Goudimel, Claude

About 1505-1572

Authorities differ as to the birthplace of this famous composer; Grove and Riemann name Besanc.on, while others give it as Vaison, near Avignon. He was said to have been a pupil of Josquin Despres, and to have founded a school in Rome before 1540, at which Palestrina and other noted musicians became his pupils. From this circumstance he is sometimes called the founder of the Roman school of composition. The French authority, Brenet, has contradicted this supposition and it is also earlier denied in Bingley's Musical Biography, and Hawkins' History and Practice of Music. An alleged resemblance between Goudimel's style of composition and that of Palestrina, together with the fact that the latter sometimes borrowed his elder contemporary's themes, may have given rise to the supposition that he was also his pupil; but in consideration of other similar instances, it cannot be urged as evidence. Another disputed point is his conversion to Protestantism. According to the majority of biographers, Goudimel's settings of the Psalms, the work by which he is best known, were used by the Catholic as well as the Protestant Church, and approved by the Sorbonne, at that time the Catholic Theological department of the University of Paris; and from this the inference has been drawn that his being killed during the massacre of St. Bartholomew at Lyons, was not due to his religious faith, but to " the machinations of envious rivals." One writer, however, states that Goudimel lived in close association with the Huguenots at Metz in 1557, and that the Catholics used the Huguenot psalter for some time, later discarding it; and also quotes another French authority as disputing their authorship. Brown names Claude le Jeune as a collaborator with Goudimel in the harmonization and arrangement of these psalms, which were translated by Marot and de Beze. Goudimel's first known compositions were published by Du Chemin at Paris, in a book of songs, and in 1553 and 1555 his name appears as joint publisher with Du Chemin. Much of his music was written for four voices, and some of his compositions appear in most of the collections of psalms published in different languages during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, and in books of chansons in Paris from 1549 on. Some of his music is used today in the church services of Scotland and England.