Maestro di Capella: Music of Elzear Genet

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Program: #03-17   Air Date: Apr 28, 2003

The ensemble Suspicious Cheese Lords has recently recorded previously-unheard material from this unfairly obscure composer from Southern France, who worked for popes and (as Josquin before him) King Louis XII.

Note: All of the music on this week's program is by Elzear Genet and is from the recording Maestro di Capella performed by The Suspicious Cheese Lords, two of whose founding members (Skip West and George Cervantes) were our guests for the program. You may contact the Lords at their web site:

The Suspicious Cheese Lords, a male a cappella ensemble, performs concerts and provides church service music for the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Although specializing in music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, their repertoireranges from Gregorian chant to original composition.

Elzéar Genet (c. 1470-1548) sang in the papal chapel under Pope Julius II, and thereafter in the court of the French king Louis XII. On November 5, 1513, he became the first composer to be named Master of the Papal Chapel. Working for Pope Leo X, who, in the Medici tradition, was a lavish patron of the arts, Genet's musical output became exclusively sacred. Although Genet was the first composer to publish his collected works, his music has unjustly fallen into near-oblivion. By the late 16th century, Genet's works had been replaced with newer settings by Palestrina and other composers. Sadly, there are no documented performances of his music again until the early 19th century.

  • Gabriel Angelus
  • Tibi Christe
  • Virgo Prudentissima
  • Jubilate Deo
  • Crucem Tuam Adoramus
  • Magnificat
  • Haec Est Illa Dulcis Rosa
  • Missa "Se Mieulx Ne Vient"
  • Pange Lingua

The Suspicious Cheese Lords’ name is derived from the title of a Thomas Tallis motet, Suscipe Quæso Domine. While "translating" the title, it was observed that Suscipe could be "suspicious," Quæso is close to the Spanish word queso meaning "cheese," and Domine is, of course, "Lord." Hence, the title of the motet was clearly "Suspicious Cheese Lord" - which in time became adopted as the group’s name. Although their name is humorous, the group appreciates the literal translation of Suscipe Quæso Domine, which is, "Take, I ask Lord." Suspiciously, the Cheese Lords have yet to perform this motet

Composer Info

Elzéar Genet (c. 1470-1548)

Note: The contact information in this episode may be out-of-date. You can contact us at this current link.

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