Faà di Bruno, Giovanni Matteo [Horatio, Orazio] 83

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Fresneau, Henry

(fl 1538–54). French composer. Bibliographical evidence suggests that he had connections with Lyons. Moderne's anthologies ascribe to him one motet, Miser ubi parebo, and 20 chansons for four voices. 13 of these appeared in the second volume of Le difficile des chansons (RISM 15449); they include two anecdotal pieces about the sexual adventures of Franciscan and Dominican friars (Ung Cordelier and Ung Jacobin), both perhaps of local significance. Another chanson, Montez soubdain (RISM 154017), may refer to the ‘chevauchée de l’âne’, a jovial tradition celebrated annually in Lyons. One clumsy text, Mignons qui suives la route, is no more than a publicity jingle advertising a travelling troupe of officially sanctioned players. Like some other composers of polyphonic music (e.g. Sandrin), Fresneau may have been connected with dramatic entertainment: his knowledge of the popular repertory is attested in a fricassée which quotes from over 100 contemporary chansons. He specialized in novelty pieces, composed in a catchy style with rapid syllabic patter, and it is easy to see how Le jeu m’ennuye ascribed to Fresneau in the sixth book of Moderne’s Parangon (RISM 154016) came to be attributed to Janequin in Attaingnant’s 23rd book of chansons published in Paris several years later. Attaingnant was clearly uncertain about Fresneau’s music: he reprinted two of the pieces from Le difficile des chansons with ascriptions to Santerre, and after attributing Par toy Amour, hélas je suis laissée to Fresneau in his 18th book (RISM 154513), he ascribed it in the next book to Guyon. He did however issue three new chansons by Fresneau between 1545 and 1547; Du Chemin added one more in 1554.


all for 4 voices

Motet, 4vv, 153910

A bien compter, 153817, ed. in SCC, xxiv (1992), and in Dobbins (1972); Encores un coup, 15449; Frere Jehan, 15449; Hellas la paix, 15449; J’ay la promesse, 153817, ed. in SCC, xxiv (1992); La fricassée, 153817, ed. in SCC, xxiv (1992), and in Dobbins (1972); Le cruel Mars rebelle et rigoureux, 155421; Le jeu m’ennuye, 154016 (attrib. Janequin in 154710), ed. in SCC, xxvi (1993), and in Dobbins (1972); Le mien esprit, 15449

Mignons qui suives la route, 153920, ed. in SCC, xxvi (1993), RRMR, xxxviii (1981) and in Dobbins (1972); Montez soubdain, 154017, ed. in SCC, xxvii (1993), and in Dobbins (1972); N’aymés jamais ces vielles, 15449; Oeil importun qui mon cueur a rendu, 15478; Par toy Amour, hélas je suis laissée, 154513 (attrib. Guyon in 154612); Peine et travail ne m’est qu’esjouyssance, 154512; Qu’est la, c’est le beau pere (Trac, trac, trac), 154710; S’il est ainsi, 15449

Si vous la baizés, 15449; Souspir d’amours, 153920, ed. in SCC, xxvi (1993), RRMR, xxxviii (1981) and in Dobbins (1972); Tenot estoit, 15449 (attrib. Santerre in 154510), ed. in RRMR, xxxviii (1981), and ed. A. Seay, Pierre Attaingnant: Dixseptiesme livre (1545) (Colorado Springs, CO, 1979); Ung advocat dict, 15449; Ung compaignon, 15449; Ung Cordelier, 15449; Ung Jacobin, 15449; Ung laboureur, 15449 (attrib. Santerre in 154510), ed. A. Seay, op. cit.


F. Lesure: ‘Eléments populaires dans la chanson française au début du XVIe siècle’, Musique et poésie au XVIe siècle: Paris (1953), 169–84

F. Dobbins: The Chanson at Lyons in the Sixteenth Century (diss., U. of Oxford, 1972), i, 144–5

F. Dobbins: Music in Renaissance Lyons (Oxford, 1992)


Fresneau [Fresnau, Frasnau], Jehan [Johannes de Frania]

(b Cambrai; fl c1468–1505). French composer. A Milanese document from 1476 describes him as a priest of Cambrai, and he may be identifiable with the petit vicaire ‘Jo. Fremniau’ who is documented at Cambrai Cathedral from 1468 to 1469. Fresneau was a chapelain ordinaire in the French royal chapel from 1469 to 1475. He was in Milan in 1476, where he is listed among the singers in the chapel of Galeazzo Maria Sforza. (He is here called ‘Johannes de Frania’, but also appears as ‘Franeau’ and ‘Frania’, which opens up the possibility that he could be identified with the ‘Jehan Verneau dit Loyauté’ in the French royal chapel, 1452–9.) According to a letter of 14 November 1476, Duke Galeazzo Maria wished to obtain a clerical position for Fresneau at Como. Following the duke’s assassination (26 December 1476), ‘Johannes de Frania’ is included in a letter of safe conduct dated 6 February 1477. A letter from the papal court of 28 July 1486 identifies Fresneau as cantor-capellanus of the king of France and canon at St Martin, Tours. He was at the choir school of Chartres Cathedral from 1494 until February 1505, as procurator of the canonships of St Martin; he held the title of ‘canon and provost of Mayet in the church of said St Martin’ and is also described as a ‘notary and procurator in the church’s court’.

Six works, one mass and five chansons, by him survive. Although three of the chansons are also attributed to other composers, the evidence of the sources and stylistic considerations favour Fresneau. His chansons, all of which seem to be from the 1470s, stay within the structural confines of the formes fixes and make sparing use of imitation. It is likely that he was Ockeghem’s student, as he is included in Guillaume Crétin’s famous Déploration on the death of Ockeghem; he is listed here among the living composers, alongside Josquin, Agricola, Brumel and Compère. That he was considered a musician of some stature is suggested by the sentence ‘Prenez Fresneau pour vos chantz accorder’.


Editions: Alexandri Agricolae opera omnia, ed. E.R. Lerner, CMM, xxii/5 (1970) [L]A Florentine Chansonnier from the time of Lorenzo the Magnificent, ed. H.M. Brown, MRM, vii (Chicago, 1983) [B]

Missa quarti toni, 4vv, I-Rvat C.S.23

C’est vous seulle, 3vv, Fr 2794

De vous servir, 3vv, B 618, also ed. J. Marix, Les musiciens de la cour de Bourgogne au XVe siècle (Paris, 1937/R) (attrib. Hayne van Ghizeghem in Bc Q17 and Rvat C.G.XIII.27, Fresneau in Fr 2794; probably by Fresneau)

Ha qu’il m’ennuye, 3vv, L 116, B 254 (attrib. Agricola in Fn Magl.XIX.178 and Fresneau in F-Pn fr.2245; probably by Fresneau)

Notres assouemen, 3vv, L 122, B 534 (attrib. Agricola in I-Fn Magl.XIX.59 and Fresneau in Rvat C.G.XIII.27; probably by Fresneau)

Nuit et jour [= Perget], 3vv, ed. C. Goldberg, Das Chansonnier Laborde (Frankfurt, 1997), 503–4

Perget, 3vv [= Nuit et jour], ed. A. Atlas, The Cappella Giulia Chansonnier: Rome, biblioteca apostolica Vaticana, C.G.XIII.27 (Brooklyn, NY, 1975), 30


E. Motta: ‘Musici alla corte degli Sforza’, Archivio storico lombardo, xiv (1887), 29–64, 278–340, 514–61; also pubd separately (Milan, 1887/R)

M. Brenet: Musique et musiciens de la vieille France (Paris, 1911/R)

F. Lesure: ‘Some Minor French Composers of the 16th Century’, Aspects of Medieval and Renaissance Music: a Birthday Offering to Gustave Reese, ed. J. LaRue and others (New York, 1966/R), 538–44

C. Wright: ‘Dufay at Cambrai: Discoveries and Revisions’, JAMS, xxviii (1975), 175–229

J.P. Couchman: ‘The Lorraine Chansonnier: Antoine de Lorraine and the Court of Louis XII’, MD, xxxiv (1980), 85–158

L.L. Perkins: ‘Musical Patronage at the Royal Court of France under Charles VII and Louis XI (1422–83)’, JAMS, xxxvii (1984), 507–66, esp. 522

H.M. Brown: Introduction to London, British Library, MS Royal 20 A.XVI (New York, 1987) [incl. facs. of Nuit et jour]

D. Fallows: A Catalogue of Polyphonic Songs, 1415–1480 (Oxford, 1999)


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