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His output consists almost entirely of church music, including many parody Masses on models by composers such as Josquin Desprez, Jean Mouton and Thomas Crécquillon. His earlier work is solidly imitative in the manner of Gombert, but his later music shows the influence of Lassus in its freer textures and bold dissonances, and of the Venetians in his double choir pieces.
The fifth part of Pietro Giovanelli’s “Novus Thesaurus musicus” (Venice, 1568), a unique collection of some 250 “Motets of state” in Latin for Austrian princes of the imperial house of Habsburg, contains three by his hand for his employer, Maximilian II. His fame rests mainly on the publication by Antonio Gardano in Venice in 1562 of his motets, which use various styles, from Gombert’s trough-imitation to Lassus’ expressive syllabic motets, or even a combination such as his antiphon for All Saints, “O quam gloriosum est regnum”, a 4. The same Giovanelli’s part 4 contains no less then 8 versions by his hand of the “Salve Regina”, melismatic jubilant music for Our lady in 4, 5, 6 or 8 parts.
His (late) works for double choir testify to the influence of Venetian composers.
Vaet was born in southern Flanders around Kortrijk (Courtraie), probably Harelbeke. In 1543–46 he was a chorister in Kortrijk’s Our Lady church, in 1547 he studied at Louvain university. From 1550 he sang at the court of Habsburg emperor Charles V at Prague (in the now Czech kingdom of Bohemia), and in 1554 he obtained the nomination that dominated his carreer: Kapellmeister of the Austrian archduke Maximilian, who in 1564 succeeded his father as Holy Roman Emperor. Vaet died in Vienna, the imperial capital, in 1567.
(Contribution is mainly based on prof. Ignace Bossuyt’s book "De Vlaamse Polyfonie".)