Baude Cordier

Biography

Born: 1364; Reims, France   Died: 1397; Dijon, France  
Baude Cordier means Baude the harper, indicating the composer was a court musician. Although the name of Baude Cordier is attached to 11 surviving fourteenth century compositions, he is best known for two works inserted as a supplement to the Codex Chantilly, the rondeaux Belle, bonne, sage, plaisant and Tout par compas suy composés. These are most unusual by virtue of their appearance -- the first rondeau is inscribed in the form of a heart Read more shape, and the second is circular in design. The text of Tout par compas suy composés states that its composer was born in Rheims. Scholars have tentatively linked Cordier to a person -- the harper Baude Fresnel (also referred to as "Baude de Rains," meaning from Rheims) who was hired into the retinue of Burgundian duke Philip the Bold on January 10, 1384. When the duke traveled to Avignon and Milan, Baude Fresnel is shown to have accompanied him. Fresnel married in 1395, but died in 1397 or 1398. Fresnel's early death complicates the matter of linking him to the composer known in manuscripts as Baude Cordier, as the notational techniques used in the Codex Chantilly pieces indicate a date forward from 1400. This argument, however, is based on the idea that his music in the Chantilly manuscript is so uniquely related to the design features that only the composer could have fashioned them. It is not beyond consideration that an especially skilled and clever scribe could have created the decorative manuscripts working from older examples that may or may not have been designed in this manner. Cordier's other works are found in only two sources. Seven of his rondeaux are recorded in Oxford: Bodleian Library, MS Canonici Miscellaneous 213, an early to mid-fifteenth century source largely made up of older French compositions. An additional rondeau ascribed to Cordier, Se cuer d'amant par soy humilier, and a Gloria by him is found in Bologna: Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale, Ms Q 15. From the extant manuscripts it is clear that whoever he may have been, Cordier had a genuine gift for melody. Cordier's work begins within the complex realm of the French ars subtilior, but ultimately foreshadows the more direct style of the fifteenth century. Read less

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