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Composers You Should Know: Renaissance

Lists, facts, dates, links, and more, organized by time period

Notable Renaissance Composers (1430 - 1600)

If you wish to be generally familiar with classical music, here is a short list of composers you should know from this period.

Name

Birth

Death

Nationality

Representative Pieces

MMC

Byrd, William
 ML410 .B996

1540

1623

English

Cantiones sacrae (motets)
Earl of Salisbury Pavan (virginal)
Songs of Sundrie Natures (voice)
CDs
Scores

des Prez, Josquin
 ML410 .D367

~1450

 1521

Franco-Flemish

Missa de Beata Virgine (mass)
Adieu mes amours (chanson)
Miserere (motet)
CDs
Scores

Dowland, John
 ML410 .D808

1563

1626

English

Flow My Tears (song)
Lachrimae, or Seaven Teares (5 viols and lute)
Lute Music
CDs
Scores

Gabrieli, Giovanni
 ML410 .G11

~1554

1612

Italian

In Ecclesiis (multiple choirs, brass, and continuo)
Sacrae Symphoniae (mixed choruses)
CDs
Scores

Janequin, Clément

~1485

1558

French

La bataille (chanson)
Le chant des oiseaux (chanson)
CDs

Lassus, Orlando de
 ML410 .L3

1530

1594

Franco-Flemish

Penitential Psalms of David (choral)
~100 Magnificats (choral)
Magnum Opus Musicum (516 sacred motets)
CDs
Scores

Ockeghem, Johannes

~1410

1497

Franco-Flemish

Missa pro Defunctis (Requiem mass)
Fors seulement l'attente (chanson)
CDs
Scores

Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da
 ML410 .P15

1525

 1594

Italian

Missa Papae Marcelli (mass)
O Magnum Mysterium (motet)
CDs
Scores

Renaissance Composers (1430 - 1600)

If you are a student of Music History or Composition, here is a more detailed list of composers you should know from this period.

Name

Birth

Death

Nationality

Representative Pieces

MMC

Agricola, Alexander

1446

1506

Franco-Flemish

Missa In myne zin (mass)
De tous biens plaine (three voices)

 
Scores

Arbeau, Thoinot

1519

1595

French

Orchésographie (dances)

Buchner, Hans

1483

1538

German

Fundamentbuch (organ)

 
Scores

Bull, John
 ML410 .B93

1562

1628

English

Almighty God, which by the Leading of a Star (anthem)
Walsingham (virginal)

CDs
Scores

Byrd, William
 ML410 .B996

1540

1623

English

Cantiones sacrae (motets)
Earl of Salisbury Pavan (virginal)
Songs of Sundrie Natures (voice)

CDs
Scores

des Prez, Josquin
 ML410 .D367

~1450

 1521

Franco-Flemish

Missa de Beata Virgine (mass)
Adieu mes amours (chanson)
Miserere (motet)

CDs
Scores

Dowland, John
 ML410 .D808

1563

1626

English

Flow My Tears (song)
Lachrimae, or Seaven Teares (5 viols and lute)
Lute Music
CDs
Scores

Francesco da Milano

1497

1543

Italian

Many ricercars (lute)

CDs
Scores

Gabrieli, Andrea

1532

1585

Italian

Canzoni alla francese et ricercari ariosi (keyboard)
Psalmi Davidici (6 voices)

CDs
Scores

Gabrieli, Giovanni
 ML410 .G11

1557

1612

Italian

In Ecclesiis (multiple choirs, brass, and continuo)
Sacrae Symphoniae (mixed choruses)

CDs
Scores

Gesualdo, Carlo
 ML410 .G29

1560

1613

Italian

Tenebrae Responsoria (voices)
Moro, lasso, al mio duolo (from Book 6 of Madrigals)

CDs
Scores

Hassler, Hans Leo

1564

1612

German

Lustgarten neuer teutscher Gesang, Balletti, Galliarden und Intraden (lieder)

CDs
Scores

Janequin, Clément

~1485

1558

French

La bataille (chanson)
Le chant des oiseaux (chanson)

CDs

la Rue, Pierre de

~1452

1518

Franco-Flemish

O Salutaris Hostia (motet)
Requiem (mass)

 
Scores

Lassus, Orlando de
 ML410 .L3

1530

1594

Franco-Flemish

Penitential Psalms of David (choral)
~100 Magnificats (choral)
Magnum Opus Musicum (516 sacred motets)

CDs
Scores

Mouton, Jean

~1459

1522

French

Quaeramus cum pastoribus (voices)

 
Scores

Mudarra, Alonso

~1510

1580

Spanish

3 Libros de musica (vihuela)

CDs

Narváez, Luis de

1490

1547

Spanish

Los seys libros del Delphin (vihuela/guitar)
Music for Vihuela

CDs
Scores

Ockeghem, Johannes

~1410

1497

Franco-Flemish

Missa pro Defunctis (Requiem mass)
Fors seulement l'attente (chanson)

CDs
Scores

Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da
 ML410 .P15

1525

 1594

Italian

Missa Papae Marcelli (mass)
O Magnum Mysterium (motet)

CDs
Scores

Paolo da Firenze

~1355

1436

Italian

Benedicamus Domino (2 voices)

CDs

Paumann, Conrad

~1410

1473

German

O rosa bella (3 voices)
Buxheimer Orgelbuch (organ)

Praetorius, Hieronymus

1560

1629

German

Cantiones Sacrae (chorus)
Joseph, lieber Joseph mein (voices)

 
Scores

Tallis, Thomas
 ML410 .T147

~1505

1585

English

Third Mode Melody (Why fum'th in fight) (4 voices)
Puer natus est nobis (Christmas mass)

CDs
Scores

Taverner, John
 ML410 .T186

~1490

1545

English

Dum Transisset Sabbatum (motet)
The Western Wynde Mass

CDs
Scores

Tye, Christopher

~1505

~1572

English

The Actes of the Apostles (4 voices)

CDs
Scores

Verdelot, Philippe

~1480

~1532

French

Quanto sia liet' il giorno (4 voices)

 
Scores

Wolkenstein, Oswald von

1377

1445

German

Geistliche und weltliche Lieder (voices)