Louis Bourgeois (b. Paris, France, c. 1510; d. Paris, 1561). In both his early and later years Bourgeois wrote French songs to entertain the rich, but in the history of church music he is known especially for his contribution to the Genevan Psalter. Apparently moving to Geneva in 1541, the same year John Calvin returned to Geneva from Strasbourg, Bourgeois served as cantor and master of the choristers at both St. Pierre and St. Gervais, which is to say he was music director there under the pastoral leadership of Calvin. Bourgeois used the choristers to teach the new psalm tunes to the congregation.
The extent of Bourgeois's involvement in the Genevan Psalter is a matter of scholarly debate. Calvin had published several partial psalter… Go to person page >
Harmonizer: Claude Goudimel
The music of Claude Goudimel (b. Besançon, France, c. 1505; d. Lyons, France, 1572) was first published in Paris, and by 1551 he was composing harmonizations for some Genevan psalm tunes-initially for use by both Roman Catholics and Protestants. He became a Calvinist in 1557 while living in the Huguenot community in Metz. When the complete Genevan Psalter with its unison melodies was published in 1562, Goudimel began to compose various polyphonic settings of all the Genevan tunes. He actually composed three complete harmonizations of the Genevan Psalter, usually with the tune in the tenor part: simple hymn-style settings (1564), slightly more complicated harmonizations (1565), and quite elaborate, motet-like settings (1565-1566). The vario… Go to person page >
Defend me, LORD, from those who charge me
with shameful insults, lies, and slurs.
Come, save your servant from evil ones.
In you alone I can find refuge.
Why are you deaf to all my pleas
about my enemies?
GENEVAN 43 was first published in the 1551 edition of the Genevan Psalter. Claude Goudimel (PHH 6) harmonized it in 1564. Though Goudimel usually placed the melody of his harmonizations in the tenor, which was typical of that time, he placed the melody of this one in the soprano, which was later to become the new style of writing for congregational singing. Each of the six phrases has its own delicate rhythm; the last two phrases should be sung as one long line. The mood should shift from a somber treatment in stanza 1 to increasingly joyful strains in stanzas 2 and 3.