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Gheerkin [Gheerken, Gheraert] de Hondtfree

  • George Karl Diehl

(fl 1539–47). South Netherlandish composer. The only biographical information about him comes from the account books of the Confraternity of Our Lady in 's-Hertogenbosch. He emigrated from Bruges in 1539, having been engaged by the brotherhood in September, and began his official duties as choirmaster on 31 December. He held the post until 2 October 1547, when he was dismissed on charges arising from the improper maintenance of choirboys under the care of him and his wife. Leaving 's-Hertogenbosch, he travelled north into the Friesland sector of Holland.

The attribution of works to Gheerkin is complicated by the assignment in contemporary sources of all but one to composers identified simply as ‘Gheerkin’. The ascription of the MissaBenedictus Dominus Deus Israel’ in the Cambrai partbooks to both ‘Gheerkin’ (in two books) and ‘Gheerkin de Hondt’ (in the other two) indicates that here, at least, they are identifiable. A payment that he received in 's-Hertogenbosch ‘for writing some motets in honour of the brotherhood’ makes it clear that he is the composer of certain motets ascribed to ‘Gheerkin’, and he probably wrote the two masses ascribed to ‘Gheerkin’ (in NL-SH 74). In other instances, however, more documentary evidence is needed.

Eitner regarded Gheerkin as a gifted, resourceful composer of appealing works, and Vander Linden (in MGG1) thought that the chansons revealed a composer of assurance and skill in the invention and development of ideas.


attributed ‘Gheerkin’ or ‘Gheerken’ unless otherwise stated


Trésor musical, ed. R. van Maldeghem (Brussels, 1865–93) [M]


Missa ‘Ave mater Christi’, lost; formerly B-Br, attrib. Gheerkin de Hondt in FétisB

Missa ‘Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel’, 4vv, F-CA 125–8 (attrib. Gheerkin de Hondt); Kyrie ed. in Coussemaker

Missa ‘Ceciliam cantate pii’, 5vv, NL-SH 74

Missa ‘In te Domine speravi’, 5vv, SH 74

Missa ‘Panis quem ego dabo’, 4vv, F-CA 125–8; ed. in EMN, ix (1975)

Missa ‘Vidi Jerusalem’, 4vv, CA 125–8


Benedicite Dominus, 4vv, CA 125–8; Inclina Domine aurem tuam, 4vv, CA 125–8; Jubilate Deo omnis terra, 4vv, CA 125–8; Vox dicentis clama, 4vv, CA 125–8


all for 4 voices

A vous me rens, F-CA 125–8, 15358 (attrib. Willaert), M xv (as Si je l'amais); Contre raison pour t'aymer, CA 125–8, M xv (as Le mois de mai); D'un profond cueur j'ay crie, CA 125–8; Helas malheur prens tu contentement, CA 125–8, M xv (as Ton amitié); Het was my wel te vooren gezeyt, 155118 (attrib. Geerhart), CA 125–8, M xv, xxv, ed. in Coussemaker, ed. in UVNM, xxix (1908)

Je me repens de vous avoir ayme, CA 125–8; Langueur d'amour m'est sur venue, CA 125–8, M xv (as Nature a pris sur nous); Mon petit cueur n'est point à moy, CA 125–8, M xv (as Mon pauvre coeur); Oncques ne sceux avoir, 155324


  • A. Smijers: ‘De Illustre Lieve Vrouwe Broederschap te 's-Hertogenbosch’, TVNM, 17/3 (1950), 195–230
  • M. A. Vente: ‘De Illustre Lieve Vrouwe Broederschap te 's-Hertogenbosch’, TVNM, 19/1–2 (1960–61), 32–43
  • G. K. Diehl: The Partbooks of a Renaissance Merchant, Cambrai: Bibliothèque municipale, MSS 125–128 (diss., U. of Pennsylvania, 1974)
  • H. van Nieuwkoop: Introduction to Gheerkin de Hondt: Missa Panis quemego dabo, EMN, 9 (1975)
Tijdschrift van de Vereniging voor Nederlandse muziekgeschiedenis [and earlier variants]
R. Eitner: Biographisch-bibliographisches Quellen-Lexikon
Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale Albert 1er/Koninlijke Bibliotheek Albert I, Section de la Musique
's-Hertogenbosch, Illustre Lieve Vrouwe Broederschap
Cambrai, Médiathèque Municipale