Clemens non Papa: Similar Names

There are in all three chansons with attributions to both Clément Janequin and Jacob Clement (ca. 1510–ca. 1556), a northern composer who was active in Bruges and, in a jest that apparently stuck, often referred to as Clemens non Papa. (Pope Clement VII served from 1523–1534.) The first case is unproblematic, the second is curious, and the third is remarkable, primarily because of the proliferation of assignations that have accrued.

“S’il est si doux”

Attribution RISM Publisher Collection Location
(a) Clément Jenequin 1533 JJ443a Attaingnant [A40] Vingt et quatre no. 9
(b) Clément Iannequin 155210 Susato [Tsf 5] Fleurs 5e no. 22, f20v
(c) Clemens Iannequin 15602 Berg & Neuber Variarum ling. tricinia no. 33
(d) Clemens non Papa 156911 Phalèse [P137] Receuil Fleurs no. 25

The sequence of events regarding “S’il est si doux” is relatively straightforward. It starts in 1533 with the publication by Attaingnant of the four-part chanson “Qu’est-ce d’amour” in Vingt et quatre chansons. This chanson is in two sections and also appears in Chansons polyphoniques as LM26.

Nineteen years later, looking for two- and three-part chansons that he could reprint, Tilmann Susato spotted the second section of “Qu’est-ce d’amour” (measures 34–53) starting with the text “S’il est si doux.” Much of this section is for three voices, so Susato, or one of his assistants, copied the three upper voices as they stood and simply ignored the bass entries at measures 39, 45, and 52, letting the remaining harmonies fend for themselves. Neither did they bother themselves with the fact that “Qu’est-ce d’amour” is a rondeau, and properly performed does not end with half cadence on E in measure 53, but returns to the beginning, repeats the first section, with its final cadence on A at the end of the initial section (measure 33).

Eight years after this, the printing company Berg & Neuber included “S’il est si doux” in their own collection of three-part chansons, perpetuating this lamentable editorial amputation for the German market.

And finally, seventeen years after Susato’s initial fix, the fragment “S’il est si doux” was reprinted again, this time by Pierre Phalèse. Phalèse borrowed (from among other sources) four songs from the fifth book of Susato’s La Fleur series, and two from the sixth book of the same series, and then confused Clément Janequin with Clemens non Papa and attributed the sorrowful fragment to the Dutchman. (If Janequin had been alive, I think he would have been relieved.)

“Une fillette bien gorriere”

Attribution RISM Cat. Publisher Collection Location
(a) Clemens 153811 A81 Attaingnant Second…xxvii no. 26, fol. xv-r
(b) Iennequin 153816 M12 Moderne Parangon 2 no. 30, fol. 31
(c) Clemens 15409 A94 Attaingnant Second…xxvii no. 22, fol. xiii-r
(d) Iennequin 154015 M28 Moderne Parangon 2 reprint no. 30, fol. 31
(e) (Anon.) Regensburg 940-941 (ca. 1557) “Gallicum quodam” no. 174
(f) (Anon.) Munich BS1627 (ca. 1565) no. 26, fol. 31r

Consider a chanson entitled “Une fillette bien gorriere,” attributed by the trusted printing pioneer Pierre Attaingnant to “Clemens,” and another chanson entitled “Il estoit une fillette,” attributed by the same Attaingnant to “Clement Iannequin.” A scenario immediately leaps to mind in which a piratical Lyons music printer (“Grande Jacques” Moderne) subsequently got his “fillettes” and his composers mixed up and printed “Une fillette bien gorriere” with an attribution to the wrong “Clemens.”

Alas for quick and easy fixes, that particular solution doesn’t compute. For starters, it is less than certain that there were two “fillettes” around to confuse in 1538, when both the Attaingnant and the Moderne “bien gorriere” versions appeared. Janequin’s “Il estoit une fillette” shows up first in Attaingnant’s 8e livre in 1540, and while it could conceivably have been laying around Attaingnant’s shop as early as 1538, it is hard to credit that it was also laying unpublished in Moderne’s shop in Lyon at the same time.

Then, to complicate things, both the Attaingnant version attributing “bien gorriere” to “Clemens” and the Moderne version attributing it to “Iennequin” appear in the year 1538, but we have no way of knowing which was printed first. We know that Attaingnant’s version appeared after April 12, since that is the date of the 1. livre of that year, and “bien gorriere/Clemens” appears in the 2. livre. For all we know, Moderne’s Parangon 2, which contains the attribution to Janequin, could have appeared well before, or well after, the Attaingnant print.

We do note, however, that Attaingnant’s 1538 collection contains three pieces attributed to Clemens (no. 25 “Le Departement,” no. 26 “Une Fillette,” and no. 27 “Ung jour passé”), while Moderne contains only one. On the whole, the proposition that Attaingnant borrowed three Clemens chansons from an independent (Dutch) source, and then Moderne borrowed one from Attaignant, seems more plausible than that Attaingnant borrowed one chanson from Moderne, changed the attribution, and then went looking for two more chansons by Clemens to place before and after “Une fillette.” Taking Moderne’s reputation for “borrowing” and occasional attributional confusion into account, and the fact that, being in frequent communication with Janequin, Attaingnant can presumably be counted on to know what was by Janequin and what was not, it is easy to agree with Lesure and Merritt that “Une fillette bien gorriere” is best placed in someone else’s canon.[1]

“Je prends en gre”

Attribution RISM Cat. Publisher Collection Location
(a) Clemens 153916 A86 Attaingnant Sixiesme livre (1 vol.) no. 11, fol. vii-v
(b) Clemens 153915 A87 Attaingnant Sixiesme livre (2 vol.) no. 11, fol. vii-v
(c) Iennequin 154016 M26 Moderne Parangon 6 no. 25, fol. 32
(d) Clemens Ms. Cambrai 125–128 (1542) no. 22, fol. 139
(e) (Anon.) 154316 TS1 Susato Premiere livre… xxxi, fol. xiii
(f) (Anon.) 1544 A/I S7238 Susato Premiere livre…à trois no. 24
(g) Baston, Josq. 154413 TS5 Susato Cinquiesme livre no. 23
(h) Clemens 15514 C19 Du Chemin Premiere livre… xxx, fol. xxii
(i) Clemens 15515 C20 Du Chemin Premiere livre… xxx, fol. xxii
(j) (Anon.) Ms. Hague KB74/H/7 (ca. 1550) no. 21, fol. 24-v
(k) Rogirus Ms. Regensburg 940/941 (ca. 1557) no. 53
(l) (Anon.) Ms. Basel FX17–20 (ca. 1560) no. 86
(m) (Anon.) Ms. Basel FX59–62 (ca. 1564) no. 12
(n) Joan Baston Ms. Utrecht Bib U 3.L.16 (Lerma codex) (ca. 1600–20)

“Je prends en gre” was an enormous success. It is found in vocal versions in fourteen different prints and manuscripts, and in far too many instrumental arrangements to mention. In terms of how the vocal sources identify the composer, five are anonymous, five opt for Clemens, two go for Joan Baston, and one each for Rogirus[2] and “Iennequin.” The earliest, and one would think the best, attribution is to “Clemens,” in Attaingnant’s 6e livre of 1539. But the case for Jacob Clemens is not exactly strengthened by the fact that Susato, one of Clemens’ main publishers, never printed “Je prends” with an attribution to Clemens. Susato printed the piece only three times, once in 1543 and twice in 1544, two of which are clearly arrangements that in six parts from 1544 identified as the work of Baston.

Since the details of Clemens’ life and career before 1544 are not well known, the validity or lack of same in assigning “Je prends en gre” to him will have to be debated by others. It does seem safe, however, to assert that the attribution by Moderne to “Iennequin” in 1540 follows the “stolen, then misunderstood” pattern that marks a significant part of that publisher’s activity.

  1. K. Ph. Bernet Kempers, “Jacobus Clemens Non Papa’s Chansons in Their Chronological Order,” Musica Disciplina 15 (1961): 190–91, puts “fillette” in parentheses and adds question marks by all of the 6-8 chansons attributed to Clemens before 1545, the year Susato began publishing Clemens’ music.
  2. Presumably Rogier Pathie, in Regensburg 940/941.