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contain other Early Music composers as well as Lassus.)



Orlande de Lassus, a.k.a. Orlandus Lassus, Orlando di Lasso, Roland de Lassus, Roland Delattre (ca. 1532 - June 14, 1594) was a Franco-Flemish composer of religious and secular music.

Born in Mons, his first known position was with Ferrante Gonzaga of Mantua, whom he served from around 1544. He then worked as a singer and a composer for Constantino Castrioto in Naples and for the Archduke of Florence. In 1553, he became chorus leader of St. John Lateran in Rome, but he stayed there only for a year.

He then returned to the Low Countries and had his works published in Antwerp (1555-1556). In 1556 he joined the court of duke Albrecht V of Bavaria. He was appointed maestro di capella in 1563 and served Albrecht V and his heir, Wilhelm V, until his death.

One of the most prolific and versatile composers of his time, Lassus wrote over 2000 works in all Latin, French, Italian and German vocal genres known in his time. These include 530 motets, 175 Italian madrigals and villanellas, 150 French chansons, and 90 German lieder.

Almost 60 masses have survived complete; most of them are parody masses based on secular works written by himself or other composers. Among his other liturgical compositions are hymns, canticles (including over 100 Magnificats), responsories for Holy Week, Passions, Lamentations, and some independent pieces for major feasts.

Lassus died in Munich.




  • The Best of the Renaissance
    from Polygram Records.
    This CD contains, to my knowledge, the best recorded performance of the sublime Miserere by Gregorio Allegri. There is a famous story of Mozart going to the Sistine Chapel to hear the Allegri Miserere when he was fourteen years old. After having heard it, he asked to see the score and was denied...

  • The King's Singers' Madrigal History Tour
    from Angel Classics.
    Joined on about a third of the numbers by instrumentalists billed as the "Consort of Musicke", the King's Singers offer a variety of compositions from each country they "visit", some upbeat and others gently reflective. The vocalists are countertenors Jeremy Jackman and Alastair Hume, tenor Bill...

  • Music For Holy Week
    from Angel Classics.
    Superb ensemble singing from simply one of the finest choirs in the world. Philip Ledger's tenure at king's was relatively short but he produced a sublime sound from the choir. Then are many jewels on this disc from Lotti's 'Crucifixus' to the simply beautiful interpretation of Orlando Gibbon's...

  • English and Italian Renaissance Madrigals
    from Angel Classics.

  • The Antiphonal Music of Gabrieli (SACD)
    from Sony.
    After reading the above reviews I felt strongly compelled to add my two cents. Let's put this recording in its proper context: the Gabrieli portion of the release is perhaps the greatest symphonic brass recording ever made. There have been other outstanding brass recordings since the late 1960's,...

  • Orlande de Lassus: Sacred Choral Music; Missa ad imitationem Vinum bonum
    from Asv Living Era.

  • Le Jardin de Mélodies
    from Harmonia Mundi Franc.
    I heard a selection from this disc on the radio, and immediately decided to buy it. It is a wonderful mixture of songs, dances and instrumental pieces that provides us with an excellent overall picture of French music in the 16th century. Too often, early music discs contain music that sounds much...

  • Venice Music
    from Celestial Harmonies.
    Usually, compilations of classical music sound like a grab bag of greatest hits, with no regard for the integrity of complete works. Although that accusation could also be levelled at "Venice Music", with its excerpts from longer works, it plays out with a lot more consistency than most. It...

  • Glorious Sound of Brass
    from Sony.
    I bought this CD for track 13. Providebam Dominum by Lassus, and, while that track is a bit of a letdown, the rest of the CD is superb. This CD offers a range of brass music composed in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The performance is very clean as far as intonation as well as phrasing and...

  • Lamentations
    from Naxos.
    The Penguin Guide to classical CD's, which I'm not a slave to but which is on target a surprising percentage of the time (they're an English publication and they only miss the mark a little too often when they're reviewing recordings in one way or another associated with England, but if you're...

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