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Published on Mar 29, 2010
Johannes Ciconia (b Liège, c 1335 or c 1373; d Padua, 10 June-13 July 1412). Liégeois composer and theorist. Two men of the name are known. The elder was in service in Avignon in 1350, accompanied Cardinal Albornoz on an Italian campaign, 1358-67, and returned to Liège in 1372 as a priest at St John the Evangelist. A Liège document of 1385 however refers also to a choirboy called Johannes Ciconia, and recent opinion favours the younger Ciconia as the composer, which is more plausible on grounds of musical style. In 1401 this Ciconia received a benefice for a small Paduan church and from 1403 was custos and cantor at Padua Cathedral. His music combines elements of the French Ars Nova with the Italian 14th-century style and strongly influenced other early 15th-century composers. His Italian songs, which include four madrigals and at least seven ballate, betray aspects of the French style then current in northern Italy, chansons, of which only two virelais and a canon survive, exploit the rhythmic complexities of the Ars Subtilior. Of his 11 motets, four are isorhythmic but others are closer in style to the Italian songs; most were written to celebrate important events or as eulogies. His mass music consists of 11 or 12 settings of the Gloria or Credo. He also wrote three theoretical treatises.