Senfl, Ludwig



Swiss composer. One of the most eminent; if not the most important, contrapuntist of the Sixteenth Century. He was born at Basel, toward the end of the Fifteenth Century (the exact date is not known), and studied in Vienna with Heinrich Isaac, conductor of the Imperial Chapel, succeeding him at his death. As a youth he was choir-boy at Munich, and was chapelmaster from 1525 to 1550 to Maximilian I., Duke of Bavaria. No dates of his birth or any of the events in his life have come down to us. His compositions, however, have been preserved in great numbers, and he was probably the greatest German composer of his time. His works, and especially his motets, were greatly valued by Martin Luther, who had his motets sung in preference to those of any other master. He wrote mostly chorales, motets; graduals and masses; set to music many of the odes of Horace, and wrote much church-music. A large number of his works are in manuscript in the Munich Library, including seven masses; motets; hymns and sequences. Senfl died in Munich about 1555.