Janequin and Cadéac, at Auch and After

A document from Bordeaux from the beginning of March 1531 identifies Janequin as “monsr. maître Clemens Jehannequyn, curé de Brossay et de Messaulx et maître des enfans de l’église cathédralle d’Auchs.”[1] The document itself is not from or about Auch; it records details of the repayment of a loan (of ten gold écus) made between Janequin and a fellow priest in Bordeaux. As was usual, the involved partners are identified by at least some of their official circumstances; Janequin’s longstanding prebend from Angers (Brossay) is named, what would seem to be a more recent prebend (St. Jean de Mézos, here listed as “Messaulx”) is recorded, and then the composer is described as “master of the children of the cathedral church of Auch” (i.e., director of the cathedral choir). Nothing has been discovered in the cathedral archives in Auch to corroborate this appointment, and Lesure wondered if Janequin actually ever went to Auch or if he was perhaps only in negotiations to do so.[2] Ravaged by time and revolutions, archival information of any kind for this period in the Auch region is scarce, so Lesure’s disappointment in not finding corroboration, while understandable, need not undermine the validity of the Bordeaux notice. The terse nature of the notice does mean, however, that we have no indication about when Janequin may have begun his duties in Auch, how long he eventually stayed, or when he left.

Auch is 200 kilometers southeast of Bordeaux and connected to the port city by the Garonne and Gers rivers. Never a major population center, it currently has 20,000 residents, numbered 8,500 souls at the time of the 1793 census, and in 1531 had perhaps a population of three or four thousand. It is surrounded by rich farmland, however, and at the time, the diocese of Auch was the fourth largest in France (after Strasbourg, Paris, and Cambrai) with 366 parishes and 244 annexes.[3] The wealth generated by these holdings (primarily in form of tithes) was considerable, and a clear indication of this prosperity was the laying of the cornerstone of a new cathedral on July 4th, 1489.

A major impetus in the development of the new edifice, dedicated to Sainte Marie, was the archbishop and cardinal François Guillame de Castelnau de Clermont-Lodève (1480–1540). Nephew of another cardinal, the Archbishop of Rouen, Clermont-Lodève was both immensely wealthy[4] and eminently capable. (He was later elected dean of the College of Cardinals). Clermont-Lodève had clear aesthetic and artistic ambitions for the cathedral in Auch and had both the resources and the energy to see them through. Almost immediately on beginning his term as archbishop (which lasted from 1507 to 1538), Clermont-Lodève engaged the artist Arnaud de Moles to make a series of stained-glass windows that are still the glory of the edifice. The eighteen windows are renowned not only for their intensity and technical mastery, but also for their symbolic unity, which Father Jacques Fauré credits to the hands-on participation and guidance of the archbishop.[5]

Other artistic features of the cathedral that are well outside the realms of the ordinary are the 113 stalls that fill the choir. Sumptuously executed in exquisite dark oak, they include some sixty standing figures in bas-relief that echo themes portrayed in the ambulatory windows. Started around 1520 and finished in 1552, they represent another evidence of a coordinated aesthetic and artistic participation by the archbishop.

Given the level of participation that the archbishop seems to have been willing to invest, both in terms of economic resources and personal energy, to ensure that the seat of his archbishopric was as resplendent and magnificent as it could be, it takes no great leap of faith to imagine that the prelate’s ambitions also extended to the kinds of sounds that should fill this privileged edifice. Along with an organ and an organist, Clermont-Lodève needed a choirmaster, preferably one with flair and prestige, and who better to provide the required luster than the celebrator (in “La Guerre”) of the king himself, presently without protector (Jean de Foix died in 1529) in not-all-that-distant Bordeaux?

Janequin’s motives for accepting the position are not difficult to imagine. Auch was not exactly a position of huge prestige, perhaps, but it was clearly a rising star in the ecclesiastical firmament, at least as long as Clermont-Lodève was in charge. After the death of Lancelot du Fau in 1523, Janequin’s economic base was subject to the whims and necessities that governed the prebend system, and while Jean de Foix did not exactly abandon the composer, the instability of the system made Janequin’s position vulnerable. This changed for the worse on the death of de Foix in 1529. De Foix may have had only residual feelings of personal responsibility for a charge (Janequin) of a former assistant (Du Fau), but de Foix was succeeded in turn by archbishops who had no personal connections with the composer, and who in addition had to deal with a general surplus of clergy and reevaluations of clerical support for secular applications engendered by the Counter-reform. His support in Bordeaux apparently eroding, the composer may well have felt it was time to try his luck elsewhere.

Between the 24th of July, 1529 (when Janequin was still listed as holding the “procureur des âmes” position in Bordeaux) and the 22nd of March, 1533 (when he was constituted as curé of Avrillé, just outside of Angers), the documentary evidence is unclear, to say the least. Janquin is mentioned in a poem by Eustorg de Beaulieu that was published in 1529, but the reference in no way fixes Janequin’s presence in Bordeaux to any particular year, least of all 1529. Similarly, since the release of the princes from four years of Spanish captivity had been anticipated since the moment of their incarceration in 1526, the eminently predictable Attaingnant collection (which opens with a chanson by Janequin) celebrating their release could have been under preparation long before the actual event on July 1st, 1530. For the year 1532, no documents whatsoever concerning Janequin have survived (if the appearance of a mass setting from the presses of Jacques Moderne that borrows from LM3 “La Guerre” is deservedly disregarded). That leaves us with five documents from 1531: (a) the document mentioned above from the beginning (between the 3rd and the 6th) of March; and (b) four more documents dated from the 20th of March to the 6th of June.[6] All of the last four documents are compiled by the same notary (Anchesme Peyrault), and all of them concern delegating authority for Janequin’s affairs in Bordeaux, which strongly suggests that while Janequin was present in Bordeaux in March of 1531, he was not necessarily residing there.

Where, then, was our composer between March of 1529 and March of 1533? He could have been spending time in Angers, where he had been accorded a prebend connecting him to the cathedral already in 1525. He could have been in Paris, visiting his publisher (Attaingnant) or, as is frequently cited but sparsely documented, living a life of ease under the auspices of Cardinal Jean de Lorraine. He could have been in Châtellerault, sheltered by his parents, who seem to still have been alive at this time. (The final terms of their testaments were implemented in 1534.) He could even have been in Lyon, if you are inclined to burden him with responsibility for Moderne’s battle mass, as well as the questionable necessity of being physically present during its publication.

The most satisfying alternative, in spite of only the one bit of evidence, is that Janequin went to Auch at the behest of Clermont-Lodève, and remained there for an unknown period of time. The maximum possible length of stay, it would seem, is four years, from March of 1529, when he still held the procureur des âmes position in Bordeaux, until March of 1533, when he is clearly present in Angers. This length of stay seems unlikely, if only because if he had indeed stayed this long, one would have expected some corroborating indication, however meager, to have surfaced. Something else to be considered is that although we know that Janequin was in Avrillé and Angers on the 22nd of March, 1533, this doesn’t necessarily mean that he had only recently arrived. Indeed, for all we know, Janequin may have been present in Angers, living with his brother or elsewhere, a year or more in advance of his official installation. A scenario where Janequin spends the fall of 1529 and all of 1530 moving between Bordeaux, Châtellerault, Angers, and Paris, directs the choir in Auch from summer 1530 to summer 1531, and then divides his time from summer 1531 until March of 1533 between contacts in Bordeaux, parents in Châtellerault, brother in Angers, and publisher in Paris is utterly hypothetical, but nevertheless not inconceivable. On the other hand, a pair of years in Auch would seem less desperately peripatetic, but when all is said and done, we simply don’t know how long Janequin served there.

What is clear is that at some point, Janequin decided that his future was north, not south, and gave notice to Clermont-Lodève. Janequin’s reasons for leaving Auch can have been several. First, having responsibility for the education, discipline, and artistic achievements of a bevy of mewling and puking choirboys seems never to have been high on Janequin’s list of priorities. He seems not to have actively looked for such a position in Bordeaux, his tenure in Luçon was marked by a certain youthful turbulence, and when he later got the chance in Angers, he quickly passed responsibility for the choir school to his friend (and possibly assistant) Loys Henry. The responsibilities of early morning liturgical duties with a platoon of pueri seems to have been no match for the pleasures of late-night amusements in aristocratic company.

Another factor may have been that while Clermont-Lodève was pleased to have been able to bring a composer of international format into his burgeoning Sainte Marie ambience, he also expected said composer to make a genuine and well-thought-out contribution to the artistic and liturgical life of the chapter, much as he had expected and received the full cooperation of Arnaud de Moles in the execution of the cathedral’s windows. For Janequin, adept at letting he who paid the piper call the tune, this may have resulted in the series of motets that were ultimately published by Attaingnant in 1533.[7] In the long run, however, the combination of a surfeit of serious ecclesiastical expectations and correspondingly fewer opportunities for aristocratic amusements may have weighed against the provincial Auch. (The closest metropolitan center, Toulouse, is 90 kilometers away.) Another contributing factor, although perhaps not of major consequence, was that the cathedral itself, consecrated first in 1548, was not entirely finished in Janequin’s time, with whatever inconveniences and limitations this may have caused. Probably the most telling argument, and something that neither Clermont-Lodève nor Janequin could do much to alleviate, was the fact that Auch was simply a very long way from Pierre Attaingnant’s Parisian print shop. For Janequin, who had seen in full the potentialities of the music-printing medium, this would have been a significant and a growing concern, as contact with Attaingnant became more and more important. The differences between holding communication alive between Angers and Paris, and between Auch and Paris, were of two different orders, and must have weighed heavily in Janequin’s decision.

Before leaving the subject of Auch, a brief look is warranted at another composer who served at the cathedral Sainte Marie in Auch, Pierre Cadéac.[8] Pierre Cadéac’s biography rests on four elements: his name, which strongly suggests that he was from a village with that same name located 90 kilometers south of Auch;[9] a poem by Bernard de Poey (Toulouse, 1551) refers to Cadéac as a member of the Auch ecclesiastical community; the title page of a mass published by Du Chemin in 1556 specifically names Cadéac as choirmaster in Auch;[10] and finally, the chansons, masses, and in particular motets by Cadéac that were printed and reprinted across Europe starting in 1534 and continuing into the seventeenth century (with special attention to the chanson “Je suys deshéritée” that was frequently reissued and served as anchor for a long string of parody masses by other composers).

This is not a lot to go on, but perhaps enough to suggest a scenario in which the musical talent of a young boy (born sometime between 1500 and 1510) in Cadéac was sufficient to warrant sending him to the closest cathedral choir (Sainte Marie in Auch), in which institution he remained (first as a singer and then as choir director) for the rest of his life, which perhaps lasted until sometime between 1560 and 1570. When Janequin briefly led the cathedral choir sometime around 1531, Cedéac might have been around twenty, raising the intriguing prospect of a talented young singer and budding composer coming into a mentor-student relationship with an experienced and reputed national figure who was about to sublimate his secular proclivities in the service of the ambitious but restricted profile defined by the local archbishop.

Something more about Cadéac can perhaps be inferred from way his works reached publication, which seem to fall into four periods: (1) a period in 1534 and 1535, during which his earliest chansons are published by Attaingnant with faulty attributions (“Je suys désheritée” was attributed to Lupus in RISM 153413 and “C’est trop aymé” to Le Heurteur in RISM 15356); (2) a period from 1538 to 1541, during which several more (seven or eight) secular chansons appear, and during which the attribution to the first two chansons are corrected; (3) a period from 1553 to 1556, during which Cadéac focused particularly on mass composition; and (4) a period that intensified in 1555 and continued the rest of his life, in which the motet was his primary focus.

Since Janequin’s presence in Auch rests on very little evidence, care should be taken in suggesting connections between Janequin and Cadéac. Nevertheless, certain parallels can be noted. One of these has to do with “Je suys deshéritée” and its initial misattributed publication. When Janequin left Auch sometime around 1532, he was an experienced composer with established connections to the Parisian music-printing world. At this same point in time, Cadéac was an inexperienced young man perhaps in his early twenties, with no Parisian connections, but with a pair of chansons (“Je suys deshéritée” and “C’est trop aymé”) of obvious quality and appeal. The first of these was subsequently published by Attaingnant in a volume (RISM 154313) that appeared (in February 1534) sandwiched between two volumes containing significant amounts of Janequin material (the 1533 Sacrae cantiones and the Vingt et huit chansons of March 1534) (RISM 153411). Shortly thereafter, in 1535, the second of Cadéac’s early chansons, “C’est trop,” was published (with an attribution to Le Heurter) in a volume (Vingt et six chansons, RISM 15356) containing, among other things, four chansons by Janequin. In this same year, Attaingnant published two motets, correctly attributed to Cadéac, in Lib decimustertius (RISM 15355). What may perhaps have transpired was that Janequin, wishing to give his young colleague a helping hand, volunteered to facilitate the transport and promotion of Cadéac’s material vis-a-vis Attaingnant. Since works by Janequin appear in half a dozen Attaingnant collections between 1533 and 1535, there must have been a good deal of contact between the composer and the publisher. How much of this contact was in person, and how much attention was paid to correct attributions for the works of the novice from Auch is another question. Clearly not enough, since starting in 1540 a dozen-and-a-half subsequent publications (including several where Janequin was in close contact with the respective publishers) give the attribution where it would seem to belong—that is, to Cadéac.

The paths of Janequin and Cadéac, or at least that of their works, again crossed in 1554 when Claude Goudimel was assembling the Duodecim mass collection for Nicolas du Chemin. In addition to works by house composers Certon, Janequin, and himself, Goudimel brought together masses by Jaquet, Colin, Guyon, and Cadéac. Apparently not much interested in chanson settings after around 1540, Cadéac’s sacred works ultimately achieved wide dissemination, printed and reprinted across Europe well into the seventeenth century. In 1554 this trend was in its early stages, and while Cadéac was certainly in the process of establishing himself as a composer of depth and merit, sharing space in the Duodecim collection with his colleague and mentor (whether or not his mentor deserves credit for that event) did nothing to diminish Cadéac’s growing reputation. It may also be noted that in late summer of 1555, just as Goudimel and Janequin transferred their professional relationships from Nicolas du Chemin to the firm of Le Roy and Ballard, there was a parallel movement on the part of Cadéac: after participating in the Du Chemin Duodecim mass project in 1554, Cadéac published his crowning achievement, the eighteen motets of the Liber primus of 1555, with Le Roy and Ballard.[11]

Janequin and Cadéac are in many respects a study in contrasts. Janequin is the quintessential chanson composer, writing in a myriad of colors and styles, apparently only minimally interested in the liturgical repertory and seemingly eager to divest himself as quickly as possible of any responsibility for long-term pedagogical commitment. Cadéac, on the other hand, abandoned chanson writing early on, dedicated his life to the Sainte Marie choir loft, and achieved recognition as the creator of a series of much-appreciated motets.[12]

The fact that Cadéac wrote (both in his chansons and motets) in a style that closely resembles that of Janequin can be explained by a myriad of other impulses. Indeed, Cedéac would have had to have been strangely unaware of the tendencies toward transparency and clarity that were all around him in his formative period not to have written as he did. That said, and their subsequent directions notwithstanding, one cannot help but notice that during his period in Auch, the chanson specialist Janequin (under the influence of the liturgically-focused archbishop who recruited him) seems to have been particularly engaged in motet production (as evidenced by the appearance shortly thereafter of the 1533 Sacrae cantiones), while the young and impressionable future motet specialist Cadéac was at this point busy churning out secular chansons.

  1. Archives de la Gironde, 3E 3234, fol. 336, transcribed Lesure and Roudie, “La jeunesse bordelaise de Clément Janequin (1505–1531),” 182–83.
  2. Lesure and Roudie, 176.
  3. George Courtés and Jacques Fauré, Auch Cathedral (Bourdeaux: Éditions Sud-Ouest, 2013), 11.
  4. His personal fortune was reputed to exceed “100,000 écus en bagues, joyaux et argent monnayé.” Claude Devic and Joseph Vaissètte, Histoire Générale de Languedoc, vol. IV (Toulouse, 1876).
  5. Courtés and Fauré, Auch Cathedral, 18.
  6. Archives de la Gironde, 3E 9999 and 3E 10000. Transcribed in Lesure and Roudie, “Clément Janequin. Chantre de François Ier (1531),” Revue de musicoligie (1957), 202–4.
  7. Sacrae Cantiones seu motectae quatuor vocum. Paris: Attaingnant, 1533.
  8. My warmest thanks to Professor Jacques Lapart of Auch for drawing my attention to possible connections between Janequin and Pierre Cadéac.
  9. The village of Cadéac is not, as the Groves 1980 article on Pierre Cadéac mistakenly notes, a seaport.
  10. Missa cum quatuor vocibus Ad imitationem moduli Alma redemptoris, condita. Nunc primum in lucem edita. Autore D. Petro Cadeac, pueris symphoniacis Ecclesiae Auiscensis, praefecto.
  11. Cadéac’s Missa Alma Redemptor (Du Chemin, 1556) was one of twelve mass collections published by Du Chemin in a huge series that bears all the hallmarks of having been assembled by Claude Goudimel over a rather long period of time, such that Cadéac could well have submitted his Alma Redemptor material during his involvement in the 1554 Duodecim project.
  12. On Cadéac’s secular chansons, see Olga Bluteau, “Les chansons de Pierre Cadéac (ca. 1505 – ap. 1564)”, mémoire de maîtrise de musicologie, Université Paris-Sorbonne, 1985, and « Le cantus firmus (Je suis déhéritée): N. Gombert, E. Du Caurroy, CL. Le Jeune » in Itinéraires du cantus firmus 5: réminiscences, référence et pérennité. Études réunies et présentées par Edith Weber (Paris: Presses de l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne, 2001), p. 97-112. On Cadéac’s early motets, see Marie-Noëlle Billecoq, “Le premier livre des motets à quatre, cinq et six voix de Pierre Cadéac”, mémoire de maîtrise, Université de Metz, octobre 2005 and “Le premier livre des motets à quatre, cinq et six voix de Pierre Cadéac”, bulletin de la Société Archéologique et Historique du Gers, 1er trimestre, 2007, p. 43-56.