Online Encyclopedia

CLAUDE GOUDIMEL

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 281 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CLAUDE GOUDIMEL, muscial composer of the 16th century, was born about 1510. The French and the Belgians claim him as their countryman. In all probability he was born at Besancon, for in his edition of the songs of Arcadelt, as well as in the mass of 1554, he calls himself " natif de Besancon " and " Claudius Godimellus Vescontinus." This discountenances the theory of Ambros that he was born at Vaison near Avignon. As to his early education we know little or nothing, but the excellent Latin in which some of his letters were written proves that, in addition to his musical knowledge, he also acquired a good classical training. It is supposed that he was in Rome in 1540 at the head of a music-school, and that besides many other celebrated musicians, Palestrina was amongst his pupils. About the middle of the century he seems to have left Rome for Paris, where, in conjunction with Jean Duchemin, he published, in 1555, a musical setting of Horace's Odes. Infinitely more important is another collection of vocal pieces, a setting of the celebrated French version of the Psalms by Marot and Beza published in 1565. It is written in four parts, the melody being assigned to the tenor. The invention of the melodies was long ascribed to Goudimel, but they have now definitely been proved to have originated in popular tunes found in the collections of this period. Some of these tunes are still used by the French Protestant Church. Others were adopted by the German Lutherans, a German imitation of the French versions of the Psalms in the same metres having been published at an early date. Although the French version of the Psalms was at first used by Catholics as well as Protestants, there is little doubt that Goudimel had embraced the new faith. In Michel Brenet's Biographic (Annales franc-cuntoises, Besancon, 1898, P. Jacquin) it is established that in Metz, where he was living in 1565, Goudimel moved in Huguenot circles, and even figured as godfather to the daughter of the president of Senneton. Seven years later he fell a victim to religious fanaticism during the St Bartholomew massacres at Lyons from the 27th to the 28th of August 1572, his death, it is stated, being due to " les ennemis de la gloire de Dieu et quelques mechants envieux de 1'honneur qu'il avait acquis." Masses and motets belonging to his Roman period are found in the Vatican library, and in the archives of various churches in Rome; others were published. Thus the work entitled Missae tres a Claudio Goudimel praestantissimo musico auctore, nunc primum in lucem editae, contains one mass by the learned editor himself, the other two being by Claudius Sermisy and Jean Maillard respectively. Another collection, La Fleur des chansons des deux plus excellens musiciens de nostre temps, consists of part songs by Goudimel and Orlando di Lasso. Burney gives in his history a motet of Goudimel's Domine quid mulliplicati sunt.
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