Chastellux [Châtellux], François-Jean, Marquis [Chevalier] de
- Philip Weller
(b Paris, May 5, 1734; d Paris, Oct 24, 1788). French writer on music. A soldier and administrator by profession, he consorted with artists and philosophers (he was one of the celebrated circle of Mlle de Lespinasse) and was elected to the Académie Française in 1775. In 1765 he published anonymously his Essai sur l’union de la poésie et de la musique, a vigorous polemic in favour of Metastasian opera seria with its taut, concise dialogue and rounded, periodic aria texts set to music in the international, ‘Neapolitan’ style of Hasse. However, his aim was not the wholesale importation of opera seria performed in the original Italian, but the reform of serious opera in French. He approved in principle the integration of the chorus in the French manner but was much more concerned to advocate periodic phrasing for aria music than to discuss dramaturgy. He wished to see a bel canto style properly set in relief by the restriction of the orchestral accompaniment to simple patterns with largely homogenous instrumentation. The place for contrast and volatility was in the accompanied recitatives....