Kerle, Jacobus de

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Kerle, Jacobus de

Kerle, Jacobus de, eminent South Netherlandish organist and composer; b. Ypres, 1531 or 1532; d.Prague, Jan. 7, 1591. He is believed to have received his education at the monastery of St. Martin in Ypres. In 1555 was made magister capellae in Orvieto, where he most likely was active as a singer and master of the choristers; soon thereafter he became cathedral organist and town carillonist. After taking Holy Orders, he went to Venice in 1561 to prepare the publication of his Liber psalmorum ad Vesperas. The Bishop of Augsburg commissioned him to write his Preces speciales pro salubri genera-lis Concilii successu (1561–62) for the Council of Trent. He subsequently went to Rome in 1562 as director of the cardinal’s private chapel. He accompanied the cardinal on his travels throughout northern Italy to Barcelona and back (1563–64), then was in Dillingen until the cardinal disbanded his chapel in 1565. He became director of music at Ypres Cathedral in 1565, but lost that post in 1567 and was excommunicated following legal proceedings and a dispute with the cathedral chapter. He then went to Rome, where Cardinal Otto made him a member of the chapter of Augsburg Cathedral in 1568. That same year he was made vicar-choral and organist as well, and he subsequently held a prebend in Cambrai (1575–87), and was made a member of the chapter of the Cathedral there (1579), but soon left owing to war. He served as Kapellmeister to Gebhard Truchess, the Archbishop and Elector of Cologne and Lord High Steward of Waldburg, in 1582. In Sept. 1582 he entered the Emperor’s service in Augsburg, and in Oct. 1582 he became a member of the court chapel in Vienna. He settled in Prague in 1583, and was made honorary precentor of the Mons choir in 1587. He was also canon of the collegiate foundation of the Heilige Kreuz in Breslau (1587–88). Kerle was one of the last significant composers of the South Netherlandish tradition, excelling in sacred vocal music.


vocal: sacred:Motetti for 4 and 5 Voices (Rome, 1557); [23] Hymni totius anni…et Magnificat for 4 and 5 Voices (Rome, 1558; 2nd ed., 1560); [16] Magnificat octo tonorum for 4 Voices (Venice, 1561); Liber[20] Psalmorum ad Vesperas for 4 Voices (Venice, 1561); 6 missae for 4 and 5 Voices (Venice, 1562); Preces spéciales pro salubri generalis Concilii successu for 4 Voices (Venice, 1562; ed. in Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Bayern, XXXIV, Jg. XVI, 1926; 2nd ed., rev., 1974); [15] Selectae quaedam cantiones for 5 and 6 Voices (Nuremberg, 1571); Liber modulorum for 4 to 6 Voices (Paris, 1572); Liber[11] modulorum sacrorum for 5 and 6 Voices, quibus addita est recens cantio de sacro foedere contra Turcas for 8 Voices (Munich, 1572); Liber[16] modulorum sacrorum for 4 to 6 Voices (Munich, 1573); Liber[16] mottetorum for 4 and 5 Voices, adiuncto in fine Te Deum laudamus for 6 Voices (Munich, 1573); [9] Sacrae cantiones, quas vulgo moteta vocant…ecclesiastici hymni de resurrectione et ascensione for 5 and 6 Voices (Munich, 1575); 4 missae for 4 and 5 Voices (Antwerp, 1582); 4 missae…adiuncto in fine Te Deum laudamus for 4 and 5 Voices (Antwerp, 1583); [9] Selectiorum aliquot modulorum for 4, 5, and 8 Voices (Prague, 1585).secular: II primo libro capitolo del triumpho d’amore de Petrarca for 5 Voices (Venice, 1570); Madrigali, libro primo (Carmina italica musicis modulis ornata) for 4 Voices (Venice, 1570); Egregia cantio, in…honorem Melchioris Lincken Augustani for 6 Voices (Nuremberg, 1574).


O. Ursprung, J. d.K. (1531/32-1591): Sein Leben und seine Werke (Munich, 1913).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire