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Yves Tinayre (Tenor)

Born: April 15, 1891 - Paris, France
Died: July 12, 1972 - New York City, New York, USA

The French tenor and musicologist, Yves Tinayre, was born the son of celebrated French painter, Louis Tinayre; his mother was a concert pianist. Tinayre studied composition in Paris with Armand Marsick, and took singing lessons in Milan and London. Even before the outbreak of World War I Tinayre was cultivating an interest in early music, seeking out old manuscripts in European monasteries and libraries. With the outbreak of World War I Tinayre was mobilized into the French Army; badly wounded in 1916, he was then discharged.

Yves Tinayre made his debut as recitalist at Queen's Hall, London, in 1919. Around this same time, he made his first acoustical recordings for HMV. Tinayre embarked upon a series of recital programs featuring music taken from Old French and English manuscript sources, appearing in Milan, Switzerland, Belgium and England. He resumed recording for Pathé in the late 1920s and, in the 1930s, performed his entire repertoire for the BBC.

In 1937, Yves Tinayre recorded two large sets of records for the French label Lumen issued as Seven Centuries of Sacred Music. The 12 discs included represent a range of material from Léonin and Pérotin through Gombert, Heinrich Schütz, J.S. Bach and ending with Mozart. Seven Centuries of Music was a landmark issue in the field of early music recording. Tinayre also founded an Early Music Society, Les Musiciens de la Vielle France, and worked with Nadia Boulanger in promoting the study of early French music. The work of the society apparently ceased at the outbreak of World War II, and Tinayre fled to the United States in 1939.

In 1940 Yves Tinayre performed at the Library of Congress, and recorded a set for CBS records the following year. He then toured the festival circuit in the USA, presenting workshops in early music performance. In 1950, he made his last commercial recordings for the short-lived Allegro Long Playing label. In 1952, Decca Gold Label leased Tinayre's Seven Centuries of Sacred Music recordings from Lumen, adding a number of previously unissued tracks in order to compile a generous two-album set containing 30 selections. In 2001 copies of this set may yet be found held in music libraries in the USA, as it was long used as a tool for music history instruction.

After the Decca set was issued, it appears that Yves Tinayre largely retired from music; subsequently he drifted into obscurity, dying in New York City at the age of 81. In a 1942 New York Times profile of Tinayre, Howard Taubman wrote "Tinayre goes by the short descriptive of baritone, but he is a scholar, conductor, speaker and artist; he is, in short, a magnificent musician."


Source: All Music Guide (Author: Uncle Dave Lewis)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (February 2012)

Yves Tinayre: Short Biography | Recordings of Vocal Works under his name

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Alexandre Cellier


Arias from BWV 85, BWV 234

Links to other Sites

Yves Tinayre - Biography (AMG)


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