Heinrich [Henricus] Isaac [Ysaac, Isaak], [Arrigo il Tedesco]


 Heinrich Isaac

Franco-Flemish composer. Although the majority of his professional life was spent in Italy, particularly Florence, his influence was greatest in Germanic lands, where he lived intermittently from 1497, when he became court Composer to Maximilian I. Of his students, the most notable was Ludwig Senfl.

His long association with Italy began when he entered the service of the Medici in Florence around 1485 as a singer in the Cantori di S. Giovanni, a group that supplied polyphonic music for the cathedral and other local churches. His work for Maximilian I, from 1497 until his death, did not require continuous residence at the court but allowed stays of considerable length in various German cities, in northern Italy, and in Florence. Nevertheless, his position as imperial court composer and the many pieces he wrote for the Hofkapelle brought the Netherlandish style of music to German-speaking areas.

Among his works are about 40 Mass Ordinaries, half cyclic (in the Netherlandish tradition), half based on liturgically appropriate plainsong melodies (in the German tradition); almost 100 cycles of the Proper of the Mass (following Germanic liturgical custom; most published posthumously in the 3-volume Choralis constantinus); over fifty independent motets; and nearly 100 secular songs, including French chansons, a few Italian frottole, and a large number of German Tenorlieder.

A Partial Heinrich Isaac Discography |  IVA: The Netherlanders around and after Josquin  | IVB: At the Imperial Court of Maximilian I