Hyperion Records

Jacobus Vaet

born: c1529
died: 8 January 1567
country: Flanders

Jacobus Vaet would undoubtedly be among the best-known composers of the sixteenth century had he not died at the age of about thirty-seven, in 1567. His musical education was typical of the Low Country singers who dominated European church music in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries: he became a chorister at the church of Notre Dame at Koortrijk (Courtrai) in 1543 at the age of thirteen, and when his voice broke in 1546 he was given a scholarship to the University of Leuven (Louvain). By 1550 he was working for the emperor, Charles V, as a tenor, and was a married man. Preferment came rapidly, and he was Kapellmeister to the Archduke Maximilian, Charles’s nephew, at the latest in 1554, when he can have been no older than twenty-five.

Vaet’s compositional output was large considering that his career lasted approximately fifteen years: he is known to have produced nine settings of the Mass (including a Requiem Mass), sixty-six motets plus sundry minor liturgical items, a set of Magnificats, and three French chansons. In the dedication to his motet collection published in 1562, Vaet states that since his other duties left him little time to compose, he had decided to prioritize texts in praise of God Almighty and of the House of Austria. Seventeen of the extant pieces are indeed ‘state motets’ in honour of the Habsburgs; the remainder take the standard texts of the time, such as Psalm fragments, prayers, other Biblical excerpts and liturgical texts. One would suppose that given a normal lifespan (usually about sixty years at that time, though a few individuals are known to have lived into their nineties), Vaet would have composed a similar quantity of music to Jacobus Clemens non Papa (c1510–c1555), who is perhaps the most obvious stylistic influence on him.

He died, however, on 8 January 1567 of unknown causes. The deterioration in his health seems to have been rapid: in 1566 he was well enough to accompany Maximilian onto the battlefield, and his last child was baptized on Christmas Eve, 1566. Since his patron had in the meantime been elevated to the imperial throne as Maximilian II, the post left vacant by Vaet’s death was among the most prestigious in Europe, and it was filled only after sixteen months, by the distinguished composer Philippe de Monte. Several poets wrote elegies to Vaet, one of which was set to music by his fellow Habsburg musician Jacob Regnart, and another suggests in its text that it was intended for musical composition by no less than Jacob Regnart—though sadly no such setting survives.

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2009

'Vaet: Missa Ego flos campi & other sacred music' (CDA67733)
Vaet: Missa Ego flos campi & other sacred music
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £10.50 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 44.1 kHz £9.00ALAC 24-bit 44.1 kHz £9.00 CDA67733  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Amorosi pensieri' (CDA68053)
Amorosi pensieri
MP3 £6.99FLAC £6.99ALAC £6.99Buy by post £10.50 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 48 kHz £7.85ALAC 24-bit 48 kHz £7.85 CDA68053  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Music for the Court of Maximilian II' (CDA67579)
Music for the Court of Maximilian II
Complete works available for download
Amour leal Cinquecento
Antevenis virides Cinquecento
Ascendetis post filium Cinquecento
Conditor alme siderum Cinquecento
Continuo lacrimas Cinquecento
Ecce apparebit Dominus Cinquecento
En l’ombre d’ung buissonet Cinquecento
Filiae Jerusalem Cinquecento
Magnificat octavi toni Cinquecento
Miserere mei, Deus Cinquecento
Missa Ego flos campi Cinquecento
Musica Dei donum Cinquecento
O quam gloriosum Cinquecento
Salve regina Cinquecento
Sans vous ne puis Cinquecento
Spiritus Domini Cinquecento
Videns Dominus Cinquecento
Alphabetical listing of all musical works
Amour leal (Vaet)
Antevenis virides (Vaet)
Ascendetis post filium (Vaet)
Conditor alme siderum (Vaet)
Continuo lacrimas (Vaet)
Ecce apparebit Dominus (Vaet)
En l’ombre d’ung buissonet (Vaet)
Filiae Jerusalem (Vaet)
Magnificat octavi toni (Vaet)
Miserere mei, Deus (Vaet)
Missa Ego flos campi (Vaet)
Musica Dei donum (Vaet)
O quam gloriosum (Vaet)
Salve regina (Vaet)
Sans vous ne puis (Vaet)
Spiritus Domini (Vaet)
Videns Dominus (Vaet)
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