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R. Nosow
Hobrecht and His Singers

approx. 322 p., 9 b/w ill. + 14 colour ill. + 19 musical examples, 27 b/w tables, 178 x 254 mm, 2021
ISBN: 978-2-503-59702-7
Languages: English
The publication is in production.The publication is in production. (02/2022)
Retail price: approx. EUR 75,00 excl. tax
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A biography with extensive new documentation on the fifteenth-century composer Jacob Hobrecht (Jacobus Obrecht), framed by a social history and collective biography of the singers he worked with at the Church of St. Donatian in Bruges.
Hobrecht and His Singers frames the life of the illustrious composer Jacob Hobrecht (Obrecht) within a single institution, the Church of St. Donatian in Bruges. As a collective biography of the musicians at an important collegiate church in the late fifteenth century, the book will be of interest to readers of ecclesiastical, social, and urban history. Hobrecht twice served as succentor, or master of the choirboys, and twice was forced to leave the city—the first time in the wake of a devastating civil war, the second time in disgrace. The monograph focuses on the social and economic realities for the succentors and polyphonic singers, the Companions of Music, who worked closely together on a daily basis, during the years 1485–1505. Thick description provides a more comprehensive context for the lives of Jacob Hobrecht and seven musicians whose biographies are recounted here for the first time. Conflicts between the singers and the collegiate church to which they were pledged, driven in part by their emerging professional status circa 1500, helped lead to different career trajectories, in one case ending in tragedy. Numerous new documents add uncommon detail, both quotidian and dramatic, to the career of Hobrecht, necessitating original interpretations. Seven representative compositions written during his two periods in Bruges—both Masses and motets—demonstrate the kinds of work he undertook as succentor and the occasions for which he composed them, poised at the intersection of church and urban culture.
Robert Nosow has written widely on fifteenth-century Latin polyphony, the interrelationships of written and oral traditions, and the social history of early music, including “The Debate on Song in the Accademia Fiorentina” in Early Music History and “Song and the Art of Dying“ in Musical Quarterly. A monograph, Ritual Meanings in the Fifteenth-Century Motet, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2012.
Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

List of Musical Examples

List of Tables

Notes on the Text


I The Church of St. Donatian, 1485–1505: Social and Economic Considerations

1 The Succentor

            The Lof

            A New Foundation for the Choirboys

            Responsibilities and Income


2 The socii de musica and tenoriste

            The clerici installati

            The Chaplains

             The socii de musica

             The tenoriste

            Annual Feasts and Ceremonies

II Jacob Hobrecht, Succentor

3 Jacob Hobrecht, 1485–1490

            Recruitment from Cambrai

            The Daily Round

            Alma redemptoris mater

Three Royal Entries

Return from Ferrara


            The Poaching of a Choirboy

4 Jacob Hobrecht and the Fall of Bruges

            Arrest and Imprisonment

            The Missa de Sancto Donatiano

5 Pieter Basijn, the Missa de Sancto Martino, and the Missa Adieu mes amours

            The Foundation for Saint Martin

            A Mass of the Holy Spirit

6 Jacob Hobrecht, 1499–1500

            Disarray in the Succentorship

            Twenty Months

            Cardinal Giovanni de’ Medici

            The Chapel of Archduke Philip the Fair

            Illness and Resignation


            Provostship and a Motet

7 The May Fairs

            O preciosissime sanguis

            The Procession of 1501

III The Singers of a Collegiate Church, 1485–1505

8 The Singersand the Canons I

Petrus Zouburch

Cristianus Baelde

Nicolaus Sarrigot

            Gregorius Mijs

9 The Singersand the Canons II

Three tenoriste

Johannes de Clita

Petrus de Corte

10 Anthonius de Rycke, 1501–1505


            Departure and Excommunication


Appendix: Inventory of Bruges, Grootseminarie Bibliotheek, MS 75-37, Processional

Bibliography of Primary Sources

Bibliography of Secondary Sources

Index of Musicians and Clerici installati

General Index

Interest Classification:
Fine Arts & Performing Arts
Recreational & performing arts

This publication is also distributed by: ISD
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