Arnold de Lantins

From New World Encyclopedia

Arnold de Lantins (1420s - July 2, 1432) was a Franco-Flemish composer of the late Medieval era. He was one of a few composers who showed aspects of both Medieval and the new stylism of the Renaissance era, and was a contemporary of Guillaume Dufay during that composer's sojourn in Italy.

Arnold de Lantins lived during the time when the church struggled with composers who preferred to write for full sacred ensembles. The Catholic Church felt that such music should only accompany the religious services in a prudent and quiet way while the composers preferred to feature the organ, other instruments, and choruses in a soloist and vibrant manner. This disharmony did not last long, for the Roman Catholic Church lost much of its power in the Renaissance period due to the rise of the Protestant Reformation led by Martin Luther. Thus Arnold de Lantins could write the full polyphonic music for sacred and secular services and events, which included much florid composing for the large choruses and instrumental ensembles without angering the Catholic Church. Very often, religious ideas created barriers which stood in the way of a peaceful resolution. In this instance, the fall of the unity of Christendom because of the Reformation became the bridge towards a cooperation by the Church and the polyphonic composers to create the vibrant compositions which were featured in the Renaissance era.


Very little is known about his life, except for a few years in the 1420s to around 1430. It is presumed that he was from Flanders or adjacent areas. In the early 1420s he was probably in the service of the Malatesta family in either Rimini or Pesaro, since Guillaume Dufay mentioned him in the text of a rondeau which was written between 1420 and 1424. Lantins was in Venice in 1428, and Rome in 1431, in the latter city as a singer in the papal chapel choir, along with Dufay. He was only in Rome six months; after that he disappears from history. Rome was entering a period of turmoil related to the Conciliar movement after the death, in February 1431, of Pope Martin V; many musicians left at that time or shortly after, and Lantins may have been one of them.

It is not known for certain if Arnold de Lantins was a relative of Hugo de Lantins, a composer active at the same time, but since their works often appear together in collections and they seem to have been in the same geographical regions, it is not unlikely. (A sharp stylistic difference between the works of the two composers shows they can not be the same person.) A composite mass appearing in the manuscript Bologna Q15 contains movements written by Arnold, evidently written to augment preexisting movements written by Johannes Ciconia. Several other examples exist of composers adding movements to partial masses written by other composers; for example, Zacara da Teramo.


Arnold's music was held in high regard, and appears alongside that of Dufay, Gilles Binchois, and Johannes Ciconia in contemporary manuscript collections. In particular, one motet—Tota pulchra es—is found in widely distributed sources; since this was before advent of printing technology, wide distribution of copies is taken as evidence of a composer's fame and popularity. He also wrote at least one complete mass, as well as several parts of a composite mass (the remaining portions were written, not necessarily at the same time, by Ciconia). Musically they are fairly simple, using three voices, head motif technique, and avoiding imitative writing. Some of his other sacred music, such as his Marian motets, contain florid melodic writing and some use of imitation.

He also wrote secular music, including ballads and rondeaux, all of which are in French, as well as a few shorter sacred pieces. Some of them refer to specific events or specific people, but none of either have been conclusively identified.


ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Kućmierz, Linda. "Construction of music in non-mass works of Arnold de Lantins," Master Thesis, Jagiellonian University of Cracow, Faculty of History, Cracow, 1995.
  • Reese, Gustave. Music in the Renaissance. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1954. ISBN 0393095304
  • Sadie, Stanley. "Arnold de Lantins," in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. London: Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1980. ISBN 1561591742
  • Schoop, Hans and J. Michael Allsen. "Arnold de Lantins," Grove Music Online. Retrieved January 5, 2005.


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