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Ensemble Clément Janequin

In the late '70s and early '80s, as the music world was being reshaped by the emergence of the great English a cappella ensembles (Gothic Voices, the Tallis Scholars, the Hilliard Ensemble), a virtuoso countertenor from France launched a sonic revolution of his own. The singer, Dominique Visse, founded the Ensemble Clément Janequin in 1978, and over the 20 years of the group's career it has virtually come to own the performance of Renaissance French music. The ensemble's characteristic panache and vigor has produced authoritative interpretations, especially for the 16th century chanson repertory. Among the ensemble's many recordings, more than 10 collections of French vernacular music have taken center stage. These have included music of the group's namesake, Clément Janequin and his contemporary Claudin de Sermisy, as well as Anthoine de Bertrand, Costeley, Roland de Lassus, and Claude le Jeune.

Much that is unique to the sound of Ensemble Clément Janequin derives from the peculiar artistry of its founder. Dominique Visse is a celebrated countertenor with a long list of operatic triumphs, from Baroque performances under William Christie and René Jacobs to a premiere of Luciano Berio's Outis. His bright, facile, and often irreverent virtuosity may be heard in the upper reaches of nearly every piece recorded by the ensemble, and has helped mold the other players musically. The ensemble performs primarily with one or two voices to a part, bringing to the foreground the individuality of musical lines. The bright and often nasal vocal quality of Visse's other singers, with some subtle ornamentation, heightens this vertical differentiation. Instrumental accompaniment (from lutes and gambas to organs, cornetts and sackbuts in a Janequin mass recording), though frequent, remains generally unobtrusive.

Utter sympathy with the individuality of texts, however, trumps every other feature of the group's performances. Its first recording, a 1982 collection of Janequin and Sermisy chansons entitled "Les cris de Paris" (The Cries of Paris) palpably demonstrates such text-based stylistic differentiation. The simple bourgeois dignity of the mainstream "Parisian" chanson starkly contrasts with the farcical drama of the title track and with the onomatopeoic "La bataille" (The Battle). The ensemble cultivates for both types of music a forthright, almost rustic sound, but when texts call for evocative dramatic sounds (or bawdy humor, another specialty), its performance is sparked by whispers, shouts, and a generally Carnivalesque soundscape. For sacred repertory (recordings of masses by Le Jeune, La Rue, and a fine rendition of the Josquin Missa Pange lingua), the group adopts a sound that is more spacious but no less vibrant. The ensemble's projects have also included a series of recordings of French settings of the poetry of Pierre de Ronsard and of Rabelais, and, in 1998, a venture into the Spanish Golden Age.
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Lassus: Chansons

Title: Las Me Fault-il, Chanson For 5 Voices, B. Xii/13 (S. Xiv/76)
Title: Quand Mon Mary Vient (Quand L'homme Honneste), Chanson For 4 Voices, B. Xiii/136 (S. Xii/23)
Title: Si Du Malheur (De Ce Malheur), Chanson For 4 Voices, B. Xiii/192 (S. Xii/50)
Title: Une Puce J'ay Dedans L'oreill' (Baif), Chanson For 5 Voices, B. Xiv/95 (S. Xiv/114)
Title: La Nuict Froide Et Somber (Du Bellay), Chanson For 4 Voices, B. Xii/119 (S. Xii/34)
Title: Vignon Vignon Vignette, Chanson For 6 Voices, B. Xiv/142 (S. Xvi/144)
Title: Fuyons Tous D'amour (Fuyons De Vices) Le Jeu, Chanson For 4 Voices, B. Xii/10 (S. Xii/80)
Title: Work(s)
Title: Lucia Celu Hai Biscamia (morescha), Villanelle For 4 Voices, S. X/97
Title: Chi Chilichi, Moresca For 6 Voices (S. X/120)
Title: O Lucia Miau (morescha), Villanelle For 3 Voices, S. X/70
Title: Allala La Pia Calia, Villanelle For 4 Voices, S. X/104
Title: Work(s)
Title: Le Temps Peut Bien, Chanson For 4 Voices, B. Xii/165 (S. Xii/76)
Title: Quand Mon Mary Vient (Quand L'homme Honneste), Chanson For 4 Voices, B. Xiii/136 (S. Xii/23)
Title: Un Jeune Moine (Quitte Le Monde), Chanson For 4 Voices, B. Xiv/104 (S. Xii/89)
Title: O Foible Esprit (Du Bellay), Chanson For 5 Voices, B. Xiii/58 (S. Xvi/34)
Title: En Un Chasteau, Madame (L'homme Mortel Contemplant), Chanson For 4 Voices, B. Xi/180 (S. Xii/14)
Title: Elle S'en Va De Moy (Elle Perit Ma Chair) (Marot), Chanson For 5 Voices, B. Xi/169 (S. Xiv/105)
Title: Lucescit Jam O Socii, Chanson For 4 Voices
Title: Je L'ayme Bien (J'aime Mon Dieu Et L'aimerai), Chanson For 4 Voices, B. Xii/77 (S. Xii/41)
Title: Mais Qui Pourroit (secundi Toni), Magnificat For 6 Voices, H. Xiv/275
Title: Cathalina Apra Finestra, Morescha For 6 Voices, (S. 10/112)
Title: Hai Lucia Buona Cosa (morescha), Villanelle For 4 Voices, S. X/86
Title: Canta Giorgia Canta (morescha), Villanelle For 5 Voices, S. X/125
x

Track List: Les Cris de Paris: Chansons de Janequin & Sermisy

Composer: Clément Janequin
Title: Voulez Ouir Les Cris De Paris, Chanson For 4 Voices ("Les Cris De Paris"), M. 1/14
Composer: Claudin de Sermisy
Title: Languir Me Fais Sans T'avoir Offensee, Chanson, For 4 Voices
Title: Je N'ay Point Plus D'affection
Composer: Adrian Le Roy
Title: Je N'ay Point Polus D'affection
Composer: Claudin de Sermisy
Title: La, La Maistre Pierre, Chanson, For 4 Voices
Composer: Clément Janequin
Title: Ung Mari Se Voulant Coucher, Chanson For 4 Voices, M. 3/94
Composer: Claudin de Sermisy
Title: Secourez Moy, Ma Dame, Par Amours
Composer: Clément Janequin
Title: Tétin Refaict Plus Blanc, Chanson For 4 Voices ("Du Beau Tétin"), M. 2/66
Title: Or Vien Ca, Vien, M'amye, Chanson For 4 Voices, M. 2/41
Title: Escoutez Tous Gentilz, Chanson For 4 Voices ("La Bataille De Marignan;" "La Guerre"), M. 1/3
Title: Le Meusniere De Vernon, Chanson For 4 Voices, M. 5/211
Composer: Claudin de Sermisy
Title: Dont Vient Cela, Belle, Je Vous Supply, Chanson For 4 Voices
Composer: Clément Janequin
Title: L'amour, La Mort Et La Vie, Chanson For 4 Voices, M. 3/87
Title: Martin Menoit Son Porceau, Chanson For 4 Voices, M. 2/60
Composer: Francesco Canova da Milano
Title: Las,Ye Me Plains For Lute
Composer: Clément Janequin
Title: Au Joly Jeu Du Pousse Avant, Chanson For 4 Voices, M. 1/12
Composer: Claudin de Sermisy
Title: Jouyssance Vous Donneray, Chanson, For 4 Voices
Title: Au Joly Boys, Chanson For 4 Voices
Title: Tu Disoys Que J'en Mourroys

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