Nicolas Payen

Was born in Soignies, c1512 and died in Madrid, after 24 April 1559. He was a South Netherlandish composer. According to Fétis, Payen received his earliest musical education at St Vincent’s, Soignies, before becoming a choirboy in Charles V’s chapel in Spain. Payen’s name is mentioned there from 1525 and appears in the prebendal lists for Mons and Gorinchem. During the 1530s he may have interrupted his service with the emperor for university studies. From 1540 he was in Charles’s chapel as clerc d’oratoire, chapelain des hautes messes, and from 1556 as maestro de capilla, succeeding Canis. In 1558 he was granted a canonry in the collegiate church of Tournai and at the time of his death he held numerous prebends. Very little research has been done on Payen’s music. Most of his works are sacred, and the two extant state motets show his concern for expressing the emotional content of the texts. In negotiations with the Duke of Bavaria, the imperial vice-chancellor Dr Seld named Payen among the representatives of musica reservata.

Albert Dunning

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