Lasso Networks

Von der Universität Augsburg organisierte Tagung im Rahmen der Medieval and Renaissance Music Conference 2013 in Certaldo. Im Fokus stand der Komponist Orlando di Lasso. In fünf Vorträgen wurden neue Forschungs-ergebnisse rund um den Münchner Hofkapellmeister und seine Zeit vorgestellt. Hier finden Sie die Abstracts.

The origin of the Prophetiae Sibyllarum; 
Franz Körndle (University of Augsburg)

The Prophetiae Sibyllarum of Orlando di Lasso are considered among the master’s most interesting compositions. This concerns not only the chromatic style but the time and circumstances of its origin as well. While Horst Leuchtmann, Peter Bergquist and Reinhold Schlötterer were convinced that Lasso composed the Prophetiae during his first years in Munich, Marjorie Roth in 2005 stated an origin in Italy around 1553-54. Acording to recently discoverd text sources Lasso wrote the compositions not earlier than 1555. More precisely the Prophetiae originated during the year 1558. Furthermore my paper will reveal the background of the meaning, and will present a possibility for a first performance. 

Design or Disaster? The Interplay of Images, Words and Music in the Penitential Psalm Codices; Christian Thomas Leitmeir (Prifysgol Bangor University)

In one of Albrecht V’s most ambitious cultural projects, the seven penitential psalms appeared in frivolously multi-media splendour (Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Mus. ms. A). Humanist Samuel Quicchelberg (1529-1576) provided an allegorical reading of the psalms, presented in two additional volumes of theological and iconographical commentary. His iconographic programme, a visual glossa ordinaria, was executed by the illuminator Hans Müelich (1516-1572), who populated the frames around the musical notation with countless biblical and allegorical scenes. Orlando di Lasso, maestro di cappella at the Ducal court, contributed his legendary polyphonic setting of the psalms.
Enthralled by the visual appearance of the Munich Penitential Psalm codices, modern scholars tended to extol them as the grandest Gesamtkunstwerk of its time. Yet, such appreciation has been critically uninformed. The codices were not the creation of an all-controlling mastermind, but required the collaboration of artists with great expertise in their own field, yet limited in others. Moreover, one has to factor in the incongruity between the protracted genesis of a 13-year project and the individual contributions, which may been completed much earlier. Close examination of selected openings will reveal how the creators intended synthesise the different media and where their masterful design resulted in disaster.

Orlando’s networks – The Imperial Diet of Augsburg in 1566;
Moritz Kelber (University of Augsburg)

Orlando di Lasso cultivated various contacts to the city of Augsburg. In 1566 he even stayed there for several months on occasion of the imperial diet, the first assembly of the Reichsstände under the new Emperor Maximilian II. This paper will investigate the musical networks around Orlando di Lasso at the diet of Augsburg in 1566, focussing on the changing forms of musical communication during an Imperial Diet.
Numerous princes – and their chapels ‑ found their way to Augsburg, with Giaches de Wert, master of the chapel of St. Barbara in Mantua, travelling in entourage of Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga. In his essay Le muse in germania James Haar suggests a joint performance of madrigals by Lasso and de Wert, even speculating about a musical competition among the composers at the imperial court. It is rather unlikely, that this event could have occurred on the date he suggested: The Bavarian and the Mantuan court overlapped in Augsburg only for four days. Recent research, however, has brought to light more concrete instances of musical networking during the 1566 Diet.
In 1568 the humanist Karl von Utenhove published his collection of poetry called Xenia. According to him, the poem Antevenis virides, an acrostic to the Bavarian Duke Albrecht V, was set to music by Orlando in Augsburg in 1566. Oddly enough, the only known motet on this text (delivered in the Venetian anthology Novi thesauri musici 5 of 1568) is attributed to Jacobus Vaet, master of the imperial chapel, who was present in Augsburg as well.
Paul Melissus Schede, humanist and composer, described his meetings with Orlando di Lasso in verses, printed in his 1574 collection Schediasmata poetica. The third edition of the anthology, printed in 1625, contains an elegy on Jacobus Vaet, mourned by his colleagues Schede and Lasso.
On closer examination, there appears a tense network of musicians, huma-nists, diplomats and poets, established during the Imperial Diet in 1566.

The Mayrhofer Codices: Lasso’s music as a diplomatic gift; 
Barbara Eichner (Oxford Brookes University)

Music manuscripts retained their function as diplomatic gifts well into the sixteenth century. Even after the advent of music printing, the extra work involved in selecting appropriate pieces, writing the music and decorating the manuscript was a much appreciated gesture that helped to establish and maintain friendly relationships between institutions and patrons. Two manuscripts, which have hitherto been largely ignored in Lasso scholarship, belong into this context: in 1567 and 1568 respectively the Benedictine monk Ambrosius Mayrhofer of St Emmeram in Regensburg dedicated a music manuscript each to the City Council of Regensburg and the Benedictine monastery St Ulrich and Afra at Augsburg. Both codices contain predominantly works by the Bavarian court music director Orlando di Lasso, some even predating the earliest prints and manuscripts. This paper will investigate the motivation for Mayrhofer’s selection of music, his musical background and training, the compilation process of the manuscripts and the choice of dedicatees. This will shed light on the complex network and fragile diplomatic equilibrium between the Catholic monasteries, the councils of the newly Protestant imperial cities, and the Bavarian court which tried to extend its claim to leadership beyond the realm of culture and religion.

Lasso, Pevernage and others: a collection of Bicinia as a mirror of possible musicians’ connections; Francesco Pezzi (University of Augsburg)

This paper examines a collection of Bicinia and its reprint, published in Antwerp respectively in 1590 and 1609 by the company Phalèse & Bellère. The content of these printings consists of music for two voices - with and without texts - by several composers, among them, and most prominent Orlando di Lasso. The two prints have probably been created with a didactic purpose, though they also encourage further questions and hypotheses. We might assume that the prevalance of Lasso’s pieces in the prints was due to his fame and to the success of his previous Bicinia collection of 1577. However, what could be the explanation for a fact of a large group of composers all coming from and mainly active in the South of Italy? The prints’ front cover reads “Ex praeclarii huius aetatis Auctoribus collectae” (“collected from renowned authors of this time”); this sentence also appears in other printed collections by the same printers. This statement was probably included to catch the attention of potential buyers and we should not assume that the little fame these Italian composers have nowadays, corresponded to the situation at their time. Why this group of musicians, mostly coming from the city of Bari, has been chosen instead of others? The paper addresses this question among others by discussing the possibility that these prints might have been a publishing initiative of the musician André Pevernage. If this was the case, we could explain the presence of several composers from and mainly active in the Netherlands. From another point of view, the presence of the southern Italians could be related to Pevernage’s dedicatee of a similar printed collection and with a composer from Bari that spent several years at the court of Rudolph II while his patron was Apostolic Nuncio at the imperial court of Prague.