Isaak, Heinrich

About 1440-1520

His name is also written Isaac, Isak, or Ysac, and he is known in Italy as "Henry the German." He is considered by some a Hollander, but by many is thought to be the first great German composer and founder of the German School. Authorities differ widely about the dates of his birth and death, yet all agree that he died several years before 1531. In Florence he was associated with Josquin and Hobrecht, and was high in the favor of Lorenzo dr Medici, being made chapelmaster of St. Giovanni's and instructor of Lorenzo's children. Here he set to music the songs of di Medici, and composed a  sacred drama, San Giovanni e San Paolo, to words by his patron. In 1493 he became chapelmaster to Maximilian I., holding this position until his death. He wrote twentythree masses, one of which, O praeclara, writen on a theme of four notes, is one of his most remarkable compositions; motets; psalms; and many secular part-songs, still models of their kind. The famous German choral, Nun ruhen alle Walder, is sung to his Inspruck, ich muss dich lassen. His works have been preserved in the libraries of Vienna, Munich and Brussels.