Mouton, Jean

Jean Mouton was a French Renaissance composer. He was famous for his refined motets and masses, and also for being the teacher of Adrian Willaert, one of the founders of the Venetian School.
Very little is known about his early life, as usual for many 15th century composers. It is most likely that he is born around 1459 in Hollingues (hence his older name Jean de Hollingues), a small hamlet near Saint-Omer, not far from Boulogne-sur-Mer, in the northwest département Pas-de-Calais. His first job was in the church of Saint-Omer, and later he became maître de chapelle in the cathedral of Amiens. Around this time he became a priest. Shortly after this he was granted a position at the court of Queen Anne of Brittany, and in Grenoble at the same time. Apparently he was very much in demand by his royal employers, because he could serve in both functions in absentia (even while being absent). Sometime around 1520 he met the famous Swiss theorist Heinrich Glarean who praised him fervently and wrote that ‘everyone had copies of Mouton’s music’. Near his death he moved to Saint-Quentin where he became a canon and took over for Loyset Compère who died in 1518. In this city his life ended in 1522.
Jean Mouton was very influential in his time as a composer and as a teacher. His musical style shows some similarity with Josquin’s: paired imitation and canonic techniques. Later in his musical life he experienced more influences from the Italian music: less linear thinking and more harmonic structures. One of hist most popular motets was Quæramus cum pastoribus, which was used by several later composers as the basis for masses with that name. Mouton was rather prolific, because 17 masses more than 10 motets and some chansons
have survived.