Burkhard [Burchard], Johannes
- Richard Sherr
(b Niederhaslach, Alsace, c1450; d Rome, May 16, 1506). Alsatian Cleric and liturgist. Born in a town near Strasbourg, Burkhard began his ecclesiastical career in that city. By 1467 he was in Rome, where he rose through the ranks of the papal curia. An assiduous collector of benefices and curial offices, he passed through the households of various cardinals to become a member of the papal household and, as of 29 November 1483, one of the masters of ceremonies in the papal chapel. While still holding this position, he was appointed Bishop of Orte in 1503. As a master of ceremonies, Burkhard collaborated in producing the definitive papal Caeremoniale and kept a diary (a major source for the history of the period) recording in detail ceremonies and other occurrences at the papal court. Although the presence of the papal choir is often noted, Burkhard did not describe the specifics of musical performance except when referring to innovations, mishaps and occasions when something happened that he did not like. Thus we learn about various mistakes made by celebrants and papal singers, about the new use of polyphony in the singing of the Passion (apparently introduced from Spain), and about the motet ...