Senfl,Lassus and Cesare

What is it that connects the three main composers of this programme? Ludwig Senfl, who was called ‘The Swiss’ by contemporaries, was born in Switzerland. Orlando di Lasso was of ‘franco-flemish’ origin and Giovanni Cesare was Italian-born. All of them were musicians and composers in foreign countries and had one common domain, Munich.

Senfl was first employed as singer and  copyist at the court chapel of Maximillian I. After the death of the latter and a time of uncertainty and insecurity for Senfl, he finally entered the service of  Duke Wilhelm IV in Munich in 1523, where he was “Master of the court musicians” for 20 years in the post of ‘Musicus intonator’ or ‘Musicus primarius’.

Orlando di Lasso or Rolandus Lassus, as he often wrote himself, finally settled in Antwerp working as music teacher, after having spent several years in Italy as singer and composer. In Antwerp and Venice he personally published about 100 works of motets, madrigals and chansons. These attracted the attention of the young duke Albrecht V. of Bayern, who employed him first as a singer. In 1563 he was made master of the court musicians of Albrecht V. In 1570 Lassus had reached the pinnacle of his glory and was  given hereditary peerage in Speyer by the emperor Maximilian II. Lassus is to be regarded as the best known and the most ‘international’ of the three composers of this programme.

Unfortunately very little is known about Martino Cesare. His name as court musician appears regularly from 1610 to 1627 in the accounts of the court in Munich. He worked there as court musician, cornetto player (Zinkenist) or ’Instrumentalist’. In 1621 his MUSICALI MELODIE were published in Munich, from which three canzone will be played. Cesare was very definite on the instrumentation of his compositions, and in “Canzone La Hieronyma” wrote the very first solo piece explicitly for trombone.

Works by: Ludwig Senfl, Orlando di Lasso, Pietro Lappi, Benedetto Re and Giovanni Martino Cesare