Guillaume Dufay

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DufayBinchois.jpg
Dufay (left), with Gilles Binchois

Guillaume Dufay (c. 1400November 27, 1474) was a Franco-Flemish composer of the early Renaissance. As the central figure in the Burgundian School, he was the most famous and influential composer of the mid-15th century, and can be considered as the founding member of the Netherlands school which dominated European music for the next 150 years.

He was born in Hainaut, possibly in Cambrai, and received his musical education as a chorister at the cathedral in Cambrai.

He worked as a singer and a composer at various courts in Italy. From 1420 he was about 6 years at the service of the Malatesta in Rimini and Pesaro. In 1428 he became a member of the Papal Choir in Rome, at the service of Pope Martin V and later also of Pope Eugenius IV.

In 1436 he composed the festive motets Nuper rosarum flores, which were sung at the inauguration of Brunelleschi's dome of the cathedral in Florence, where Eugenius lived in exile. He also composed Lamentationes on the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

Dufay also worked for the Estes in Ferrara and for the rulers of Savoy in Turin. From around 1450 until 1458 he was Louis of Savoy's choir master.

In 1458, he returned to Cambrai, where he had been appointed canon of the cathedral, and spent the last part of his life there.

Dufay was influenced by John Dunstable. His works include masterpieces in both religious and secular genres: 22 motets, 3 magnificats, 7 complete masses (among which are the famous parody mass L'Homme arm where the cantus firmus is based on a popular tune, and a mass setting of his own chanson 'se la face ay pale') and 28 individual mass movements, as well as 87 three-voiced French chansons. He is considered the founder of the so-called Burgundian School, the first generation of the Netherlands School of polyphonic composers (approximately 1430-1580).

Dufay's music marks a watershed — he was the last great composer to make use of medieval techniques such as isorhythm (1), but one of the first to use the harmonies, phrasing and expressive melodies characteristic of the early Renaissance (2).

References

  1. Munrow D, Notes on recording of 'Se la Face ay Pale', Early Music Consort (1974)
  2. Pryer A, 'Dufay' in New Oxford Companion to Music ed Arnold (1983)da:Guillaume Dufay

de:Guillaume Du Fay eo:Guillaume DUFAY fr:Guillaume Dufay nl:Guillaume Dufay ja:ギヨーム・デュファイ fi:Guillaume Dufay

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