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Guillaume Dufay

1400 - November 27, 1474
born in Bersel, Brabant, composed during the Renaissance period
Guillaume Dufay commenced a meteoric musical career as a simple choirboy at Cambrai Cathedral in 1409. Before his death, Dufay would lead the papal chapel, consort with popes and dukes, collaborate with Donatello and Brunelleschi, and be reckoned the first composer of the Renaissance. His birthdate is unknown -- the suggestion 1397 stems from the date of his priestly ordination -- but his lengthy contact with Cambrai Cathedral and the Vatican, combined with evidence internal to his music, means that his life is quite well documented. His choirboy service apparently lasted until his voice broke in 1413 or 1414, when he was given a small chaplaincy. His early musical training came from choirmasters Nicholas Malin and the composer Richard Loqueville. The unusual gift of a book (the Doctrinale) in 1411 or 1412 testifies to the boy's intellectual abilities.

Cambrai's famous bishop Pierre d'Ailly took an active part in the Council of Constance (1414-1418), and Dufay's presence in his retinue could explain several points: his absence from Cambrai from November 1414, his early exposure to English music, and his contacts with the Malatesta family. After a brief tenure as subdeacon in Cambrai's St.-Géry, Dufay took up service with the Malatesta in Pesaro/Rimini. Two lavish wedding pieces, another motet, and a number of chansons date from this service, probably from 1420-1424. The health of his mother caused Dufay to return North, likely settling briefly in Laon, but the composer left for Italy again in 1426, bidding farewell to the fine wines of his homeland in the autobiographical Adieu ces bons vins.

Dufay stayed for some months in Bologna in the retinue of Cardinal Louis Aleman, possibly beginning his law degree there, but by December 1428 he had assumed a lucrative post in the Papal Chapel. Under Pope Martin V, the Chapel singers enjoyed a strong salary as well as the opportunity to hold several absentee benefice incomes; the musicians' fortunes improved further under the patronage of his successor, Eugenius IV (for whom Dufay wrote three more motets). However, Roman political turmoil helped push Dufay into the waiting arms of the Ducal Court of Savoy in 1433. As choirmaster there, his compositional life flourished, yielding a large cycle of hymn settings and many mature songs. A 1435 promotion to first singer (and choirmaster) lured him back to the Papal Chapel, now resident in Medicean Florence; among other pieces, Dufay gave the City of the Lily Nuper rosarum flores for the completion of Ghiberti's dome and the consecration of her Cathedral.

Dufay returned to a canonicate at Cambrai Cathedral by December 1439, where he remained for most of the remainder of his life. Only a trip to Italy in 1450, possibly to contribute the St. Anthony Mass for the dedication of Donatello's altar in Padua, and a final period of Savoyard service from 1452 to 1458, broke this semi-retirement. He took on a number of administrative tasks, such as ambassador to the Court of Burgundy (with which he apparently maintained a lifelong relationship), and musically led the petit vicaires as well as supervising the recopying of the Cathedral's chantbooks. He also composed several late cantus firmus masses, a lost requiem, and a plainchant Marian Office. At his death in 1474, Dufay left a sizable fortune (including cash, jewelry, furniture, and books), as well as musical provisions for his own memorial services. He also left an outstanding musical reputation and an exceptionally long shadow upon generations of composers to come. ~ Timothy Dickey, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Dufay: Chansons

1. J'ay Mis Mon Cuer Et Ma Pensee, Ballade For 3 Voices: Chansons: J'ay Mis Mon Cuer

2. Par Droit Je Puis Bien Complaindre Et Gemir, Rondeau For 3 Or 4 Voices: Chansons: Par Droit Je Puis Bien Complaindre

3. Work(s): Quel Fronte Signorille La Dolce Vista

4. Puisque Vous Estez Campieur, Rondeau For 3 Voices: Chansons: Puisque Vous Estez Campieur

5. Belle, Que Vous Ay Je Meffait, Rondeau For 3 Voices: Chansons: Belle, Que Vous Ay Je Mesfait

6. Vergene Bella, Cantilena Motet For 3 Voices: Chansons: Vergene Bella

7. Se La Face Ay Pale, Ballade For 3 Voices: Chansons: Se La Face Ay Pale

8. Donnés L'assault A La Fortresse, Rondeau For 3 Or 4 Voices: Chansons: Donnes L'assault A' Ia Fortresse

9. Par Le Regard De Vos Beaux Yeux, Rondeau For 3 Voices: Chansons: Par Le Regard De Vos Beaux Yeux

10. Resvelons Nous, Resvelons, Amoureux, Rondeau For 3 Voices: Chansons: Resvelons Nous

11. Ce Jour De L'an, Rondeau For 3 Voices: Chansons: Ce Jour De L'an

12. Mon Chier Amy, Qu'aves Vous Empensé, Ballade For 3 Voices: Chansons: Mon Chier Amy

13. Pour L'amour De Ma Doulce Amye, Rondeau For 3 Or 4 Voices: Chansons: Pour L'amour De Ma Doulce Amye

14. Helas Mon Dueil, A Ce Cop Sui Je Mort, Virelai For 3 Voices: Chansons: Helas Mon Dueil

15. Bon Jour, Bon Mois, Bon An Et Bonne Estraine, Rondeau For 3 Voices: Chansons: Bon Jour, Bon Mois

16. Resveilliés Vous Et Faites Chiere Lye, Ballade For 3 Voices: Chansons: Resvellies Vous Et Faites Chiere Lye

17. Adieu Ces Bons Vins De Lannoys, Rondeau For 3 Voices: Chansons: Adieu Ces Bons Vins De Lannoys

x

Track List: Guillaume Du Fay

1. Apostolo Glorioso, Isorhythmic Motet For 5 Voices: Apostolo Glorioso

2. Ave Maris Stella, Hymn For 3 Voices (2 Versions): Ave Maris Stella

3. Entre Vous, Gentils Amoureux, Rondeau For 3 Voices: Entre Vous, Gentils Amoureux

4. Je Me Complains Piteusement: Je Me Complains Piteusement

5. J'atendray Tant Qu'il Vous Playra, Rondeau For 3 Voices: J'atendray Tant Qu'il Vous Playra

6. Mon Cuer Me Fait Tous Dis Penser, Rondeau For 4 Voices: Mon Cuer Me Fait Tous Dis Penser

7. Flos Florum, Cantilena Motet For 3 Voices: Flos Florum

8. Sanctus Ave Verum Corpus And Agnus Custos Et Pastor, For 4 Voices: Sanctus Ave Verum Corpus (Sanctus "Papale")

9. Rite Maiorem Jacobum, Isorhythmic Motet For 3 And 4 Voices: Rite Majorem Jacobum Canamus/arcibus Summis Miseri Reclusi

10. Permanent Vierge: Permanent Vierge (? Ockeghem)

11. Aurea Luce Et Decore Roseo, Hymn For 3 Voices: Aurea Luce Et Decore Roseo

12. Mon Doulx Espoir: Mon Doulx Espoir (Hugo De Lantins)

13. Malheureulx Cueur, Que Vieulx Tu Faire? Virelai For 3 Voices: Malheureulx Cueur, Que Vieulx Tu Faire?

14. Puisque Vous Estez Campieur, Rondeau For 3 Voices: Chansons: Puisque Vous Estez Campieur

15. Par Droit Je Puis Bien Complaindre Et Gemir, Rondeau For 3 Or 4 Voices: Chansons: Par Droit Je Puis Bien Complaindre

16. Ecclesie Militantis, Isorhythmic Motet For 5 Voices: Ecclesie Militaris

x

Track List: Les Messes À Teneur

Disc 1
Title: Se La Face Ay Pale, Ballade For 3 Voices

1. Se La Face Ay Pale, Ballade For 3 Voices: Chansons: Se La Face Ay Pale

Title: Missa Se la face ay pale, for 4 voices

2. Missa Se la face ay pale, for 4 voices: Kyrie

3. Missa Se la face ay pale, for 4 voices: Gloria

4. Missa Se la face ay pale, for 4 voices: Credo

5. Missa Se la face ay pale, for 4 voices: Sanctus

6. Missa Se la face ay pale, for 4 voices: Agnus Dei

Title: Missa L'homme Armé, For 4 Voices

7. Missa L'homme Armé, For 4 Voices: Kyrie

8. Missa L'homme Armé, For 4 Voices: Gloria

9. Missa L'homme Armé, For 4 Voices: Credo

10. Missa L'homme Armé, For 4 Voices: Sanctus

11. Missa L'homme Armé, For 4 Voices: Agnus Dei

Disc 2
Title: Missa Ecce Ancilla Domini, For 4 Voices

12. Missa Ecce Ancilla Domini, For 4 Voices: Kyrie

Title: Ave Regina Caelorum (I), Antiphon For 3 Voices
Title: Ave Regina Caelorum III
Title: Missa Ave regina celorum, for 4 voices
x

Track List: Music For St James The Greater / Binchois Consort

Title: Missa S Jacobi, For 3 And 4 Voices

1. Missa S Jacobi, For 3 And 4 Voices: Introit

2. Missa S Jacobi, For 3 And 4 Voices: Kyrie

3. Missa S Jacobi, For 3 And 4 Voices: Gloria

4. Missa S Jacobi, For 3 And 4 Voices: Alleluia

5. Missa S Jacobi, For 3 And 4 Voices: Credo

6. Missa S Jacobi, For 3 And 4 Voices: Offertory

7. Missa S Jacobi, For 3 And 4 Voices: Sanctus

8. Missa S Jacobi, For 3 And 4 Voices: Agnus Dei

9. Missa S Jacobi, For 3 And 4 Voices: Communio

Title: Rite Maiorem Jacobum, Isorhythmic Motet For 3 And 4 Voices

10. Rite Maiorem Jacobum, Isorhythmic Motet For 3 And 4 Voices: Rite Majorem Jacobum Canamus/arcibus Summis Miseri Reclusi

Title: Balsamus Et Munda Cera, Isorhythmic Motet For 4 Voices

11. Balsamus Et Munda Cera, Isorhythmic Motet For 4 Voices: Balsamus Et Munda Cera

Title: Work(s)

12. Work(s): Quel Fronte Signorille La Dolce Vista

Title: Credo, For 3 Voices

13. Credo, For 3 Voices: Credo

Title: Apostolo Glorioso, Isorhythmic Motet For 5 Voices

14. Apostolo Glorioso, Isorhythmic Motet For 5 Voices: Apostolo Glorioso

Comments

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I know I'm responding to some fairly old comments, but…the early Church *is* the contemporary Church, unless you're a Protestant.
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Music of the spheres!
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That fifteenth and sixteenth century polyphony, Dufay, Desprez, Tallis, and the rest, is very special stuff. Each composition is like a brilliantly made tapestry that at one moment, invites you to step closer and examine the individual threads and then step back again and get the whole picture.
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JESUS IS THE REASON, ASK HIM FOR HELP, GO TO COFESSION CHANGE YOUR LIFE, I DID.
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Outstanding for this period. Healing and heavenly.
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Ethereal and joyous harmonies.
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johnnyohania n
Dufay was no doofus, for sure.
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Yes
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Early church? It is the music of the current Church. It is beautiful though.
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the beauty of such music of the early church brings tears of joy
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Dufay ...one of my faves ...especiall y his secular music.
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rosevannelso n
Very pleasent, good stuff to work to
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Peaceful Lent to all in 2012
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soft
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Well sung by this choir.

+
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one of the earliest composers from 1400

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