Recently discovered documents shed new light on Heinrich Isaac's biography in the sixteenth century: hitherto unknown payments by Isaac (ca. 1450––1517) to the Florentine confraternity of Santa Barbara. As it turns out, Isaac was a regular member of the association from 1502 and bequeathed a substantial sum at his death. The records, in conjunction with other documents, illuminate Isaac's life from three complementary perspectives: the composer's biography (especially in the years 1502––7 and 1509––17), the wider context of the actions Isaac took in preparation for his old age and death, and the issues they raise regarding the composer's social background and integration in Florence during the first years of the sixteenth century. Against this backdrop the new documents allow us to question a number of assumptions, including the notion that Isaac's main residence in 1502––17 was in the imperial lands and that his social integration in Florence was exclusively linked to the Medici. They enrich our understanding of the social history of northern musicians in Italy around 1500.
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