Tag Archives: Guillaume Du Fay

Guillaume du Fay: Missa L’Homme Armé

We conclude today our perusal of the sacred repertoire of Guillaume du Fay, canon and composer of sacred polyphony at Cambrai throughout most of the 15th Century. Here we featured his Missa L’Homme Armé.

FromRome.Info features at 5 pm each day, a selection of Sacrd Music from the treasury of Catholic History, to educate its readers in the beauty and grace which has characterized sacred music and the rites of the Catholic Church throughout the ages.

Guillaume Du Fay: Alma Redemptoris Mater

Today we feature the chanson, Alma Redemptoris Mater, by Guillaume du Fay. Unlike his other pieces, he uses the form of a galliard in duet with musical accompaniment and breaks from the tradition of the Gregorian chant which he follows closely in other pieces. The 15th century saw many popular tunes used in compositions for sacred librettos. The practice was an attempt to animate the liturgy with secular music, but was condemned and forbidden by the Council of Trent.

Guillaume Du Fay: Ecclesiae militantis

Guillaume_Dufay
Du Fay dressed as a Canon.

As we continue to peruse the sacred repertoire of Guillaume Du Fay, canon of the Cathedral of Cambrai in the 15th century, we feature today his isorythmic motet for full boy’s choir with musical accompaniment, Ecclesiae militantis, which Du Fay dedicated to Pope Eugene IV and which was most likely written for the ceremony of the papal enthronement of the same.

 

Guillaume Du Fay: Ave Maria Stella

As we continue our journey through the Catholic composers of Sacred Polyphony in the 15th Century, we sample today from the repertoire of Guillaume Du Fay, a great servant of the Church and of our Lady. (For Biographical notes, see here)

In this piece, we see how he has reworked the traditional Gregorian Chant in honor of Our Lady Star of the Sea, patron of travelers and mariners, into a most beautiful composition, which is stunningly evocative and filled with tones of reminiscence and longing that will characterize the music of the Romantic era.

FromRome.Info features every afternoon at 5 pm, a selection of Sacred Music from the famous Catholic composers of ages past, to educate our readers to the wonders and treasures of the Church throughout the ages.

 

Guillaume Du Fay: Lamentatio Sanctae Matris Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae

We continue today our perusal of the sacred repertoire of Guillaume Du Fay, with his Lamentation for the Holy Mother Church of Constantinople.

The Fall of Constantinople in 1453 to the forces of the Muslim Turks struck at the hearts of all Christendom, even in the West of Europe. The Church of Constantinople was of very ancient origin and had been one of the principle 5 Patriarchates of the Early Church. Following the capture of the city by the forces of the Fourth Crusade, Latin Patriarchs governed the city for many decades. So there was intimate knowledge of the city among many travelers and nobility in Western Europe.

And thus, following the capture of the City by the infidels, there was widespread lamentation throughout Europe, even in Catholic Churches. Thus, the origin of this piece.

For the text and an English translation of the lyrics of this touching lament, see the YouTube page for this video, which the author has illustrated in a beautiful manner with images of what Constantinople looked like under Christian rule.

 

Guillaume Du Fay: Missa Ecce ancilla Domini

This week we peruse the repertoire of Sacred Music from the 15th century. We begin with this piece by Guillaume Du Fay, his, Missa Ecce ancilla Domini, written in honor of Our Lady.

Du fay had a colorful life. Born as a bastard of a priest at Cambrai (now France); he was raised by his mother and, having shown exceptional musical talent, received the help of many clerics who gave him an excellent musical formation. He obtained a benefice as a chaplain at the age of 16, at Cambrai, traveled to Contanz for the Ecumenical Council held there 1415-1418. Returning to Cambrai, he was made a subdeacon at the Cathedral, where he served two years. Then he spent four years traveling in Italy and working as a musician for the Nobility. Worn out by travels he returned home for two years, beginning in 1426.

He then traveled to Bologna, in Italy, and was taken under the patronage of Cardinal Louis Aleman, the papal legal. He was ordained a deacon, and then a priest at Bologna.  He fled Bologna in 1428, when it rebelled against the Pope, and went to Rome where he entered the service of Popes Martin V and Eugene IV. There he became the most famous musician in Europe of his time. When the forces of Conciliarists drove Pope Eugene from Rome and set up a temporary republic, he accepted invitations to courts from all over Europe.

He was the court composer for the Duke of Savoy in 1434, and returned to the service of Pope Eugene IV at Florence in 1435. When the schismatic Council of Basel deposed Pope Eugene IV, he fled to Turin and got a degree in law and then returned home to Cambrai, where he obtained a position as Canon of the Cathedral in 1440.

From 1452 he traveled Italy seeking the patronage of the Nobility, writing and composing music to pay his way. In his final years, he returned to and remained at Cambrai, where his fame drew students of music and composers from all of Europe to collaborate with him. He completely revised the musical  books used by the Cathedral and set in motion the rise of sacred polyphony for the next generation.

He died on Nov. 27, 1470, and as he passed requested that his motet, Ave Regina Caelorum be sung. Thus died a great servant of Our Lady and the Church.