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Thomas Crecquillon
c.1510 - 1557
Belgium / The Netherlands
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Th. Crecquillon
Thomas Crecquillon (c.1510-1557), a Flemish composer belongs to the fourth generation of Flemish/Netherlands composers. Unfortunately very little is known about his life. His place and date of birth are unknown, but he is certainly born in the region known at that time as the Netherlands, the Low Countries. He could have held positions in Cologne, Regensburg, Tournai and Antwerp some time before 1539. Probably from 1540 up to 1548 Crecquillon was maître de la Chappelle, singer, chaplain and the unofficial court composer of Charles V at Brussels. On the other hand it could be that Cornelis Canis (c.1510-1561) was the successor of Nicolas Gombert (c.1500-1556) as the Emperor’s maestro di capilla in April-August 1546. But there is some contradiction in the found documents. Nevertheless Crecquillon held an important position at the court of Charles V at Brussels from 1540 -1555. Crecquillon retired in 1555 and his name is no longer found in the records of the court since 1557. From 1555 to 1757 he was Prebandary or Canon in Béthune. A successor in Béthune was appointed in March 1557.
As a famous musician Crecquillon was appointed prebendary/canon in various Flemish towns, Louvain (1550), Namur (1552), Termonde (Dendermonde) (1552) and finally in Béthune (1555). Crecquillon didn’t left his home region for other parts of Europe so many of his colleagues did. Most likely but uncertain he died in 1557 in Béthune, probably as a victim of the serious outbreak of plague in Béthune that year. The famous printers Pierre Phalèse (of Louvain) and Tielman Susato (of Antwerp) published more music by him than by any other composer, which shows the extent of his reputation at that time. From 1542 publication of his works is done especially by Susato in several anthologies. He was a master of polyphony and from his contemporaries he was the most representative with Gombert (c.1595-c.1557) and Jacob Clement (c.1510-c.1556) between Josquin (c.1440-1521) and Lassus (1532-1594). Most of Crecquillon’s work was written on demand for both secular and sacred reasons. See for instance his motet Andreas Christi famulus (for eight voices) which was written for the 1546 meeting of the Order of the Golden Fleece, of which Saint Andrew ('Andreas' of the title) was the patron saint. This meeting probably took place in Utrecht. Crecquillon wrote more than 100 motets, 16 Masses, 200 Chansons, 5 French psalms and Lamentation cycles. Many of his chansons were arranged for instruments, especially lute. He is most distinguished as a chanson composer, but his sacred work is considered too as his most significant work. Crecquillon often matched musical to verbal expression in using dissonance to create fine tension and in his sacred work he pervade in a real splendid way imitation and polyphonic complexity like his Flemish/Netherlands contemporaries did.
Author:Wim Goossens
Peccantem me quotidie
Period:High Renaissance
Musical form:Motet à 3 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin Responsorium Ad Matutinum de Officium Defunctorum
Duration:4'10''
Label(s):Arsis CD 146
Peccantem me quotidie is a motet from the Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum Ad Matutinum composed by Crecquillon for four voices (SAT). A Responsory from Matins of the Dead. The Peccantem me quotidie is an old Responsorium, Respond which is still published in the old Liber Usualis page 1797 and is sung after Lectio VII in the third Nocturn. But contrary to Pierre de Manchicourt (c1510-1564) and Jacob Regnart (c.1540-1599) Crecquillon uses the version published in this Liber Usualis. Crecquillon uses his rich imitative polyphonic style. But due the use of only three voices this peccantem me quotodie has a very modest character. A slightly work nevertheless a pearl. A charming peace full of deep feelings.
The motet in total contains only 107 bars. The Versicle “Deus” starts from bar 59 and the repetition of the Respond is coming up in bar 84. This motet is after the death of Crecquillon published in Modulorum ternis vocibus diversis auctoribus ducantorum Volumen primum, Paris Le Roy et Ballard 1565 and in Selectissimarum sacrarum cantionum (quas vulgo Moteta vocant) flores, trium vocum: ex optimis ac praestantissimis quibusque divinae Musices authoribus excerptarum. Jam primum summa cura ac diligentia collecti et impressi. Liber secundus. Louvain, P. Phalèse,1569.
Author:Wim Goossens
Text Peccantem:

R. Peccantem me quotidie et non me penitentem, timor mortis conturbat me, quia in inferno nulla est redemptio. Miserere mei, deus, et salva me.
V. Deus in nomine tuo salvum me fac, et in virtute tua libera me.
R Quia in inferno nulla est redemptio. Miserere mei, deus, et salva me.

Translation:
R. The fear of death overwhelms me, who sin every day and not repent: for in hell there is no redemption. Have mercy on me O God and spare me.
V. Oh God in your name spare me and in your mighty deliver me.
R. For in hell there is no redemption. Have mercy on me O God and spare me.
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Cognoscimus, Domine
Period:High Renaissance
Composed in:1553c
Musical form:Motet à 4 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin from a Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum
This ‘Cognoscimus Domine’ is an old Responsorium Respond. 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 10. The second part, pars secundo of this motet is “Vita nostra” the Versicle following and belonging to this Respond. The Versicle “Vita nostra” nr 240 is used in the Office of the Dead. But contrary to Lassus in this version the secunda pars is used by Crequillon. This motet starts with the theme in the Soprano following by the other voices from above to the bottom-line Tenor I, Tenor II and Bass. The motet has rich imitative polyphonic style. Crecquillon uses lots of flats and sharps to express his mourning feelings. This motet is written for four parts (STTB). This motet was for the first time published by Susato Antwerp in 1553 in Liber primus ecclesiasticarum cantionum quatuor vocum volgo moteta vocant, tam ex Veteri quam ex Novo Testamento, ab optimus quibusque huius aetatis musicis compositarum. Antea nunquam excuses, Antwerp: Susato, 1553.Further publications are found in Venice, Scotto 1554, in Nuremberg, J. Montanus & Neuber 1556 and in Louvain Palèse & Bellère in 1576. The motet contains in the first part 94 bars.
The secundo pars the Versicle “Vita Nostra” starts with Tenor I, followed by Superior, Bass and Tenor II in the same rich imitative polyphonic style. The secunda pars of this motet contains 96 bars.
At some minor places the text differs from the original Respond. But in accordance to normal practice Crecquillon ends this motet from bar 147 (running numbering) with the last sentence of the Respond, so did Lechner ( 1553-1606). In my opinion you may perform and sing the two motets separately.
Author:Wim Goossens
Text: Cognoscimus and Vita Nostra

R. Cognoscimus domine quia peccavimus veniam petimus quam non meremur. Manum tuam porrige lapsis qui latroni confitenti paradisi januas aperuisti.
V. Vita nostra in dolore suspirat et in opera non emendta; si expectas, non corrigimur, aut si vindicas, non duramus.
R. Manum tuam porrige lapsis qui latroni confitenti paradisi januas aperuisti.
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Heu mihi, Domine
Period:High Renaissance
Composed in:1554
Musical form:Motet à 5 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin Responsorium ad Matutinum de Officium Defunctorum
A motet from the Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum Ad Matutinum. Responsory from Matins of the Dead and written by Crecquillon for five voices (STTTB). The Responsorium Heu/Hei mihi, Domine is still published in the old Liber Usualis page 1791/92 and is sung after Lectio V in the second nocturn. The Heu mihi, Domine is written by Crecquillon in a fluent modest polyphonic counterpoint, using flats and sharps and the chosen mode g minor to express his feelings. The first part consists out of 58 bars. Crecquillon didn’t use the last sentence of the Respond (Misere mei dum veneris in novissimo die) in this part. In this motet Cercquillon uses on a significant way imitative polyphonic style starting with Tenor I followed by Bass, Tenor III, Tenor II and Superior. The second part starts with the belonging Versicle ‘Anima mea’ starting in the Bass, followed by Tenor III, Tenor I, Superior and Tenor II ends from bar 95 (Bass) and now with a part of the Respond. Which was normal practice in the Service. The secunda pars contains 55 bars. Due to the chosen text you should perform the parts together. The Respond and the Versicle ends in G-major. A marvellous work, with fine chords. The total motet Heu mihi, Domine contains 113 bars. For good understanding I have placed the not used text compared to the Liber Usualis between brackets, see below. This setting by Crecquillon was published in Tomus quartus Psalmorum selectorum, quatuor et plurium vocum, Neuremberg, J. Montanus & U. Neuber, 1554, 4 volume.
Author:Wim Goossens
The text of Heu mihi:

R. Heu mihi Domine quia peccavi nimis, in vita mea:
quid faciam miser? ubi fugiam nisi ad te Deus meus?
[Miserere mei dum veneris in novissimo die.]
V. Anima mea turbata est valde sed tu Domine succurre ei:
[miserere mei] R. dum veneris in novissimo die.

Translation:
R. Woe is me, Lord, for I have sinned greatly.
What shall become of me, wretch that I am;
where shall I flee, except to Thee, O Lord.
[Have mercy on me when Thou shalt come on the last day]
V. My soul is greatly troubled but Thou, O Lord, sustainest me:
[have mercy on me] R. when Thou shalt come on the last day.
Contributor:Wim Goossens