Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/650

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634
FAY.
FAURÉ.

tral Suite (Salle Herz, Feb. 13, 1874), a pretty 'Chœur des Djinns' (Trocadéro, June 27, 1878), a symphony in D minor (Châtelet, March 15, 1885), a Requiem (Madeleine, Jan. 16, 1888), and his great choral work, 'La Naissance de Vénus.' M. Fauré, who is one of the most distinguished and steadfast of French composers, confines himself chiefly to vocal and chamber music, in which his remarkable purity and sincerity of sentiment, and his penetration of feeling seem to bind him to Chopin and Schumann. In 1885 the Prix Chartier, given by the Académie des Beaux Arts for the best chamber composition, was with excellent judgment awarded to him.

[ A. J. ]

FAURE, J. B. See vol. i. p. 571.

FAY, Guillermus du (Guilielmus, Guglielmus, or Wilhelmus Dufay, Dufais, or Duffai).

Until within the last few years, the personal identity of the great leader of the First Flemish School was surrounded by doubts, little less obscure than those which still perplex the biographer of Franco of Cologne. Neither Burney nor Hawkins seem to have troubled themselves, either to learn the details of his life, or to ascertain his true place in the History of Art. Since their day, the authority most frequently consulted has been Baini, who speaks of Dufay as having sung in the Pontifical Choir from 1380 to 1433. Fétis and Ambros were content to accept Baini's dates without verification; and most later writers—ourselves among the number[1]—have followed their example, to the extent of assuming the learned Abbés words to mean even more than he intended; for, though he tells us that Guil. Dufay's connection with the Pontifical Choir ceased in 1432, he does not say that the Master died in that year—and it is now known that he lived many years later.

One of the first historians of credit who ventured to throw any serious doubt upon Baini's dates was Robert Eitner, whose discoveries led him to suggest—as Kiesewetter had previously done, in the case of Franco—the existence of two Masters of the same name, flourishing nearly a century apart. This extravagant conclusion he based upon the evidence afforded by three tumulary inscriptions, lately discovered at Cambrai. The first of these, from the tomb of Dufay's mother, in the Cathedral at Cambrai, runs thus—

Chi devant ghist demiselle Marie Dufay, mére de me Guillaume Dufay, conone (sic) de cóens,[2] laquelle trepassa l'an mil IIIIe et XLIIII le jour de St George. Pries Dieu pour l'âme.

The second mentions Dufay, in connection with a Priest named Alexandre Bouillart of Beauvais—

Chi gist sire Alexandre Bouillart, pretre, natif de Beauvais, chapelain de léglise, et de me Guillaume Dufay, canone de Cambrai, et trepassa l'an mil CCCC.LXXIIII le XXe jour d'aoust. Dieu en ait les âmes.

The third is the epitaph of Dufay himself, and gives his titles, thus—

Hic inferius jacet venerabilis vir magr. guillermus dufay music. baccalareus in decretis olim hu' ecclesie chorialis deinde canonic' et sce. waldetrudis montem qui obiit anno dni. millesimo quadrin … no die XXVIIa mensis novembris.

The hiatus in the date is supplied by an old MS. in the Library at Cambrai, which establishes the 28th of November, 1474, as the exact date of Dufay's death. It is upon the difference between this and the date given by Baini that the argument in favour of the existence of two Dufays is based. The details of the controversy are too complicated for insertion here; we therefore propose to content ourselves with a brief summary of its results, as influenced by the recent criticisms and discoveries of Jules Houdoy,[3] Vander Straeten,[4] Eitner,[5] Otto Kade,[6] and Fr. Xav. Haberl.[7]

Until the labours of these writers were given to the world, the general belief was, that Guilielmus Dufay was a native of Chimay, in Hennegau; that he first sang in the Pontifical Choir, at Avignon; that he migrated thence to Rome in 1377, when Pope Gregory XI restored the Papal Court to that city; and that he died in Rome, at a very advanced age, in 1432.

That he sang at Avignon is in the highest degree improbable; and neither Baini nor any other writer has attempted to verify the supposition. But the rest of the account seems plausible enough, if we can only bring ourselves to believe that the Master attained the age of 104. Haberl rejects this theory, on the ground that Dufay quite certainly learned to sing, as a Choir-boy, in the Cathedral at Cambrai; and there formed an intimate and lasting friendship with another young Chorister—Egidius Binchois. But it is well-known that Flemish children, with good voices, were taken to Rome at a very early age: and there is nothing unreasonable in the supposition that Dufay, having been born at Chimay in 1370, and taught to sing in the Maîtrise at Cambrai, formed there his youthful friendship with Binchois, and was removed at ten years old to Rome, where, as Baini tells us,[8] on the authority of the Archives of the Cappella Sistina, he was received into the Pontifical Choir in 1380. This last-named date we have had no opportunity of verifying; and it must be confessed that it assumes both Dufay and his mother to have lived to a very advanced age indeed. Haberl unhesitatingly rejects it; and assumes on this very ground, that Dufay cannot possibly have been born before the year 1400. Baini's assertion that Dufay quitted the Choir in 1432, is open to less objection. The Archives conclusively prove that he sang in it, as a Laic, in 1428; and again in 1431, 1433, 1435, and even 1436, in which year his name occupies the first

  1. See vol. ii. p.226 b; and iii. p.260 a. Also, 'A General History of Music,' p. 53. (London, 1886.)
  2. Another reprint has céens. The word stands, of course, for the modern French word, céane, signifying here, or of this place. But a learned German critic has mistaken it for the name of some unknown town, in the neighbourhood of Cambrai; and gravely tells us no such place as Céens is mentioned in any atlas or guide-book with which he is acquainted.
  3. Histoire artistique de la Cathedrale de Cambrai. (Paris, 1880.)
  4. La Musique aux Pays-Bas.
  5. Monatshefte für Musik-Geschichte. (Leipzig, 1834. Nro. 2.)
  6. Ibid. (Leipzig, 1885. Nro. 2.)
  7. Bausteine fur Musik-geschichte. Nro. 1. Wilhelm du Fay. (Leipzig. 1885.)
  8. Memorie storico-critiche della vita di Giov. Pierluigi du Palestrina. (Roma 1828.)