Thomas Crecquillon and “Ung gay berger”

This is not exactly a case of conflicting attribution, but simply a case of there being two settings of the same text, one by Janequin and one by Thomas Crecquillon (c. 1505–1557). The setting by Janequin (LM74) survives in collections issued by Pierre Attaingnant and Jacques Moderne at approximately the same time. Attaingnant’s version appears in the 8e livre of 1540, which is devoted exclusively to works by Janequin. Moderne includes “Ung gay berger” in his Difficile des chansons I, undated in the surviving partbooks, but dated to 1540 in the Lumley catalogue.

The Crecquillon version of “Ung gay berger” appears first in a Susato print from 1543. This version, which moves primarily in major tonalities (in contradistinction to the g minor flavor chosen by Janequin) was extraordinarily popular and shows up in at least twelve subsequent prints by Phalèse, Moderne, Scotto, Gardano, and Bernhard Jobin, many of which are destined for instrumental performance, including even an organ version published by Giacomo Vincenti.

As might be expected, Crecquillon’s version gets confused with the version by Janequin on at least two occasions (a Valentin Bakfark intabulation published by Moderne[1] in 1552 and a Giulio Barbetta intabulation published by Jobin[2] in 1582), thereby qualifying as “conflicting attributions” of a kind. But the situation is clear enough: Janequin wrote a version that was printed in 1540; Crecquillon followed with a different setting of the same text in 1543 that served as the basis for a string of instrumental arrangements during the rest of the century.

  1. Attributed to “Ienecquin” in Bakfark’s Intabulatura (RISM 155230).
  2. Attributed to “C. Janequin” in Giulio Barbetta’s Novae tabulae (RISM 158215).