Orlando di Lasso – Life and Work

Alongside Palestrina, Orlando di Lasso was one of the most important composers of the High Renaissance. He was trained as a choirboy and at the age of twelve travelled in the entourage of viceroy Ferrante Gonzaga to Italy where he was introduced to the musical world of the nobility. In 1553 he was appointed “maestro di capella” at St. Giovanni in Laterano. In 1556 he entered the service of the Bavarian Dukes Albrecht V and Wilhelm V, as a result of which their court ensemble became one of the biggest and best in Europe. Italian folk music, the popular extemporary theatre, the academies in which classical Italian literature and the theatre were cultivated, as well as humanist thinking constituted the basis for his output which encompassed near to a thousand motets, masses, other sacred works and 350 secular songs and madrigals. As well as showing compositional mastery, all his works display a high emotional content and an outstanding wealth of melodic ideas.