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Busnois, Antoine

Busnois, Antoine (b c.1430; d Bruges, 1492). Fr. composer. May have been pupil or colleague of Ockeghem. Was for long in service of Charles the Bold (who became Duke of Burgundy in 1467) and after Charles's death in 1477 served his daughter Mary of Burgundy until her death in 1482. Moved to Bruges and became rector cantoriae at the church of St Sauveur. Regarded as one of leading composers of his day, ranking next to Ockeghem, with whom he shared a penchant for elaborate melody, the use of canon, and lively rhythms. His Missa L'homme armé is one of earliest based on this secular tune, but some of his most original work is to be found in his chansons, of which over 60 survive. For some of these he wrote the words. His motet Anthoni usque limina has a part for a tenor who sings the note D in imitation of a bell. Its text has a reference to his name in the line ‘… in omnibus noys’. His three-part setting of an It. text, the motet Fortunata desperata, was a model for Josquin Desprès, and the melodies of some of his chansons were used in Masses by his contemporaries just as he had used L'homme armé.

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