A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z 
Nicolas Gombert
c.1495 - c.1557
Belgium / The Netherlands
No picture
N. Gombert
Nicolas Gombert (ca.1495 - ca.1557), a Flemish composer could have been born in the southern part of Flanders probably La Gorgue, around 1495. He belongs to the fourth Flemish generation. Unfortunately nothing is known about his youth. It is supposed he was one of the pupils of Josquin Desprez (c.1440-1521) in Condé sur l’Escaut. It could be since Josquin was settled there in 1504. It is a fact he composed an in memoriam to Josquin published collectively with two others from Appenzeller (c.1480-c.1558) and Vinders (c.1510-c.1550), by Tylman Susato “Le septième livre ……..aevcq trois Epitaphes dudict Josquin, composez par divers auteurs” in 1545. From 1526 Gombert is singer at the court chapel of Charles V and starting from 1529-1537, Gombert was master of the children “Magister puerorum”. He accompanies the court in its voyages to Spain (Toledo, Sevilla, Granada, Valladolid, Valencia, Madrid). Further he travelled from 1530 tot Italy (Bologna, Mantova), Austria (Innsbruck) and Germany (Munich and Augsburg). In 1531 Gombert travelled to Cologne. Gombert acts as composer for great ceremonies. In 1532 he travelled again to Spain. He was cleric and probably a priest. He received ecclesiastical benefits at several churches in Courtrai, Béthune, Lens, Metz and at the cathedral of Tournai in 1534. In 1535 he recruited in the Low Countries musicians for the court chapel. He remained in the Imperial chapel as “maistre des enfants” until some time between 1537 and 1540.
In 1538 he was in Aigues-Mortes with the famous meeting of three court chapels.
Around 1540 the name of Gombert disappears from the list of members of the Imperial Chapel. According to Jerome Cardan (1501-1576) Gombert showed some misbehaviour in violating a choirboy of the service of the emperor and was sent away. He could have been condemned to the galleys and in exiles. Most likely he was pardoned sometime in or before 1547, the date he sent a letter to Gran capitan Ferrante Gonzaga along with a motet from Tournai. Before that time Thomas Crecquillon (c.1505-c.1557) succeeded Gombert. Nevertheless from 1540 until and including 1557 was the richest part in which Gombert’s oeuvre was created. His work was published by Scotto under “maestro de la capella de lo Imperatore”, Attaignant, Gardano and Susato. Gombert is perhaps the most representative composer of the generation between Josquin and Palestrina, especially in the area of sacred music. He brought the polyphonic style to its highest state of perfection; if imitation is a common device in Josquin, it is pervasive in Gombert. One of his perhaps most famous compositions are his eight Magnificat settings, which Cardano called Gombert’s "swansongs". According to Cardano, he composed these Magnificats for Charles V as an offering and a request for pardon, and Charles was so moved by them that he pardoned Gombert? But this is uncertain because the magnificats have already been published in 1522 so better in this case is probably his Book with Motets published in 1539. Gombert’s surviving works include 10 masses, more than 160 motets, published in 1539 and 1541 four Books with motets, about 70 chansons, 8 Magnificats (1522) and some instrumental pieces. Gombert wrote in a consistently polyphonic imitative style.
Author:Wim Goossens
In Josquinum a Prato, Musicorum principem, Monodia
Period:Early Renaissance
Composed in:1521c
Musical form:motet à 6 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin
Duration:6'19''
In memory of:Josquin Desprez
Label(s):Kontrapunkt CD32008
BR 100274
Archiv 445667-2
ECM 000591702
A beautiful six-part (SATTBB) motet written by Nicolas Gombert on occasion of the death of his teacher Josquin Desprez who died in 1521. The text suggests at least great personal acquaintance with Josquin (c.1440-1521). This work contains 125 bars and is written in polyphonic imitative style. The used responsory in this case is the Circumdederunt, this plainchant Antiphon/Responsory is used in the Officium Defunctorum ad Matutinum Office of the Dead and is quoted and sung in all bars by Tenor II, “Sexta Pars”. The other parts are written in Latin with a chosen text by Gombert. Gombert uses to express his feelings a very low Bassus II part, indicating and suggesting the mourn and sadness. The moving words of the used Respond are: Circumdederunt me gemitus mortis, Dolores inferni circumdederunt me. The anguish of death surrounds me, The pains of hell are around me! If we see the “Le septième livre” out of 1545 the Sexta Pars is even notated as plainchant. To me a polyphonic master piece in which Gombert uses his highly talented skills, due the passing away of Josquin.
The circumdederunt is often used especially used by Spanish composers in the Office of the Dead like de Morales( c.1500-1553) , de Vivanco (c.1550-1622), Aires Fernandez (c.15th century) Padilla (c.1590-1664) and even the Flemish Lassus (c.1553-1594). On the other hand the plainchant circumdederunt is often used in chansons, motets, parody Masses and even used in a Requiem Mass by Jean Richafort (c.1480-c.1547).
Author:Wim Goossens
Picture
Josquin Desprez
(dedicatee)
Si bona suscepimus
Period:Early Renaissance
Composed in:1539c
Musical form:Motet a 6 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin from a Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum
This Si bona suscepimus is an old Responsorium. There are about 138 Responsoria de Officium Defunctorum, Responds from Office of the Dead known and used during centuries in the Office of the Dead. They are all well ordered, this is number 87. One of the two corresponding Versicle from the Office of the Dead “ Nudus egressus” number 156 is even used by Gombert, like Lassus (1532-1594) and Lechner (1553-1606) did. It is known the use of Responds and Versicles of The Office of the Dead vary per region all over Europe. In general the text is coming out of the Book Job. The choice of texts and the order in which they occur in the sources all around Europe vary according to local uses.
This long Respond is written by Gombert for 6 voices (STTTBB). Gombert starts with imitative polyphony with voices entering the ones after the others: Soprano I, Tenor II, Tenor I, Bassus I, Tenor III, Bassus II. Gombert tended to favor five lower voices in the score. Gombert uses his rich fluent polyphonic imitative style and uses some flats and fine dissonant to express his feelings and to give more accents. From bar 103 without a brake the Versicle Nudus egressus sum starts. Due to normal practice the Respond-text will come back so in this case from bar 128 with Dominus! But Gombert uses only the last wording of the Respond: Sit nomen domini benedictum. Nevertheless this means this motet is written for use in the service. This motet contains 147 bars and is published in Primus liber cum sex vocibus. Motetti del frutto a sei voci. Venice. A. Gardane, 1539.
Author:Wim Goossens
Text:
Si bona suscepimus de manu domine, mala autem quare non sustineamus? Dominus dedit dominus abstulit sicut domino placuit ita factum est. Sit nomen domini benedictum.
V. Nudus egressus sum de utero matris meae, nudus revertar illuc.
R. Sit nomen domini benedictum.

Translation:
If we have received good things at the hand of God, why should we not endure evil?
The Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away: as it has pleased the Lord, so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord.
V. Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither.
R. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Peccata mea, Domine
Period:Early Renaissance
Composed in:1549c
Musical form:Motet à 6 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin from a Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum
This Peccata mea, Domine’ is an old Responsorium. There are about 138 Responsoria de Officium Defunctorum, Responds from Office of the Dead known and used during centuries in the Office of the Dead. They are all well ordered, this is number 109. They vary per region in Europe. Gombert has, although with some variations placed by us between lines //, used the Respond Peccata mea and the belonging Versicle number 190 Quoniam iniquitatem. So the used text by Gombert differs somewhat from the original. On the other hand the Quoniam iniquitatem is taken out of Psalm 50 verses 4 and 5, used in the exequiarum ordo see liber usualis page 1764, but with miserere mei and exaudi me Gombert gives a free interpretation to come to an end. This long Respond is written by Gombert for 6 voices (STTTBB). Gombert starts with imitative polyphony with voices entering the ones after the others: Tenor I, Soprano I, Tenor II, Bassus III, Bassus I, Tenor III. Gombert tended as we saw in Si bona suscepimus to favor five lower voices in the score. Gombert uses his rich fluent polyphonic imitative style. Of course Gombert uses some flats and fine dissonant to express his feelings and to give more accents. This motet is published in “Il primo libro de motetti a sei voce……. Venice, G. Scotto, 1549”. Later on this motet is also published in anthologies in 1554 and 1556. This Respond written for six voices is as usual divided in two parts Respond and Versicle containing 162 bars.
Author:Wim Goossens
Text: Peccata mea, Domine

R. Peccata mea domine sicut sagittae infixa sunt in me sed antequam vulnera generant in me sana me domine medicamentum paenitentiae deus. // Quoniam conturbata sunt ossa mea, miserere mei et salva me.//
V.Quoniam iniquitatem meam agnosco, et peccatem meum contra me est simper tibi soli peccavi // et malum coram te feci, miserere mei, et exaudi me. //

R. My sins, O lord, are fixed in me, like arrows, but before they caused wounds in me, heal me, O God, with the medicine of repentance. My health is week, have mercy with we and save me.
V. For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me. To thee only have I sinned // and have done evil before thee; have mercy with me, and hear to me.
Contributor:Wim Goossens