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Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe (ca. 1640–1700) was a French composer and violist.

It is speculated by various scholars that Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe was of Lyonnais or Burgundian petty nobility; and also the selfsame 'Jean de Sainte-Colombe' noted as the father of 'Monsieur de Saint Colombe le fils.' This assumption was erroneous, according to subsequent research in Paris by American bass viol player and musicologist Jonathan Dunford. Dunford suggests he was probably from the Pau area in southernmost France and a Protestant, that his first name was "Jean" and that he had two daughters named Brigide and Françoise.

However, most likely, M. Sainte-Colombe was a member of the ancient family and last name "de Sancta Columba" (old form in Latin), from Catalan origin, as Guillem Bernat de Sancta Columba. There is a book written by Claude Le-Laboureur in 1673 regarding the genealogy of the Sainte Colombe family in France. According to Le-Laboureur, the first member of the Sainte Colombe family in France was Guillaudum de Sancta Columba (1319). Another important member of the Sancta Columba family was Bonafusus de Sancta Columba, the first to have a patent granted in the world, granted by Henry III, King of England.

Sainte-Colombe was a celebrated master of the viola da gamba; it is said that he added the seventh string (AA) on the bass viol.

A recluse, he is claimed to have performed publicly only occasionally at his home, in consort with his two daughters, whom he had trained. Aside from them, Sainte-Colombe's students included the Sieur de Danoville, Jean Desfontaines, Pierre Méliton, Jean Rousseau and notably Marin Marais, who wrote Tombeau pour Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe, in 1701, as a memorial to his instructor.

Amongst the extant works of Sainte-Colombe are sixty-seven Concerts à deux violes esgales, and over 170 pieces for solo seven-string viol, making him perhaps the most prolific French viol composer before Marin Marais.

In 1991, Pascal Quignard published a novel giving a conjectural picture of the relationship between M. de Sainte-Colombe and Marin Marais, entitled Tous les matins du monde (All the World's Mornings). Alain Corneau directed a film based on it, with Jean-Pierre Marielle as Sainte-Colombe, Guillaume Depardieu as the young and Gérard Depardieu as the aged Marin Marais. The soundtrack of the film was realized by Jordi Savall.

A quotation from a composition of Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe is used in Carlo Forlivesi's Requiem (1999).

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Discography

Album

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1988 Concerts a Deux Violes Esgales du Sieur de Sainte Colombe, Tome II (Wieland Kuijken & Jordi Savall) Jean de Sainte-Colombe 3
1992 Concerts à deux violes esgales du Sieur de Sainte Colombe, Tome II Jean de Sainte-Colombe; Jordi Savall, Wieland Kuijken 2
1993 The Greatest Masterworks / Les plus grands chefs-d'œuvre Marin Marais, Jean de Sainte-Colombe; Spectre de la Rose 2
2005 Pièces de viole Mr. de Sainte-Colombe; Paolo Pandolfo, Thomas Boysen 1
2007 Les voix humaines Abel, Bach, Marais, Sainte-Colombe; Jordi Savall 1

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