Orlande De Lassus (1532-1594)

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01Abduction20150112

Donald Macleod focuses on Lassus's abduction by kidnappers who coveted his singing voice.

A cosmopolitan composer who became so famous he was known as "The divine Orlando", this week Donald Macleod surveys the life and music of Orlande de Lassus.

Born in Mons, around 1532, Lassus first came to public attention when singing at the local church of St. Nicholas. His voice was said to be so beautiful that he was abducted a number of times, and ended up in the service of the Viceroy of Sicily. After he turned eighteen Lassus, took a job in Naples and then went on to become Director of Music at St. John Lateran in Rome. Lassus remained in Rome for a short period, before making his way to Antwerp where he instigated the first publication of his music. His reputation grew and he was soon offered a job in Munich, at the Court of Duke Albrecht V. Lassus remained there for over thirty years where musical life at court flourished, and his name spread all over Europe. He was invited to compose music for the coronation of the King of Bohemia and he also received honours from the Habsburg Emperor Maximilian II, and the Pope. His fame was such that the King of France even tried to poach Lassus for his own court. Lassus prolifically composed in almost every genre of music, and was a master of every style he touched.

Sacred music was important to Lassus, and he composed over forty settings of the Mass, including his Missa Susanne un jour, which was based on one of his own songs. After working in Rome, the young composer toured England, Paris, and then settled in Antwerp for a few years, where he gave music lessons to the nobility. It was in Antwerp that he published his first compositions, in 1555, including the motet Audi dulcis amica. His music was well received and, in the same year, he also published a set of madrigals in Venice, which included Solo e pensoso, and Mia benigna fortuna.

01Abduction20150112

Donald Macleod focuses on Lassus's abduction by kidnappers who coveted his singing voice.

A cosmopolitan composer who became so famous he was known as "The divine Orlando", this week Donald Macleod surveys the life and music of Orlande de Lassus.

Born in Mons, around 1532, Lassus first came to public attention when singing at the local church of St. Nicholas. His voice was said to be so beautiful that he was abducted a number of times, and ended up in the service of the Viceroy of Sicily. After he turned eighteen Lassus, took a job in Naples and then went on to become Director of Music at St. John Lateran in Rome. Lassus remained in Rome for a short period, before making his way to Antwerp where he instigated the first publication of his music. His reputation grew and he was soon offered a job in Munich, at the Court of Duke Albrecht V. Lassus remained there for over thirty years where musical life at court flourished, and his name spread all over Europe. He was invited to compose music for the coronation of the King of Bohemia and he also received honours from the Habsburg Emperor Maximilian II, and the Pope. His fame was such that the King of France even tried to poach Lassus for his own court. Lassus prolifically composed in almost every genre of music, and was a master of every style he touched.

Sacred music was important to Lassus, and he composed over forty settings of the Mass, including his Missa Susanne un jour, which was based on one of his own songs. After working in Rome, the young composer toured England, Paris, and then settled in Antwerp for a few years, where he gave music lessons to the nobility. It was in Antwerp that he published his first compositions, in 1555, including the motet Audi dulcis amica. His music was well received and, in the same year, he also published a set of madrigals in Venice, which included Solo e pensoso, and Mia benigna fortuna.

02The Court In Munich20150113

Donald Macleod discusses Lassus's work at the court of the Duke of Bavaria.

A cosmopolitan composer who became so famous he was known as "The divine Orlando", this week Donald Macleod surveys the life and music of Orlande de Lassus.

Lassus had settled in Antwerp where he taught music to the nobility. He also published his Opus 1 set which included the chanson, Je l'ayme bien. The following year in 1556, Lassus brought out a second publication in Antwerp of motets in five and six parts. This first book of motets included both his Mirabile Mysterium and Fremuit spiritus Jesu.

In that same year of 1556, Lassus received a summons to go and work for the Duke of Bavaria in Munich, where he was employed as a tenor in the chapel choir. Duke Albrecht V was determined to develop music at court, and Lassus went on to take a lead role in this. Upon arriving in Munich, Lassus quickly settled in, publishing a set of madrigals including Quel chiaro sol, and Vostro fui. The Duke became quite possessive over Lassus's compositions, in particular a set of Penitential Psalms which the Duke prohibited Lassus from publishing.

02The Court In Munich20150113

Donald Macleod discusses Lassus's work at the court of the Duke of Bavaria.

A cosmopolitan composer who became so famous he was known as "The divine Orlando", this week Donald Macleod surveys the life and music of Orlande de Lassus.

Lassus had settled in Antwerp where he taught music to the nobility. He also published his Opus 1 set which included the chanson, Je l'ayme bien. The following year in 1556, Lassus brought out a second publication in Antwerp of motets in five and six parts. This first book of motets included both his Mirabile Mysterium and Fremuit spiritus Jesu.

In that same year of 1556, Lassus received a summons to go and work for the Duke of Bavaria in Munich, where he was employed as a tenor in the chapel choir. Duke Albrecht V was determined to develop music at court, and Lassus went on to take a lead role in this. Upon arriving in Munich, Lassus quickly settled in, publishing a set of madrigals including Quel chiaro sol, and Vostro fui. The Duke became quite possessive over Lassus's compositions, in particular a set of Penitential Psalms which the Duke prohibited Lassus from publishing.

03The Royal Wedding20150114

How Lassus dazzled as a composer and performer at an important royal occasion.

A cosmopolitan composer who became so famous he was known as "The Divinde Orlando", this week Donald Macleod surveys the life and music of Orlande de Lassus.

During the 1560's Lassus was busy not only developing musical activities and standards at the court of Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria in Munich, but also improving his own reputation as a composer. In 1562 Lassus was invited to the coronation of the new King of Bavaria and, for this occasion, he composed his motet, Pacis amans. It was during this period that Lassus also composed his famous six-part motet, Timor et tremor.

Lassus had now been appointed Director of Music at the Munich court, a position whose duties he'd been undertaking for some time. By 1568 Lassus was involved in another royal event, the wedding of the Duke's son, Wilhelm V. Lassus composed a Te Deum and entertained guests with his own singing, accompanying himself on the Lute. His motet, Edite Caesareo Boiorum, was also probably sung at the royal wedding.

03The Royal Wedding20150114

How Lassus dazzled as a composer and performer at an important royal occasion.

A cosmopolitan composer who became so famous he was known as "The Divinde Orlando", this week Donald Macleod surveys the life and music of Orlande de Lassus.

During the 1560's Lassus was busy not only developing musical activities and standards at the court of Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria in Munich, but also improving his own reputation as a composer. In 1562 Lassus was invited to the coronation of the new King of Bavaria and, for this occasion, he composed his motet, Pacis amans. It was during this period that Lassus also composed his famous six-part motet, Timor et tremor.

Lassus had now been appointed Director of Music at the Munich court, a position whose duties he'd been undertaking for some time. By 1568 Lassus was involved in another royal event, the wedding of the Duke's son, Wilhelm V. Lassus composed a Te Deum and entertained guests with his own singing, accompanying himself on the Lute. His motet, Edite Caesareo Boiorum, was also probably sung at the royal wedding.

04Lassus And The King Of France20150115

Focusing on the time when Lassus was showered with honours and was courted by royalty.

A cosmopolitan composer who became so famous he was known as "The Divine Orlando", this week Donald Macleod surveys the life and music of Orlande de Lassus.

Lassus's reputation had grown considerably by the 1570s, and he was made a member of the nobility by the Holy Roman, Emperor Maximilian II. King Charles IX of France hoped to poach Lassus away from his German employer, and offered the composer a very good salary. While visiting Paris, Lassus presented the monarch with a new collection of French songs, including Pour courir en poste à la ville and La nuict froide et sombre. Another work Charles IX was particularly bowled over with was Lassus's Prophetiae Sibyllarum. Nevertheless, Lassus opted to to stay in Munich.

Meanwhile, The Duke of Bavaria was beginning to become frustrated with his employee. He felt Lassus was displaying too much independence, including various trips abroad. One another occasion Lassus travelled to Rome to be made a Knight of the Gloden Spur by Pope Gregory XIII. In 1578, the old Duke died and new leadership in Munich brought changes, including a cull of musicians in order to save money. That same year, Lassus published his Missa pro defunctis.

04Lassus And The King Of France20150115

Focusing on the time when Lassus was showered with honours and was courted by royalty.

A cosmopolitan composer who became so famous he was known as "The Divine Orlando", this week Donald Macleod surveys the life and music of Orlande de Lassus.

Lassus's reputation had grown considerably by the 1570s, and he was made a member of the nobility by the Holy Roman, Emperor Maximilian II. King Charles IX of France hoped to poach Lassus away from his German employer, and offered the composer a very good salary. While visiting Paris, Lassus presented the monarch with a new collection of French songs, including Pour courir en poste à la ville and La nuict froide et sombre. Another work Charles IX was particularly bowled over with was Lassus's Prophetiae Sibyllarum. Nevertheless, Lassus opted to to stay in Munich.

Meanwhile, The Duke of Bavaria was beginning to become frustrated with his employee. He felt Lassus was displaying too much independence, including various trips abroad. One another occasion Lassus travelled to Rome to be made a Knight of the Gloden Spur by Pope Gregory XIII. In 1578, the old Duke died and new leadership in Munich brought changes, including a cull of musicians in order to save money. That same year, Lassus published his Missa pro defunctis.

05Reform At Court20150116

How music in Munich began to change because of the Jesuits and the Counter-Reformation.

A cosmopolitan composer who became so famous he was known as "The Divine Orlando", this week Donald Macleod surveys the life and music of Orlande de Lassus.

Wilhelm succeeded his father as Duke of Bavaria in 1579. He found the court finances in a perilous state and quickly imposed drastic savings, including staff cuts at the Ducal Chapel. Lassus, as Music Director, now found himself with fewer musicians to work with. His music also had to accomodate changes in religious style, as the Jesuits came to have a powerful influence in Munich. His Missa Entre vous filles is introspective and sombre.

During the 1580s Ferdinand Lassus, one of Orlande's sons, began to take over some of his father's duties in the court chapel. Orlande's music during this period reflects his state of mind, including his madrigal Io son si stanco sotto, "I am so weary under the ancient burden of my sins". In his last decade Lassus began to suffer from depression. His final works include a collection of motets, Cantiones sacrae, and a set of spiritual madrigals, the monumental Lagrime di San Pietro.

05Reform At Court20150116

How music in Munich began to change because of the Jesuits and the Counter-Reformation.

A cosmopolitan composer who became so famous he was known as "The Divine Orlando", this week Donald Macleod surveys the life and music of Orlande de Lassus.

Wilhelm succeeded his father as Duke of Bavaria in 1579. He found the court finances in a perilous state and quickly imposed drastic savings, including staff cuts at the Ducal Chapel. Lassus, as Music Director, now found himself with fewer musicians to work with. His music also had to accomodate changes in religious style, as the Jesuits came to have a powerful influence in Munich. His Missa Entre vous filles is introspective and sombre.

During the 1580s Ferdinand Lassus, one of Orlande's sons, began to take over some of his father's duties in the court chapel. Orlande's music during this period reflects his state of mind, including his madrigal Io son si stanco sotto, "I am so weary under the ancient burden of my sins". In his last decade Lassus began to suffer from depression. His final works include a collection of motets, Cantiones sacrae, and a set of spiritual madrigals, the monumental Lagrime di San Pietro.