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Johannes Martini

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Biography

He was born in Brabant around 1440, but information about his early life is scanty. He probably received his early training in Flanders, as did most of the composers of his generation. Sometime before 1473 he became associated with the ducal chapel in Ferrara, Italy, where Ercole I d’Este was attempting to build a musical establishment on the par of some of the other aristocratic centers in Italy.

He was a member of the famous Milan chapel of the Sforza family in July 1474, along with Loyset Compère, Gaspar van Weerbeke, and some of the other composers from northern Europe who were part of the first wave of Franco-Flemish influence in Italy. In November he returned to Ferrara. What prompted him to leave and return is not known, but since the Milanese chapel was then the most renowned in Europe, it is possible he went to investigate the competition for his employer as much as to improve his own singing and compositional skill. However he must have returned to Milan, since he is listed along with Jean Japart, Colinet de Lannoy, and Compère, to be given a safe pass for exit from Milan on 6 February 1477, following the 1476 assassination of Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza.[1]
Martini was well-rewarded by his employer, receiving not only an unusually large salary for his position in the chapel, but his own house in Ferrara.

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