Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Costeley, Guillaume

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COSTELEY, GUILLAUME (1531–1606), organist and ‘valet du chambre du roy’ to Henry II and Charles IX of France, according to Fétis (Dictionnaire des Musiciens, vol. ii. ed. 1860), the son of Scotch parents, is said to have been born in 1531. He was a prolific composer of French chansons for several voices, many of which are still extant in the collections printed by Nicholas du Chemin, Adrien Le Roy, Robert Ballard, and Jean Bellère between 1554 and 1597. The Municipal Library of Orleans is said also to contain a manuscript collection of part-books, in which are many of his compositions. A passage in Antoine du Verdier's ‘Bibliothèque’ (Lyons, 1585, p. 476), repeated in the ‘Bibliotheca Exotica’ of G. Draudius (ed. 1625, p. 209), has been taken to mean that he was the author of a treatise ‘La Musique,’ printed by Le Roy and Ballard at Paris in 1579; but no copy of this is known, though Fétis mentions that the work is a quarto. It is therefore possible that Du Verdier only records the publication of Costeley's music at this date. In his later years Costeley retired to Evreux, where in 1571 he took a prominent part in establishing a guild in honour of St. Cecilia, of which he was chosen the first chief officer or prince. In the rolls of the guild Costeley's name occurs as fourth in rank, and when in 1575 a ‘puy’ or musical competition was established by the guild, he contributed ten livres and a yearly subscription of a hundred sols. The winner of the first prize—a silver harp—at the first public competition was Orlando de Lassus. It is also recorded that when Costeley was elected prince he gave a dinner and supper at his house, ‘le Moullin de la Planche.’ He died at Evreux, 1 Feb. 1606.

[Bonnin and Chassant's Puy de Musique érigé à Evreux, 1838; Mendel's Musik. Lexikon; Eitner's Bibliographie der Musik-Sammelwerke des 16ten und 17ten Jahrhunderts, 1877, p. 494; authorities quoted above.]

W. B. S.