Seminar in medieval and renaissance music

medieval network

‘Loÿset Compère and the motet in France in the early 1490s’ with speaker Jeffrey Dean (Birmingham Conservatoire) hosted by All Souls College.

When King Charles VIII of France invaded Italy in 1494–5, he took his chapel with him, and the composer Loÿset Compère is known to have been among them. A distinct small collection of five motets by Compère circulated in Italy between 1495 and 1502, and various scholars have argued that several of these were composed in Italy, either at this time or earlier (Compère had served the duke of Milan in 1474–7).

I shall argue that all five were composed in the years just before the campaign of Naples, and in France. Part of the argument concerns the motet *Quis numerare queat / Da pacem*, the only occasional motet in the collection, and I shall consider its probable occasion, which has been much disputed. I shall also consider the text of *Sile fragor*, showing the humanistic key that unlocks its opaque text.

Finally, I shall briefly discuss the consistent musical style of these motets, arguing that it is essentially French. By the 1490s Compère had assimilated Italian influence long since; the style of his motets is the foundation of the later French court style that became the "Palestrina style".

All are welcome.


Oxford Medieval Studies

Contact name: Margaret Bent
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Audience: Open to all