Born: August 5, 1397 (?) - Beersel, in the vicinity of Brussels (or Hainault) , Belgium
Died: November 27, 1474 - Cambrai, Belgium
Guillaume [Guillermus, Guiliemus, Gugliemus, Wilhelmus] Dufay [Dudais, Duffai, Du Fay, Du Fayt] was a Franco-Flemish composer and music theorist of the early Renaissance. As the central figure in the Burgundian School, he was the most famous and influential composer in Europe in the mid-15th century, and can be considered as the founding member of the Netherlands school which dominated European music for the next 150 years.
Dufay's large musical output contained masterpieces of every genre, or style and type of music. Some types of his were:
Dufay wrote eighty-seven motets, which were sacred vocal compositions in sontrapuntal style, without instrumental accompaniment. He also wrote fifty-nine chansons, which were songs, (originally ballad-like) most being French love songs. Seven Italian chansons were written as well. He made seven complete masses as well as thirty-five mass selections.
One of my favorite motets by him, and the one that instantly got me hooked on his music, is his Apostolo Glorioso. It sounds quite different from most works I've heard from the period. It has a very mystical quality to it:
I will take the chansons over the sacred music. Dufay wrote some really wonderful tunes in the standard formes fixes, rondeau, ballad, and virelai.
Here are two really good rondeau. The first has text for all four voices and uses imitation occasionally, which is unusual for chansons. The second is a three part chanson with text only in the superius and whole sections performed instrumentally: