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Simon Boyleau—Motetta Quatuor Vocum (1544)

Edited by Sally Watt, this is the first book of motets by Boyleau, a French nobleman who rose to become master of the chapel at Milan cathedral.

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The first modern edition of the motets of Simon Boyleau, published in Venice in 1544.

Simon Boyleau is one of a group of chapel masters from the Cathedral of Milan in the mid-sixteenth century who have been overshadowed by the more illustrious figures who frame the period: Franchino Gaffurius, who held the position for 38 years until 1522, and Vincenzo Ruffo, who held the position from 1563 until 1572. Boyleau was maestro di cappella in Milan from 1551 to 1557 and again from 1572 until 1577. He then moved to Turin where also was in charge of music at the cathedral until at least 1585.

His earliest surviving music, the Motetta of 1544 attests to his ability as a composer and his absorption of contemporary compositional techniques based on pervasive imitation. In some instances in which texts are drawn from plainchant, some traces of the parent chants are evident, particularly the melodic shape and opening intervals of specific lines of text. Amid the predominantly polyphonic texture, Boyleau also utilises sections of homophony, seemingly to accentuate specific sections of the text. The collection sets a broad range of texts including works appropriate for performance at major occasions in the liturgical calendar including Christmas, Lent, Corpus Christi and Easter, in addition to a number of Marian texts. The diversity of the texts suggests that the collection may have been put together to show his ability to compose for all occasions and may have been complied as a portfolio to present to prospective employers.

Published: 2009

Format: Soft cover (sewn sections), xxii, 199 p.

ISBN: 978 0 7340 3771 8

ISMN: 979 0 9009 5581 4

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