Pierre Certon

(ca. 1515 - 1572)

French composer. He may have been a native of Melun, where in 1527 'Jehan Certon' was documented as fermier du fourrage to the king.Worked as a a clerc de matines at Notre Dame de Paris from 1529 and barely escaped imprisonment for his questionable conduct: on September 26, 1530 he was summoned before the chapter for playing ball in the square of Notre Dame and refusing to attend the service, and only his youth saved him from a prison sentence. He assumed a similar post at the Sainte-Chapelle in 1532. In 1536 became master of the choristers there, holding this post until his death. Among his close friends was Claudin de Sermisy, whose death in 1562 prompted the composition of a déplorationmodeled on that written by Josquin to honor Ockeghem. In a document of 1567 Certon is accorded the title, doubtless purely honorary, of chantre de la chapelle du Roy. Three years later, on the title-page of his chanson collection Les meslanges, he was described as compositeur de musique de la chapelle du Roy. This title, whose significance is not fully understood, was given to only two other composers before him: Pierre Sandrin in 1547 and Janequin in 1557. Without abandoning his duties at the Sainte-Chapelle, Carton took part in other activities towards the end of his life. Extant sacred works, all published, include eight Masses, three Mass movements, a Magnificat, over forty motets, and a number of Psalm settings and chansons spirituelles. The majority of his compositions, however, are secular chansons--285 pieces, 100 published in two books devoted exclusively to Certon, the rest included in anthologies. The later works contributed substantially to the stylistic transformation of the chanson in the third quarter of the sixteenth century. His works include many that are especially witty, often based on brief narrative texts. The entirely chordal Fuions tous d'amour le jeu and La, la, la, je ne l'ose dire are fine examples of his art.

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