Heinrich Isaac

c.1450-1517. Musical composer. He was one of the most voluminous and versatile of the Netherlandish composers who helped to create the Renaissance style during the later fifteenth century. He was active in Germany and Austria as well as in Italy, where he died. He created a gigantic cycle of polyphonic compositions for the Proper of the Mass for the whole church year; commissioned for the diocese of Constance, it is known as the Choralis constantinus. This monumental work was published in the middle of the sixteenth century, showing the continuing esteem in which his work was held. Among his Masses is the attractive Missa carminum, based entirely on secular songs adapted to the traditional sacred text. One of these tunes, his own “Innsbruck,” was later adopted as a Lutheran chorale and is among those included by Bach in his St. Matthew Passion.