Part One "The scoop"
During the period when the film was on everybody's mind (Tous les Matins..., remember), Pierre Guillot, a musicologist and professor at the Sorbonne here in Paris, published an article on the first page of Le Monde claiming that he had discovered Sainte Colombe's identity. His real name, according to Guillot, was Augustin D'Autrecourt, and he lived in Lyons in the 1650's. Shortly after the article appeared I was asked to revise Paul Hooreman's 1973 edition of the Concerts à Deux Violes Esgales by Sainte Colombe (at least five mistakes per page, but considering the date, not bad). I needed to revise the introduction, and took up on the Lyons trail. There was indeed a teacher living in Lyons in the 1650's, but subsequent research indicated many suspect things.
Pierre Guillot apparently depended on secondary sources, books of hospital archival material printed in the 19th century and available in any of the local archives in France. Though he claimed D'Autrecourt was paid more than his fellow musicians at the Hospice de la Charité in Lyons, he was in fact paid exactly the same as all the others. He was likewise mistaken about D'Autrecourt's name (not his fault; the hospital archivist in the 17th century made the mistake). Not knowing the viol's history, he did not know that Sainte-Colombe had studied the viol with Nicolas Hotman; we know this from Sainte Colombe's student, Jean Rousseau (Hotman died in 1663).
To make a long story short, Augustin D'Autrecourt was really someone with a similar name, Augustin Dandricourt, a choir director in Lyons in the 1670's. He used the pseudonym "Sainte-Colombe" or "Sainte Culumbe". As a large and important Catholic family named Sainte-Colombe lived in the region and were benefactors of the "Hospice de la Charité" where Dandricourt worked, we can assume there may have been some connection. His duties were to teach composition, form a choir and teach the viol to students who were the "cleanest." Often questionable young persons, sometimes even prostitutes were accepted at the Charité. We forget in the 20th century that teaching the viol in a school in the 17th century was much like teaching the piano at a neighborhood music school today. But where did this leave the Parisian viol player who was already famous - playing and giving lessons to Marais, Rousseau, etc.? As the TGV had not yet been invented and therefore Dandricourt couldn't dash up to Paris for a lesson with the old and ailing Hotman, I had to look further.
I had ordered the Panmure viol manuscript years before as I had edited the original version of the Folies by Marais and had been absorbed by P. Cadell's article in the 1984 Recherches sur la Musique Francaise Classique. Looking through the "Insinuations de Châtelet" (at the French National Archives, a valuable 17th century catalog of notary acts from Paris in the 17th century (and alphabetized to boot!), I was intrigued by a certain Françoise de Sainte-Colombe living on the Rue de Betizy in Paris, married in 1669. One of the witnesses to her contrat de mariage, Nicolas Caron, was an organist. I quickly ordered this marriage contract and as a matter of routine had it photocopied. On returning home I was troubled by the signature of Françoise de Sainte Colombe's father, Jean, believing I had already encountered this hand. I quickly checked the Panmure ms. pieces that according to the owner in the 17th century were "viole lessons of Mr. St. Columbe in two books." The titles seemed to be in that hand. As I am no expert in handwriting analysis, I took the pieces and the signature to be examined by Catherine Massip, head of the Bibliothèque Nationale's music division and an expert in 17th century paleography. She confirmed my intuition about the signature. I then sent all of these documents on to a second handwriting expert, who reconfirmed what we already had concluded.
Jean de Sainte Colombe lived near the Louvre in the 1650's and 1660's (see map on page x). His home was on the Rue de Betizy which intersects the Rue de la Monnaie and the Rue Bertin Poirée, curiously enough two of the first addresses of the young Marin Marais. In the late 1650's the houses on the Rue de Betizy (now the rue de Rivoli) had large courtyards, as so many Parisian houses do today, with ample space for a hut for practicing purposes. Moreover the Rue Saint Germain l'Auxerrois was one street over. This was the famous violist DuBuisson's street: I discovered that his name was actually Jean Lacquement-dict Dubuisson.
In any case the signature story, like many stories in musicology, doesn't seem to hold up, as the Panmure manuscripts were probably copied by the Maule brothers in the 17th century and not by Sainte-Colombe! After many years of looking through the French Archives I have only found Jean de Sainte Colombe referred to as "bourgeois de Paris" and not as a musician. But he is the only Sainte-Colombe living in Paris in the right neighborhood, and as reported by Titon du Tillet, father to two daughters, Brigide and Françoise . His friend Nicolas Caron was organist at St. Thomas de Louvre and the église St Oppurtune. Jean de Sainte Colombe was N. Caron's witness when he married in 1658. Why such a musical friend if he were merely a "bourgeois de Paris?"
Part two - the daughters
The eldest daughter, Françoise de Sainte-Colombe married Jean Varin, a teacher of mathematics to the king and appointed as a teacher in Belfort. Her sister, Brigide de Sainte Colombe, married Louis Lebé, a secretary for Marquis de Segnelay, who was stationed in Versailles. The Lebés, a family of printers of both books and music, were closely associated with the famous Ballard family. We also find close ties to a family of publishers named "Allain" (cf. the Concert a deux violes called "L'allain"). All very suggestive.
Part three - the (illegitimate?) son(s)
Rémond de Saint-Mard claims in 1742 to have known one of Sainte-Colombe's sons, "a simple man...who had not enough imagination to lie."
In the Durham Cathedral library, shelf number A27, among 300-odd pages of solo bass viol music, you can find six wonderful suites for solo bass viol by "Mr de Sainte Colombe le fils". Strange to say, in the same library there is a theological dissertation in Latin by Henri Auger de Sainte-Colombe who, according to this document, was from the Béarn region in France.
We know that a Sainte-Colombe son and viol player lived in 1707 in Edinburgh, not too far from Durham. We know also that according to the London newspaper "The Daily Courant," a "concert benefice for Mr Sainte Colombe" was held at the Hickford Room in London in 1713.We also find a viol teacher, "Mr Cynelum," in London in 1716. The name would seem to be an anglicized version of the difficult to pronounce for English speakers Sainte-Colombe.
The minister Henri Auger de Sainte Colombe was in all of the same places at the same time as the viol-playing son. We did find Henri Auger's birth record. He was born near Pau in France on the 1st of June 1680 to Monsieur le Baron Jean de Sainte Colome (one "m", no "b") and Marie de Landorte, therefore not the viol playing (Paris-based) son. Important as these Sainte-Colombes from Pau were, unlike the Catholic Sainte-Colombes based in Lyons were die-hard Protestants. So picking up on the Protestant trail we found in the Paris Protestant archives in the "repertoire Haag" a Parisian Sainte Colombe (no first name) mentioned in 1700 as being "fort suspect de religion." The mystery continues...
Part 4 The music
Since the Hooreman publication, the 67 Concerts a Deux Violes Esgales has been available. P Cadell referred to the solo pieces in the article in Recherches mentioned before. We acquired 106 for solo viol and a little suite for two dispersed in two Scottish manuscripts. Then in 1992 a new manuscript was brought to light in the municipal library in Tournus (Burgundy). This manuscript, copied by the same scribe as the Concerts a Deux Violes Esgales, has 144-odd pieces for solo bass viol of which some 70-odd are concordant with the Scottish manuscripts. About 40 are concordant between the solo pieces and the Concerts a Deux Violes. F.P Goy recently discovered that the Tournus manuscript was part of 11-odd books of music. He discovered another book of viol music, copies of Caix d'Hervelois in the same hand that used otherwise unused blank pages in the Sainte-Colombe manuscript. The person who wrote it was probably a monk who studied in Paris in the end of the 17th century and brought the books back to Tournus. Coincidentally, Alfred Cortot, the pianist who was the original owner of the Concerts a Deux Violes Esgales (now housed at the BN in Paris), lived a long time in Tournus.
Last anecdote. While I was preparing my 6th solo CD for Adès (suites by Sainte-Colombe le fils), sight reading through the suite in G minor as well as the suite in e minor, I was shocked! The Allemande in g minor has another name, "Prelude pour M Vaucquelin" (in a truncated version). The Prelude in e also exists in a shortened version "Fantaisie in e." The author of these strange truncated versions - Jordi Savall in his role as "composer" for "Tous les Matins du Monde". After all he couldn't say the music was by Sainte-Colombe's son, as there are only strange girls in the film.....
See Renaud MACHART, "Enfin, des nouvelles du sieur de Sainte-Colombe" Le Monde, 5 January, 1996; p. 19.
"L'envol de Sainte-Colombe" Le Monde 18 January 1992 pages 1 and 13.
L'inventaire sommaire des Archives hospitalières antérieures à 1790, rédigé par Fortuné Rolle, Ville de Lyon
Jean Rousseau Traité de la Viole reprinted by Minkoff, Geneva 1975.
Jean-Marc BAFFERT, Les orgues de Lyon du XVIe au XVIIe siècle, 1974 (Cahiers et mémoire de l'orgue, 11) p. 51,
Paul de Rivérieulx, Vte de VARAX Généalogie de la Maison de Sainte Colombe, Lyon Imp. générale 30 rue Condé, (1881)
Another key date is the publication of a Sarabande de Mr de Sainte Colombe, published in Paris by Bénigne de Bacilly in Recueil des plus beaux vers qui ont esté mis en chant Third part (Paris (c 1665), p. 139 (Unfortunately the words for the song are printed without the music!).
Folies précédées d'un prélude pour la viole composés par M. Marais (version originale inédite de 1685) Jonathan Dunford - Les Cahiers du Tourdion, Strasbourg
Patrick CADELL <>, Recherches sur la musique française classique, XXII (1984) pp. 51 - 52 et 56 - 58.
See Stuart Cheney "Dubuisson" booklet for Jonathan Dunford's CD Adès 205612.
See prefaces for Recueil de Pièces pour Basse de Viole Seule - Manuscrit de Tournus, Minkoff, Paris 1998 and Concerts à Deux Violes Esgales , revised edition Société Française de Musicologie, Paris 1998
This was a common "labeling" for musicians at this time. Nicolas Hotman, Sainte-Colombe's teacher, is also almost always referred to as a bourgeois de Paris in notary acts. See François MOURREAU "Nicolas Hotman, bourgeois de Paris et musicien" Recherches sur la musique française classique, XII (1973) pp 5 -22 and the same for Denis Gautier - Oeuvres de Denis Gautier by Monique Rollin and François-Pierre Goy (Paris, 1996), pp XI-XV.
Evrard Titon du Tillet Vies des Musiciens et autre Jouers d'Instruments du règne de Louis le Grand edition Le Promeneur, Gallimard, 1991 pages 84 - 85.
Concerts à Deux Violes Esgales , revised edition Société Française de Musicologie, Paris 1998 (article by Corinne Vaast)
Rémond de Saint-Mard Réflexions sur l'opéra (oeuvres mêlées, 1742).
See edition of Five suites for solo bass viol, ed. Jonathan Dunford, Les Cahiers du Tourdion, Strasbourg, 1998.
Concerts à Deux Violes Esgales , revised edition Société Française de Musicologie, Paris 1998 (article by Corrine Vaast)
The Younger Sainte-Colombe in Edinburgh, Ian Woodfield Chelys - Journal of the Viola da Gamba Society, Volume 14, 1985 pages 43 + 44.
Daily Courant, London 11 May 1713 "For the benefit of Mr. Ste Columbe : a consort of vocal and instrumental musik will be performed on Thursday, being the 14th of May, at the Hickford dancing room over the tennis court on James street, Hay-Market to begin exactly at 7 o'clock. Tickets may be had at St James Coffee house."
Dudley Ryder 1715-1716: Extracts from the Diary of a Student Viol Player - Ian Woodfield Journal of the Viola da Gamba Society of America Volume XXI - 1984 pages 64 -68.
I would like to express my gratitude to Corinne Vaast for all the research on the Protestant Sainte-Colombes.
Thanks to F.P Goy for this discovery.
"Recueil de Pièces pour Basse de Viole Seule" - Manuscrit de Tournus, Minkoff, Paris 1998
Some of this music has been recorded by the author - Adès 204912. The argument proposed by some that this music is missing a second viol does not persuade. As there are three extant manuscripts with solo pieces with concordances between all three, if there was a second part missing from the Tournus manuscript, then not one but three books are lost and not mentioned in the inventories! Also the copyist of the Tournus and Concerts à Deux Violes Esgales manuscripts was very careful to copy the duos in score form, as Sainte-Colombe resorts often to "free" rhythm, making it difficult to follow in a separated part version. Third, Harie Maule the original owner of the Edinburgh manuscripts carefully notes in 1685 "viole lessons of Mr. St. Columbe in two books" (=each book solos) and a fourth manuscript, now lost, is described as "som viole lessons by Stt Collambe." I believe these works form part of the large solo viol repertoire, popular in all of Europe in the seventeenth century, and round out the French solo viol works by Hotman, Dubuisson and Demachy.
François-Pierre Goy preface for "Recueil de Pièces pour Basse de Viole Seule", Manuscrit de Tournus, Minkoff, Paris 1998
See Interview with Jordi Savall "Répértoire des Disques Compacts" March 1998.
© Jonathan DUNFORD, with Sylvia ABRAMOWICZ
Thanks Jonathan Dunford