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Antoine Busnois

Biography

Born: 1436; Busnes, France   Died: November 6, 1492; Bruges, Belgium  
"Worthy of the immortal gods" was the fifteenth century theorist Johannes Tinctoris' assessment of the music of Antoine Busnois (as well as that of Johannes Ockeghem). The twentieth century, as well, has identified in this composer a crucial link between Guillaume Dufay and Josquin Desprez. His chansons, masses, and secular vocal polyphony represent some of the finest (and most plentiful) examples of French music of the latter half of the Read more fifteenth century; yet Antonius de Busne, dit Busnoys, often seems unjustly eclipsed by his esteemed contemporaries.

Busnois' family history and early life remain somewhat shrouded in the historical mists. His name (in the Artois dialect) most likely indicates the town of Busne (similarly, Gilles from Bins was styled "Binchois"). Since Busnois had advanced to the priesthood by 1460, the period 1436-1439 is suggested for his birthdate. His name and the location of his early benefices suggest Flanders/Artois/Hainaut as the general area of his first training in music, though 1450s service to the Court of Brittany is also possible.

The earliest documentary evidence of his life, shockingly, is a Vatican petition (1461) for absolution from the sentence of excommunication. The young priest apparently beat another priest bloody within the cathedral close, organized five further gang assaults on him, and then continued to celebrate mass while under sentence! It seems the Pope pardoned these youthful indiscretions, however, as Busnois recevied promotion to Acolyte and then to Subdeacon around Easter 1465.

Busnois by now was a choir clerk in the Abbey of St.-Martin in Tours, where Ockeghem himself served as Treasurer. Also by this time, his many accomplishments as courtly poet and musician were already being recorded in a series of central manuscript Chansonniers in the Loire Valley. Autobiographical evidence in one set of these songs hints strongly of an extravagant society love affair between the priest and a Parisian noblewoman.

After one further year in French lands, serving a Potiers church from September to July 1465 as Master of the Choirboys, Busnois was dismissed, perhaps for financial irregularities. Less than a year later, he is documented in service to the Court of Burgundy, the most important position of his career. His motet In hydraulis praises Ockeghem and calls himself an "unworthy singer of the Count of Charolais"; this Count was crowned Duke of Burgundy on June 15, 1467, and Busnois followed Charles the Bold onto the international stage. His service was at first unofficial, but tenured by November 1470; he provided a variety of musical and courtly duties to the peripatetic court until well after Charles' death. He sang regular liturgical observances in the Duke's chapel, followed the Duke on military campaigns, and even undertook a diplomatic embassy of some secrecy at one point (this last could have entailed a "poaching" mission to secure singers from a rival prince's chapel). His few surviving sacred works, with a number of chansons, may date from this service.

After Charles' January 1477 death, Busnois entered the service of his daughter and heir, Marie of Burgundy. Upon her marriage to the Maximilian I later the same year, he transferred his service to the chapel of the Hapsburg Emperor. Busnois is documented at least sporadically in this well-remunerated position until April 1483. Two anomalous Italian-texted pieces attributed to him have suggested his presence sometime in Italy, but one of these certainly is an Italian contrafactum of a French piece, and the other is more likely the work of a Florentine. The final documentary reference to Busnois indicates his death: the Chapter of St.-Saveur in Bruges met on November 6, 1492, to consider replacements for their recently deceased musical director. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 26 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Busnois: Missa O Crux Lignum / Orlando Consort
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 1957333 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antoine Busnois
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orlando Consort
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  • 2.
    Heinrich Isaac: Ein Frolich Wesen - Secular & Textless Music
    Label: Christophorus   Catalog: 77360 Release Date: 11/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinrich Isaac,  Anonymous,  Jacobus Barbireau,  Guillaume Dufay  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Form
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Flamboyants
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  • 3.
    Harry Our King: Music For King Henry Viii Tudor
    Label: Carpe Diem   Catalog: 16292 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Johannes Ockeghem,  King VIII Henry,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Charles Daniels
    Conductor:  Katharina Bauml
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella de la Torre
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  • 4.
    Hommage A La
    Label: Aeon   Catalog: 1226 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pierre de La Rue,  Josquin Des Préz,  Antoine Busnois,  Johannes Lupi  ... 
    Conductor:  Antoine Guerber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Diabolus in Musica
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  • 5.
    Le Maitre De Fricassee - Jean Japart / Michael Form, Les Flamboyants
    Label: Christophorus   Catalog: 77353 Release Date: 11/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Jean Japart,  Josquin Des Préz,  Johannes Martini  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Feyfar,  Els Janssens
    Conductor:  Michael Form
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Flamboyants
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  • 6.
    Medieval Christmas / Orlando Consort
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2927418 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacobus Clemens non Papa,  Anonymous,  Loyset Compčre,  Guillaume Dufay  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orlando Consort
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  • 7.
    The Brightest Heaven Of Invention / New London Chamber Choir, Et Al
    Label: Amon Ra   Catalog: 56 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antoine Busnois,  Guillaume Dufay,  Jacob Obrecht,  Antoine Brumel  ... 
    Conductor:  James Wood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New London Chamber Chorus
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  • 8.
    The Art Of The Netherlands
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 28497 Release Date: 05/18/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Josquin Des Préz,  Anonymous,  Hayne van Ghizeghem,  Alexander Agricola  ... 
    Performer:  Christopher Hogwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Early Music Consort of London
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  • 9.
    Label: Raum Klang   Catalog: 28010 Release Date: 06/13/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Guillaume Dufay,  Robert Morton,  Hayne van Ghizeghem  ... 
    Performer:  Annemieke Cantor,  Michael Form,  Susanne Ansorg,  Randall Cook  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Form,  David Munrow,  Michal Gondko
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Haults Ménestrels de Charles le Téméraire,  Les Flamboyants,  Early Music Consort of London  ... 
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  • 10.
    For Ockeghem / The Hilliard Ensemble
    Label: Coro   Catalog: 16048 Release Date: 05/08/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Lupi,  Loyset Compčre,  Antoine Busnois,  Johannes Ockeghem
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
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  • 11.
    Lockerbie Memorial Concert / Bryars, Hilliard Ensemble
    Label: Gb Records   Catalog: 3 Release Date: 03/14/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Jenkins,  Gavin Bryars,  Nicolas Gombert,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  William Hunt,  Wendy Gillespie,  Julia Hodgson,  Susanna Pell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork,  Hilliard Ensemble
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  • 12.
    Missa - The Finest Masses In Musical History
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2908183 Release Date: 01/10/2006   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Frank Martin,  Leonard Bernstein,  Francis Poulenc  ... 
    Performer:  Phillip Moll,  Philip Mayers,  Hanno Müller-Brachmann,  Steve Davislim  ... 
    Conductor:  Marcus Creed,  Daniel Reuss,  Kent Nagano,  Philippe Herreweghe  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus,  Berlin Cathedral Chorus,  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin  ... 
    On sale! $41.97
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  • 13.
    Century Vol 7 - Ars Subtilior
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2908169 Release Date: 12/13/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gilles Binchois,  Antoine Busnois,  Johannes Ockeghem,  Guillaume Dufay  ... 
    Performer:  Charles Daniels,  Robert Harre-Jones,  Donald Greig,  Stephan Van Dyck  ... 
    Conductor:  Marcel Pérčs,  Paul van Nevel,  Crawford Young
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orlando Consort,  Ensemble Organum,  Huelgas Ensemble  ... 
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  • 14.
    Música Cortesana En La Europa De Juana I De Castilla
    Label: Pneuma Classics   Catalog: 710 Release Date: 11/08/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Guglielmo Ebreo da Pesaro,  Johann Weck,  Heinrich Isaac,  Antoine Busnois  ... 
    Conductor:  Eduardo Paniagua
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Música Antigua
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 15.
    Discover - Early Music
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8558170-71 Release Date: 11/01/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Hildegard of Bingen,  Anonymous,  Léonin,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Marco Ambrosini,  Peter Rabanser,  Katharina Dustmann,  Wolfgang Reithofer  ... 
    Conductor:  Antony Pitts,  Alberto Turco,  Jeremy Summerly,  Michael Posch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oxford Camerata,  Nova Schola Gregoriana,  In Dulci Jubilo  ... 
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  • 16.
    Label: Raum Klang   Catalog: 23015 Release Date: 10/15/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Bedyngham,  Anonymous,  Antoine Busnois,  Johannes Ockeghem  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Morra
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  • 17.
    A Songbook For Isabella / Thorby, Musica Antiqua Of London
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 39 Release Date: 07/29/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Josquin Des Préz,  Heinrich Isaac,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Philip Thorby
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua of London
    CD: $17.99
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  • 18.
    Blue - Musical Book Of Hours / Blachly, Pomerium Musices
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 000040902 Release Date: 06/10/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Josquin Des Préz,  Byttering,  John Dunstable,  Richard Hygons  ... 
    Conductor:  Alexander Blachly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pomerium Musices
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 19.
    A Marriage Of England And Burgundy / Binchois Consort
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67129 Release Date: 11/14/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Walter Frye,  Antoine Busnois
    Conductor:  Andrew Kirkman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Binchois Consort
    On sale! $21.98
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  • 20.
    Early Music - Oh Flanders Free - Flemish Renaissance Music
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8554516 Release Date: 05/16/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tylman Susato,  King VIII Henry,  Philippe Basiron,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  Liam Fenelli,  Paul Van Loey,  Sophie Watillon,  Eugeen Schreurs  ... 
    Conductor:  Dirk Snellings
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capilla Flamenca
    On sale! $9.99
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  • 21.
    Music & Art In Renaissance Florence
    Label: Metronome   Catalog: 1041 Release Date: 01/01/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinrich Isaac,  Anonymous,  Joan Ambrosio Dalza,  Jean Japart  ... 
    Performer:  Robin Blaze
    Conductor:  Mark Levy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concordia
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 22.
    The Triumphs Of Maximilian - Senfl, Isaac, Des Prez, Et Al
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 4 Release Date: 04/01/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig Senfl,  Heinrich Finck,  Georg Rhau,  Heinrich Isaac  ... 
    Performer:  John Potter
    Conductor:  Philip Thorby
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua of London
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  • 23.
    A Dorian Banquet
    Label: Sono Luminus   Catalog: 90006 Release Date: 08/25/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Jongen,  Traditional,  Jacques Mangeant,  Antoine Busnois  ... 
    Performer:  Jean Guillou,  Catherine [Mezzo-Soprano Vocal] Robbin,  Ronn McFarlane,  Valerie Tryon  ... 
    Conductor:  Eduardo Mata
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Consort,  The Rembrandt Trio
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  • 24.
    Angels Of Antiquity
    Label: Sono Luminus   Catalog: 90009 Release Date: 11/18/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carlo Gesualdo,  Antoine Busnois,  Anonymous
    Conductor:  Alexander Blachly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pomerium Musices
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  • 25.
    The Dorian Collection Sampler Vol III
    Label: Sono Luminus   Catalog: 90003 Release Date: 08/31/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Adson,  Antoine Busnois,  Paul Peuerl,  Andrew Blackhall  ... 
    Performer:  Custer LaRue,  Ronn McFarlane,  Colin Tilney,  Dalton Baldwin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Kammermusiker,  Baltimore Consort,  The Rembrandt Trio
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