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Claudin de Sermisy
c.1490 - 1562
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C. de Sermisy
Claudin (Claude) de Sermisy (ca.1490 - 1562), a French singer and composer, born in Paris.
Source:Grove's dictionary of music and musicians
Claudin de Sermisy ( born c.1490-1562 died in Paris) French compuser was presumably a choirboy in The Sainte Chapelle de Palais. In 1508 he served in the chapel of Louis XII. In 1515 he travelled to Italy and some later in 1520 he went to England. In 1532 he served as a Sous-maître at The Sainte Chapelle de Palais and from 1547 as Maître. He left a large oeuvre, including numerous chansons which owing him his reputation, like Janequin before.
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Pierre Certon wrote Déploration sur la mort de Claudin de Sermisy
Si bona suscepimus
Period:Early Renaissance
Composed in:1520
Musical form:Motet a 4 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 used among others by Jacobus Clement (1515-1556), Gombert (c.1495-c.1557), Jacquet de Mantua (1483-1559), Lassus (1532-1594), Lechner (1553-1606), Ivo de Vento (c.1544-1575), Giovanni Mateo Asola (1528-1609), Gioseffo Zarlino (c.1517-1590), Thomas Verdelot (c.1475-1552), Claudin de Sermisy (1490-1562) and Thomas Selle (1599-1663). The other belonging Versicle is number 307 “Gloria Patri”. On the other hand Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612) used only the Respond version without the Versicle-part so did Constanzo Porta (1529-1601) as we will see. Another third version is seen with the Versicle “In omnibus” Job Chapter 1, Vers 22 and is even produced in very old sources. And finally there is a fourth version with the Versicle “Testa saniem radebat Job.” It is known the use of Responds and Versicles of The Office of the Dead vary per region all over Europe.
This particularly Respond (87) is used and found in the series of Deventer Holland and preserved in the University of Amsterdam. And the more general type (Respond-Type 25) to which this Respond belongs is spread in the area under the Ottonian and Salian emperors the counties of Lower Lorraine, of Flanders, Champagne and the northern part of Holland. In general the text is coming out of the Book Job, chapter 1 verse 21 and chapter 2 verse 10. The choice of texts especially the use of the Versicle and the order in which they occur in the sources all around Europe vary according to local uses. This text setting is found in Deventer in a source out of 1516 and this Respond is sung at the end of the third nocturne.
This setting of this Respond - consisting out of 91 bars – is written by Claudin de Sermisy for four voices (CATB). Most of the melodic phrases are set by De Sermisy in paired imitation. From the beginning of this motet Cantus and Altus start in a two part counterpoint phrase which is repeated or answered by Tenor and Basus together in paired imitation. This was a beloved technique in that time among others developed by Josquin Desprez (c. 1450 -1521) and Loyset Compère (c.1445-1518) both belonging to the South Netherlandish composer out of the third Generation. This paired imitation is interrupted with a first mournful homophonic phrase “Dominus dedit, Dominus abstulit / The Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away” ( Ms 33-38) to underline the imposing mournfully sentiments of those words. The paired imitation continues (Ms 37-48) and is interrupted by another homophonic phrase at the closing of the Respond “Sit nomen Domine benedictum / Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Ms 49-55). In measure 56 starts De Sermisy with the belonging Versicle to this Respond “Nudus egressus sum / naked came I out” in paired imitation. As from measure 69 De Sermisy starts with the repetition of the usual part of the Respond. This is normal according plainchant practises. The “Dominus dedit, Dominus abstulit” is repeated in the same moving homophonic expression as we saw here before. This Respond will be closed after a short paired imitation (Ms 74-85) similar to which we saw before and with the same mournful homophonic closure “ Sit nomen Domine benedictum.” Remarkable are the created pauses (a rest) between “Dominus Dedit” and “Dominus abstulit” (Ms 35 and Ms 71) to underline the mourning feeling and the poignancy to the suffering of Job seen this Respond-text. This Respond is set in G-Dorian. This motet is the basis to the excellent Missa si bona suscepimus by Dominique Phinot (c.1510 - c.1556) belonging too to the distinguished South Netherlandish composers of the third generation. This setting is published in Liber tertius decimus, treize livres de motets parus chez Pierre Attaingnant vol 11 en 1534 et 1535, Paris.
Author:Wim Goossens
Text Si bona suscepimus:
R.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. Dominus dedit dominus abstulit sicut domino placuit ita factum est. Sit nomen domini benedictum.

R. 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. 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.
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Missa pro defunctis
Period:Early Renaissance
Composed in:1532
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
In 1532 Attaignant issued seven volumes of masses by various composers. These included the following by De Sermisy for four voices:
Liber I: Secunda est Philomena praevia
Liber II: Secunda est Missa IX lectionum
Liber III: Prima est Missa plurium motetarum
Liber IV: Secunda est Missa pro defunctis
Liber VII: Prima est Domine est terra
Source:Grove's dictionary of music and musicians
This mass is an non-Roman setting of the requiem mass à 4 vocum. Sermisy uses the customary/normal liturgical chorale melody as a Cantus Firmus in the Bassus Primus, and sections of it in the other parts. This requiem contains:
- Introitus
- Kyrie
- Graduale "Si Ambulem"
- Tractus "Virga tua"
- Offertorium "Domine Jesu Christe"
- Sanctus
- Benedictus
- Agnus Dei
- Communio "Lux Aeterna"
Contributor:Wim Goossens