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The Adriaen Willaert Foundation

Welcome to the website of the Adriaen Willaert Foundation (A.W.F.).
Our organisation started in 2004 in Roeselare - Belgium, the assumed birthplace of Adriaen Willaert, to make this 16th century composer better known.
On this website you will find facts about his life and music, which might help students, professors, conductors, musicians, listeners, etc.
We apologise to our English readers that this site has not (yet) been translated, but we are sure that, with a little effort, people who do not understand Dutch will still be able to find a lot of information, especially in the section with bibliography, discography and the works of the composer.

To help, we provide this translation of:
•  the content of this website
•  the schema we use when creating the information about each composition


PART I: Who are we?

•  the organisation
•  the board
•  sponsors and subsidies
•  our activities
•  the information centres (library, record library)
•  sales service
•  our concerts
•  facts about Adriaen Willaert
•  links
•  archive

PART II: Adriaen Willaert

•  biography
•  accounts of contemporaries
•  How did they write his name?
•  How was he depicted?
•  Favourable remarks

•  Scientific bibliography

•  Works
•  Chronologically
•  According to genre
Motets or cantiones sacrae
Hymns, psalms and other liturgical works
Secular motets
Villanesche or canzoni villenesche
Instrumental music
Intavolatura de li madrigali di Verdelotto

•  Alphabetically

•  Location, collections and libraries
•  Discography (all LPs and CDs since 1980)
•  Toplist: list of most sung or played works
•  A tip for amateur choirs

PART III: The Flemish polyphony in the 16th century

•  Short summary
•  Josquin des Prez (ca. 1440 - 1560)
•  Jacob Obrecht (1457/8 - 1505)
•  Nicolas Gombert (ca. 1495 - ca. 1560)
•  Cypriano de Rore (1515/16 - 1565)
•  Orlandus Lassus (1532 - 1594)
•  Philippus de Monte (1521 - 1603)
•  Giaches de Wert (1536 - 1596)
•  The polyphonics from West-Flanders
- Pierre de la Rue (ca. 1460 - 1518)
- Clemens non Papa (ca. 1510/15 - 1555/56)
-Jacobus de Kerle (1531/32 - 1591)
- Matthaeus Pipelare (ca. 1450 - ca. 1515)
- Adriaen Willaert (ca. 1490 - 1562)


1.Kidger number
See: David M. Kidger, Adrian Willaert. A Guide to Research. New York. 2005

2. Subtitle:
Some works have a subtitle that indicates when or how the work is best performed.

3. Composed parts:
In some liturgical works, like hymns and psalms, not all stanzas have been composed. The non-composed stanzas are to be sung in Gregorian Chant. It also occurs that the music of the first stanza is used for the following stanzas.

4. Tonal type:
Only the musical notation , the clef combination and the finalis are noted.

5. Amount of voices:
The amount of voices, sometimes per part, is indicated by a number.
The sort of voice is best derived from the clef combination.

6. Genre:

7. Series:

8. Text:

9. Locations of manuscripts and first prints:
Click here for the list of sigla .

10. First prints:
City, date, printer, title of the printed work. (list is limited to ca. 1562)

11. RISM:
Click here for the RISM-list (Répertoire International des Sources Musicales).
"N" indicates that this work, in this publication, is the first print.
"O" indicates that this works has been published before.

12. CMM:

13. Other recent publications

14. Intabulations, diminutions, tientos.


Click here for the bibliographical list.

15. Bossuyt 1985, 1994:

16. Schiltz 2001, 2003, 2004:

17. Others:



18. LP:
Click here for the discographical list of LPs.
Underlined titles are available in our information centre.

19. CD:
Click here for the discographical list of CDs.
Underlined titles are available in our information centre.

20. Length:
The length of the tracks is derived from the LP or CD recording. If the track exists on different recordings of which the length differs, we mention the slowest and the quickest version.


Our Society

A.W.F.- A.W.S.

Abeelstraat 7, B-8800 Roeselare – Belgium

The vzw Adriaen Willaert Foundation AWF-AWS vzw is as cultural society, raised in 2004 to collect and to put at disposal all information concerning the live & work of the Flemish polyphonist Adriaen Willaert (c1490-1562). Its chair is located where the composer almost certainly was born: Roeselare (Western Flanders, Belgium). The foundation aims at the establishment of an information centre on Willaert and his contemporaries for both professional and non-professional scholarship and research. This holds de facto the making of a discography, the gathering of scores and studies and the participation in events and initiatives which are related to our project.



Aims of the Society

1. promotion of Flemish polyphony in general and the work of Adriaen Willaert in particular: our immaterial musical heritage

2. acquisition and stock-taking of scores, if necessary, initiating the edition of works still in manuscript

3. acquisition and stock-taking of relevant LP’s, CD’s and other recordings

4. acquisition and archiving of key-works and other documentation on Willaert & his contemporaries

5. disposition of information on 15th- & 16h century Flemish polyphony

6. disposition of written and audio-sources to scholars and music-lovers

7. collaboration with cultural societies having similar objectives

8. promotion and support of initiatives concerning Willaert & his contemporaries

First, to achieve these objectives an Information Center installed at de City Library Albrecht Rodenbach. Further, the following initiatives were taken to broaden our radius of action:

1. a website to enable and facilitate basic research on Adriaen Willaert and his contemporaries
2. periodical Newsletters, regularly published on the Net to disseminate updated information on performances, broadcasting and current scholarship worldwide of/on Adriaen Willaert’s music and that of his contemporaries.

3. free answers to musicological questions on the matter, either by email or letters

4. collecting point for purchases

Our major activities

            1. website
            2. library
            3. sound library
            4. newsletter


‘Flemish’ polyphony or ‘Netherlandic’ polyphony?

What’s in a name?

For an appropriate understanding of continental renaissance polyphony one has to be acquainted with the difference between the contemporary and modern meaning of ‘Flanders’ and ‘the Netherlands’, of ‘Flemish’ and ‘Dutch’. Initially, Flanders was the western part of 1831 Belgium (Western and Eastern Flanders), Zeelandic Flanders and the northern region of modern France (Département du Nord).

The notion ‘Flemish’, however, was often used in a much broader sense. When the Italians, for instance, mentioned ‘I fiamminghi’, they meant all inhabitants of the Netherlands: the countries on low-lying land around the delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse (Maas) rivers. This was also the case with regard to the Spanish ‘Capilla Flamenca'.. Even today the French speak about ‘la musique franco-flamande’ while the English use the term ‘Franco Flemish school’. An authority on the matter, prof. em. Ignace Bossuyt (KU Leuven), seems to agree with this broader sense in the title of his key-work ‘De Vlaamse polyfonie’ (Flemish Polyphony).
While, once, Flanders was merely a ‘province’ of the Netherlands, after the independence of Belgium in 1830-1831, the latter was reduced to the modern ‘Netherlandic’ nation, sometimes mistakenly called ‘Holland’. In the sixteenth century, on the contrary, the Netherlands, also called the ‘17 Provinces’, geographically contained the following modern regions: Belgium, the Netherlands, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Northern-France, with a distinction between the ‘Northern’ and the ‘Southern’ Netherlands (especially after the segregation of Belgium in 1648.


A political description of the 15th and 16th century Netherlands

In the 15th century the Netherlands consisted of a great number of more or less independent counties, duchies and bishoprics. One of the economically and culturally most important among them was the County of Flanders, east of the river Scheldt, with cities such as Bruges, Ypres and Ghent. It enjoyed artistic fame through the work of painters, such as Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling and Hugo van der Goes. Also major composers and musicians lived and worked here; for instance: Jacob Obrecht, Johannes Ockeghem and Alexander Agricola.

In 1369, when Margaretha of Male, daughter of the Count of Flanders, married Philips the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, the Netherlands were added to the Duchy of Burgundy. While Dijon was the capital city, the princes settled in Brussels and Mechelen (Brabant) in the centre of the country, partly because of the decline of the Flemish cities. The Burgundian court has exercised a great influence on European art by attracting top-artists, painters as well as composers and poets. Consequently, from about the end of the 15th century, Flemish polyphonists were engaged in almost al major cities and at almost all (royal) courts of Europe.

In 1477, Charles the Bold died during the Battle of Nancy, which rendered Burgundy under French possession. When Mary of Burgundy, who was married to Maximilian of Austria, died in 1482, the Netherlands were governed by the House of Habsburg, which equally was extremely music-minded. We remember for instance Heinrich Isaac being appointed composer at the imperial court in Vienna; he was later succeeded by Jacobus Vaet, Philippus De Monte and Jacob Regnart.

Then, Maximilian’s son, Philips the Fair, married Johanna ‘the Mad’ of Castile. Thus, also Spain (Aragón and Castile) became a part of this large Habsburg Empire. Their son, the Emperor Charles V, born in Ghent anno 1500, and especially his son, Philips the Second, carried on this cultural policy. In Madrid they installed the Capilla Flamenca, which consisted exclusively of Netherlanders, such as Nicolas Gombert, Pierre de Manchicourt, Philippe Rogier and Mateo Romero.

In the second half of the 16th century the empire split up into the House of the Spanish Habsburgs and that of the Austrian Habsburgs. Growing cultural centres, where composers from the Netherlands had appointments, were Prague (Philippus de Monte), Innsbruck (Jacob Regnard), Munich (Roland de Lassus) and Venice (Adriaen Willaert and Cypriaan De Rore), to mention only some well-known masters.


The language

The Netherlands were divided into two speech areas. French was the official language of the southern strip to which belonged among others the cities of Tournay and Ronse. ‘Dutch’ (Nederlands, Niederländisch, Holländisch, Diets…), labelling, at the time, a variety of local idioms, was spoken in the other parts. During the Middle Ages these regions met the first flowering of (Middle-)Dutch  literature in the work of the Flemish mystics Hadewijch (13th century) en Jan van Ruusbroec (14th century). Nevertheless; renaissance composers of the Netherlands rarely set Dutch text to music. Not only the French-speaking polyphonists, but also the Flemish preferred French, if not Italian lyrics for their secular songs. Hence, also the latter were important contributors to the design and the development of the French and Parisian polyphonic chanson. Representatives of the ‘Wallo(o)n’ (French-speaking) part of the Netherlands were Roland de Lassus, Thomas Crecquillon and Josquin des Prez; of the many Flemish masters we only mention Adriaen Willaert, Clemens non Papa and Nicolas Gombert.


The polyphonists

During the 15th and 16th century the art industry in the Netherlands reached an unparalleled quality and popularity. Thanks on the one hand to the extraordinary artistic interest in arts and music at the Burgundian and Habsburg courts and, on he other, to their music educational institutions, maintaining for generations an extremely high level, our region maintained its leading role on the international stage of art music for about two centuries. This emanation of compositional skill and talent paralleled the successes in the field of painting, by which it has been too often overshadowed in art history. All this time, though, the Netherlanders have dominated western European music life. Popes, prelates, emperors and kings rivalled each other to have these musicians at the highest ranks of their court and private chapels, not infrequently selecting them for diplomatic tasks.




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