Marguerite of Austria
Catherine Bott presents a programme telling the unfortunate tale of Marguerite of Austria, ill-fated in love and marriage but who was a pre-eminent patron of the arts. At the age of 2, Marguerite was betrothed to the 13-year old dauphin of France, the future Charles VIII, and she moved to France at the age of 3 in 1483. 8 years later though she returned home, humiliated that Charles had married Anne of Brittany instead. In 1497 Marguerite married Juan of Spain but he died 6 months later; after a few years she married Philibert de Savoie but this marriage too ended with his untimely death 3 years later. Soon afterwards Marguerite also lost her brother, Philippe de Beau, leaving 4 children and a mentally ill wife. Music and literature flourished at her court, as well as the visual arts, and Marguerite established a very impressive library of manuscripts and books. Poets and scholars dedicated works to her and she also wrote poetry herself, often lamenting her misfortunes, and titles such as 'regrets' or 'complaintes' dominate her collection of chansons. Several notable composers worked at her court, in particular Pierre de la Rue, and the music in the programme includes compositions that appeared in some of her manuscripts by Ockeghem, Agricola, Josquin and de la Rue.