Donald Macleod explains how Lassus entered the service of the Duke of Bavaria and became a leading light at his musical court.
A cosmopolitan composer who became so famous he was known as "The divine Orlando", this week Donald Macleod surveys the life and music of Orlande de Lassus.
Lassus had settled in Antwerp where he taught music to the nobility. He also published his Opus 1 set which included the chanson, Je l'ayme bien. The following year in 1556, Lassus brought out a second publication in Antwerp of motets in five and six parts. This first book of motets included both his Mirabile Mysterium and Fremuit spiritus Jesu.
In that same year of 1556, Lassus received a summons to go and work for the Duke of Bavaria in Munich, where he was employed as a tenor in the chapel choir. Duke Albrecht V was determined to develop music at court, and Lassus went on to take a lead role in this. Upon arriving in Munich, Lassus quickly settled in, publishing a set of madrigals including Quel chiaro sol, and Vostro fui. The Duke became quite possessive over Lassus's compositions, in particular a set of Penitential Psalms which the Duke prohibited Lassus from publishing.