Heinrich Isaac - Metamorphosis
Heinrich Isaac (1445 -1517) was one of the most representative composers of the early Renaissance, along with Desprez, Obrecht, de la Rue and Agricola, who influenced and re-shaped Italian Polyphony.
A court composer in Innsbruck, Isaac left Austria in 1494 to work for Lorenzo de Medicis in Florence, as choirmaster and organist, on the death of Antonio Squarcialupi. When the Medicis were driven out of Florence by Savonarola, Isaac was hired by Maximilian the First, Holy Roman Emperor in Vienna.
He only returned to Italy in 1504, dividing his time between Ferrara and Florence, where he died in 1517.
Isaac was one of the most prolific musicians of his time. He left more than 40 settings of the Mass, 350 motets, innumerable chansons in Italian, German and French, and many fantasies and instrumental pieces.
A talented composer, often compared favourably with Josquin Desprez by his contemporaries, Isaac had one of the most original and unconventional styles of his time.
His counterpoint is prodigiously vituosic. We find alchemy in sound, metamorphoses foreshadowing the reorganisation of cantus firmus and chanson
eliminating the separation between sacred and secular music. Isaac plays with notes, composite ornamentation, mixtures, and mathematics; he superimposes secular and religious texts, mixes chansons and motets with a imagination and invention which puts us in mind of the more audacious creations of cookery.
Daedalus is celebrating the 500th anniversary of Isaac's death with a selection of his most inspired compositions.