poet, also speaks of the special welcome with which the King received the composer. Delmotte suggests that the visit to Paris may have had to do with a new Academy of music, for the erection of which Charles had issued letters-patent in November 1570. Several editions of Orlando's former works were issued at Paris during his stay there with Le Roy, but the only new work of the year he does not design for his newly made French friends. He sends it home to his kind master Duke Albert, and thus addresses him (May 1871 [App. p.697 "1571"]):—'When I reached Paris, the city which I had so long, and so ardently wished to see, I determined to do nothing, until I had first sent to you from this, the capital of France, some proof of my gratitude.'

This book was the 'Moduli quinis vocibus,' which however was written at Munich before his departure, and only published at Paris. His travels naturally interrupted his composition, and there is nothing ready to print in the next year (1572) but another set of 15 German songs.

Once again settled in Munich, Lassus is soon at work, Adam Berg is busy providing 'specially large and entirely new type,' the Dukes are full of grand ideas to bring honour on themselves, and make the most of their renowned Chapelmaster, and July 1573 sees the result in the issue of the 1st volume of the 'Patrociuium Musices.' [See Berg, Adam.] The work was undertaken on the responsibility of Duke William, and a portrait of that handsome prince, afterwards known as 'William the Pious,' appears as a frontispiece.

The originators of this publication appear to have intended to continue the series until it became a selection of all the best music necessary for the services of the church. Orlando, in the preface to the 1st volume, hints at the work being undertaken in emulation of the service lately rendered to the church by Philip of Spain in bringing out a new [2]edition of the Scriptures, and speaks half apologetically of the 1st volume (which contains only motets), as if it scarcely came up to the object of the publication. The books might almost be called 'scores,' the separate parts appearing together on the two opposite pages. Few publications of this kind had as yet appeared. The music takes up a great deal more space than it would if printed in separate part-books, and on this account, as well as by reason of the magnificent type, the volumes hold less than many a smaller and less pretentious edition. The series stops short in 1576, and of the second series (1589–1590) Orlando contributes only the 1st volume. With the exception of the 'Vigiliæ Mortuorum' in the 4th volume—which had already appeared in 1565 under the title 'Lectiones ex propheta Job,'—and some of the Magnificats in vol. 5, all the contents of the volumes appear for the first time.

The 2nd volume[3] is dedicated (Jan. 1, 1574) to Gregory XIII; and it is no doubt in return for this mark of respect that Orlando receives from the Pope on April 7 the knighthood of the Golden Spur. The 4th volume contains an interesting setting of the 'Passion' according to St. Matthew, in 41 very short movements, part of the narrative being recited by the priest, and the character parts sung as trios or duets.

In the year 1574 Lassus started on another journey to Paris. Whether the French King had invited him for a time to his court, or whether Lassus actually accepted a permanent position there, we do not know, but whatever the object of the journey, it was frustrated by the death of Charles (May 30), and Lassus hearing of this when he had reached Frankfort, returned at once to Munich.

The year 1576, besides finishing the 1st series of the 'Patrocinium Musices,' sees the publication of the 3rd part of the 'Teutsche lieder,' containing 22 nos., and the 'Thresor de musique,' a collection of 103 chansons, most of which had been printed in the Mellange (1570), but appear here with new words to satisfy the growing taste for psalm-singing in France. 1577 brings a small work of interest, a set of 24 cantiones (á 2), 12 being vocal duets, and the other 12 for instruments. The style of music is precisely the same in both cases, the absence of words in the latter 12 alone making any difference; and this proves, if there be any doubt on other grounds, that the notice frequent on title pages of this

  1. A facsimile copy of this grant is kept in the Brussels library (Bibl. de Bourgogne, 14,405). The part referring to the coat of arms is worth quoting: 'Linea autem illa candida seu argentea, quæ medium scutia, aream constituit, ordine recto contineat tria signa musica, aureo colore tincta, quorum ptimum Diesis vulgo nuncupatum, quod emoliendæ vocis inditium est, dextram, alterum vero, ♮ durum scilicet sinistram illius partem, tertiam autem videlicet b molle centrum clypel occupet.' Delmotte, in copying this in his book, has substituted the word 'becarre' for the sign ♮, which is curious, because the inerest of the quotation centres round a symbol which appears in the composer's coat of arms, but seldom appears in his music. He generally contradicted his flats with sharps, and vice versa.
  2. The so-called 'Antwerp Polyglot Bible,' published in 1569–72 at the expense of Philip.
  3. In the original edition the second mass in vol. ii. is printed with its wrong title. It should be Missa super 'Scarco di doglia,' as it appears in subsequent editions.