International Centre for the Study of Music in the Low Countries

Jean de Castro: Opera omnia

Jean de Castro: Opera omnia

Researcher in charge: Ignace Bossuyt
Researchers: Stratton Bull, Bart Demuyt, Katrien Derde, Saskia Willaert, Wouter De Wyngaert, Marijke Van Campenhout
Duration: 1991 – 2003

Together with the widely known triumvirate Orlandus Lassus, Philippus De Monte and Giaches De Wert, the Liège composer Jean De Castro (c. 1540/45-1600) belongs to the fifth generation of Franco-Flemish polyphonists. His activities are to be situated mainly in Antwerp where he moved in the circles of the wealthy bourgeoisie, at the Court in Düsseldorf and in Cologne. His varied oeuvre represents the genres then most popular in vocal music, i.e. Latin masses and motets, French chansons, and Italian madrigals. His entire output includes over 420 compositions, published mainly in the years 1569-1634. They appeared in about 30 individual volumes and a number of anthologies. The reprinting of several volumes for up to 30 years after his death confirm De Castro's popularity. It is hard to understand why his work has scarcely been studied or made accessible in modern editions. Indeed, neither the diversity of genre and setting (from two to eight-part pieces), nor the quality of the composition of his music differs from that of his contemporaries. Moreover, the 16th-century repertoire of two-part and in particular three-part music is largely indebted to the oeuvre of Jean de Castro. Thus by disclosing his music in this edition - intended for musicologists as well as performers - the ars perfecta of vocal polyphony, a high point in the Western European music history, is further revealed.

Publications (selection):

Find an overview of the volumes published in the Jean De Castro. Opera Omnia series here.  

Recevez ce mien petit labeur. Jean de Castro: muziek en mecenaat in de 16de eeuw. Music and Patronage in the 16th Century, website with virtual exhibition; location:

BOSSUYT, I., Music and Context: the Secular Motets of Jean de Castro (ca. 1540/45-ca. 1600), in Album amicorum Albert Dunning, Turnhout, 2002, pp. 3-19.

BOSSUYT, I., Imitation, Adaptation, Arrangement: Current Compositional Practice in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance Exemplified by a Comparison between French Chansons of Orlando di Lasso and Jean de Castro, in Muzikos komponavimo principai: teorija ir praktika, ed. R. JANELIUSKAS, Kronta, 2001, pp. 7-23.

BOSSUYT, I., Orlando di Lasso as a Model for Composition as Seen in the Three-Voice Motets of Jean de Castro, in Orlando di Lasso Studies, ed. P. BERGQUIST, Cambridge, 1999, pp. 158-182.