Bourgeois Louis


(with many varied spellings), b Paris c1500–15, d ?Paris c1559–61. Went with Calvin to Geneva in 1541 as Cantor of two churches, where the first clear reference to him appears in the City Council records, as a singer and music teacher; he was then Master of Choristers, issuing a ‘Table of Psalms’ for regular use in 1546, and granted citizenship with special privileges a year later. He was Music editor of the first (partial) French Psalter 1542, based on Calvin’s Strasbourg version of 1539, and produced further Psalters, including two published at Lyon possibly owing to Calvin’s ban on harmony. Following his 1551 Geneva Psalter he was briefly imprisoned for altering tunes without permission, but Calvin secured his release within 24 hours and the changes were later authorised. He also championed the use of instruments for accompanying the Psalm-singing. In 1552 he moved to Lyon, possibly frustrated musically, and in 1560 returned to Paris where he is last heard of in the following year. In the 1565 Genevan Psalter (the first fully harmonised) 85 out of 125 tunes are credited to him at least for their final form. Nos.31=98B=646, 301.

Tunes and arrangements by Bourgeois Louis

Tune Name
Rendez à Dieu