CLEMENS NON PAPA
Clemens non Papa
Clemens, along with Gombert, Willaert and others, was one of the late representatives – the fourth generation -- of the Flemish polyphonists. In a short time, he composed an extensive and varied body of works: more than 500 sacred and secular pieces in a conservative and often expressive style whose ...
Mentioned in the biography of
Gheerkin de Hondt
Biography Clemens non Papa
Clemens, along with Gombert, Willaert and others, was one of the late representatives – the fourth generation -- of the Flemish polyphonists. In a short time, he composed an extensive and varied body of works: more than 500 sacred and secular pieces in a conservative and often expressive style whose fundamental characteristic is imitation. His compositions exerted a great influence on Lassus. The reason for Clemens' nickname “non Papa” shall remain a mystery. That it was to avoid confusion with Pope Clement (Papa Clemens) VII is unlikely, for the pope was already dead when Clemens' first compositions appeared. Equally improbable is that it was to distinguish him from the poet Jacobus Papa of Ypres. Clemens' music was widely circulated in manuscript and print during his lifetime.
1510 - 1515
Clemens' birthdate and birthplace are unknown. He presumably comes from the southern Low Countries or Zeeland. Unlike many of his well-travelled colleagues, Clemens does not go to Italy but remains most probably primarily in Dordrecht, 's-Hertogenbosch, Leiden and Ypres.
The printer Tielman Susato of Antwerp publishes chansons by Clemens and others for vocal and instrumental performance. They vary in style and setting (from four- to eight-voiced). The music alternates between counterpoint and homophony.
1544 - 1545
Clemens is assistant kapellmeister at St. Donatian's Cathedral in Bruges.
1544 - 1549
He probably holds the same position in the court of Philippe de Croy, Duke of Aarschot and one of Charles V's generals. The three state motets Clemens writes in this period indicate that he may have some affiliation with Charles V himself.
Clemens and Susato make agreements on the publication of Clemens' music.
For three months, Clemens is a singer and composer in the service of the Marian Brotherhood of Our Dear Lady in 's-Hertogenbosch. In parting, he writes “in honour of our dear ladies” the seven-voice motet 'Ego flos campi'.
1555 - 1556
Like his birthdate, the year of Clemens' death is not known either. It is possible that he was the victim of a crime. He is presumably buried in Diksmuide.
The Antwerp publisher Phalèse publishes Clemens' first Mass. By 1560 he has published nearly all of Clemens' sacred works. Clemens often employs note-against-note counterpoint in the motets – written on liturgical texts and mostly dedicated to the Virgin Mary – and the Masses. The short note values he uses give the music a lively texture.
1556 - 1557
Susato publishes the 'Souterliedekens' (souter = psalms and liedekens = little songs) for 26 vocal settings. They are the earliest multi-voice settings of rhymed Psalms in Dutch. The rhymed texts, thought to be by Willem van Zuylen van Nijvelt, were published in 1540 by Simon Cock of Antwerp. The 'Souterliedekens' serve as sacred music in the home. They are based on folk melodies, most often the middle voice of the three-part settings. Susato would also issue Gerardus Mes' settings of these texts in 1561.
Jacobus Vaet publishes in Nuremberg his 'Déploration' on the death of Clemens.
In the discography you will find all recordings that have been released listed chronologically. We restrict ourselves to the title, the type of audio, year of publication or recording, label, list of guest musicians, plus any comments on the issue.
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