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Jacobus Vaet
1529 - 1567
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J. Vaet
Jacobus Vaet (1529 - 08/01/1567), a Franco-Flemish composer and conductor; born in Courtrai (Kortrijk), died in Vienna, Austria. Teacher of Jacob Regnart. Kapellmeister to the Archduke Maximilian in Prague from 1554, and when Maximilian succeeded as Emperor in 1564 became court Kapellmeisterin Vienna. His output consists almost entirely of church music, including many parody Masses on models by composers such as Josquin, Mouton and Crecquillon. His earlier work is solidly imitative in the manner of Gombert, but his later music shows the influence of Lassus in its freer textures and bold dissonances, and of the Venetians in his doublechoir pieces.
Author:Theo Willemze
Source:Componistenlexicon and http://www.hoasm.org/IVA/Vaet.html
Jacob Vaet (c.1529 - 08/01/1567), a Flemish composer born in the neighbourhood of Harelbeke who spent his youth in Kortrijk/Courtrai. In 1543 he joined as a choirboy in the Church of Our Lady Onze Lieve Vrouw/Notre Dame of Courtrai. There was a famous institution in it which hosted a large number of musicians who served to the Habsburg court for instance Pierre de La Rue ( 1460-1518) and Nicolas Gombert (1500-1556). ). It is uncertain whether Vaet was for a short time (1540) a singer at the Court-Chapel of Charles V, Capilla Flamenca among others with Lassus.
Vaet’s voice was changed and he entered the University of Leuven/Louvain during 1546-1553. It could be that one of his teachers was the famous Jacobus Clemens non Papa ( c. 1510-1556Nevertheless in 1553 or 1554 Vaet was appointed Choir-Master Kapellmeister by the Archduke Maximilian, who was at that time King of Bohemia, in Prague. In 1556 the empire of Charles V was divided in two regions, a Spanish and a German one. In 1564 Maximilian II was elected Emperor and his total entourage moved from Prague to Vienna, and from that time Vaet became Choir-Master/Director Kapellmeister of the greatest court chapel. This entire institute consisted out of 60 musicians. Vaet’s responsibilities consisted out of providing and composing music for the Court-orchestra Hofkapelle, supervising the education and needs of choirboys, conducting the court-chapel and, seeing to the hiring and disposition of adult singers and musicians.
Among others Jacob Regnart (c.1540-1599) was a pupil of Jacob Vaet Vaet as the Kapellmeister was an immense respected composer so was his contemporary Lassus (1532-1594) Kapellmeister at Munich court. There was a close relationship and musical exchange between Jacobus Vaet Vienna and Lassus in Munich. During the last years of Vaet’s life, Vaet began to publish his music which consists almost entirely of sacred music.
He wrote nine parody Masses, one Missa pro Defunctis, about eighty Motets, and eight Magnificat settings. Vaet composed a lot of (seventeen) state motets in honouring his patron Maximilian II, for instance Aurea nunc tandem it was composed in November 1564 for Maximilian’s II coronation.
Among those I mention as a contrast Continuo Lacrimas in mortem Clementis non Papa composed at the occasion of the violently? death of Jacobus Clemens non Papa in 1556. The cantus firmus written in Tenor III is taken out of the introit from the Gregorian Requiem Mass. Vaet wrote three chansons/songs.
The great house of publishers Gardano in Venice published a large collections of Vaet’s motets in 1562. Vaet died at very young age in Vienna in January 1567 and posthumously Vaet was represented in an anthology published by Phalèse (Louvain) in 1569.
Author:Wim Goossens
Continuo lacrimas
Period:High Renaissance
Composed in:1556?
Musical form:motet
In memory of:the composer's friend Clemens non Papa
Label(s):Ars Musici 1336 2
LRCD 1075
The motet Continuo lacrimas uses the Requiem plainchant as a cantus firmus, and was probably written as a lament on the death of Vaet's friend Clemens non Papa in 1556.

♫ Continuo lacrimas
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The Continuo Lacrimas in mortem Clementis non Papa a 6, is written for six voices (STTTTB). This motet is certainly composed at the occasion of the violently? death of Jacobus Clemens non Papa in 1556. We quote the wording: Est nimis in Clemens vis ac violentia fati. It seems in reading this Clemens came violently to his end. The cantus firmus and wording written and used in Tenor III (the fourth voice in the composition) is taken out of the introit from the Gregorian Requiem Mass. It could be, we have suggested, Jacobus Clemens was one of the teachers of Jacobus Vaet in Louvain. This lamentation is written by Vaet in a fluent modest polyphonic counterpoint, using some flats.
Author:Wim Goossens
Missa pro defunctis
Period:High Renaissance
Composed in:1560c
Musical form:mass a 5 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin Missae pro Defunctis
Label(s):Ars Musici 1336 2
Brilliant Classics 95365
Vaet's beautiful requiem is unusual in that it quotes portions of his motet "Filiae Jerusalem" in several sections, and in that it does not include a setting of the "Dies irae", but does contain settings of the "Tractus" and "Ne recorderis", sections generally omitted by other composers.
This Missa pro defunctis contains:
01. Introitus: Requiem aeternam
02. Te decet hymnus
03. Kyrie - Christe - Kyrie
04. Tractus: Sicut servus
05. Offertorium
06. Hostias
07. Sanctus - Pleni sunt coeli
08. Benedictus
09. Agnus Dei I, II, III
10. Communio: Lux aeterna
11. Requiem aeternam dona eis
12. Responsorium: Ne recorderis

♫ 01. Introitus: Requiem aeternam
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♫ 02. Te decet hymnus
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♫ 03. Kyrie - Christe - Kyrie
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♫ 04. Tractus: Sicut servus
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♫ 05. Offertorium
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♫ 06. Hostias
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♫ 07. Sanctus - Pleni sunt coeli
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♫ 08. Benedictus
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♫ 09. Agnus Dei I, II, III
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♫ 10. Communio: Lux aeterna
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♫ 11. Requiem aeternam dona eis
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♫ 12. Responsorium: Ne recorderis
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The Missa pro Defunctis a Requiem, Mass of the Dead is in the middle of the 16th century composed by Jacob Vaet for five voices (ATTBB). Vaet was at that time appointed Choir-Master, Kapellmeister by the Archduke Maximilian in Prague. Requiem masses written by a lot of Flemish/ Netherlands composers are made up of with different parts of the Ordinary of the Mass of the Dead, the texts of which remain essentially unchanged (Kyrie, Sanctus & Benedictus, and Agnus Dei), and of the Proper’s of the Requiem, Mass of the Dead whose texts do change according to the liturgical occasion. This was the normal liturgical practice in the region of northern Europe. Before the reforms of the Council of Trent (1543-1563) there were diverse alternative texts for the Proper’s of the Mass of the Dead in use which differs per region. Jacob Vaet uses the Tractus “Sicut servus” like Johannes Ockeghem (c.1420-1497), Pedro de Escobar (c.1465-aft.1535), Antoine de Févin (1473-1512), Benedictus Appenzeller (c.1480/88-aft.1558), Juan Vasquez (c.1510-1560) and Pierre de la Rue (1460-1518) did, but this Tractus is today out of use in the Ordinarium of the Missae pro defunctis. Only the “Absolve me” is still published in the Liber Usualis. In fact three version of a Tractus are known and used: a. Absolve Domine b1. Sicut Cervus, sometimes b2. Sitivit anima mea c. De profundis. Nevertheless as we saw in several parts of Europe – it varies per region - the “Sicut servus” was in use. Besides we can mention and add the by Jacob Vaet not used Sequentia ”Dies Irae” published in the Liber Usualis page 1810 which caused in his time a lot of discussions whether or not this is a proper text belonging to the Office of the Dead. In fact the Dies Irae is now and sometimes in the 16th Century (see Antoine Brumel c.1460-c.1513 and Jacobus de Kerle 1531-1591) an excellent plainchant which melody from the 17th century is more often used.
The other parts – we mentioned already the Sicut Servus - used by Jacob Vaet out of the Proper’s in his Missa pro defunctis are the Introit Requiem æternam, the Offertory Domine Jesu Christe and the Communion Lux æterna. Those three mentioned are still published in the Liber Usualis pp. 1806-1815. Jacob Vaet added at the end of his Mass of the Dead the Respond “Ne recorderis” with the belonging Versicle “Dirige”. This sixth Responsorium “Ne recorderis” in Matins of the Dead is still published in the old Liber Usualis page 1792/93 in Officium Defunctorum Ad Matutinum and will be sung after Lectio sexta, Lesson VI. This Responsory is often used in burial processions. Even the use of a Respond vary per region. See among others, Francesco de la Torre (c.1460-1504) who wrote indeed a “Ne Recorderis”. But in this case Jacob Vaet did not use the whole text of the Respond. The normally used Verse at the end of this Respond “Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis.” is omitted and that’s contrary to the use of the other complete texts by Vaet in this Requiem-Mass. So it could be Jacob Vaet only has known the other version of the Respond “Ne recorderis.”
That “Ne recorderis” is too 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 and numbered, this is number 57 and the belonging Versicle/Verse is “Dirige” number 59. The use vary per region and it seems unlikely – seen the region of appearance - Vaet could have known this version. Characteristic for the Mass of the Dead in general is the use of the original Gregorian chant - the plainchant - in the polyphonic parts, as cantus firmus or as a basis for some paraphrasing, but not in this Missa pro defunctis by Jacob Vaet. In this Missa pro defunctis Jacob Vaet uses parts of his famous bright and coloured motet “Filiae Jerusalem” in particularly in the Requiem, Kyrie and Ne recorderis. Nevertheless nearly all parts of this Missa pro defunctis start – somewhat forced - with the usual short plainchant and all have a beautiful polyphone improving but on another – not plainchant - theme. Even in between some plainchant - for instance: Te decet hymnus deus in Sion and Hostias et preces tibi Domine laudis offerimus and Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine - is used. Jacob Vaet uses a continuous flowing transparent idiom in a masterly fashion in this Requiem. Vaet uses the parody technique, which is usual in that time. This Missa pro defunctis breaths contrary to others a modest festive sphere by not using Requiem plainchant motives. There seems no pain, no mourn – nearly no dissonant - in this Requiem Mass but it is more a testimony of tranquillity, solemnity, resignation and comfort in achieving the eternal Rest and Peace.
It is an other approach but indeed fascinating how Jacob Vaet handles with this Requiem-text. Only in the ”Agnus Dei” there is a modest and serene tense. In fact this is a bright Missa pro defunctis.
This Missa pro defunctis is in general written for five voices (ATTBB) from which four are lower voices TTBB often with double Bass dark colouring this composition. The tractus “Sicut Servus” is written for two voices and the Offertory “Domine Jesu Christe” for four voices. This Missa pro defunctis remains in manuscript in Vienna the place from 1564 to 1567 Jacob Vaet was Chapel-master at the Imperial court, where he died at too young age. This Missa pro defunctis by Jacob Vaet deserves all attention as it is a representation of the high level of the musical art and skills of the fourth Netherlands generation even showing the high level at the Imperial Court. Remember Vaet died young and he did not travel abroad back to the Low Countries, to France nor to Italy. This is polyphonic music pure, not mixed up with other influences and that’s interesting too.
Author:Wim Goossens