Ludovicus Episcopius was the son of verger and singer Antonius de Bisschop of the Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-over-de-Dijle church in Mechelen. Episcopius took his education at the St. Rumbold’s Cathedral in Mechelen under kapellmeister Theo Verelst, who also educated Philippus de Monte and Cypriano de Rore. Episcopius studied at the University of Louvain from 1538 to 1541, after which he became a priest. From 1545 to 1565 and from 1577 to 1587 he was the song master at the Sint-Servatius church of Maastricht. Around 1591, Ludovicus traveled to Munich where he became a singer in the choir conducted by Orlando di Lasso. In 1591, he retired and became a canon in Straubing (Germany).
Only a small amount of Episcopius’ pieces have been conserved: 12 Dutch chansons, a Missa super Si mon service a merite, a Salve Regina and five motets represent all the music he composed.
Eight of Episcopius’ profane songs appeared in the Maastricht songbook Dat ierste boeck van den nieuwe Duijtsche liedekens published by Jacob Baethen in 1554, four others exist in other sources. Also, a motet by Episcopius appeared in a book printed in 1560 and although the few manuscript sources of Episcopius can not be reliably dated, it is reasonable to conclude that most of his remaining music dates back to those first years of his long trajectory at the Sint-Servatius in Maastricht.
Dat ierste boeck van den nieuwe Duijtsche liedekens 1554
In this book, Ludovicus Episcopius takes a particular place, as no less than eight of his Dutch compositions are included. The pieces for five, six, or eight voices which set the Baethen’s bundle apart are all by Episcopius. The Maastricht songbook of Baethen has up until now not received a lot of attention. This is not surprising, as of the five part booklets, the soprano part is missing. This Maastricht songbook, with chief theme love, likely served as chamber music for the elevated classes.
Vocal pieces (selection)
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