A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Monte, Philippe

1712124A Dictionary of Music and Musicians — Monte, PhilippeJames Robert Sterndale-Bennett

MONTE, Philippe or Filippo de, and sometimes Philippe de Mons, born probably in 1521 or 22,[1] traditionally at Mons, but according to Dlabacz at Mechlin.[2] As to his history we gain little by consulting old authorities, as Boissart,[3] Bullart,[4] Freher,[5] Sweertius[6] etc., and are told as much by the title-pages of Philippe's own publications. Bullart, however, gives a portrait of the composer, after Sadeler, which is well worth seeing, and much superior to the smaller copies of it in Boissart and Hawkins. Elisabeth Weston's poem,[7] often referred to in biographies of Philippe, gives no information at all.

De Monte published his 1st book of Masses at Antwerp in 1557,[8] just at the end of Lassus's residence in that city, and we may safely credit the common tradition of a friendship existing between the two composers. It was probably on Orlando's recommendation that Philippe was called to Vienna, May 1, 1568, to become Maximilian's Chapelmaster. Rudolph II, the next emperor, moved his court to Prague, and thither Philippe followed him. Thus we find him dating from Vienna April 15, 1569,[9] and from Prague Sept. 20, 1580,[10] and Oct. 10, 1587.[11]

M. Fétis gives interesting details of de Monte's appointment as treasurer and canon of the cathedral at Cambrai, a benefice which he apparently held without residence. He resigned these appointments early in 1603, and died on July 4th of the same year.[12]

De Monte published over 30 books of madrigals—19 books à 5, 8 à 6, and 4 à 4.[13] 8 books of these in the British Museum contain 163 nos., so we may assume that 630 madrigals were printed, not to speak of many others contributed to collections. His sacred publications (2 books of masses, and 6 of motets) seem comparatively few, but he would scarcely find at the imperial court the same encouragement to write, or assistance to publish such works, as fell to the lot of his contemporaries at Rome and Munich. Of modern reprints, Hawkins contributes a madrigal à 4, Dehn and Commer a motet each, and Van Maldeghem some nos. in his Trésor Musical.

  1. Sadeler's portrait, the single authority for this date, gives Philippe's age as 72 in 1594.
  2. 'Allgem. hlstor. Künstler Lex. fur Böhmen.,' 4to. (Prag. 1815). Dlabacz founds his statement on a list of the Imperial chapel dated 1582. For a full discussion of the subject see Fétis' Biographie, under 'Philippe de Mons.'
  3. Boissardus, 'Icones Viror. Illustr.,' pars 3. p. 32 (1593).
  4. Bullart, 'Academie des Sciences,' etc., vol. ii. bk. 4. p. 299 (Brusselles 1682).
  5. Freheri, 'Theatrum vir. clarorum (Nuremberg 1688).
  6. Sweertius, 'Athenæ Belgicæ,' p. 645 (Antwerp 1628).
  7. From the 'Parthenicon,' by E. J. Weston, 'ex familia Westoniorum Angla' (Praga, Aug. 16, 1810). The poem in Philippe's honour consists of 46 Latin lines.
  8. Missarum à 5, 6, 8. lib. i. (Antwerp 1557). This on the authority of Fétis.
  9. See Alto copy or 2nd book of 6-part Madrigals (Venice 1569), in Brit. Mus.
  10. 9th book of Madrigals (à 5) (Venice 1580), in Brit. Mus.
  11. Sacrar. Cantionum, lib. ii. (Venice 1587), in Brit. Mus.
  12. For this date, and that of the Vienna appointment, see Eitner, 'Verzeichniss neuer Ausgaben' (Berlin, Trautwein, 1871).
  13. Fétis speaks of the 19th book. The British Museum has the 14th. Fétis mentions no 4-part Madrigals; but the Catalogue of the Bibliotèque Fétis contains 'Di Fi. di. M. il 4º. lib. di Mad. à 4.'