Nicolas Gombert (c.1495-c.1560)
Nicolas Gombert was one of the leading composers of the so-called “lost generation” between the great figures of Josquin des Prez and Palestrina. He may well have studied with Josquin and in 1526 he joined the court of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, rising to the rank of maître des enfants in 1529. As a result, his reputation spread throughout Europe and his music was widely published during his lifetime. However, his career was ended c.1540 when he was sentenced to hard labour in the galleys having been convicted of gross indecency with a boy. He was later pardoned and retired to be a canon of Tournai Cathedral. His music is characterised by dense imitative counterpoint (often avoiding rests), unexpected harmonies and a preference for combinations of low voices.