Jean Mouton

Jean Mouton

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Jean Mouton was a French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 composer of the Renaissance
Renaissance music
Renaissance music is European music written during the Renaissance. Defining the beginning of the musical era is difficult, given that its defining characteristics were adopted only gradually; musicologists have placed its beginnings from as early as 1300 to as late as the 1470s.Literally meaning...

. He was famous both for his motet
Motet
In classical music, motet is a word that is applied to a number of highly varied choral musical compositions.-Etymology:The name comes either from the Latin movere, or a Latinized version of Old French mot, "word" or "verbal utterance." The Medieval Latin for "motet" is motectum, and the Italian...

s, which are among the most refined of the time, and for being the teacher of Adrian Willaert
Adrian Willaert
Adrian Willaert was a Flemish composer of the Renaissance and founder of the Venetian School. He was one of the most representative members of the generation of northern composers who moved to Italy and transplanted the polyphonic Franco-Flemish style there....

, one of the founders of the Venetian School.

Life


He was born Jean de Hollingue either in 1459 or earlier, but records of his early life, as is so often the case with Renaissance composers, are scanty. Most likely he was from the village of Holluigue (now Haut-Wignes), near Boulogne-sur-Mer
Boulogne-sur-Mer
-Road:* Metropolitan bus services are operated by the TCRB* Coach services to Calais and Dunkerque* A16 motorway-Rail:* The main railway station is Gare de Boulogne-Ville and located in the south of the city....

. He probably began his first job, singer and teacher at the collegiate church in Saint Omer, then moved to Nesle
Nesle
Nesle is a commune in the Somme department in Picardie in northern France.-Geography:Nesle is situated at the junction of the D930 and D337 roads, some southwest of Saint-Quentin. The Ingon, a small stream, passes through the commune.-Population:...

 (southeast of Amiens
Amiens
Amiens is a city and commune in northern France, north of Paris and south-west of Lille. It is the capital of the Somme department in Picardy...

) in 1477, and in 1483 was made maître de chapelle there. Sometime around this time he became a priest, and in 1500 he was in charge of choirboys at the cathedral in Amiens. In 1501 he was in Grenoble
Grenoble
Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. Located in the Rhône-Alpes region, Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère...

, teaching choirboys, but he left the next year, most likely entering the service of Queen Anne of Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

, and in 1509 he was granted a position again in Grenoble which he could hold in absentia. Mouton was now the principal composer for the French court. For the remainder of his life he was employed by the French court in one capacity or another, often writing music for state occasions—weddings, coronations, papal elections, births and deaths.

Mouton composed a motet, Christus vincit, for the election of Leo X
Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X , born Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici, was the Pope from 1513 to his death in 1521. He was the last non-priest to be elected Pope. He is known for granting indulgences for those who donated to reconstruct St. Peter's Basilica and his challenging of Martin Luther's 95 Theses...

 as pope in 1513. Leo evidently liked Mouton's music, for he rewarded him with an honorary title on the occasion of a motet he composed for the pope in 1515; the pope made this award during a meeting in Bologna
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

 between the French king and the pope after the Battle of Marignano
Battle of Marignano
The Battle of Marignano was fought during the phase of the Italian Wars called the War of the League of Cambrai, between France and the Old Swiss Confederacy. It took place on September 13 and 15, 1515, near the town today called Melegnano, 16 km southeast of Milan...

. This trip to Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 was the first, and probably only trip that Mouton made outside of France.

Sometime between 1517 and 1522 the Swiss music theorist Heinrich Glarean
Heinrich Glarean
Heinrich Glarean was a Swiss music theorist, poet and humanist. He was born in Mollis and died in Freiburg....

 met Jean Mouton, and praised him effusively; he wrote that "everyone had copies of his music." Glarean used several examples of Mouton's music in his influential treatise, the Dodecachordon.

Mouton may have been the editor of the illuminated manuscript known as the Medici Codex
Medici Codex
The Medici Codex of 1518 is a music book prepared for the Pope Leo X, the second son of Lorenzo the Magnificent of the Medici family who was pope from 1513 to 1521....

, one of the primary manuscript sources of the time, which was a wedding gift for Lorenzo de' Medici
Lorenzo de' Medici
Lorenzo de' Medici was an Italian statesman and de facto ruler of the Florentine Republic during the Italian Renaissance. Known as Lorenzo the Magnificent by contemporary Florentines, he was a diplomat, politician and patron of scholars, artists and poets...

, who was Duke of Urbino
Urbino
Urbino is a walled city in the Marche region of Italy, south-west of Pesaro, a World Heritage Site notable for a remarkable historical legacy of independent Renaissance culture, especially under the patronage of Federico da Montefeltro, duke of Urbino from 1444 to 1482...

.

It is considered to be very likely, but not proven, that Mouton was in charge of the elaborate musical festivities by the French at the meeting between François I
Francis I of France
Francis I was King of France from 1515 until his death. During his reign, huge cultural changes took place in France and he has been called France's original Renaissance monarch...

 and Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 at the Field of the Cloth of Gold
Field of the Cloth of Gold
The Field of Cloth of Gold is the name given to a place in Balinghem, between Guînes and Ardres, in France, near Calais. It was the site of a meeting that took place from 7 June to 24 June 1520, between King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France. The meeting was arranged to increase...

, based on the similarity to the similar festivities five years earlier after the Battle of Marignano.

Near the end of his life, Mouton moved to Saint-Quentin
Saint-Quentin, Aisne
Saint-Quentin is a commune in the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France. It has been identified as the Augusta Veromanduorum of antiquity. It is named after Saint Quentin, who is said to have been martyred here in the 3rd century....

, where he may have been a canon, taking over for Loyset Compère
Loyset Compère
Loyset Compère was a French composer of the Renaissance. Of the same generation as Josquin des Prez, he was one of the most significant composers of motets and chansons of that era, and one of the first musicians to bring the light Italianate Renaissance style to France.-Life:His exact place of...

 who died in 1518. Mouton died in Saint-Quentin and is buried there, with the following head-stone:
CI GIST MAISTRE JEAN DE HOLLINGUE, DIT MOUTON,
EN SON VIVANT CHANTRE DU ROY
CHANOINE DE THEROUANNE ET DE CETTE EGLISE
QUI TRESPASSA LE PENULTIEME JOUR DМOCTOBRE MDXXII
PRIEZ DIEU POUR SON AME

Music and influence


Mouton was hugely influential both as a composer and as a teacher. Of his music, 9 Magnificat
Magnificat
The Magnificat — also known as the Song of Mary or the Canticle of Mary — is a canticle frequently sung liturgically in Christian church services. It is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn...

 settings, 15 mass
Mass (music)
The Mass, a form of sacred musical composition, is a choral composition that sets the invariable portions of the Eucharistic liturgy to music...

es, 20 chanson
Chanson
A chanson is in general any lyric-driven French song, usually polyphonic and secular. A singer specialising in chansons is known as a "chanteur" or "chanteuse" ; a collection of chansons, especially from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, is also known as a chansonnier.-Chanson de geste:The...

s, and over 100 motet
Motet
In classical music, motet is a word that is applied to a number of highly varied choral musical compositions.-Etymology:The name comes either from the Latin movere, or a Latinized version of Old French mot, "word" or "verbal utterance." The Medieval Latin for "motet" is motectum, and the Italian...

s survive; since he was a court composer for a king, the survival rate of his music is relatively high for the period, it being widely distributed, copied, and archived. In addition, the famous publisher Ottaviano Petrucci
Ottaviano Petrucci
Ottaviano Petrucci was an Italian printer. His Harmonice Musices Odhecaton, a collection of chansons printed in 1501, is commonly misidentified as the first book of sheet music printed from movable type. Actually that distinction belongs to the Roman printer Ulrich Han's Missale Romanum of 1476...

 printed an entire volume of Mouton's masses (early in the history of music printing, most publications contained works by multiple composers).

The style of Mouton's music has superficial similarities to that of Josquin des Prez
Josquin Des Prez
Josquin des Prez [Josquin Lebloitte dit Desprez] , often referred to simply as Josquin, was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance...

, using paired imitation
Imitation (music)
In music, imitation is when a melody in a polyphonic texture is repeated shortly after its first appearance in a different voice, usually at a different pitch. The melody may vary through transposition, inversion, or otherwise, but retain its original character...

, canonic
Canon (music)
In music, a canon is a contrapuntal composition that employs a melody with one or more imitations of the melody played after a given duration . The initial melody is called the leader , while the imitative melody, which is played in a different voice, is called the follower...

 techniques, and equal-voiced polyphonic
Polyphony
In music, polyphony is a texture consisting of two or more independent melodic voices, as opposed to music with just one voice or music with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords ....

 writing: yet Mouton tends to write rhythmically and texturally uniform music compared to Josquin, with all the voices singing, and with relatively little textural contrast. Glarean
Heinrich Glarean
Heinrich Glarean was a Swiss music theorist, poet and humanist. He was born in Mollis and died in Freiburg....

 characterized Mouton's melodic style with the phrase "his melody flows in a supple thread."

Around 1500, Mouton seems to have become more aware of chord
Chord (music)
A chord in music is any harmonic set of two–three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously. These need not actually be played together: arpeggios and broken chords may for many practical and theoretical purposes be understood as chords...

s and harmonic
Harmony
In music, harmony is the use of simultaneous pitches , or chords. The study of harmony involves chords and their construction and chord progressions and the principles of connection that govern them. Harmony is often said to refer to the "vertical" aspect of music, as distinguished from melodic...

 feeling, probably due to his encounter with Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 music. At any rate this was a period of transition between purely linear thinking in music, in which chords were incidental occurrences as a result of correct usage of intervals, and music in which the harmonic element was foremost (for example in lighter Italian forms such as the frottola
Frottola
The frottola was the predominant type of Italian popular, secular song of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. It was the most important and widespread predecessor to the madrigal...

, which are homophonic
Homophony
In music, homophony is a texture in which two or more parts move together in harmony, the relationship between them creating chords. This is distinct from polyphony, in which parts move with rhythmic independence, and monophony, in which all parts move in parallel rhythm and pitch. A homophonic...

 in texture and sometimes have frankly diatonic harmony).

Mouton was a fine musical craftsman throughout his life, highly regarded by his contemporaries and much in demand by his royal patrons. His music was reprinted and continued to attract other composers even later in the 16th century, especially two joyful Christmas motets he wrote, Noe, noe psallite noe, and Quaeramus cum pastoribus, which several later composers used as the basis for masses.

Masses and mass fragments

  1. Missa "Alleluia"
  2. Missa "Alma redemptoris mater"
  3. Missa "Argentum et aurum (lost)"
  4. Missa "Benedictus Dominus Deus"
  5. Missa "Dictes moy toutes vos pensées"
  6. Missa "Ecce quam bonum"
  7. Missa "Lo serai je dire"
  8. Missa "Faulte d'argent"
  9. Missa "l'Homme armé"
  10. Missa "Quem dicunt homines"
  11. Missa "Regina mearum"
  12. Missa "sans candence"
  13. Missa sine nomine 1 (without a name)
  14. Missa sine nomine 2 (without a name)
  15. Missa "tu es Petrus"
  16. Missa "Tua est potentia"
  17. Missa "Verbum bonum"
  18. Credo (fragment)

Motets (selected)

  1. Antequam comedam suspiro
  2. Ave Maria - virgo serena for five voices, in two parts.
  3. Benedicam Dominum
  4. Exalta Regina Galliae (written to celebrate the French victory at the battle of Marignano, September 13-14, 1515)
  5. Missus est Gabriel
  6. Nesciens mater for eight voices, a tour de force of canon
    Canon (music)
    In music, a canon is a contrapuntal composition that employs a melody with one or more imitations of the melody played after a given duration . The initial melody is called the leader , while the imitative melody, which is played in a different voice, is called the follower...

     writing, being a quadruple canon at an interval of the fifth, proceeding a space of two measures.
  7. Non nobis Domine (written for the birth of the Princess Renée, October 25, 1510)
  8. O Maria piissima; Quis dabit oculis nostris (on the death of Queen Anna, January 9, 1514)
  9. Quaeramus cum pastoribus for four voices, in two parts.
  10. Salve Mater Salvatoris performed here.

Chansons (selected)

  1. La la la l'oysillon du bois
  2. Qui ne regrettroit le gentil Févin (Deploration on the death of Févin, 1511-1512)

Recordings

  • Heavenly Spheres
    Heavenly Spheres
    Heavenly Spheres is an a cappella choral album by the Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal under the direction of Christopher Jackson. Recorded in 1998, it features songs from the late 15th to early 16th century...

    , CBC Records, MVCD 1121, sung by Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal
    Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal
    The Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal is an early music vocal ensemble based in Montreal, Canada. Co-founded in 1974 by the organ and harpsichord players Christopher Jackson, Réjean Poirier, and Hélène Dugal, the group became an important part of the Early Music Revival in Montreal during the...

    . Contains one motet by Mouton, Nesciens mater (for eight voices).
  • Flemish Masters, Virginia Arts Recordings, VA-04413, performed by Zephyrus. Includes Mouton's motet, Nesciens mater, the Obrecht Missa Sub tuum presidium, as well as motets by Willaert, Clemens non Papa, Ockeghem, Des Prez, and Gombert.
  • Josquin Desprez: Missa de Beata Virgine; Jean Mouton: Motets. Harmonia Mundi, HMU 907136, 1995. Performers: Theatre of Voices, directed by Paul Hillier. Includes 5 motets by Mouton, interwoven with the movements of Josquin's mass. By Mouton: (1) Nesciens Mater; (2) Ave Maria Virgo Serena; (3) Ave Sanctissima Maria; (4) O Maria Piissima; (5) Ave Maria Gemma Virginum.
  • Choral Works of Jean Mouton recorded by The Gentlemen of St John's. Includes Nesciens Mater, Salva nos, Domine, Sancti Dei omnes, Missa Dictes moy toutes vos pensées. Nesciens Mater (track 1) was awarded 2nd best Christmas track by Gramophone magazine (2007).
  • Vivat Rex!: Sacred Choral Music of Jean Mouton. Suspicious Cheese Lords
    Suspicious Cheese Lords
    The Suspicious Cheese Lords, also known as Suscipe Quæso Domine, is an American male a cappella ensemble based in Washington, D.C.. SCL is a wholly autonomous, professional ensemble and a 501 not-for-profit organization whose mission is to stimulate interest in early music throughout the...

    , 2008, produced by Tina Chancey
    Tina Chancey
    Tina Chancey is a multi-instrumentalist specializing in early bowed strings from the rebec and vielle to the kamenj, viol and lyra viol. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts to support solo performances on the pardessus de viole at the Kennedy Center and Weill Recital...

     of Hesperus
    Hesperus (ensemble)
    Hesperus is an early music and folk music ensemble. It was founded by Scott Reiss and Tina Chancey in 1979. While they are particularly noted for playing early European music, American folk music and crossovers between the two, they often play music from a variety of other traditions.-History:From...

    . Includes a full performance of the previously unrecorded Missa "Alma Redemptoris mater" and eight previously unrecorded Mouton motets.

External links