Ludwig Senfl

a Swiss in Europe


Born in or around Basel in the end of the 15th century, Senfl has made an exceptional career as a composer. He was the most important student of Isaac, traveled with him extensively and collaborated as his copyist. At his master’s death, he succeeded him as court composer at Kaiser Maximillian the first’s Hofkapelle, where he stayed until the emperor’s death in 1519. Unfortunately Charles V preferred his own Spanish musicians and didn’t accept Senfl in his services.

There were several years of despair and repeated attempts to be accepted as musician and composer there. Probably his mass “L’Homme armé” was written for the emperor with the hope to be taken on.By early 1523 Senfl was in Munich, where he had obtained a post in Duke Wilhelm of Bavaria’s Hofkapelle; he spent the rest of his life there.
Senfl was aware of the theological controversies of the time: although he did not support Luther’s reformation openly, he seems to have sympathized with it. Senfl’s Ecce quam bonum et quam iucundum habitare fratres in unum was performed at the opening of the Augsburg Diet of 1530 as an exhortation to unity between the church factions. Shortly before the end of the diet Luther asked Senfl for a composition and received from him two motets, Non moriar sed vivam and In pace in idipsum, for which he thanked him with a small chest of books.
Our programme combines the most important works of Senfl that illustrates the story of his life, with the mass “L’Homme armé” in the center. Lieder like the autobiographic “Lust hab ich g’habt zur musica” mark the different stations in his career.
These will be framed by pieces of composers important to his life, like Josquin des Prez, Isaac, Hofhaimer and Lassus

Instrumentation: 7-11 musicians
1-5 singers, cornetto, bombarde/alto dulcian, 2 trombones, dulcian, organ/virginal

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