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Power, Lionel


Church composer and singer; b. England, c. 1375; d. Canterbury, June 5, 1445. He ranks next to dunstable in importance among early 15th-century English composers, by reason of the artistic quality and quantity (about 50) of his works, all church music. Neither Power nor Dunstable was a member of the chapel royal, but Dunstable's membership in the Duke of Bedford's private chapel suggests that Power too may have accompanied the Duke into France. Most of his music is found in Continental MSS, although the Old Hall MS also provides examples of his early and later styles. Some of his liturgical music could have been written for Christ Church Priory, Canterbury, for he was received there as a lay oblate as early as 1423. His early works were strongly influenced by the angular and often recondite features of the late ars nova, and two of his Mass sections exhibit many of the complexities of proportional notation. His later music, especially the 15 motets in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, assumes the flowing and consonant style developed and perfected by Dunstable.

Bibliography: m. f. bukofzer, "English Church Music of the Fifteenth Century," New Oxford History of Music, ed. j. a. westrup, 11 v. (New York 1957) 3:172176. f. l. harrison, Music in Medieval Britain (New York 1958). w. b. squire and a. hughes, Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. e. blom 9 v. (5th ed. London 1954) 6:903. Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, ed. n. slonimsky (5th, rev. ed. New York 1958) 1274. m. bent, "Leonel Power" in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 15, ed. s. sadie (New York 1980) 174179. r. d. bowers, "Some Observations on the Life and Career of Lionel Power" in Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association (1975/1976), 103127. d. m. randel, ed., The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music (Cambridge 1996) 707. n. slonimsky, ed., Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, eighth edition (New York 1992) 1439. b. g. smith, "John Dunstable and Leonel Power: A Stylistic Comparison" (Ph.D. diss. University of Sheffield, 1993).

[d. stevens]

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