The Alamire Foundation in Prague: Johannes Tourout


"Tauranth" in Strahov Codex © Alamire Foundation

14 Oct. 2022

Tonrroutt, Thauranth, Tauront, Taurath, Torenth... such spelling variants are common in manuscripts, although few composers have had their names mangled by scribes so badly.

As a result, the identity of the Flemish composer behind these variants has long remained shrouded in mystery. His name suggests the composer’s place of birth, most probably the town of “Tourout” (Torhout) in the diocese of Tournai. Given the stupendous craftsmanship evident in his compositions, it is surprising that musicians have not yet paid greater attention to the Flemish composer. Johannes Tourout was cantor of the cappella of Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg, so his music was also preserved and found in manuscripts in central Europe, including in Prague.

In collaboration with the Passacaille CD label, the Alamire Foundation has created the series Alamire Foundation Editions, which aims to bring the unexploited musical heritage from our regions back to the public. Prague-based ensemble Cappella Mariana is providing the first official production with a portrait album of Tourout. On the occasion of the release of this album, the Alamire Foundation, together with the Delegation of Flanders, the Belgian Embassy in the Czech Republic as well as the Collegium Marianum, organized a press meeting and concert given by Cappella Mariana in the St Agnes Monastery in Prague. The mayor and the alderman of culture of the Belgian town of Torhout also attended the event, together with a delegation from the Alamire Foundation. The guests were given the opportunity to consult the original manuscript with music by Johannes Tourout in the beautiful library of the Strahov Monastery.