JANEQUIN (CLÉMENT)

  • Clément JANEQUIN (1485-1558) 

  • Composer, cantor and priest, Janequin was known throughout Europe. Originally from Poitou, he was born Châtellerault in 1485 and, according to Ronsard, would have been a disciple of Josquin des Prés.
  • In 1505, Janequin joined the magistrate and humanist Lancelot du Fau in Bordeaux, who became bishop of Luçon in 1515. That same year, Janequin would have taken part in the battle of Marignan, source of inspiration for La Bataille, one of his most famous songs. After the death of Lancelot du Fau, the composer entered the service of Jean de Foix, archbishop of Bordeaux. • In fact, very little is known of his life until 1529, when he was Bordeaux and composed a play to celebrate the peace of Cambrai. It was around this time that Pierre Attaingnant (or Attaignant) and other European publishers began to print his polyphonic songs.
  • In 1530, François Ier and his court stayed in Bordeaux. For the king’s entry, Janequin composed Chantons, sonnez Trumpets, which earned its author the title of King’s Cantor. In 1530, Janequin settled in Angers. He was chapel master of Saint-Maurice cathedral from 1534 to 1537. Around 1540, he stayed regularly in Paris and settled there definitively in 1549. He became the protégé of Cardinal Jean de Lorraine and Duke François de Guise who made his chaplain and his musician. 
  • Clément Janequin has composed more than four hundred secular vocal works, fifty spiritual songs, eighty psalms and two masses. Considered as the master of the “Parisian song”, Janequin renews the profane song (spiritual and sentimental, even saucy and often Rabelaisian) and invents descriptive or imitative music. Vast frescoes such as La Bataille de Marignan, Le Chant des Oiseaux, La Chasse au Cerf or Les Cris de Paris, which play with words or onomatopoeias are considered models of Renaissance vocal music. As for licentious or love songs, they announce what will later be the madrigal of the Renaissance.
  • At the end of his life, during the reign of King Henry II, Janequin was appointed ordinary composer (titular) in the royal chapel. Despite his success and his fame, Clément Janequin died destitute, as evidenced by his will.
JANEQUIN (CLÉMENT)