Especially his church music (nine Masses, one Requiem, nearly twenty motets, Lamentations — a popular genre for the Catholic liturgy in the three days preceding Easter; his version excells in emotional declamation — and Magnificats) was widely printed, and some of his Masses parody Josquin motets. Another is based on his own attractively airy 4-part motet Sancta Trinitas. He also left an arrangment for three voices (Josquin and Adriaan Willaert, would write versions a 5 viz. a6, both with an imitative canon a 2) of the popular chanson rustique “faulte d’argent” (French for lack of money, an eternal concern)
This Franco-Flemish composer belongs to the third generation of the Flemish Polyphony, championed by Josquin des Prez, whose transparant polyphonous texture, clear structure and close — expressive — relationship between text and music he equalled. He was probably born in Arras (or Atrecht in Dutch), as the son of an alderman of the city, but presumably left in the late 1480s, perhaps for Italy, like many contemporary composers; his brother Robert was also a composer.
Antoine was apparently ordained a priest in the 1490s and the title maistre suggests he may have held a university degree. He spent his last years (since 1507) as singer — like the composers Antonius Divitis, another pioneer of the parody mass, and Johannes Lebrun — to king Louis XII, residing at such places as Orléans and Blois, when another composer, Johannes Prioris, was master of the royal chapel.
Presumably in 1507, when Louis met king Ferdiand II of Aragon in Savona (a bishopric in the Genoese dogal republic, now the Italia Rivièra), he wrote the Motet of state “Gaude Francorum regia corona” (rejoice, royal crown of the French) honoring his patron. The contemporary German humanist and musical theoretican Henricus Glareanus dubbed de Févin “Felix Jodoci aemulator” (Latin for “happy imitator of Josquin”). Other contemporaries praising him include the French novelist and Benedictine philosopher François Rabelais. After his death, Jean Mouton honored him explicitly in the Chanson “Qui ne regrettoit le gentil Févin” (“Who didn’t mourn the gentle Févin?”) and by basing a Parody mass on de Févin’s motet “Benedictus Dominus Deus”.
[This contribution is mainly based on KULeuven’s musicology professor Ignace Bossuyt’s book “De Vlaamse Polyfonie”.]