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Biography

Stephan Mahu, also known as Étienne Mahu, was a Franco-Flemish composer, singer, trombonist, and conductor of the Renaissance, between 1480 and 1490 in the then Flanders. He died in 1541 or later.

is family name could indicate either an ancestry from the Lille area or the Hungarian or Slovakian area. Perhaps there is a connection with the furniture merchant Mahu Prynberger , since 1500 in the service of Emperor Maximilian I , and his servant Stephan . Mahu was perhaps already a member of the royal court of Queen Anne of Bohemia and Hungary (1503-1547), the wife of Ferdinand I , from the beginning of the 1520s, as a singer and trombonist; From November 14th, 1528, he was contractually bound to lifelong service with her and Ferdinand. In return, he was assured of a considerable salary increase; But it was only paid in 1539. Between September 1529 and March 1532, he took over the position of a vice-chancellor of the Viennese Hofmusikkapelle of Archduke Ferdinand under Arnold von Bruck , until the year 1539. As trombonist in this chapel, his name appears as Last time in 1541. Place and date of his death are not recorded.

Above all the spiritual works of Stephan Mahu point to the coming style of Palestrina ; In his compositions he used homophonic , polyphonic and also canonical elements. His most extensive and important composition is the setting of the nine readings of Jeremiah's prophets for Holy Week for two to six singing voices, reprinted in 1568. This cycle has been in the tradition of lamentations since the end of the fifteenth century, but Mahu, however, has made the greatest use of the possible scope of this recitative : He leaves the Cantus firmus of Gregorian origin between the treble and tenor, or imitates it in all voices by; He deduces from the two-part to the six-part, and writes a sentence ranging from pure homophony to the most dense counterpoint .

The Magnificat notes are not quite as sophisticated, but written in technique and style in the same way. His motets are held in the typical Franko-Flemish- Habsburg style with their dense imitation. In his song adaptations, Stephan Mahu, like most of his contemporaries, abandons the strict Cantus-firmus movement in favor of a counterproposed and imitated workmanship, but with a slight preference for treble and tenor as the melodic voices. Here, a recognizable influence of his superior, Arnold von Bruck, is to be found, as well as directly in the settings of the German father-song "We Believe in a God", which are present by both composers. This also includes the unusual, quodlibet- like adaptations of the song "Ach hilf mich leid" / "Of noble kind".

Before the Council of Trent (1545-1563) a musical intercourse was the rule; Therefore the Habsburg Catholic composer Mahu and others took part in the protestant song project of the Wittenberg music publisher Georg Rhau (1488-1548, from 1519 to 1520 Thomaskantor in Leipzig ). Rhau began his work as a publisher and printer in 1523, and several separate works by Stephan Mahu appeared in his collection volumes from 1535 onwards. The only demonstrable disciple Mahus, Johannes Zanger (1517-1587), was probably a close personal acquaintance of the composer from 1527, and also praises him as an authority in musical theory .

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