Clément Janequin

French composer (Châtellerault, 1480 - Paris, 1560)

Famous "crooner" of the sixteenth century, sung by Europe’s musical scene of the time and apparently even in Mexico, Janequin is an ambassador of French Renaissance’s songwriting.

Despite his considerable fame at time, we only have limited and uncertain information about his life. At a young age, he served under Louis Ronsard, father of the famous poet with whom he took part in 1515’s battle of Marignan, later becoming a source of inspiration for one of his most famous songs. Ordained as a priest, he was appointed parish priest of Saint-Michel de Rieufret and then of Saint-Jean de Mezoz, as well as dean of Garosse. Very poorly paid for his previous positions, he studied at the University hoping to increase his income. The most prolific period of his life began with his position as chaplain at Angers Cathedral.

He composed more than four hundred vocal works whose rhythmic virtuosity, energy and innate sense of narrative contributed to make of him a distinctive composer in music history. He remained at the head of the Parisian school of descriptive, impudent, lyrical, witty and romantic song. Janequin's art had a considerable influence on the 16th century polyphony and French Renaissance songs.

Six landmark dates in the life of Clément Janequin: 

1523: Ordained as a priest
1531: Directed the young choristers of the Auch cathedral
1534: Master of the Cathedral of Angers’s chapel
1549: Honorary chaplain to his protector the Duke of Guise
1555: Cantor of the king's chapel
1558: Ordinary composer for the king

Six key works by Clément Janequin:

1528: La Guerre ou La Bataille de Marignan, song
1530: Les Cris de Paris, song
1537: Le Chant des oiseaux, song
1537: La Chasse, song
Around 1550: Le caquet des femmes, 5 voice song
1559: 82 Psaumes de David