Utendal [Utenthal, Ausm Thal], Alexander

(b Netherlands, c1530–40; d Innsbruck, 7 May 1581). Netherlandish composer. According to his own account he was in the service of the house of Habsburg from an early age. He was presumably a member of the court chapel of the widowed Queen Maria of Hungary, sister of the Emperor Ferdinand I. In 1564 he went as an alto into the court choir of the emperor's son, Archduke Ferdinand, at Prague. On becoming governor of the Tyrol the archduke took up residence at Innsbruck, and Utendal accompanied him there in 1566. In the Innsbruck court chapel he also gave the choristers music lessons, becoming deputy Kapellmeister probably not later than 1572. He held this post until his death, rejecting an offer in 1580 to succeed Scandello as Kapellmeister of the Dresden court chapel.

Utendal's work embraces a wide range of sacred and secular forms: much of his music is polyphonic in texture, richly scored and containing both chromatic and polychoral elements, in the manner of the more progressive Netherlandish composers of the time, such as Lassus, Christian Hollander and Ivo de Vento. His songs are in general characterized by the predominance of the upper voice, the text being dramatically treated in madrigalian fashion; he derived most of his German songs from traditional and popular sources. Although he certainly did not have the same importance as Jacob Regnart, who succeeded him at Innsbruck, he was greatly esteemed by his contemporaries: his compositions were included in many printed collections and manuscripts of the time and his name was frequently mentioned in literary sources of the late 16th century. Joachim Burmeister, in his Musica poetica (Rostock, 1606), named him with Leonhard Lechner and Johann Knöfel as a representative of the stylus sublimis. A feature of his works is the careful notation of accidentals involving the early use of the natural instead of the sharp sign to cancel a flat.


Geistliche und weltliche Lieder, ed. F. Commer (Berlin, 1870)
Musica sacra, xx, ed. F. Commer (Regensburg, 1879)
Ausgewählte Madrigale, xlii, xlix, ed. W. Barclay Squire (Leipzig, 1913)
Acht Lied- und Choralmotetten, Cw, xxx, ed. H. Osthoff (1934/R)

7 psalmi poenitentiales (Nuremberg, 1570)
Sacrarum cantionum, 5vv (Nuremberg, 1571)
Sacrae cantiones, 6 and more vv (Nuremberg, 1573)
3 missae, 5, 6vv, incl. Magnificat per 8 tonos, 4vv (Nuremberg, 1573)
Fröliche neue teutsche und frantzösiche Lieder, 4, 5 and more vv (Nuremberg, 1574); 1 ed. in Osthoff
Liber 3 sacrarum cantionum, 5, 6vv (Nuremberg, 1577)
Responsoria (Nuremberg, 1586)

Other works, 1568 2 , 1568 3 , 1580 3 , 1583 23 , 1585 37 , 1589 17
Several sacred works, A-Wn, B-Bc, D-Bsb, Rp, Z

O. Kade: ‘Nachtrag zu Alexander Utenthal oder Utendal’, MMg, viii (1876), 52–61, esp. 59, 115–16
J. Lechthaler: Die kirchenmusikalischen Werke von Alexander Utendal (diss., U. of Vienna, 1919)
H.J. Moser: ‘Das deutsche Chorlied zwischen Senfl und Hassler’, JbMP 1928, 43–58, esp. 51
G. Gruber: Das deutsche Lied in der Innsbrucker Hofkapelle des Erzherzogs Ferdinand 1567–1596 (diss., U. of Vienna, 1928)
H. Osthoff: Die Niederländer und das deutsche Lied, 1400–1640 (Berlin, 1938/R)
W. Senn: ‘Innsbrucker Hofmusik’, ÖMz, xxv (1970), 659–70


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