“La Guerre” and its Liturgical Progeny

The earliest reworking of Janequin material for liturgical use was the mass setting printed by Jacques Moderne in Liber decem missarum in 1532. Probably the work of Moderne’s sacred music editor Francesco de Layolle, this collection was reissued (by Moderne) in 1540. An expensive edition, it was widely copied; while four printed copies have survived (in Bologna, Florence, Paris, and London), ten manuscript copies exist, all of which postdate 1532.[1] It was especially popular in Italy (two of four surviving prints and five of ten surviving manuscripts are in Italian archives) and remained in regular use in Venice until at least 1668.[2]

The next clearly documented use of Janequin material for liturgical purposes[3] was by the composer himself, the Missa l’aveuglé dieu of 1554. This effort, commissioned by Claude Goudimel for the mass collection Missae duodecim published by Nicolas Du Chemin in 1554, was a conventional setting using parody technique, based on his own chanson published by Du Chemin three years previously. A decade later, the Cretian/Italian composer Francisco Leontaritas (1518–1582) used another Janequin chanson as the point of departure for his parody mass Missa super Aller mi fault. Probably written during his time (1562–1567) with Orlando de Lassus at the court in Munich, Leontaritas may have been familiar with Aller my fault (originally published by Attaingnant in 1529) by way of reprintings of the chanson by Gardano in 1545 or by Scotto in 1550.

The Veneto composer Gianmatteo Asola (1532–1609) wrote more than thirty masses, of which two were based on Janequin chansons (LM2 “Le Chant des oiseaux”[4] and LM3 “La Guerre”[5]). Asolo spent his student days and the early part of his career (1550–1572) in Venice, after which he held a series of minor posts in the Veneto area, ultimately ending his career in Treviso. His Janequin-based masses were printed at the Gardano shop (where both of the aforementioned chansons had been reprinted in 1545) in 1570, toward the end of Asola’s period in Venice. John Bettley notes that in the “Escoutez” mass, Asola “makes full use” of the original five-voice texture,[6] suggesting that Asola perhaps based his setting on either the Susato/Verdelot version from 1545 or on Janequin’s five-voice version (LM234) printed by Du Chemin in 1555 and reprinted by Le Roy and Ballard in 1559.

Masses were not the only liturgical arena where remnants of “La Guerre” turned up. They do so in a double dose in a work by another Italian, Giorgio Mainerio (1535–1582), born in Parma, trained in Udine, and priest, kapellmeister, and composer at the basilica of Aquileia (Friuli) in northeastern Italy. In 1574, Mainerio published the Magnificat Octo Tonorum,[7] containing two Magnificat settings in each of the eight church modes.[8] (Listed as “a 4 voce,” Mainerio’s settings nevertheless contain sections for five, six, seven, and eight voices.) In the “Magnificat Sexti Toni,” Maniero quotes and paraphrases directly from Janequin’s “La Guerre.” In the “Magnificat Quinti Toni,” the quoting and paraphrasing is at a double remove: Mainiero takes his inspiration from Mathias Werrecore’s Bataglia Taliana (written 1522, published 1544), which was in turn a response to Janequin’s original. Maniero mixes traditional and even archaic tonal practices (double definition cadences) with more current procedures, particularly regarding his treatment of dissonance.[9]

Using material with secular roots in liturgical compositions was a procedure that was neither unnoticed nor universally acclaimed in the sixteenth century. Theorist Nicola Vicentino (1511–1576) described the practice in scathing terms in L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica (1555), and the subject was raised at the Council of Trent (1545–1547, 1551–1552, 1562–1563). Contrary to what is frequently reported, however, the council did not mention Janequin by name, nor did it officially proscribe parody settings of LM3 “La Guerre” (or any other of Janequin’s compositions). Busy with a long list of topics of considerably more weight than cantus firmus genesis, the subject was only broached at the twenty-second session in the summer of 1562. In the submission to the papal legate presented on August 8 of that year, humanist and committee chairman Ludovico Beccadelli, Archbishop of Ragusa, suggested the following:

It must also be considered whether the kind of music that has now become established in polyphony, which refreshes the ear more than the mind and which seems to incite lasciviousness rather than religion, should be abolished from the Masses, in which things are often sung such as della caccia and la battaglia.[10]

There can be no doubt that Beccadelli’s “battaglia” reference related to the widely disseminated Layolle/Moderne adaptation from 1532, but as far as I am aware, no composer before or after 1562 has ever seen fit to use Janequin’s LM4 “La Chasse” as the foundation for a mass setting, and Beccadelli’s “caccia” mention is best received as referring to an entire genre. That being as it may, the council never arrived at any specific prohibitions and essentially left the issue to be resolved at local levels. There is some evidence that regional prohibitions were indeed attempted,[11] but judging by subsequent developments, they had little effect.

Between the appearance of the Moderne/Layolle adaption of 1532 and 1582, evidence of “battle” masses is shadowy. Asola’s version from 1570 seems not to have achieved wide distribution, and reports of an earlier setting by Christobal Morales (ca. 1500–1553) remain uncorroborated.[12] With the publication in 1582 of Francisco Guerrero’s Missa de la Batalla escoutez, however, the battle mass vogue gathered momentum, thriving particularly in Spain and even reaching Mexico.

Publication date Composer Title

1582 Guerrero, Francisco (1528–1599) Missa de la Batalla escoutez (a5)

1596 Croce, Giovanni (1557–1609) Missa sopra la battaglia (a8)

1600 Victoria, Tomas Luis de (1548–1611) Missa Pro Victoria (a4+a5)

1605 Anerio, Felice (ca. 1560–1614) Missa della Battaglia

1608 Anerio, Felice Missa Nuncupata la Battaglia

1608 Bartei, Girolamo (ca. 1570–ca. 1618) Missa della Battaglia (a8)

1608 (publ.) Esquivel, Juan (ca. 1580–ca. 1623) Missa Batalla (Kyrie, Credo)

1620 (?) Comes, Juan Bautista (ca. 1582–1643) Missa de Batalla

1620 (?) Romero, Mateo (1575–1647) Missa Batalla (a4)

1635 (?) Patino, Carlos (1600–1675) El magnificat de batalla de 6e tono (a8) 1648 (?) Cererols, Juan (1618–1689) Missa de batalla (a4+a4+a4)

1648 Pérez, Fabian Ximeno (1595–1654) Misa de la Batalla 6 toni (a4+a4)

1650 (?) Lopez, Francisco Capillas (1614–1674) Misa de Batalla (a6)

1650 (?) Roldán, Juan Pérez (1604–1672) ?

1663 Foggia, Francesco (1603–1688) Messa detta La battaglia

1670 (?) Gargallo, Lluis Vicenç (ca. 1636–1682) ?

1690 (?) Carrion, Jerónimo de (1660–1721) ?

1705 (?) Durón, Sebastian (1660–1716) “four choirs w violins/trumpet in the French manner”

A comparative study of all these versions remains to be made,[13] but work done so far suggests that composers responded not only to Janequin’s four- and five-voice originals (from 1515 and 1550, respectively) but also (and possibly even primarily) to the Moderne/Layolle adaptation of 1532.[14] Which version they responded to, and why they felt called on to respond at all, can only be speculated on. Among their possible motivations:

  • a perceived relationship to the “L’homme armé” heritage;
  • completion of a rite of passage from journeyman to master status;
  • the challenge of participating in an ongoing and mildly competitive tradition;
  • an attraction to battle-related metaphorical qualities (good vs. evil);
  • the strength/popularity of the original (transparent, easily extracted tunes);
  • reactions to the weaknesses of the 1532 adaptation (uncharacteristic parody treatment); and
  • subject matter well-adapted to the growingly popular multi-choir treatment.

Not surprisingly, comparisons of the Layolle/Moderne effort (designed to maximize sales by the use of frequent and easily recognizable quotes from the original) with later efforts (by composers with a greater allegiance to conventional parody technique and coherent structure) frequently come out in favor of the later efforts. What Janequin thought about the Moderne/Layolle borrowings is not known, but judging by the shape of his Missa l’aveuglé dieu of 1554, if he had been in the mood to make something liturgical out of “La Guerre” it would probably have resembled the versions by Guerrero or Victoria a great deal more than the Moderne/Layolle pastiche.

  1. The Battle Mass and Layolle’s involvement with it are discussed extensively in Clément Janequin: French Composer at the Dawn of Music Publishing, pp. 95–100.
  2. A mass entitled Missa feriae quintae Sexagesimae was still being sung at St. Mark’s during Francesco Cavalli’s tenure as maestro (1666-1676.) The mass, previously thought to have been by Giovanni Rovetta (c. 1596-1669) or Cipriano de Rore (c. 1516-1565) appears to be a late seventeenth-century recopying (replete with archaicizing double definition cadences) of the Janequin/Layolle battle mass published by Moderne in 1532 and 1540. See James Harold Moore, Vespers at St. Mark’s: Music of Alessandro Grandi, Giovanni Rovetta, and Francesco Cavalli, Studies in Musicology, no. 30 (Ann Arbor, Mich: UMI Research Press, 1981), 94–95; and Jonathan Drennan, “Attributions to Giovanni Rovetta,” Early Music 33, no. 3 (2005): 1–4.
  3. Martin Staehelin, “Zur Rumpelmette von Sixt Dietrich,” in Festschrift Christoph-Helmutt Mahling Zum 65. Geburtsdag (Tutzing, 1997), 1303–13 notes that the short instrumental interludes Dietrich Sixt used in his “Rumpelmette” (Novum Opus, Rhau, Wittenburg, 1545) to describe the chaos around the arrest of Jesus are in a style apparently influenced by Janequin’s battle chanson.
  4. In Missae tres ad voces 5 quorum nomina sunt dum complerentur, reveillez, Standomi un giorno. Liber primus, Venetia, 1570, figli di Ant. Gardano. (in Archivo del Duomo, Faenza). The Missa reveillez is mentioned but not discussed in detail in Donald Mahl Fouse, “The Sacred Music of Giammateo Asola” (PhD, North Carolina, 1960).
  5. Missae tres senis vocibus decantandae, quorum nomina sunt. primi toni, Andreas Christi famulus, escoutez. Liber secundus, Venetia, 1570 apud Filios Antionij Gardani (incomplete: tenor books in Società Filarmonica, Verona and Biblioteca Malatestiana, Cesena; altus in British Library, London).
  6. John Christopher Bettley, “North Italian Liturgical Music in the Late Sixteenth Century: A Study of Polyphonic Vocal Repertory from c. 1570 to c. 1605” (thesis, Durham, 1988), 116.
  7. Magnificat Octo Tonorum mi sexti toni, Giovanni Bariletto, Venice presently in GB:BL.
  8. Ottone Tonetti, “Due battaglie musicali per due magnificat di Giorgio Mainerio,” Rivista internazionale di musica sacra 3 (1987): 269–301.
  9. Maniero’s Magnificat settings have been recorded by Gian Paolo Fagotto, “War and Faith,” Audiophile Authentic Arts 47691-2 (2002).
  10. Translated in Craig A. Monson, “The Council of Trent Revisited,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 55, no. 1 (2002): 8.
  11. David Crook, “A Sixteenth-Century Catalog of Prohibited Music,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 62, no. 1 (2009): 1–78 enumerates prohibited titles in Munich in 1591. It is unclear if number 52 “La battaglia” refers to Janequin’s original, to adaptations by Layolle, Morales, Asola, Maniero or Guerrero, or is simply a generic instruction to avoid the subject altogether.
  12. Morales worked in Rome (in the papal choir) from 1535-45 and would certainly have been familiar with the Moderne/Layolle adaptation. In 1626, Correa de Arauxo published a tiento based on Morale’s Batalla (in Facultad orgánico, MME, VI, 129-137). Robert Stevenson, Spanish Cathedral Music in the Golden Age (Berkeley; Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1961), 235, note 341 sees this setting (apparently lost, unless it proves to be the anonymous Batalla Mass, Madrid Biblioteca Mediniaceli, ms. 607, pp. 260-279) as possibly the first battle mass after the Moderne/Layolle effort.
  13. Stevenson, Spanish Cathedral Music in the Golden Age looks at Guerrero and Victoria; Harry Edwin Gudmundson, “Parody and Symbolism in Three Battle Masses of the Sixteenth Century.” (Ann Arbor, Michigan, Michigan, 1976) at Janequin/Layolle, Guerrero, and Victoria; Alyson Roberts, “Parody Masses Based on Janequin’s La Guerre: A Critical Edition and Study” (Master’s thesis, Belfast, Queens University, 1977) at Croce, Ximeno, and Lopez; and Graham Strahle, “Parodia y policoralismo en la ‘Missa de Batalla’ de Juan Cererols,” Revista aragonesa de musicología 7, no. 1 (1991): 133–59 at Cererols.
  14. Stevenson, Spanish Cathedral Music in the Golden Age, 289–90 notes that both Guerrero and Victoria use a head motive in Kyrie II found only in the Moderne/Layolle version from 1532.