His date of birth has been postulated by Planchart EMH; as 5 August ; this date is based on the year of his ordination late and his years as a chorister at Cambrai Cathedral —12and events connected with the establishment of his obit. Very few of the original rolls survive and even the registers where such petitions were copied were apparently destroyed at the end of every papacy. Much of what Du Fay wrote between and is lost, and what survives presents problems in terms of dating and transmission. Du Fay had also maintained good relations with the house of Burgundy, and in Mayprobably under pressure from the new provost, Bishop Jean of Burgundy, the chapter of St Donatian in Bruges granted Du Fay the canonicate that Eugenius IV had requested for him in On 18 September Eugenius attempted to dissolve the Council and open a new one in Bologna, and finally on 8 January a council sponsored by the pope opened in Ferrara.
Like the Geneva benefice, the canonicate at Cambrai was for a man with a law degree, and for the first time in a papal letter of 5 May Du Fay is mentioned as having a Bachelor of Law degree, which he must have obtained by papal fiat. Exceptionally, the roll containing the petitions of the chapel of Eugenius I-Rvat C. In August he received a canonicate at Lausanne with the proviso that he re the benefice at St Pierre, Tournai. The s of the chapel itself, which survive complete from to the end of the century Bouquetpass over him in total silence, but in an autograph quittance of 8 November Du Fay referred to himself as magister capellae of the duke.
A of works can be placed in the Bologna years, notably the isorhythmic motets Rite maiorem Jacobumwritten for Robert Auclou, and Apostolo gloriosowritten for the rededication of a church of St Andrew in Patras, the last Latin diocese of Greece, whose bishop was Pandolfo Malatesta da Pesaro, as well as the song Mon chier amywhich, it has been suggested in Fallows,was written as a song of condolence to Carlo Malatesta da Rimini on the death of his brother Pandolfo d 3 October The Missa S Jacobiwhich includes Propers as well as the Ordinary, has been placed in that period since it makes use of a rhymed alleluia, and there is evidence that the St James liturgy in the church of S Giacomo, Bologna, used one of the very rare versified Offices for that saint.
He is known to have been in Turin from 26 May to 1 Juneand Fallows has proposed that he and his companions were on their way to Padua to sing his Missa S Antonii de Padua. Works from this period include two isorhythmic motets, Moribus et genere and Fulgens iubarthe first probably written in for the visit of Bishop Jean of Burgundy to Cambrai, and the second dated either Fallows, or Planchart, Planchart EMH; proposed that five Proper cycles, which he now accepts as authentic works, were composed as part of a set of six masses one largely lost for the weekly series of votive masses of the Order of the Golden Fleece established by the Duke of Burgundy at the Ste Chapelle in Dijon.
By August he had left Rome and on 1 February he is mentioned as maistre de chapelle in Savoy. Du Fay, probably realizing that this conflict between his two principal Looking to move to Cambrai al threatened his most important benefices in Cambrai and Bruges, left the court of Savoy even before the deposition of Eugenius IV. By 6 July Du Fay had entered the service of the Duke of Burgundy, which most likely means that he had reached northern France by then; the earliest record of his presence at Cambrai is his attendance at the general chapter of the cathedral on 9 December Only one work can be securely dated to his second stay in Savoy, the motet Magnanime gentiscomposed to celebrate the peace between Louis, Prince of Piedmont, and his brother Robert, Count of Geneva, ed at Berne on 3 May It has been proposed that the sequence Isti sunt due olive dates from this period, because it is based on a plainchant melody used only in the dioceses of Lausanne and Geneva Planchart, EMH Du Fay remained at Cambrai from December to Marchconstituting the longest period of residence in one place to this point in his life.
Planchart indicated that the Kyrie settings and the earliest hymns belong to the Roman years as well. He held positions in many of the musical centres of Europe and his music was copied and performed virtually everywhere that polyphony was practised. In the end the benefice was awarded instead to another papal singer, Gilles Laury.
In contrast with the earlier period in Cambrai, documentary information for Du Fay during his last sojourn in Savoy between and is very limited. By October he had arrived in Cambrai where, apart from a few short journeys largely connected with his canonicate at Ste Waudru, he was to spend the rest of his life. By 15 December he was back in Cambrai, and on 4 March he attended the chapter meeting at Ste Waudru in Mons, at which time the Order of the Golden Fleece was having its annual meeting in that city.
The family name Du Fay as well as Du Faytuniversally spelt as two words in all 14th- and 15th-century documents traceable directly to bearers of the name, was not common in Cambrai: the largest concentration is found in documents from the area of Valenciennes. The relationship worsened steadily despite the support of the Duke of Burgundy, and in October Du Fay reed the canonicate at St Donatian and was installed as a canon of Ste Waudru in Mons, which he had visited, for the purpose of attending chapter meetings, during his time at Cambrai.
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Du Fay was a commoner and as late as November did not have a university degree, which rules out the possibility, discussed in earlier scholarship, that he obtained a law degree from Bologna or Rome. In August he had been granted leave from the court of Savoy to visit his mother in Cambrai, and in October of that year was among the distinguished visitors presented with gifts of bread and wine by the cathedral chapter.
He was acknowledged by his contemporaries as the leading composer of his day. No works by Du Fay can be placed with certainty during his first sojourn at Savoy, although it has been suggested that the ballade Se la face ay pale comes from that period Fallows, A of important works date from his final stay in the papal chapel: these include Nuper rosarum floresfor the dedication of S Maria del Fiore, Florence, on 25 Maythe plainchant prose Nuper almos rose floresfor the same occasion Wright,and the two other Florentine works, Mirandas parit and Salve flos Tusce.
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Among the guests were the Duke of Burgundy with his entire retinue, including the Burgundian chapel, and it is likely that the Duke of Savoy had sought Du Fay in order to have in his own chapel a musician of the same calibre as those of the Duke of Burgundy. Planchart EMHalso presented evidence that, in conjunction with the revision of the Cambrai liturgical books, Du Fay undertook the compilation and composition of an extensive set of polyphonic Ordinaries and Propers for the cathedral, copied into four volumes by Symon Mellet in Wright,and which may have prompted a large payment from the chapter to Du Fay in By May Du Fay had left Cambrai.
The s of the tesoreria generale note a gift of livery to him in January without mentioning his status, and a letter from Pope Nicholas V to Duke Louis of Savoy also refers to Du Fay as magister capellaebut it is clear that his position in the Savoy chapel was largely ceremonial and that he was viewed as private counsellor and a friend of the ducal family.
Shortly after that he left Cambrai and travelled to Savoy, where he was to spend the next six years. Du Fay was in Bologna from February or March until Augustwhen the Canedoli faction in the city revolted and expelled Aleman and his court.
By July Du Fay had returned to the papal chapel, which was then in Florence. Du Fay left the papal chapel at the end of May and returned to Savoy.
Traditionally a new pope, in the weeks after his coronation, granted two expectatives to virtually every member of the curia as well as to thousands of petitioners in rolls submitted to him by the rulers and the universities. His original patronymic was Du Fayt; he apparently altered the spelling to Du Fay during his years in Italy. This assumption is supported by his later connection with Carlo Malatesta, whom the composer could only have met at Konstanz, and also by the nature and transmission of his earliest datable composition, a Sanctus related to a similar work by Loqueville, employing as a cantus firmus a troped chant that was used at Cambrai as part of the recently compiled Mass to pray for the end of the Schism.
That same year he sought a renewal of his right to the two expectatives originally granted him by Eugenius IV in Among the works written by Du Fay during his Roman years are the motets Ecclesie militantisBalsamus et munda cera and Supremum est mortalibus. Du Fay was born the illegitimate son of a single woman, Marie Du Fayt, and a priest whose name has not come down to us.
The first of these has been thought to be for the coronation of Eugenius IV, but neither text nor transmission support that assumption; the second was intended for the distribution of the wax Agnus Dei on 7 April ; and the third for the meeting of King Sigismund and the pope on 31 May The song Quel fronte orille carries in its only source the annotation that it was written in Rome. In Du Fay obtained for a short time the Benedictine priory of Cossonay, near Lausanne, which he reed in exchange for another unnamed benefice. From the beginning of his reception as a canon of St Donatian he had trouble with the chapter over the collection of his revenues.
The collation of this benefice posed a problem in that the holder had to be a nobleman or a university graduate. His teachers at Cambrai during those years included Rogier de Hesdin, who taught him for 11 weeks in the early summer ofNicolas Malin, magister puerorum at the cathedral from toand perhaps Richard Loqueville, magister puerorum from until his death in His instruction in music and in grammar followed the rigid but practical curriculum common to most French cathedral schools in the late Middle Ages.
Two works can be securely placed in this period in Savoy. By November Du Fay had returned to Cambrai and was already a subdeacon. He had not collated the Geneva benefice by Februaryand there is no evidence that he ever held it.
As the schism worsened he reed his benefices in Versoix and Lausanne On 23 April his mother died and was buried in the cathedral, and on 14 August he moved to the house of the late canon Paul Beye, which he would retain until his death. By 29 July he had obtained the parish church of St Loup, Versoix, and the duke nominated him to a canonicate in Geneva. After leaving Bologna Du Fay went to Rome.
The duke sought to provide Du Fay with some benefices and may have had a hand in his receiving those in Lausanne and Cossonay.
He is mentioned in the first, dated 12 Aprilas a deacon, and in the second, dated 24 Marchas a priest. He took an active part in the administration of the cathedral and, together with Nicolas Grenon and Symon Mellet, began an ambitious project to revise the liturgical books of the cathedral and to compose and assemble a large repertory of polyphonic music for use in the services.
Hubert died on 24 December ; he left a substantial bequest to Marie, but there is no mention of Guillaume. He is listed as a member of the papal chapel in a payment of 4 Decemberbut a littera de fructibus dated 14 April states that he had been a papal chaplain for about six months, placing his arrival at the curia sometime in October He remained in the papal chapel until July During his years in Rome he, like other members of the chapel, sought to advance his clerical career by petitioning the pope for a of benefices.
In the summer of that year he entered the service of Carlo Malatesta da Rimini. Du Fay apparently returned north inmost likely because Jehan Hubert, in whose house Marie Du Fayt was still living, became seriously ill. In the meantime a semiprebend at Tournai was granted to him by the pope in early on the basis of the expectative ofand on 9 September a new benefice, a canonicate at Cambrai, was granted to him by a motu proprio of Eugenius IV.
Du Fay was received as a canon of Cambrai, with Grenon acting as his representative, on 12 November The quick collation of the benefice could be due to his having been a local cleric and also to his having paved the way with the Cambrai authorities not long before his nomination.
French composer and theorist. In August of that year he was present at a meeting of the chapter in Lausanne, and in April the Cambrai chapter named him and Robert Auclou as delegates to the Council of Basle. Their musical establishment was not large, but it had a of competent musicians among its chaplains and minstrels.
Du Fay developed close ties to the Savoy family.
A letter from Louis of Savoy to the composer, dated 22 October? The collation of this last benefice belonged to the community of chaplains in Laon. On his reation that post was requested by one Jacobus de Werp, whose letter is the sole source of the information that Du Fay was the son of a priest and a single woman.