Musica Jesuitica

The international network of Jesuit colleges and schools which operated from the middle of the sixteenth century until 1773, provided a unique self-supporting infrastructure within which liberal arts thrived.

Not only were Jesuit educational institutions highly regarded for the quality of their teaching, but the churches and chapels adjoining them were usually decorated with superb paintings, carvings and plasterwork by the finest artists and craftsmen.

Many scholars have recently demonstrated that the quality of the music heard in these buildings was as fine as the venues themselves, yet their findings are, understandably, based on a limited number of surviving printed and manuscript sources known to have specifically originated from Jesuit colleges, since so much material was dispersed or destroyed after the suppression.

However, in archives scattered throughout the world there are musical sources which provide further evidence of the rich musical culture in Jesuit colleges, sources which have yet to be fully investigated or set in context.

There is today a body of literature on this subject written in many languages, but modern musicology has not yet fully crossed the cultural boundaries in order to present a wider perspective, especially in regard to the gigantic programme of Jesuit college construction which took place in Eastern Europe and the Americas during the seventeenth century, and its associated educational revolution.

This page will be dedicated to discussion and presentation of ongoing research in this area, and will also include images of Jesuit art and architecture, known to specialist art scholars, but not necessarily familiar to a wider group of enthusiasts for Jesuit culture.

Jesuits in Cagliari

Jesuit Church Cagliari, Sardinia, IHS © Peter Leech, 2013Jesuit Church, Cagliari, Sardinia, Facade © Peter Leech, 2013Jesuit Church, Cagliari, Sardinia, interior © Peter Leech, 2013Jesuit Church, Cagliari, Sardinia, pulpit © Peter Leech, 2013

Jesuits in Dillingen

Lohner's Instructions, Dillingen, 1680, 1 © Peter Leech, 2013Lohner's Instructions, Dillingen, 1680, 2 © Peter Leech, 2013Jesuit College Church, Dillingen, Photo © Joachim Kuehnemund

Jesuits in France

Jesuit Rituale, Bordeaux, 1620, 1 © Peter Leech, 2013Jesuit Rituale, Bordeaux, 1620, 2 © Peter Leech, 2013Theological transcription, French Jesuit college, 1737, 1 © Peter Leech, 2013Theological transcription, French Jesuit college, 1737, 2 © Peter Leech, 2013Jesuit college, Valenciennes © Peter Leech, 2013

Jesuits in Liège

The Voyce of Truth 1676 copy owned by the English Jesuits Liège courtesy of the Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre ColchesterEnglish Jesuit college Liège © Peter Leech, 2013New Testament from the Liège English Jesuit college library courtesy of the English Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre Colchester © Peter Leech, 2013The Flaming Hart from the Liège English Jesuit college library courtesy the English Canonesses Colchester © Peter Leech, 2013

Jesuits in London

Gretser, Rudiments of the Greek Tongue, London, 1687 © Peter Leech, 2013Henry Hills, Ordo Baptizandi, London, 1686 © Peter Leech, 2013A Pious Exercise London c 1687 courtesy St Marys College Oscott © Peter Leech, 2013

Jesuits in Poland

Hymni & Psalmi, Polish Jesuits, 1689, 1 © Peter Leech, 2013Hymni & Psalmi, Polish Jesuits, 1689, 2 © Peter Leech, 2013Hymni & Psalmi, Polish Jesuits, 1689, 3 © Peter Leech, 2013

Jesuits in Sassari

Jesuit College, Sassari, Sardinia (Now Sassari University) © Peter Leech, 2013Jesuit College, Sassari, Sardinia(Now Sassari University), cloister © Peter Leech, 2013

Jesuits in St Omers

Liber Ceremoniarium, St Omers, 1694 (Courtesy of Douai Abbey) © Peter Leech, 2013

Jesuits in Trnava

Catechism, Jesuits, Trnava 1686 © Peter Leech, 2013

Jesuits in Vienna

Jesuit Church, Vienna, organ loft © Peter Leech, 2013Jesuit Church, Vienna, pew detail © Peter Leech, 2013