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Orlando Lassus

Orlando Lassus

Born: 1532 Died: 1594

Orlando di Lasso was born in Mons in the province of Hainaut, in what is today Belgium. Information about his early years is scanty, although some uncorroborated stories have survived, the most famous of which is that he was kidnapped three times because of the singular beauty of his singing voice. At the age of 12 he left the Low Countries with Ferrante Gonzaga and went to Mantua, Sicily, and later Milan (from 1547 to 1549). While in Milan he made the acquaintance of the madrigalist Hoste da Reggio, an influence which was formative on his early musical style.

He then worked as a singer and a composer for Constantino Castrioto in Naples in the early 1550s, and his first works are presumed to date from this time. Next he moved to Rome, where he worked for the Archduke of Florence, who maintained a household there; and in 1553, he became maestro di cappella (chorus leader) of the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome, a spectacularly prestigious post for a man only 21 years old, but he stayed there only for a year (Palestrina took this post a year later, in 1555).

No solid evidence survives for his whereabouts in 1554, but there are contemporary claims that he traveled in France and England. In 1555 he returned to the Low Countries and had his early works published in Antwerp (1555-1556). In 1556 he joined the court of duke Albrecht V of Bavaria, who was consciously attempting to create a musical establishment on par with the major centers in Italy; Orlando di Lasso was one of several Netherlanders to work there, but by far the most famous. He evidently was happy in Munich and decided to settle there. In 1558 he married Regina Wackinger, the daughter of a maid of honor of the Duchess; they were to have two sons, both of whom became composers. By 1563 Orlando di Lasso had been appointed maestro di cappella, succeeding Ludwig Daser in the post. Orlando di Lasso was to remain in the service of Albrecht V and his heir, Wilhelm V, for the rest of his life.

By the 1560's Orlando di Lasso had become quite famous, and composers began to go to Munich to study with him. Andrea Gabrieli went there in 1562, and possibly remained in the chapel for a year; Giovanni Gabrieli also possibly studied with him in the 1570s. His renown had spread outside of strictly musical circles, for in 1570 Emperor Maximilian II conferred nobility upon him, a rare circumstance for a composer; Pope Gregory XIII knighted him; and in 1571, and again in 1573, the king of France, Charles IX, invited him to visit. Some of these kings and aristocrats attempted to woo him away from Munich with more attractive offers, but Orlando di Lasso was evidently more interested in the stability of his position, and the splendid performance opportunities of Albrecht's court, than in financial gain. "I do not want to leave my house, my garden, and the other good things in Munich," he wrote to the Duke of Saxony in 1580, upon receiving an offer for a position in Dresden.

In the late 1570's and 1580's Orlando di Lasso made several visits to Italy, where he encountered the most modern styles and trends. In Ferrara, the center of avant-garde activity, he doubtless heard the madrigals being composed for the d'Este court; however his own style remained conservative, indeed becoming more simple and more refined as he aged. In the 1590s his health began to decline, and he was treated for hypochondria; however he still was able to compose as well as travel occasionally. His final work was the exquisite set of 21 madrigale spirituale, the Lagrime di San Pietro (Tears of St. Peter), which he dedicated to Pope Clement VIII, and published posthumously in 1595. Orlando di Lasso died in Munich, on June 14, 1594, the same day that his employer decided to dismiss him for economic reasons; he never saw the letter.

Featured Items (See Related Items.)

Displaying 1-3 of 3 items.


Orlando Lassus : Musica, Dei donum optimi : AATBBB : Sheet Music : Orlando Lassus : 9780193868168 : 9780193868168

Orlando Lassus : Musica, Dei donum optimi

Review: The setting was originally published in the year of Lassus' death (1594) and comes from his mature voice. Although it is economical in expression, it is rich and sonorous in sound and brought alive by the six-part counterpoint. It truly brings the text 'Music is a gift from God' to life.

Songlist: Musica, Dei donum optimi

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9636b | Sheet Music $3.95 | AATBBB add item to cart Sacred Choral Arrangements


Collegium Regale : Lassus : 00  1 CD : Stephen Cleobury : Orlando Lassus : 076

Collegium Regale : Lassus

Review: During the last thirty years of his life, Orlande De Lassus was the most celebrated composer in Europe. From the time that he took up the duties of maestro di cappella in the court of the Dukes of Bavaria at Munich, he began to be called 'prince of musicians' and 'the divine Orlande'. The pieces selected for this recording represent Lassus's treatment of them of death during the mature period. The first group considers the death of Christ; the second, the death of a Christian. Stephen Cleobury is associated with two of the most famous choirs; as Director of Music at King's College, Cambridge and Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers.

Songlist: Lamentatio Prima, Lamentatio Secunda, Lamtatio Tertia, Motet: In Monte Oliveti, Tract: Absolve, Domine, Introitus: Requiem Aeternam, Kyrie Eleison, Gradule: Si Ambulem, Offertoriu: Domine Jesu Christe, Sanctus, Agnus Dei , Communio: Lux Aeterna, Motet: Vide Homo

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8325c | 1 CD $15.98 add item to cart Mixed Choirs CDs


Huelgas Ensemble : Lassus : 00  1 CD : Peter Van Nevel : Orlando Lassus : HMC901828

Huelgas Ensemble : Lassus

Review: It was in seeking to set to music the emotions they found in literary texts and poems - imitar le parole - that the madrigalists of the early sixteenth century rediscovered the poetry of Francesco Petrarca. The rich imagery of his language provided the springboard for Orlande de Lassus, in particular, to show his mastery over a period of nearly forty years as one of the greatest composers of madrigals.

Songlist: Solo e pensoso, S'una fede amorosa, Di pensier in pensier, Tutto'l di piango, Cantai, hor piango, Che fai, alma?, La ver' l'aurora, Mia benigna fortuna, Io son si stanco sotto, I'vo piangendo

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8823c | 1 CD $19.95 add item to cart Early Music CDs

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Puer natusOrlando LassusOxford New College ChoirFor Unto Us A Child Is Born 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Adoramus te, ChristeOrlando LassusJohn Rutter (Editor)European Sacred MusicSongbookMORE DETAILS 
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Agnus Dei Orlando LassusCollegium RegaleLassus 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Alma redemptoris materOrlando LassusTallis ScholarsEssential Tallis Scholars 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Angus DeiOrlando LassusGloriae Dei CantoresMasters of the Renaissance 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Aurora lucis rutilatOrlando LassusOxford New College ChoirRenaissance Masterpieces 5 CDsMORE DETAILS 
Ave regina caelorumOrlando LassusTallis ScholarsEssential Tallis Scholars 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Ave VerumOrlando LassusOxford New College ChoirRenaissance Masterpieces 5 CDsMORE DETAILS 
Ave verum CorpusOrlando LassusJohn Rutter (Editor)European Sacred MusicSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Ave Verum CorpusOrlando LassusCambridge SingersThe Sacred Flame 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Beatus VirOrlando LassusPhilip Ledger (editor)Anthems For Choirs 2SongbookMORE DETAILS 
BenedictusOrlando LassusGloriae Dei CantoresMasters of the Renaissance 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Bon Jour: Et Puis, Quelles Nouvelles? Orlando LassusKing's SingersMadrigals Volume 2SongbookMORE DETAILS 
Bon Jour: Et Puis, Quelles Nouvelles?Orlando LassusKing's SingersMadrigal History Tour 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Bonjour Et Puis Quelles Nouvells?Orlando LassusEnsemble AmarcordBook of Madrigals 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Bonjour Mon CoeurOrlando LassusEnsemble AmarcordBook of Madrigals 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Bonjour mon coeurOrlando LassusClifford BartlettMadrigals and PartsongsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Bonjour Mon coeurOrlando LassusKing's SingersGreatest Hits 2 CDsMORE DETAILS 
Bonjour, mon coeur (Good Day, Sweetheart)Orlando LassusJohn LeavittThe Renaissance SingerSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Bonjour, Mon CouerOrlando LassusHarvard Glee ClubThe Archive Collection 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Cantai, hor piangoOrlando LassusHuelgas EnsembleLassus 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Cantai, or PiangoOrlando LassusVarious ComposersOxford Book of Italian MadrigalsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Che fai, alma?Orlando LassusHuelgas EnsembleLassus 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Chi chi li chiOrlando LassusClifford BartlettMadrigals and PartsongsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Chi ChilichiOrlando LassusKing's SingersEuropean RenaissanceSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Communio: Lux AeternaOrlando LassusCollegium RegaleLassus 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
CredoOrlando LassusGloriae Dei CantoresMasters of the Renaissance 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Cristus Resurgens Ex MotuisOrlando LassusKing's SingersGreatest Hits 2 CDsMORE DETAILS 
Dessus le marche d'ArrasOrlando LassusKing's SingersLive at the BBC Proms 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Dessus le marche d'ArrasOrlando LassusKing's SingersLive at the BBC PromsDVDMORE DETAILS 
Di pensier in pensierOrlando LassusHuelgas EnsembleLassus 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Domine convertereOrlando LassusOxford New College ChoirRenaissance Masterpieces 5 CDsMORE DETAILS 
GloriaOrlando LassusGloriae Dei CantoresMasters of the Renaissance 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Gradule: Si AmbulemOrlando LassusCollegium RegaleLassus 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
I'vo piangendoOrlando LassusHuelgas EnsembleLassus 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
ImproperiumOrlando LassusGloriae Dei CantoresMasters of the Renaissance 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Introitus: Requiem AeternamOrlando LassusCollegium RegaleLassus 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Io son si stanco sottoOrlando LassusHuelgas EnsembleLassus 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Jubilate DeoOrlando LassusSt. Olaf ChoirRepertoire for Mixed Voices Vol. II 2 CDsMORE DETAILS 
Justorum Animae Orlando LassusCambridge SingersLighten Our Darkness: Music for the Close of Day 2 CDsMORE DETAILS 
Justorum AnimaeOrlando LassusVoices of AscensionBeyond Chant: Mysteries of the Renaissance 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Justorum animae (The souls of reighteous men)Orlando LassusMason Martens (editor)Laudate Dominum - Motets of the RenaissanceSongbookMORE DETAILS 
KyrieOrlando LassusGloriae Dei CantoresMasters of the Renaissance 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Kyrie EleisonOrlando LassusCollegium RegaleLassus 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
La Nui Froide Et SombreOrlando LassusKing's SingersGreatest Hits 2 CDsMORE DETAILS 
La nuit froide et sombreOrlando LassusJohn Gardner / Simon Harris (Edited by)A CappellaSongbookMORE DETAILS 
La nuit froide et sombreOrlando LassusClifford BartlettMadrigals and PartsongsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
La ver' l'auroraOrlando LassusHuelgas EnsembleLassus 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Lamentatio PrimaOrlando LassusCollegium RegaleLassus 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
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