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Claude Le Jeune

c.1530-1600. French composer. Much of his life was spent close to court circles or in the service of noblemen friendly to the Huguenot* cause. At some time before 1564 he seems to have become a Protestant. He had connections with the family of William of Orange and the Duc de Bouillon, and finally became court composer to Henry of Navarre. Le Jeune was not a church composer, although he did write one Mass and a few motets. Like Goudimel,* he was strongly attracted to the texts and melodies of the Genevan Psalter. Since Calvin forbade the use of part-singing in the Reformed service, Le Jeune's settings must have been conceived for social purposes, even though he described some of them as “en forme de motets.” He was one of the most talented and versatile French composers of his time. There are over 300 settings by him of Genevan psalms, as well as settings of moralistic Huguenot poems. His simpler, four-part settings are superior to those of Goudimel and were reprinted well into the seventeenth century, also with Dutch and German text. He wrote, in addition, much important secular music.