JOHN DUNSTABLE (1390 - 1453)
Relatively little is known for certain about the life of the English composer Dunstable, although his influence on younger composers such as Dufay is hardly open to question. He is thought to have been in the service of the Duke of Bedford, possibly during the latter’s regency of Paris and governorship of Normandy, from 1423 to 1429 and 1429–1435 respectively. This presence in France is based on very little evidence. Nevertheless contemporary copies of Dunstable’s music appear relatively numerous on the continent of Europe, where he was held in some esteem.
From a number of Marian compositions, one may single out Quam pulchra es and Ave regina caelorum. His motet Veni Sancte Spiritus / Veni Creator Spiritus, using the technique of isorhythm, with the application of a recurrent rhythmic pattern to a given series of notes, was intended for the Whitsunday liturgy.
O rosa bella has been attributed to others. With Je languis en piteux martire, Puisque m’amour, Durer ne puis and I pray you all secular music constitute the surviving body of Dunstable’s secular music.