Music and musical culture in the Czech lands during the reign of Emperor Rudolf II Rudolfine Prague Composers.
Philippus de Monte (1521, Mechelen--4 July 1603, Prague) Sacrae Caesarae Majestatis Capellae Magister.
In 1555, Imperial Vice-Chancellor Georg Seld, delegated by Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria to seek in Brussels new musicians for the court in Munich, sent to his employee a letter dated 22 September, in which he described Philippus de Monte as man "'quiet, tadtum, restrained like a maiden (wie ein junkfrau), who has spent the major part of his life in Italy and speaks Italian like a native ... yet also masters Latin, French and Flemish, and there is no doubt about his being the best composer in the whole country, particularly as regards the new art and the musica reservata technique. "This recommendation notwithstanding, De Monte was not hired and the job in Bavaria was given to his no less distinguished compatriot Orlando di Lasso. Thirteen years later, he assumed a similarly prestigious post, that of Kapellmeister of the Habsburgs, which he would hold for 35 years.
Philippus de Montay: contrabassus, praeceptor and petit vicaire
We do not know much about Philippus de Monte's family background. His last will and testament, which he drew up shortly before his death in Prague, on 21 January 1603, does however disclose his relatives, including two siblings. He was born in 1521, the year in which Josquin Desprez passed away, in Mechelen, nearby Antwerp, Belgium. Similarly to the majority of 16th-century composers, he gained his initial musical training at the church in his native town: at the Saint Rumbold Cathedral in Mechelen he sang in the boys' choir. As for his later life, the next preserved data document his teaching music in Naples, where he stayed with the family of the banker Domenico Pinelli, with whom he was still in contact in the 1580s, when he already lived in Prague and when he regularly wrote to his former pupil, then an influential and wealthy banker, Gian Vincenzo Pinelli about the events at the Imperial court. From 1548 to 1556, he worked on and off at the cathedral in Cambrai as "petit vicaires"', yet he was also referred to as "Philippus bassus". De Monte continued to be a beneficiary at this cathedral, which he received upon an Imperial decree, during his tenure at the Habsburg court. In 1554 and 1555, as a singer he accompanied Philip II of Spain during his trip to England in connection with the King's marriage to Mary Tudor. While in England, De Monte met the Byrd family and befriended the young
William Byrd, who would become a noted composer. The two men remained in regular contact in the years to come, bearing witness to which are their creations. Subsequently, De Monte returned to his native Belgium, yet he did not stay for long and soon left for Italy. Serving to document his sojourn in Italy is a madrigal he composed to mark the wedding of Isabella de Medici and Paolo Giordano Orsini, as well as the failed negotiations in 1562 with the aim to obtain the post of maestro di cappela at the Basilica di San Marco in Venice, vacated after the death of Adrian Willaert. His other, only partially satisfied, ambitions were focused on Naples, as proven by the numerous motet collections he dedicated to the aristocratic representatives of the Kingdom of Naples, primarily Cardinal Flavio Orsini.
De Monte got to the Habsburg court following the death of the Kapellmeister Jacobus Vaet (1567). Emperor Maximilian II first considered hiring Francisco Roselluso, Kapellmeister at the Basilica di San Lorenzo in Rome, who, however, had longterm problems with alcoholism. Then he attempted to engage Palestrina, whom he ultimately rejected owing to his requiring too much money. In the end, Maximilian chose Philippus de Monte, who, at the time 47 years of age, was working in Rome or Naples, possibly in the services of Cardinal Orsini. De Monte joined the court in Vienna on 1 May 1568, after waiting 12 months for the Emperor's decision. He would spend the rest of his long and fruitful life in the Habsburgs' services. During his time at the court, he headed a large representative choir, made up of singers of various nationalities, who, in line with the 16th-century tradition, performed vocal polyphonic pieces at divine services and the court's major secular events. In addition, De Monte was named an Imperial composer and taught young boys to sing. After Rudolf II had relocated the court from Vienna to Prague, in the late 1570s he too moved to the new Habsburg capital, where he would live for almost a quarter of a century. According to the remarks in his correspondence, he stayed in a house in the Old Town Square. De Monte died in Prague on 4 July 1603 and, on the basis of his wish, mentioned in his last will and testament, was buried at the Saint James Basilica in the Old Town.
Prattica di musica
De Monte was the most prolific composer of madrigals in the history of the genre. His first book of madrigals was published in 1554 in Rome (a year later, the first book of Orlando di Lasso's madrigals was issued in Venice), the final one in 1600. De Monte's compiled a total of 34 collections of madrigals for three to seven voices, with the majority of them being for five and six parts. With regard to their sheer volume alone, the style of his madrigals is rather difficult to characterise, owing in part to the fact that they have yet to be published in a modern edition. When the first series of De Monte's works was prepared under the guidance of Charles van de Borren, a negative role was played by the outbreak of World War I, while the second edition, initiated by R. B. Lenaert, was halted in 1988 owing to a lack of finance necessary to bring the project to fruition. The indisputable traits of De Monte's madrigals include an astonishing melodic invention, with the other singular features including alternating of rhythms and an almost abrupt transformation of the overall sound. They come across as very subtle and altogether lacking in Italian superficiality.
It would seem that De Monte did not deem chansons to be as important as motets and madrigals. And owing to the incomprehensibility of their language, French chansons did not enjoy great popularity at the Central European Habsburg court. A special position in Monte's oeuvre was occupied by chansons to Pierre de Ronsard's poems, which were extremely fashionable in Europe in the 1570s and 1580s. Typical of De Monte's chansons (Sonetz de Pierre de Ronsard, printed in 1575 in Leuven and Paris) was a symmetrical structure, frequent repetition of various musical passages, with another common feature being that the sonnet's two quartets were underlined with identical music.
De Monte's sacred music could be defined as something between Palestrina's mystique and Lasso's drama. The first print of his motets dates from 1572, when he was 51 years of age, and they are the creations of a mature composer. Characteristic of his sacred music was the alternation of imitative counterpoint and homophony, as well as the frequent employment of syllabic declamation of all the vocals, especially in the places with important lyrics. When De Monte used dissonance, he mainly did so to illustrate selected passages of a text or a specific word. Just as in the case of secular music, his sacred music contained frequent alternating of metre.
Musicum hoc nostro seculo principem
Throughout his life and career, De Monte associated with numerous prominent figures, particularly musicians and other artists. As has been mentioned above, he was a friend of William Byrd, whom in all likelihood he had encountered in 1555 during his trip to England (although new research has revealed that they might have met later, introduced to each other by Thomas Tallis). At the time, Byrd was 12 years old. Later on, when he was a renowned composer, Byrd and De Monte sent to each other compositions that were far more eloquent than many a letter. A manuscript housed at the British Museum, Ms Add. 23624, contains two works: De Monte's motet for eight voices Superflumina Babylonis, with the period inscription "Sent by him to Mr. Wm Bird, 1583", and another motet for eight voices, set to the second part of Psalm 136/137, Quomodo cantab'mus, with the note "Made by Mr Wm Byrd to send in to Mr Philip de Monte, 1584". Both of them are masterpieces of their creators, who by means of rhetorical figures, for instance, the words "flevimus" (we cry) or "captivos" (captives), imparted to each other their feelings and opinions of the era and society. To explain the situation, Byrd was then a Catholic in Protestant England and De Monte was pondering leaving the Imperial court. De Monte was also in regular contact with Orlando di Lasso, and the two men wrote to each other letters indicating mutual trust and collegial friendship. Furthermore, he knew and was in touch with the distinguished Flemish botanist Charles de l'Ecluse (their extensive, very interesting correspondence has been preserved), as well as Thomas Mermann, a notable physician who also played a role in the life of Orlando di Lasso. The number of musicians De Monte was acquainted with was large, including Ingegnieri, Monteverdi, Felis and Massaini. Some of them mentioned him as their teacher in the titles of their prints (Giovanni Battista della Gostena, Jean Macque, Jan Sixt of Lerchenfels), others were influenced by his work and personal example (Luython, Regnart). Naturally, he was also in contact with other Rudolfine Prague artists, among them, the painter Bartholomeus Spranger and the author Johanna Westonia, who dedicated to De Monte one of her poems for his selfless help in distress and dubbed him the greatest composer of the time. Bearing witness to his personal contacts with the representatives of the top classes are the introductions to his numerous printed works, containing dedications to them (Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, Ferdinand de Medici, Emperor Maximilian II, Emperor Rudolf II, Wolfgang Rumf, Vojtech Furstenberg, Isabella Medici Orsina, Ottavio Spinola, Sigismund Bathori, Adam Dietrichstein, Archbishop Martin Medek, and others).
Rien sans peine
Several paintings depicting Philippus de Monte have been preserved, with the portrait of him created in 1534 by Rafael Sadeler having been most frequently printed to the present day. It captures the composer at the age of 73 with his life motto: Rien sans peine (Nothing Without Labour). Even though evidently an introvert and individualist, as was indicated in the quoted letter by Georg Seld, and even though he learned music in dynamic Italy, De Monte's oeuvre does not contain anything as extravagant or bold as the music of Giaches de Wert, Cipriano de Rore and the Italian composers of his generation. The southern impact actually only reflected in his penchant for the Italian language and madrigals. De Monte wrote music of all genres. During the period from his entering the services of the Habsburgs up to his death in 1603, he produced an enormous amount of works, with at least one being published every year by printers throughout Europe. His pieces were issued in Antwerp, Rome, Paris, Leuven and, most often, Venice. As mentioned by Seld in the above-quoted letter, they were in a way musica reservata, music for a small group of connoisseurs, and each composition reveals a great master, applying complex counterpoint replete with rhetorical figures and rhythmic intricacies. In sonic terms, it is strange music, in some respects different from the common contemporary creations. Unlike in the case of his peers, Palestrina and Orlando di Lasso, for instance, his personality and work have not given rise to any posthumous cult, and his music basically soon fell into oblivion. To a certain extent, this was evidently influenced by the fact that less than a decade after his passing away, Rudolf II died too. The Emperor thought so highly of De Monte that he did not even appoint a successor. And the relocating of the Habsburg capital back to Vienna resulted in the breaking of the continuity of Prague's court orchestra, which De Monte co-formed for a long time. The new ensemble, established by Emperor Matthias, who ascended the throne after Rudolf II, was made up of other musicians, above all Italians, and performed a new style: solo, early-Baroque pieces, which primarily served to adorn the increasing number of court festivities. And the neglected prints and autographs of Philippus de Monte's music were moved to libraries and archives. His music is still awaiting rediscovery. Rien sans peine.
A Rudolfine motet and madrigal composer
Sarka Holeckova, Jan Bilwachs
Kammermusikus, Hoforganist, Hojkomponist ... A loyal Flemish servant of the Habsburgs
As the title of this article indicates, Carl Luython performed several duties at Rudolf II's court in Prague. Only fragments of information are available pertaining to his life prior to joining the Imperial ensemble. The Antwerp archival sources document that he hailed from a teacher's family and that Antwerp was his native city, yet they do not provide the date of his birth. We thus have to rely on indirect information, according to which we can assume that Luython was born between 1556 and 1558, and that he gained his rudimentary musical training from his father. In 1566, when he was approximately nine years of age, within the casting of choir boys, he was accepted to the Imperial court in Vienna, where he continued to study music, under the guidance of the Kapellmeisters Philippus de Monte and Jacobus Vaet, and the organist Wilhelm Formellis, who probably taught him how to play the instrument. In 1571, when his voice broke, Luython was released as a boy soprano and, as were other transalpine musicians, sent to Italy, where over the next five years he most likely further honed his skills and prepared for his future job as a musician. In 1576, he left Italy and returned to the court in Vienna, to assume the post of Kammermusikus. In addition to his being an organist with the Imperial orchestra, he also attended to the monarch's private entertainment. In the wake of the death of Emperor Maximilian II, Luython went on to serve as Kammermusikus and Hoforganist for his successor, Rudolf II, up until 1612, when, following the Kaiser's passing, the majority of the Hofkapelle was sacked. Luython died in Prague in poverty in August 1620, three months before the Battle of White Mountain. In comparison with that of the other composing musicians at Rudolf II's court, Luython's oeuvre was not extensive. This is quite understandable, as he was busy executing his obligations as a court organist: not only pertaining to divine services, the Imperial Parliament sessions, attended by Rudolf II, but also during the reconstruction of the organ at Saint Vitus Cathedral in Prague, supervising the repair work headed by the organ-builder Albrecht Rudner. None the less, Luython's music was an integral part of the period repertoire. Besides motets and madrigals, he composed masses, hymns and works for keyboard. The Prague-based printer Jin' Nigrin published his Lamentationes Jeremiae Prophetae. Many of his pieces were included in music anthologies and historical manuscripts. The appreciation Luython's music enjoyed can be documented by the fact that in the wake of the death of Philippus de Monte in 1603 he was appointed the Imperial orchestra composer.
II primo libro de madrigali
The one and only collection of Carl Luython's madrigals was printed by the famed Venice music publisher Angelo Gardano. Titled II primo libro de madrigali a rinque voci, it was issued in the autumn of 1582. The volume was dedicated to the "illustrious signor Gioan Fugger, Baron of Kirchberg and Weissenhorn" (All'ilustrissimo signor il signor Gioan Fugger barone di Kirchberg et Weissenhorn). The "illustrious signor" in question was the art-loving Johann Fugger, a member of the old Fugger bankers' family, living in Augsburg, who in 1582 hosted the Emperor at his residence within the Imperial Parliament, in the presence of Luython and other court musicians. Yet Luython had known Johann Fugger for some time, as he himself indicated in the dedication as follows: "for many favours in various times, often done to my father and myself..." (per le molte gratie fatte in diversi tempi tanto a mio padre che a me stesso...).
The collection comprises 11 madrigals for five voices. Overall, all the texts could be defined as lyrical, melancholic even, with love themes. Standing out among them is the sixth, markedly panegyric madrigal Sacro Monte, which also divides the collection's content into two main groups. The first, madrigals 1 to 5, comes across as rather sad, here and there tragic. Madrigals 7 to 11 too meet the contemporary requirements for melancholic atmosphere, yet sound far more positive, with madrigals 7 and 8 (Volgendo gli occhii and Due rosefresche) in particular being imbued with a joyous strain. The overall set-up of the lyrics in Luython's collection reflects the period penchant for contradictions, which was mainly related to the interest in Antiquity and the pursuit of theoretical deliberations about the Ancient opinions of the world, art and thinking. The lyrics within Luython's collection of madrigals form symmetrically arranged pairs of moods. The first and the final madrigals of both halves of the collection constitute pairs in a similar vein, whereas the other texts represent pairs of contrasting moods.
All the set texts are in Italian, which is typical for the madrigal as an Italian musical genre. With the exception of Sacro Monte, written by an anonymous author (with Luython himself being considered its creator), they are sonnets by Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch), whose poems were frequently set to music throughout the 16th century. Luython's collection of madrigals contains texts that inspired composers of various provenience and hailing from different times. Some of Petrarch's sonnets were extremely popular and often set to music (e.g. Erano i capei d'oro a I'aura sparsi), while others scarcely appeared in the 16th-century music collections (e.g. Volgendo gli occhi al mio nuovo colore).
A skilful composer, Carl Luython made full use of all the compositional techniques available at the time, which particularly manifested itself in his using all chromatic notes within musicaJicta and when working with dissonant chords. For instance, he often resolved dissonance into another dissonance. He amply applied chromaticism, both within single melodic line and between the voices. Accordingly, Luython took into consideration not only the horizontal line but also the vertical harmonic situation, while his musical imagination may have been influenced by his long-time tenure as an organist. All the madrigals were composed applying the principle of alternation of polyphonic and homophonic sections, and contrastive changes between declamatorily and melismatically sung texts.
Selectissimarum sacrarum cantionum (...) fasciculus primus
In 1603, the Prague typographer Jiri Nigrin published Luython's collection bearing the title Selectissimarum sacrarum cantionum (...) fasciculus primus. At the time, sacrae cantiones (sacred songs) was one of the common terms used to denominate church motets. The other part of the name, fasciculus primus, indicates that it was the first (yet also the only) collection of this type Luython had had published. To all appearances, he included in the volume the bulk of his sacred motets, which he wrote during his time serving at the Imperial court. The collection is made up of 29 motets for six voices, thus being one of his most extensive publications.
The dedication of Luython's Selectissimarum sacrarum cantionum (...) fasciculus primus can serve to illustrate the contacts of Rudolf II's Kapelle with the spiritual and humanistic milieux of Prague. The collection was inscribed to Jin' Barthold of Breitenberg, an employee of the General Vicariate of the Prague Archiepiscopate, who was also a prolific writer and poet. Luython was evidently in touch with Barthold long before the collection was published, as his works also include a 1587 print bearing the title Popularis anni jubilus, which contains music set to Barthold's texts based on popular traditional subjects.
Of a humanistic nature too are the lyrics of the collection Selectissimarum sacrarum cantionum (...) fasciculus primus. The texts set to music by Luython include those on the Marian theme, glorifying saints, as well as texts pertaining to the fluctuating holidays of the ecclesiastic year. Just a small minority of the lyrics were evidently taken over from liturgical books without any modifications. Others start with a passage that is generally known and used in the liturgy, yet upon closer inspection we can observe that these texts are either consistently compiled from several fragments originally forming a part of various segments of daily prayers or supplemented with newly composed commentaries. Serving as examples in this respect are the Marian antiphon of the first motet, Regina caeli laetare, furnished with a commentary, or the lyrics to Sancte Paule Apostole, celebrating Saint Paul, put together from a number of liturgical texts. Many of the texts set by Luython were newly composed by unknown creators. Owing to their high quality and the poetic forms applied, for instance, Sapphic stanzas and elegiac distichs, they were most likely skilful humanistic poets.
The texts are essential for the general stylistic characteristics of Luython's motets, as their form and meaning reflect in the structuring and overall sound of the music. In the panegyric motets, for instance, Bellum insigne, describing Saint Michael the Archangel's slaying the evil dragon, Luython employed a modern homophonic style, underlining important phrases by means of rhetorical figures and enlivening them by triple metre. On the other hand, he opted for a rather more conservative, more serious compositional style for the penitential motet Dominejesu Christe, mainly characterised by polyphony, long note values and minor-sounding harmony.
Luython's Sacrae cantiones in Bohemia and beyond
Luython's compositional prowess is not only manifested in his accomplished settings of Petrarch's sonnets in the madrigals and of Latin sacred texts in the motets. A few of his pieces appeared in various manuscripts and music anthologies, which bears witness to Luython's works being popular both at the time of his contemporaries and in the eras of the next generations. As for the collection Selectissimarum sacrarum cantionum (...) fasciculus primus, a copy of the motet Bellum insigne was included in the partbooks of the literary brotherhood in Rokycany, Bohemia. His motet Gloria laus et honor, a setting of a liturgical text for the Palm Sunday procession, was incorporated into the renowned German anthology Promptuarium musicum, whose repertoire served to inspire many a transalpine Baroque composer.
(ca. 1540--Prague, 15 July 1599)
Deditissimus Caesareus Musicus
In the spring of 1591, the singer and composer Franz (Franciscus, Francois) Sale (Sales, Salec, Saletz) arrived in Prague. Approximately 50 years of age, he was undoubtedly a mature man with ample musical and personal experience gained during his travels across Europe. He came to the Habsburg capital with the intention to obtain the post of vocalist in the famous Rudolfine ensemble, headed by Philippus de Monte. And he did not make the trip in vain, as in all likelihood he had been promised the job of tenor in advance. For the rest of his life, which he spent in Prague, he held the prestigious title Musicus Caesareus.
From Namur to Prague
Sale hailed from Namur, today's Belgium, where he was bom circa 1550. When it comes to his life and work prior to his arrival in Prague, there is only fragmental archival information or references, mostly mentioned by himself in the verbose prefaces to his music prints. We can assume that he grew up and obtained musical training in his native region, which he evidently left for religious reasons, moving to Central Europe. On repeated occasions, in 1579-80, he applied for, yet failed to win, a post in the court ensemble in Stuttgart, where his brother, Nikolaus Sale (ca. 1550-5 April 1606), served. By contrast, he succeeded at the courts in Hechingen and Munich, as documented in the 1580 records, yet he did not stay for long. On 1 November 1580, he assumed the post of singer in Innsbmck, where he remained for seven years. In 1587, he was named Kapellmeister of a small ensemble at the Royal Convent in the Habsburg residential town of Hall in Tirol for ladies from aristocratic families. Instrumental in Sale's being appointed to this post was a commendatory letter written by Ferdinand of Tyrol (1529-1595), dated 13 April 1587 and addressed to his sister, Archduchess Magdalena (1532-1590), who headed the convent for noblewomen. As of 1 May 1591, he is recorded as a singer of the Imperial ensemble in Prague, were he stayed up until his death, on 15 July 1599.
Life in Prague
The final eight years of his life Sale spent in Prague were truly prolific. In addition to being a tenor with the indisputably brilliant ensemble, he also did his best to have the maximum of his own pieces published. Between 1593 and 1598, the Prague typographer Jiji Nigrin issued eight prints of Sale's polyphonic compositions. Nigrin was an ideal partner, as he possessed a sufficient amount of music printing blocks and was the only Czech printer to have experience with publishing extensive music collections. What is more, his prints were also sold abroad. By the time of releasing Sale's first compilation, Nigrin had (besides minor music prints) published music by a number of distinguished Rudolfine Prague composers, primarily those serving at the court, including Mateo Flecha, Jacob Kerl, Charles Luython, Giovanni Battista Pinellas, Stefan Felis, Johannes Knofel, Tiburtio Massaino and Johannes Nucio. Nigrin gained great experience in connection with the implementation of the generously conceived set of prints of music by Jacobus Handl Gallus in the 1580s (for more about Nigrin, see CMQ 2015/3).
Franz Sale's music printed in Prague
Prior to arriving in Prague, Sale had only had a single print of his pieces issued. In 1589, the Munich-based typographer Adam Berg published a collection of Sale's masses, Patrocinium musices. The first of the numerous Prague prints of Sale's music was the bulky 1593 volume of motets for five to six voices, titled Sacrarum cantionum (...) liber primus. The publication, dated in Prague the final day of 1592, is dedicated to the chief chamberlain Wolfgang Rumpf. The second collection of Sale's music, dated a year later (Datum Pragae pridie Calendas Ianuarias: A.D. M.D. XCIIII), contains the first section of a polyphonic version of a part of the Proper of the Mass (Introitus, Alleluia and Communio) for holidays of the entire ecclesiastical year and is dedicated to Stanislav Pavlovsky, the Archbishop of Olomouc, and again scored for five or six voices. Polyphonic music for the Proper of the Mass was also included in Sale's next two collections published in Prague: Tnpertiti operis Offidorum Missalium (...) liber primus, dedicated to Sigismund III of Poland and dated 4 November 1595, and Offidorum Missalium (...) liber tertius & ultimus, also issued in 1596 and containing no dedication.
Following a year in which no Sale music was printed, 1598 saw numerous publications of his pieces. In January (di Praga il di 28. Gennaro 1598), a collection of Sale's Italian canzonettas for three voices was printed, revealing his yielding to the then fashionable taste and affection for Italy (Nigrin's name is Italianised, stated as "Giorgio Negrino") and dedicated to Albert Furstenberg. In 1598, Sale again made use of his contacts in Munich for printing his motet and mass Exultandi tempus est, followed by a publication in Prague of Dialogismus (...) de amore Christi, dedicated to the Wroclaw city council, a piece for eight voices rather atypical with regard to Sale's other works, not only owing to its configuration and its being intended for two choruses, but also the selection of the text. Penned by the humanistic poet Johannes Linckius, it is conceived as a conversation between the Church, Christ and angels. Also published in 1598 was Sale's recently discovered set of motets titled Salutationes ad B.V. Mariae. With respect to its content, pertaining to Sale's tenure in Bohemia was his final known collection printed in that year, Oratio ad Sanctam B. V. Mariam, Windslaum, Adalbertum, Vitum, Sigismundum, Procopium, Stephanum, regnorum Hungariae et Bohemiaepatrones for six voices, dedicated to, among others, Czech saints.
Composer of His Imperial Grace
In addition to choosing the then quite uncommon theme of Czech saints in the aforementioned collection, Sale also demonstrated his affinity to Bohemia by numerous personal activities. Although to date these have been documented rather randomly, as more systematic research in archives is yet to be carried out, it is evident that he tried to supplement his wage as a court singer with other sources of income, by means of, for instance, sending his music prints to wealthy dignitaries and city councils in Bohemia, as well as in neighbouring countries. One of the preserved documents bearing witness to Sale's having done so is a letter he wrote in July 1593 to the town council in Jihlava, attached to the assignment of the collection of motets Sacrarum cantionum, published in that year and sent in the hope for its meeting with a positive response and earning him some money. At the same time, he also sent the work to Cheb, where it was received favourably, yet Sale was only paid the promised sum following a reminder. Documenting the fact that his activity led to the desired response is a letter from the Archbishop's Office in Olomouc, dated n January 1594, which confirms that the composer was granted 12 ducats for the dedication of the print Offidorum Missalium (...) liber secundus. A similar proof of respect can be found in the Rozmberk family archives. A relatively brief and vague piece of information in this respect is provided by Frantisek Mares's study on the Rozmberk court ensemble, which reads: "In 1592, [Vilem of Rozmberk] gave Frantisek, composer of His Imperial Grace, 10 kopas; to wit, Frantisek Sale, tenor of the Imperial Kapelle in 1591-1599." The Rozmberk archival sources document another success of Sale's with the noble family, four years later, confirming that "Francziscus Sale, composer of His Imperial Grace, was granted 4 kopas [of Meissen groschen]". In the latter case, it evidently concerned the patron's response to music prints sent by Sale. The Rozmberk library contained publications of his Sacrarum cantionum (...) liber primus and canzonettas for three voices.
Partes Francisci de Sale on coloured paper
Even though the Rozmberk copies of Sale's works have not been preserved, some prints of his music are maintained in other archives in the Czech Republic. The alto volume of the collection Sacrarum cantionum is housed at the National Library in Prague, as well as at the Deanery Library in Rokycany. The soprano part of the 1596 Offidorum Missalium is deposited at the Hradec Kralove Museum. The complete edition of Dialogismus octo vocum de amore Christi from 1598 is owned by the Music Department of the National Library in Prague. Until recently, the "Nigrin print of F. Sale's compositions (altus, the late 16th century)" was contained in Rudolf Hlava's collection in Semily, yet it is currently missing. None the less, prints of Sale's music were indisputably present in Bohemia in a larger amount, as documented by, for instance, the accidentally discovered list of the library of the Kutna Hora citizen and distinguished man of letters Adam Hnevusicky, dating from 25 February 1619, which among numerous music scores contained the "Introiti Francisci Sale printed for 6 Vocum", and the inventory of the monastery in Zlata Koruna, containing a note referring to the occurrence of "6 vocum, partes Francisci de Sale in red leather: 6 vocum, partes by the same composer on coloured paper" and "Oratio Francisci de Sale, not bound, in three pieces".
Ex libris Francisci Sale
A remarkable mention of Sale's presence in Bohemia is included in Gottfried Johann Dlabacz's 1815 Kunstler-Lexikon. Under the entry "Sale, Franz", the author states that the Strahov Library has in its possession the print F. Nausea, Episcopi Viennensis Homiliarum Epitome, dating from 1549, at the beginning of which there is the autograph inscription "Ex libris Francisci Sale Caes. Mtis. Musici" and elsewhere it contains a similar piece of information, "Emptus a Francisco Sale Cae. Mai. Musico". A fragmentary, yet intriguing reference to his personal contacts is mentioned by Emilian Trolda in his study on the Prague Jesuits' relationship to music, which reads that according to the Klementinum College diary on 1 July 1597 the Imperial tenor "Sahly" invited the Jesuit priests to lunch.
Organista cum suis cantoribus
During his tenure in Prague, Sale strove to have his oeuvre published in its relative entirety. This endeavour of his is reminiscent of that of Jacobus Handl Gallus, who too spent the end of his days in the city, primarily focusing on the systematic publication of his own compositions. With the exception of the two prints mentioned above, Sale's works were issued at the agile Nigrin's printing office. In comparison with such late-Renaissance authorities as Orlando di Lasso and Philippus de Monte, Sale's oeuvre is not overly extensive, yet it encompasses all the types of vocal music that were popular in Rudolfine Prague, apart from madrigals, which were quite happily substituted for by the formally simpler canzonettas. Sale is one of the numerous late 16th-century composers about whom we have available relatively copious information, which, however, is markedly incongruous and has been taken over unquestioningly in the specialist literature over the past few decades. Consequently, his significance is yet to be defined, while his name, if mentioned at all, has mostly appeared in musicological studies merely within listings of composers active during a certain era or in a certain location. Our opinion is that his music has been neglected undeservedly, and particularly owing to the lack of awareness of his works. The aspiration for publishing his pieces dates back almost 150 years, and the knowledge of his life remains fragmentary. Sale's style was influenced by the music of Orlando di Lasso, whom he personally met during his tenure in Munich. As regards the number of parts his pieces were scored for, it depended on the selected type and genre. Sale's motets and masses are predominantly for five or six voices, the secular canzonettas for three, the festive Dialogismus for eight. Exceptional is the number of propria missae cycles he composed. And remarkable too is that a number of prints of his works include Sale's notes, describing the manner of performance. In the motet Regina coeli laetare for six voices, from the 1598 collection Salutationes, designated as a Dialogue for three choruses, the notes, written during the course of the piece, Organista cum suis cantoribus, Solus, Omnes simul cum Organo, Chorus, elucidate that the work was performed with organ accompaniment, bringing to bear a contrast between a group of soloists and the entire chorus. Even though Sale's style may have failed to attain the singularity of the great masters, his oeuvre does reveal that he was a superlative musician and proficient singer, who well knew the potentialities and beauty of the human voice.
Hans Leo Hassler
Kapellmeister, Cammerorganist, Oberster Musikus und Kaiserlicher Hofdiener von Haus aus (and his brothers)
Wir wollen singn ein' Lobgesang
The story began in Jachymov (Joachimsthal), a town in West Bohemia near the German border, where, circa 1530, one Isaak Hassler was born. His parents, professing Protestantism, hailed from Nuremberg and had moved to Bohemia in 1526. At the time, the town was experiencing a great boom in the wake of the opening of the prosperous silver mines by the Slik family in 1520. Shortly after Isaak's birth, Jachymov had some 18,000 inhabitants, living in more than 1,200 houses. Isaak's teachers were the priest Johann Matthesius (1504-1565), a distinguished theologian and the author of the first biography of Martin Luther, and the cantor Nikolaus Herman (1500-1561), a composer of numerous, still performed, Lutheran songs. Herman was the one who inspired Issak Hassler to become an organist and thus launch a tradition that would bring fame to his family. At the age of 24, Hassler left for Nuremberg, where he married Kunigunde Schneider, with whom he had nine children. Three sons pursued their father's professional path. Their names were Caspar, Hans Leo and Jacobus.
Caspar Hassler, einer aus den berumbsten Organisten
(17 August 1562, Nuremberg--1618, Nuremberg)
The eldest of Isaak Hassler's sons, Caspar, remained in his native Nuremberg all his life. He was taught the organ by his father. When he was 24 years old, he became an organist at the Saint Egidien Church, yet only stayed for a year, leaving so as to assume the same post at the Saint Lawrence Church. He repeatedly travelled to Augsburg to work for the Fugger family. On several occasions, the city council had to resolve problems relating to him and his brother Hans Leo that pertained to the lending of money at high interest. Caspar married Hester Haiden, and their son, Johann Benedikt Hassler (1594-1646), too became an organist, pursing the family tradition. Furthermore, Caspar Hassler was an active member of a music committee and a famed organ connoisseur and builder. From among his compositions, only one piece for organ has been preserved, as have a cycle of vocal sacred works (Sacrae symphoniae), published in Nuremberg between 1598 and 1613. Caspar Hassler was also a typographer, printing Italian and South German music of his time.
Hans Leo Hassler, Musicus inter Germanos sua aetate summus
(baptized 26 October 1564, Nuremberg--8 June 1612, Frankfurt)
The greatest recognition from among the family members was gained by Hans Leo. Similarly to his brothers, he too was provided with basic organ training by his father. In all likelihood, he also met the composer Leonhard Lechner, who taught at the Saint Lawrence School in Nuremberg and who was directly influenced by Orlando di Lasso. In 1584, at the age of 18, Hans Leo left for Venice so as to familiarise himself with the new Italian polychoral music and the art of madrigal. He was one of the first German composers to be inspired in many aspects by Italian musical invention. Hans Leo spent 18 months in Venice under the guidance of Andrea Gabrieli, first organist at Saint Mark's Basilica, and befriended his teacher's nephew, Giovanni Gabrieli. Quick to learn, he also brought to bear the knowledge obtained from the composer Baldassare Donato, who at the time was serving as magister puerorum at Saint Mark's and is known for his singular canzonettas. Hassler's music was evidently also impacted by other major contemporary Italian composers, including Cipriano de Rore, Luca Marenzio, Giovanni Gastoldi and Claudio Merulo. Most probably, Andrea Gabrieli mediated for the young artist a contact to the Fuggers, a family of prominent businessmen and bankers, in Augsburg. Notwithstanding their different religions, in 1598 Hans Leo, a Protestant, was hired by the Catholic Octavian II Fugger as a chamber organist (Cammerorganist). During this service, in which he stayed up until 1600, he received a high wage. His time in Augsburg played a significant role in Hans Leo's career. Owing to his immense diligence, invention and ambition, he gained fame and within a relatively short time ranked among the most celebrated German composers of the time. He also enjoyed great respect as a practising organist and teacher. Dating from this time are several prints of his works (Neue teutsche Gesang nach art der welschen Madrigalien und Canzonetten, 1596, Lustgarten neuer teutscher Gesang Balletti, Galliarden undlntraden, 1601), which, imbued with unique invention, brought Italian influences into the German milieu and language. No less famous were the collections of his sacred pieces (Cantiones sacrae, 1591, Missa quatemis, V. VI. et VIII. vocibus, 1599, Sacri concentus, 1601, Psalmen und Christliche Gesang, 1607, Kirchengesang: Psalmen undgeistlicke Lieder, 1608). Hans Leo's artistry even intrigued the Imperial court in Prague, and Rudolf II duly engaged him in his services. It is, however, highly likely that Hassler's contacts with Prague, the court, the Emperor and other aristocrats were of a very prosaic nature, as he was a dexterous, successful and sought-after moneylender, and well as a trader in silver and other precious metals. Yet there is no doubt that Rudolf II was also impressed by his skill in building playing machines. A passionate collector, the Emperor procured at least one mechanical musical instrument for his Kunstkammer from Hassler's workshop. By the way, the building of automatophones and their authorship gave rise to a long-running legal dispute in Augsburg in which Hans Leo was embroiled and which, in 1602, also involved the Imperial Office. The expenditure folder of the Prague court's ledger mentions Hans Leo as a "Hofdiener on 2 horses, von Haus aus" (a court servant without a precise rank, who did not have to be constantly present at the court and was entrusted with special tasks), in 1605, 1609 and 1611. Nonetheless, the amount recorded in 1609 is so high that it must have been paid for a longer period or for important services for the court or the Emperor himself. In 1595, Rudolf honoured Hans Leo and his brothers by ennobling them. During the course of his life, Hassler was a party to several lawsuits, in which his colleague musicians appeared as witnesses, often testifying against him (Gregor Aichinger).
Hans Leo always remained in contact with his native Nuremberg. In the wake of the death of Octavian II Fugger, he was briefly head of the Augsburg city buglers, yet in 1601 he assumed the post of Oberster Musikus in Nuremberg. At the time, his popularity reached its apex, with his works being published, copied, performed, used as exercises in composition lessons and, naturally, imitated, in line with the spirit of the period's stylistic universalism.
On 1 March 1605, at the age of 41, Hans Leo married Cordula Klaus, the daughter of a merchant in Ulm. By then his fame was so great that the newly-weds received presents from luminaries throughout Central Europe, including the Emperor himself. In 1608, he settled down in Ulm for good and became a regular citizen with all the attendant rights and duties. To all appearances, he intended to devote to business rather than music. Nevertheless, owing to the fecklessness of the Imperial Office, which failed to settle his claims, he got into financial difficulties. Therefore, in 1608, he accepted the post of chamber organist in the services of Christian III, Elector of Saxony, in Dresden. After the death of his master, in 1611, Hans Leo began serving his successor, Johann Georg I, yet soon, on 8 June 1612, he died in Frankfurt en route to the coronation of the new Emperor, Matthias of Habsburg, with the most likely reasons being exhaustion and tuberculosis-related problems.
Jacobus, Cappelmaister und Organist (18 December 1569, Nuremberg--summer of 1622, Cheb)
The youngest of the Hassler brothers, Jacobus, received a musical training in his adolescence similar to that of Hans Leo. It is documented that in 1585 he served as a city bugler in Augsburg, yet he was obviously more inclined to pursuing a career as an organist and composer. In 1591, following in his brother's footsteps, he made an educational trip to Italy (paid for by Augsburg's Fugger family), where he became a pupil of Giovanni Gabrieli. After returning to Germany, Jacobus assumed the post of Kapellmeister and organist in the services of Eitel-Friedrich IV, Duke of Hohenzollern. On several occasions, he fell into troubles that had to be resolved at court. Unlike Hans Leo, however, in his case they were mainly disputes about paternity. In 1596, he had an extramarital son Philipp Jacob, who was ultimately brought up by the Prague Jesuits. In 1601, he moved to Prague to become a chamber organist at the Imperial court. Jacobus's career was enhanced by the fame of Hans Leo and the nobility he and his brothers were granted by Rudolf II six years previously. The annual wage he received, as well as the benefits he could enjoy, including free accommodation, clothing and regular boarding, reveals that the Prague court thought very highly of him. In all likelihood, Jacobus too was involved in trading in silver and precious metals, as well as the money-lending operation run by his brother. Non-musical purposes too were behind the trips Jacobus was sent on by the influential Imperial butler Philipp Lang of Langenfels. He received money from the Imperial Office continuously from 1603 till the end of Rudolf II's rule. After Rudolf's death, he briefly served his successor to the throne, Matthias, yet soon, most probably owing to health problems, or also because he wanted to continue to trade in metals, he moved to Cheb, where he died at the age of 43.
During his lifetime, Jacobus had published in Nuremberg, in 1600, the Collection of Madrigals for Seven Voices, dedicated to Christoph Fugger, a year later the Magnificat octo tonorum, dedicated to his patron in Hechingen, and two of his motets of were issued within the collective volumes Rosetum Marianum and Reliquiae saaorum concentum. A small amount of his singular pieces for organ have been preserved as autographs only.
The title of the present article also represents an assessment of the three Hassler brothers' significance for the history of music. All of them were prominent German and Central European musicians, but Hans Leo clearly stood out among them as an organist and, above all, composer, as well as an organ and automatic music machine builder, Kapellmeister, director of ensembles and music event organiser. His greatest contributions included the import and application of a new Italian compositional style in German music at the end of the r6th and the beginning of the 17th centuries, primarily as regards the employment of polychoralism in sacred music and madrigals, and the overall conception of secular pieces. In his works, he also deepened the difference between the vocal and instrumental styles, as is evident in his organ ricercars, canzonas, toccatas and dance compositions. Highly important for the history of Protestant music were his polyphonic vocal works.
(to be completed in the next issue)
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|Author:||Danek, Petr; Haleckova, Sarka; Bilwachs, Jan|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2016|
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