Heinrich Isaac

Flemish Born 00 1450 Died 26 Mar 1517

It would be going too far to say that Heinrich Isaac is an unjustly neglected composer: yet his reputation is still confined to the limbo which contains so many of the leading figures of the renaissance period.

He is probably a little more performed than Philippe de Monte.

- MIDI FILE - Canzona (1'38'')

But in the company of those few who were rated amongst the very best in their lifetimes, Isaac has much to prove to modern audiences.

- MIDI FILE - "Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen" (0'38'')

No one would think on current evidence to mention him in the same breath as his great contemporary and fellow-Netherlander Josquin Des Prés, yet in the early years of the sixteenth century they were held to be on the same level of achievement: the two pre-eminent composers in Europe.

If it became commonplace to treat Josquin and Isaac as a complementary pair, in the way that Lassus and Palestrina or J.S. Bach and Handel are, an instructive shift in emphasis would be achieved.

- MIDI FILE - "La my" (1'29'')

No longer would Josquin be alone amongst the composers active around 1500 to have his music made available in inexpensive modern editions: perhaps the first monograph on Isaac would be written, bringing him out of the exclusive preserve of German-language scholarship.

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