IV. The High Renaissance (16th Century)
IVh. The German Lied.
Towards the middle of the 16th century the golden age of German autochthonic song came to its close. The influence of Italian art-forms like the villanella, frottola, canzona and madrigal grew perceptibly. No less a musician than Lassus tried to fuse German and Italian stylistic elements in his Neue teutsche Lieder. But this attempt, being no more than a superficial application of Italian musical style to German texts which mainly derived from old collections of folk-songs, failed to produce either unity of style or a real union of sincere German emotional feeling and Italian refinement in form and structure. The achievement of such a difficult combination was a task left to two German composers—Leonhard Lechner and Hans Leo Hassler--who succeeded eventually in transplanting the new Italian art-consciousness into German soil. They wrote songs "in the manner of Italian madrigals and canzonettas," but contrived to absorb the new forms readily and even in different raiment the intrinsic German depth of feeling is revealed in its true aspect.
Composerīs bibliography and music