Jean Mouton


Born: 1459   Died: October 30, 1522; Saint-Quentin, France  
Jean Mouton was one of the most important motet composers of the French Renaissance period.

He enters the historical record when, at the age of 18 or older, he was appointed a singer and also a teacher of religious subjects in the collegiate church of Notre Dame in Nesle in 1477. In 1483 he rose to the position of maître de chapelle there. The documents showing this also say that he was a priest, so his age was a minimum of
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There is a gap of over 15 years in his history, when he is noted as being maitre des enfin (or director of choir boys) at Amines Cathedral, and the author or organizer of the performance of a mystery play. It is considered likely that he earned his master's degree, perhaps in Paris, after leaving his position in Paris and before arriving in Amines.

In 1501, he became director of music in the collegiate church of St André in Grenoble. King Louis XII and his wife, Queen Anne of Brittany, visited Grenoble in June 1502. It appears that they took Mouton with them, for church records show that he left his position there without the permission of his chapter, and other records soon after that show he had joined Queen Anne's chapel some time during that decade. The Queen arranged in 1509 that Mouton would be appointed a canon at St. André in Grenoble, in absentia, meaning he got the income but did not have to do the work. (Such sinecures were not uncommon during this period.)

Mouton remained attached to the royal court for the rest of his life, remaining when François I took the throne. Whether the title existed or not, he filled the functions of an official court composer. He wrote both secular and sacred music for specific public and private royal functions, including royal weddings. For instance, his motet Inter natos mulierum is though to have been written to Queen Anne's order after she was cured of an illness in 1506 and attributed the cure to a relic of John the Baptist. He wrote a touching motet, Quis debit oculis, on the Queen's death in 1514.

Another, Missus et angelus Gabriel was composed for the arrival of Louis XII's new wife, Mary Tudor, in Paris in 1514. Whatever music he wrote on the occasion of Louis' death less than a year later is unknown, but he wrote Domine salvum fac regem for the coronation of François I in Reims in 1515, and celebrated that King's first notable military victory, at the Battle of Marignano in that same year, with Exalte Regina Galliae, even though the losers in that battle were the forces of Pope Leo X. When the Pope and the King met to conclude a peace treaty in December of that same eventful year, they were accompanied by their own respective musical establishments. On hearing Father Mouton's musicians and music, the Pope rewarded him by appointing him an apostolic notary.

Leo remained fond of Mouton's music. Some sources describe him as the Pope's favorite composer, and it is likely that he sent several Masses to the Pope.

Mouton's fame was widely spread, and he was among the first composers to have an entire volume of his music published. This was done by the pioneer of music printing, Petrucci, who issued a book of his Masses in 1515. Another important collection of his music is a compilation of his motets issued in 1555, several years after his death. This attention allows a large proportion of his works to survive, numbering over 100 motets, 15 masses, and more than 20 chansons. Another legacy of his stems from his having been the teacher of Adrian Willaert, who himself became a great teacher in the Franco-Netherlands style, which exerted great influence in Italian music of the high Renaissance. On the other hand, it is unlikely that Mouton was (as has been speculated) a pupil of Josquin.

While Mouton's music uses many of the techniques associated with Josquin's, his musical personality is entirely different. Josquin's temperament was fiery, while Mouton tended to write calming, meditative music with smooth, flowing polyphony.

For the most part, the music is written in longer notes of even pace, with a few shorter notes used mainly to add variety. In his religious music he seems not to have cared much whether the accents of the music matched that of the texts, and therefore the words are not easily understood. However, in his writing for political occasions, where the words were less familiar and much more important, he did take care that the music helped project them.

The description of this music might suggest that much of it suffered sameness or that it was so uniform that it becomes dull, but this is not generally the case. Within the music is the work of a brilliant contrapuntal thinker. His Nesciens mater virgo virum is a quadruple canon partly based on a plainchant. There are distinct periods in his music that mirror the age's general progress from reliance on a cantus firmus to newer devices such a parody and paraphrase. In later motets he used a repetitive structure that seems to anticipate the Baroque's ritornello technique.

In 1518, Duke Lorenzo de Medici or Urbino married Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne. One of their wedding gifts was a collection called the Medici Codex, an elegant illuminated manuscript of music of the time, of which Mouton was probably editor-in-chief.

Once again, in 1520, Mouton was involved in a kind of musical contest attending a peace parley when François met King Henry VIII of England at the Field of the Cloth of Gold and both monarchs brought their musicians.

Toward the end of his life, Mouton received another beneficence, at St. Quentin, which is where he died and was buried. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 41 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Missa Unitatis / Various
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72711 Release Date: 02/16/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antony Pitts,  Francis Poulenc,  Jean Mouton,  Traditional  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Chamber Choir,  Cappella Pratensis,  Netherlands National Women's Youth Choir
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  • 2.
    Veni Domine: Advent & Christmas at the Sistine Chapel / Bartoli, Palombella, Sistine Chapel Choir
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002753902 Release Date: 11/17/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Pérotin,  Josquin Des Préz,  Giovanni Palestrina  ... 
    Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli
    Conductor:  Massimo Palombella
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sistine Chapel Choir
    CD: $18.99
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  • 3.
    Mater ora filium: Music for Epiphany / Ross, Choir of Clare College Cambridge
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 907653 Release Date: 12/02/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Orlando de Lassus,  Traditional,  John Sheppard,  William Byrd  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Papadopoulos
    Conductor:  Graham Ross
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Clare College Choir
    CD: $19.99
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  • 4.
    Season of Light / Clurman, Essential Voices USA
    Label: Sono Luminus   Catalog: 70006 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacob Narverud,  John Bucchino,  Mykola Leontovych,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Lee Musiker
    Conductor:  Judith Clurman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Essential Voices USA
    CD: $11.99
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  • 5.
    Favorite Christmas Classics
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578342 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Heinrich Schütz,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Jean Mouton  ... 
    Performer:  Eteri Andjaparidze,  Josef Ksica,  Vladimir Dolezal,  Václav Sibera  ... 
    Conductor:  Noel Edison,  Norman Scribner,  Kevin Mallon,  Frantisek Xaver Thuri  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aradia Ensemble
    CD: $8.99
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  • 6.
    Luther und die Musik
    Label: Christophorus   Catalog: 77403 Release Date: 09/30/2016   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Petrus Roselli,  Anonymous,  Johannes Hesdimois,  Josquin Des Préz  ... 
    Performer:  Franz Vitzthum,  Julian Behr,  Margit SchultheiB,  Marion E. Herbst  ... 
    Conductor:  Alessandro Quarta,  Arno Paduch,  Wilfried Rombach,  Bernhard Klebel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Romano,  Johann Rosenmüller Ensemble,  Musica Antiqua Vienna  ... 
    CD: $48.99
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  • 7.
    Anne Boleyn's Songbook
    Label: Obsidian Records   Catalog: 715 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jean Mouton,  Claude de Sermisy,  Anonymous,  Josquin Des Préz  ... 
    Performer:  Jacob Heringman,  Kirsty Whatley
    Conductor:  David Skinner
    CD: $27.49
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  • 8.
    Perfect Polyphony / Tallis Scholars
    Label: Gimell   Catalog: 213 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giovanni Palestrina,  Tomás Luis de Victoria,  Carlo Gesualdo,  Jean Mouton  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Phillips
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tallis Scholars
    CD: $18.99
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  • 9.
    Francois 1er: Musiques D'un Regne
    Label: Zig Zag   Catalog: 357 Release Date: 06/30/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Spoken Word,  Jean Mouton,  Q18, Anonymous, B. C.  ... 
    Performer:  Vincent Bouchot,  Franck Poitrineau,  Jérémie Papasergio,  Elsa Frank  ... 
    Conductor:  Denis Raisin-Dadre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Doulce Mémoire
    CD: $37.49
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  • 10.
    Label: Musica Spei   Catalog: 5638511465 Release Date: 06/01/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Palestrina,  Clément Janequin,  Francisco Guerrero,  Orlando de Lassus  ... 
    Performer:  Musica Spei
    CD: $15.99
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  • 11.
    Au Sainct Nau / Visse, Ensemble Clement Janequin
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 198 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Jean Mouton,  Jacques Arcadelt,  Clément Janequin  ... 
    Performer:  Yoann Moulin
    Conductor:  Dominique Visse
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Clément Janequin Ensemble
    CD: $18.99
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  • 12.
    The Wonder of Christmas / Elora Festival Singers
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8573421 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry John Gauntlett,  Traditional,  Benjamin Britten,  Benjamin Russell Hanby  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Bloss
    Conductor:  Noel Edison
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elora Festival Singers
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  • 13.
    Christmas with the Shepherds / Marian Consort
    Label: Delphian   Catalog: 34145 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Mouton,  Cristóbal de Morales,  Annibale Stabile
    Conductor:  Rory McCleery
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marian Consort
    CD: $19.99
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  • 14.
    The Spy's Choirbook
    Label: Obsidian Records   Catalog: 712 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jean Mouton,  Antoine de Févin,  Anonymous,  Pierre de La Rue  ... 
    Conductor:  David Skinner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble,  London Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble
    CD: $27.49
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  • 15.
    Le Chant De Virgile / Van Nevel, Huelgas Ensemble
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 1951739 Release Date: 02/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Josquin Des Préz,  Jean Mouton,  Marbrianus de Orto,  Ludwig Senfl  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul van Nevel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Huelgas Ensemble
    CD: $9.99
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  • 16.
    Renaissance Radio / The Tallis Scholars
    Label: Gimell   Catalog: 212 Release Date: 03/12/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gregorio Allegri,  Josquin Des Préz,  Cypriano de Rore,  Jacobus Clemens non Papa  ... 
    Performer:  Deborah Roberts,  Andrew Carwood
    Conductor:  Peter Phillips
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tallis Scholars
    CD: $18.99
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  • 17.
    Sacred Songs of France, Vol. 1: 1198-1609 / Gloriae Dei Cantores
    Label: Paraclete Recordings   Catalog: 56 Release Date: 12/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Léonin,  Pérotin,  Josquin Des Préz,  Loyset Compère  ... 
    Conductor:  Elizabeth C. Patterson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloriae Dei Cantores
    SuperAudio CD: $18.99
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  • 18.
    A Renaissance Wedding Gift: Music from the Medici Codex of 1518
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3230 Release Date: 11/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pierre Moulu,  Giovanni Palestrina,  Jean Mouton,  Johannes de la Fage  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Kirkman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rutgers University Collegium Musicum
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  • 19.
    Jean Mouton: Missa Dictes Moy Toutes Voz Pensees
    Label: Gimell   Catalog: 47 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Loyset Compère,  Jean Mouton
    Conductor:  Peter Phillips
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tallis Scholars
    CD: $18.99
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  • 20.
    Label: Christophorus   Catalog: 77361 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Petrus Roselli,  Anonymous,  Johannes Hesdimois,  Josquin Des Préz  ... 
    Conductor:  Alessandro Quarta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Romano
    CD: $17.99
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  • 21.
    Mouton: Missa Tu Es Petrus / Stephen Rice, Brabant Ensemble
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67933 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Mouton
    Conductor:  Stephen Rice
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brabant Ensemble
    CD: $21.99
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  • 22.
    Christmas / Voces8
    Label: Signum Classics   Catalog: 291 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry John Gauntlett,  Traditional,  Hieronymus Praetorius,  Francis Poulenc  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Voces8
    CD: $17.99
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  • 23.
    Memento Mei: Songs From The Time Of Albertus Pictor
    Label: Daphne   Catalog: 1038 Release Date: 03/29/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Mouton,  Johannes Ockeghem,  Jean Richafort,  Josquin Des Préz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  A Capella Holmiensis
    CD: $15.99
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  • 24.
    The Art Of The Netherlands
    Label: Virgin Records   Catalog: 28497 Release Date: 05/18/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Josquin Des Préz,  Anonymous,  Hayne van Ghizeghem,  Alexander Agricola  ... 
    Performer:  Christopher Hogwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Early Music Consort of London
    CD: $12.99
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  • 25.
    De Zeven Zonden Van Jeroen Bosch
    Label: Globe   Catalog: 6065 Release Date: 03/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antoine de Févin,  Gerrit Komrij,  Louis Peter Grijp,  Domenico da Piacenza  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Trajectina,  La Caccia
    CD: $15.99
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