Franz Sales (also known as Franciscus Sales or Salè, like in the dedication of this book) was a Franco-Flemish composer, singer and chapel master of the late-Renaissance. He was born in Namur (today’s Belgium) round 1540. In the years between his youth and 1579 he moved to Germany, because of the religious warfare in the Netherlands, where the Reformation flourished best. He tried to obtain a steady employment in Stuttgart, but got a post in Hechingen where he worked as a singer, and later, in 1580, he went to Munich as a singer in the Hofkapelle (Court Chapel) until 1587. He received a letter of recommendation from Archduke Ferdinand (Innsbruck) to become Kapellmeister in Hall (Tirol), in the women’s monastery, that recently had been founded by his sister Magdalena. In 1591 he got a post as tenor singer in the Hofkapelle in Prague under Philippe de Monte. Here he stayed until his death in 1599.
Franz Sales wrote mainly sacred music: besides masses, and motets (like the underlying collection) he wrote several books with Propers for the catholic services. His style can be characterized as linear-contrapuntal, in which an orientation on Orlando di Lasso can be heard. Although born in the French-speaking part of Flanders, the text setting of Sales’ music is typically European, not putting the emphasis on the last syllable like in all other French music. This suggests that he moved to Germany while rather young.
Cees Wagemakers 2018