Accords nouveaux

François-Pierre Goy & Andreas Schlegel

Which Saint-Luc wrote which composition?

This is a good question, as a forename is missing both in music sources and contemporary literature, merely the surname "Saint-Luc" (or "St. Luc") is given. Three persons are possible candidates:

Jacques Lucas de Saint-Luc (1616-after 1684)
Jacques-Alexandre (1663, 8 June: Baptized in the Cathedral St. Michel et Gudule, Brussels)
Laurent (1669, 10 August: Baptized in the Cathedral St. Michel et Gudule, Brussels)

Only documents with the full name can be assigned correctly. Lately, Manuel Couvreur found an entry Laurent de Saint-Luc and Anna Maria Masson married on 4 May 1705, in the nuptial register Tomus 36 in the archive of the St. Stephan Cathedral in Vienna, on Fol. 247. Thus, it must have been Laurent who was in Vienna at the given time, and it is most likely that he was the author of the collection of lute music that prince Ferdinand August Leopold zu Lobkowicz (1655-1715) had ordered from a Saint-Luc. Laurent must have died after 1708, because the surrender of Lille took place in 1708 and is the topic of the latest composition.

The most recent article by Manuel Couvreur entitled "Jacques and Laurent Lucas de Saint-Luc: Brussels Lutenists and Theorbists, Father and Son" is printed in: Journal of the Lute Society of America (JLSA) LIV (2021), pp. 63-73.

The statement of works of Saint Luc (Saint-Luc-WV)

On the use of the names:
François-Pierre Goy draws attention to the fact that "Lucas" was the original family name and "de Saint-Luc" is only a name for a property (nom de terre). The works are always signed Saint-Luc and never Lucas de Saint-Luc. It was customary at the time to omit the family name in favour of the name for a property. "Lucas" also has the disadvantage that it can be taken for a first name, especially if the "de" is omitted.
I therefore use Jacques de Saint-Luc and Laurent de Saint-Luc.

For Jacques de Saint-Luc, only two pieces can be proven so far, both of which are entered in the theorbo book from the Goëss collection (A-ETgoëss Th): These are Saint-LucWV 77 and 78. This manuscript belongs to the group of the Goëss collection that has Pierre, baron de Goëssen (1619?-1705) %and not Johan van Reede) as its principal writer and contains an arrangement of the march from Lully's opera Cadmus et Hermione, which was first performed in 1673. Thus, this manuscript must have been written in the Netherlands between 1673 and 1682. Thus, these two compositions can clearly be attributed to Jacques de Sain-Luc.

Four handwritten lute tablatures exist for Laurent de Saint-Luc, which can be dated between 1708 and 1715 according to the above explanations:
A-Wn Ms. Suppl. Mus. 1586
CZ-Pnm X.L.b.210
CZ-Nlob II.Kk.49
CZ-Nlob II.Kk.54
Three of the four lute sources contain numbering. Only the pieces in the Vienna lute tablature are not numbered. Numbering refers to separate part books, here for upper voice (instrumentation not specified) and bass.
Two of the three collections are preserved complete with all three partbooks: CZ-Nlob II.Kk.49 and 54.

In addition to these sources, there are four prints with music by Laurent de Saint-Luc:
- Suites pour le luth avec un dessus et une basse ad libitum, in May 1709 (livre premier) and, announced in 1710, (livre second), printed in Amsterdam by Estienne Roger.
- Preludii, allemande, correnti, gighe, sarabande, gavotte &c. pour un dessus & une basse ... livre premier (-second). [Amsterdam, Pieter Mortier]
Of these prints, only the violin partbooks are conserved. While having the same contents, the music has been graved on plates of their own. The pieces are numbered through 1-44 (livre premier) and 45-82 (livre second).

These prints indicate clearly that Laurent de Saint-Luc imagined the lute music in two voices. Played as chamber music, the outer voices double for the lute melody and vice versa. The voices are separated by an octave, with the lute in the centre. While looking like a solo piece in tablature, the music is intended for a trio setting with matching outer voices.

We find the situation in the literature for lute music in the table below:

Source Type of book for lute Numbering in lute book Descant Bass
A-Wn Ms. Suppl. Mus. 1586 empty systems in copperplate no --- ---
CZ-Pnm X.L.b.210 rastral drawn lines present --- ---
CZ-Nlob II.Kk.49 empty systems in copperplate present present present
CZ-Nlob II.Kk.54 empty systems in copperplate present present present

Of 426 known pieces, just three pieces are known besides the Lobkowitz collection: two by Jacques in the Goëss Theorbo book and one Menuet (for baroque guitar, detected by François-Pierre Goy) in F-Pn Rés. 844 (
110 pieces are found in two sources.

340 pieces are intended for chamber music (80%). We own the complete partbooks for 174 pieces (41%).

Lute books with lines made in intaglio printing are rare and of particular interest: six systems with six lines are printed up front and the sheet are bound as book for subsequent writing-in of the music in tablature. Books in relief printed staff are common.

I have compiled a Werkverzeichnis of Saint-Luc based on the publications of Douglas Towne and Christian Lauermann as found here below, for downloading:

I am grateful for any amendment and correction.


Manuel Couvreur: Jacques and Laurent Lucas de Saint-Luc: Brussels Lutenists and Theorbists, Father and Son, in: Journal of the Lute Society of America (JLSA) LIV (2021), pp. 63-73.

Manuel Couvreur: Prefatory text in the booklet to the CD “Laurent de Saint-Luc. Pièces pour luth”, Evangelina Mascardi, Laute, s.l.: Musique en Wallonie (MEW) 1786, 2018.

Douglas Towne (Hrsg.): Pieces for Lute by Jacques Alexandre de St. Luc, in: The LSA Quarterly Digital Supplement no. 1 (2017), pp. 38-86 (= part 1); The LSA Quarterly Digital Supplement no. 2 (2017), pp. 4-55 (= part 2); The LSA Quarterly Digital Supplement no. 3 (2017), pp. 3-68 (= part 3).

Christian Lauermann (Hrsg.): Jacques Alexandre de Saint Luc. Gesammelte Lautenwerke, Vol. 1 = Ms. Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Musikabteilung, Suppl.mus. 1586; Vol. 2 = Praha, Národni muzeum, hudebni oddeleni, Ms. X. Lb. 210 & Praha, Národni knihovna CSR, Universithi knihovna II.Kk-49, Emmendingen: Seicento, 2007.