Bourgeois, Loys

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Bourgeois, Loys

Bourgeois, Loys, French composer and music theorist; b. Paris, c. 1512; d. there, c. 1560. By 1545 he was in Geneva as maître des enfants at St. Pierre and at St. Gervais. In 1547 he was made a citizen of Geneva. Following his request for payment for “improving” the Calvinist Psalter, most likely in the Psalms tr. by Marot and de Béze (publ. in Geneva, 1551; reprint 1554), he was arrested on Dec. 3, 1551, for having failed to obtain authorization from the Genevan council. The next day Calvin secured his release. In 1552 he obtained a leave of absence from his duties and returned to France, and later that year the Genevan council dismissed him from his duties. After living in Lyons, he went to Paris in 1560. In addition to his work on the Calvinist Psalter, he wrote Le droict chemin (Geneva and Lyons, 1550; Eng. tr. by B. Rainbow as The Direct Road to Music, Kilkenny, 1982), the earliest treatise in French devoted to singing and sight-reading.

Works

(50) Pseaulmes de David...à voix de contrepoinct égal consonante au verbe for 4 Voices (Lyons, 1547; rev. as Pseaulmes LXXXIII de David for 4 Voices, Lyons, 1554; 37 Psalms ed. by K. Bernet Kempers as 37 Psalmen...van Loys Bourgeois, Delft, 1937); Le premier livre des [24] pseaulmes...en diversité de musique for 4 Voices (Lyons, 1547; ed. in Monuments de la musique suisse, III, Basel, 1960); Quatre-vingt-trois psalmes de David...dont la basse contre tient le sujet for 4 to 6, and 8 Voices (Paris, 1561; not extant).

Bibliography

P.-A. Gaillard, L. B.: Sa vie, son oeuvre comme pédagogue et compositeur (Lausanne, 1948).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire