Oakeley, Sir Herbert (Stanley)

Ochsenkun [Ochsenkhun], Sebastian


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Ochsenkun [Ochsenkhun], Sebastian

(b Nuremberg, 6 Feb 1521; d Heidelberg, 20 Aug 1574). German lutenist. His father Jörg was a trumpet maker and barber in Nuremberg. Wolf Ochsenkun, a lutenist who was married in Nuremberg in 1530, presumably belonged to the same family. Ochsenkun's teacher was Hans Vogel, who died before 1558 and may have been a lutenist at the court at Munich. In 1543–4 Ochsenkun was in the service of the Count Palatine, Ottheinrich, at Neuburg an der Donau, where he probably remained in service. He is again mentioned in the retinue of Ottheinrich at Heidelberg in 1552, where the latter had resided from 1544 to 1552 after the loss of his Neuburg principality. Ochsenkun's Tabulaturbuch of 1558 was published in Heidelberg, where Ottheinrich had returned in 1556 as elector and where he remained until his death in 1559. In his introduction Ochsenkun referred to the elector as his lord and the initiator of the publication.

The Tabulaturbuch contains no original compositions for the lute; its intabulations include 29 motets, 38 sacred and secular German songs, five madrigals and four chansons. The book includes an interesting cross-section of the repertory of the musicians of the Hofkapelle, with compositions by the court organist Gregor Peschin, the court secretary, printer and musician Johann Kilian, composers of the Heidelberg circle (Stephan Zirler, Jobst vom Brandt and Caspar Othmayr), and Wilhelm Breitengraser of Nuremberg. Of the major composers in the collection, Ludwig Senfl predominates, represented by 14 pieces; nine motets of Josquin are intabulated, including Praeter rerum seriem, Pater noster and Stabat mater. Other composers represented are Sermisy, Mouton and Crecquillon. Texts are supplied for all the pieces: Isaac's Innsbruck appears with the text Herr Gott, lass dich erbarmen; its tenor part is used as the bass in Sih lieb ich muss dich lassen by Kilian. Ochsenkun’s intabulations reproduce the original vocal lines exactly in score; lively ornamentation is tastefully added. The book contains an interesting portrait of Ochsenkun, which shows his right hand placed almost at right angles to the strings, suggesting a technique well suited to the difficulties of polyphonic playing.

For a page from Tabulaturbuch, see Sources of lute music, fig.2.


Tabulaturbuch auff die Lauten von Motetten, frantzösischen, welschen und teutschen geystlichen und weltlichen Liedern (Heidelberg, 155820); 2 pieces ed. in DTÖ, xxviii, Jg.xiv/1 (1907/R); 14 pieces ed. A. Geering and A. Altwegg, L. Senfl: Sämtliche Werke, vii (Wolfenbüttel, 1960); 7 pieces ed. in DTÖ, lxxii, Jg.xxxvii/2 (1930/R); ed. in Hong [excluding pieces by Senfl]


R. Eitner: ‘Lautenbuch von 1558’, MMg, iv (1872/R), 52–5

R. Wagner: ‘Wilhelm Breitengraser und die Nürnberger Kirchen- und Schulmusik seiner Zeit’, Mf, ii (1949), 141–77, esp. 169

G. Pietzsch: Quellen und Forschungen zur Geschichte der Musik am kurpfälzischen Hof zu Heidelberg bis 1622 (Wiesbaden, 1963), 733

H. Haase: ‘Die Einwirkung des Isaakschen Innsbruck-Liedes auf das Schaffen Kilians und Jobst vom Brandts’, Mf, xvii (1964), 15–22

K. Dorfmüller: Studien zur Lautenmusik in der ersten Hälfte des 16. Jahrhunderts (Tutzing, 1967)

J.O. Robison: ‘Ornamentation in Sebastian Ochsenkun's Tabulaturbuch auff die Lauten
’, JLSA, xv (1982), 5–26

C.M. Hong: Sebastian Ocksenkun's ‘Tabulaturbuch auff die Lauten’ (1558) (diss., Michigan State U., 1984)

J. Lambrecht: Das ‘Heidelberger Kapellinventar’ von 1544 (Codex Pal. Germ. 318): Edition und Kommentar (Heidelberg, 1987)


Ochswald, Henrique.

See Oswald, Henrique.

Ockeghem [Okeghem, Hocquegam, Okegus etc.], Jean de [Johannes, Jehan]

(b Saint Ghislain, nr Mons, c1410; d ?Tours, 6 Feb 1497). Franco-Flemish composer. A native of Hainaut, he spent most of his active career in the service of the French royal court. Alongside Binchois, Du Fay, Busnoys and Josquin, with whom his name is linked in documents of the time, he is considered one of the greatest composers of the 15th century. Of the many forms in which his name appears, ‘Ockeghem’ has been given modern preference on the basis of a supposed facsimile of his signature published by Giraudet (1885) from a document now apparently lost. However, ‘Okeghem’ is the spelling most often found in the payment registers and other documents stemming from the French court and in the sources most central to the area in which he lived.

1. Early life and career.

2. Service at the French court.

3. Reputation.

4. Masses.

5. Motets.

6. Secular works.




Ockeghem, Jean de

1. Early life and career.

A recently discovered reference to Ockeghem in the payment records of the parish church of St Martin in Saint Ghislain, near Mons, identifies him as a ‘natif’ of that place and records the establishment of an obit that was celebrated continuously from the 16th century until the end of the ancien régime (van Overstraeten, 1992). As the name suggests, the family may have originated in the town of Okegem on the Dendre, less than 50 km to the north in East Flanders. Persons so named can be traced to nearby Ninove as early as 1165, and to Termonde [now Dendermonde], about 25 km to the north of Okegem, from 1381. These include a certain Jan van Ockeghem who is cited in documents of Termonde from 1385 until 1416 (Bovyn, 1970). It is yet to be determined, however, whether any of them is directly related to the composer. The documents in Saint Ghislain confirm, instead, the assertion made in 1511 by the poet and historiographer Jean Lemaire de Belge, himself a proudly self-proclaimed ‘natif de Haynault’, that Ockeghem was his neighbour (‘voisin’) and countryman (‘de nostre mesme nation’). Latin verses by Pierre Paul Vieillot (Senilis), secretary at the court of Louis XI, also stress the composer’s origins in Hainaut (Strohm, 1997).

Given his place of birth, it is possible that Ockeghem began his musical training in Saint Ghislain itself, conceivably as a choirboy in the parish church where he founded the obit. It seems more probable, however, that he received most of his early education in nearby Mons at one of the churches with a musical establishment capable of providing such instruction. These include – significantly, in view of the circumstances linking Ockeghem to Binchois – those of St Germain and Ste Waudru, which were probably both served by the same group of choristers.

The date of Ockeghem’s birth has yet to be established, and in the absence of unequivocal documentation estimates have ranged from 1410 (or earlier) to 1430. A clear preference for about 1420 seems to have emerged in the biographical literature (Plamenac; RiemannL12; van den Borren, 1948–51; Picker, 1988), but Ockeghem could have been born as much as a decade earlier. A personal and affectionate relationship with Binchois, attested by Ockeghem’s déploration on Binchois’s death in 1460 and his compositional reference to a Binchois chanson (Gallagher, 1995), may go back to a period when both were still resident in Hainaut. If so, the two may have become acquainted even before Binchois, who served as organist at Ste Waudru from 1419, left Mons for Lille in 1423. That would suggest, in turn, that Ockeghem, if a choirboy at the time (hence between 7 and 15 years of age), could have been born as early as 1405 and hardly later than c1415.

The earliest documentation of Ockeghem’s activity as a musician is for the year beginning 24 June 1443, when he was numbered among the vicaires-chanteurs at the church of Our Lady, Antwerp. The nature of that appointment indicates that his training was by then fully completed. At the same time, his irregularity in attending the services in which the choir was involved and the lack of evidence for subsequent contact with the city or any of its churches suggest that his ties to Antwerp were neither close nor lasting.

His next known appointment was at the court of Charles I, Duke of Bourbon, whose principal residence was in Moulins. In the accounts for 1446–8 Ockeghem is listed first among the seven singers of the ducal chapel, preceded only by the premier chapelain and three priests (Vayssière, 1891), indicating that he was by then an accomplished musician whose skills and gifts were fully recognized. Because the payment records of the court are fragmentary, it is unclear whether, as seems likely, he entered the duke’s service directly after his stay in Antwerp, in the summer of 1444, or somewhat later. Similarly, there is no way to determine from the documents currently known, whether he continued as a member of the ducal chapel until he joined the musical establishment of Charles VII at the French royal court some time in 1451, as seems most plausible, or had an interim appointment elsewhere. Since Binchois was employed at the ducal court of Burgundy from the 1420s until he retired to Soignies in 1453, it is perhaps worth noting that the Duchess of Bourbon was Agnes of Burgundy, the sister of Duke Philip the Good; Ockeghem’s appointment to the Bourbon chapel may therefore have been facilitated in some way by that connection.

Ockeghem, Jean de

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