le miroir de musique

Secret Consolations

Johannes Tinctoris (c.1435-1511)



Johannes Tinctoris, is today widely recognised as one of the most articulate music writers and as a perceptive observer of the musical practices of his time. After his studies in Orléans, he received several positions in Cambrai, Liège and finally Naples, where he was in the service of the court of King Ferrante of Aragon as chaplain, legal advisor and music tutor of Ferrante’s daughter Beatrice. In the last 40 years of his life, he became an accomplished composer, developing a kinship to Busnoys an Ockeghem, whose music he had thoroughly studied.


This programme intends to show the variety of contexts in which Tinctoris’ music was performed: mass settings, motets, textless didactic pieces, French and Italian chansons, reconnecting the standard a cappella practice of the time with his particular liking for instruments described in his De inventione et usu musice.



« And I am similarly pleased by the rebec, my predilection for which I will not conceal, provided that it is played by a skillful artist, since its strains are very much like those of the viola. Accordingly, the viola and the rebec are my two instruments ; I repeat, my chosen instruments, those that induce piety and stir my heart most ardently to the contemplation of heavenly joys. For these reasons, I would rather reserve them solely for sacred music and the secret consolations of the soul, than have them sometimes used for profane occasions and public festivities. »

Johannes Tinctoris, De inventione et usu musice, Naples, c.1480