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Article

M. Elizabeth C. Bartlet

(Fr.)

A French Baroque stage work that combined spoken, or later sung, comédie and ballet.

As Molière stressed in his preface to Les fâcheux (1661), his artistic aim was for a more integrated spectacle, one in which vocal music and dance complemented the principal intrigue conveyed through the spoken dialogue. In partnership with Lully (from 1663 to 1670), he created the most enduring examples of the genre. In the course of this period there was a gradual breaking down of the compartmentalization of intermède and dialogue in favour of a more flexible structure: music was increasingly assigned a more prominent role. The subject of the last of their collaborations, Le bourgeois gentilhomme (1670), a rich bourgeois and his efforts to become a cultivated gentleman, provided ample scope for Lully (in scenes where the titled character seeks to be a patron or student of the arts with comic results) – so much so that the critic of the ...

Article

Ariette  

David Charlton

(Fr.).

An 18th-century French operatic term denoting different types of vocal solo or vocal ensemble. Its meaning evolved, however, and also changed with the context in which the music occurred. For Brossard (1703), for instance, it meant ‘petit air, ou chansonette’ with a simple binary (AABB) or a da capo structure. Although ariette is a translation of the Italian ‘arietta’ (‘little aria’), an operatic ariette was ordinarily a substantial piece of composition accompanied by an orchestra.

The term came to apply early in the 18th century to music emulating the Italian da capo aria. Campra included five examples in his Italian-influenced opéra-ballet Les fêtes vénitiennes (1710). The ariette migrated quickly to the tragédie en musique with Campra’s Télèphe (1713) and was later exploited by Rameau, starting with ‘Rossignol amoureux’ in Hippolyte et Aricie (1733). Unlike the French operatic air, which was not too long to be integrated within the flow of action and recitative, and did not allow music to overwhelm text, the ...

Article

James R. Anthony

(b Marseilles, c1600; d Auxerre, 1668). French ecclesiastic, composer and writer on music. An alphabetical list of places where Gantez served as maître de chapelle or maître des enfants shows the geographical diversity of his professional life (dates of known appointments are shown in brackets): Aigues-Mortes, Aix-en-Provence (15 April 1636–22 June 1638), Annecy, Arles (5 July 1638–31 March 1640), Aurillac, Auxerre (1643, awarded a partial prebend; there again on 1 November 1661), Avignon, Carpentras, Grenoble (29 March 1628–Easter 1629; there again 28 June–9 October 1656), La Châtre, Le Havre, Marseilles, Montauban, Nancy (in 1665 as maître de chapelle to Duke Charles IV of Lorraine), Nevers (on 26 January 1657), Paris (at St Innocent, St Jacques de l'Hôpital, St Paul), Rouen (on 21 June 1629), Toulon and Valence.

Although Gantez wrote a small amount of music, including two masses (both printed by Ballard about ...

Article

Margaret M. McGowan

(b Rouen, June 6, 1606; d Paris, Oct 1, 1684). French poet and dramatist. Educated at Rouen by the Jesuits, who introduced him to plays and speech-making, he set out to practise law. However, the success of an early comedy (Mélite, 1629) persuaded him to attempt a career in the theatre. He was one of the original members of the Académie Française and was protected by powerful patrons such as the Duke of Liancourt, the Duke of Vendôme, Cardinal Richelieu, Nicolas Fouquet and the Duke of Montausier. Between 1629 and 1674, when he retired, he produced some 33 dramatic works of great diversity and range – comedies, tragedies, drames lyriques and tragi-comedies – exploring historical, Christian, Roman, heroic and bourgeois themes. He admired the theatre as a magical world of illusion and spectacle, as an arena for the discussion of morals and politics and as a place for experimenting with language, different sorts of character and new dramatic structures. For some 30 years from about ...

Article

(b Paris, Jan 17, 1672; d Paris, Dec 26, 1731). French librettist, aesthetician, poet and dramatist. He received an education in Latin and French literature at a Jesuit school, then attended law school but never practised law. At the age of 21 he saw his first play (a comedy) fail miserably and reacted by attempting to join a monastery. Two months later he emerged, but he spent some time reading and writing religious texts before returning definitively to the theatre. He wrote nearly all his opera librettos between 1697 and 1708, as well as three brief spoken comedies and a number of cantata texts. Wishing to enter the Académie Française, he wrote a book of odes (1707), and was received by the Académie in 1710. His subsequent output includes spoken plays (four tragedies, five comedies), fables, a free translation of the Iliad with accompanying ‘Discours’ (which led to a long pamphlet war), other essays in literary criticism and miscellaneous non-fiction. In ...

Article

Julie Anne Sadie

(Fr.)

A term variously used in France, and in Paris in particular, to refer to pieces of music from the mid-17th century and throughout most of the 18th. The earliest surviving music so described – the manuscript Concerts à deux violes esgales of Sainte-Colombe – probably dates from the 1670s. This usage may derive from the use of ‘concert’ for a musical event (see Concert): ‘concerts spirituels’, occasions on which music was performed, took place well before 1650, which according to Jacques de Gouy (preface to the Airs à quatre parties sur la paraphrase des psaumes de Godeau, 1650) were attended by ‘very important people’; Antoine Furetière (Dictionnaire universel, 1690) defined a ‘concert’ as ‘an assembly of musicians who sing and play instruments’, harkening back to the ‘Assemblée des honestes curieux’ hosted by Chambonnières in the 1640s.

The term ‘concert’ seems to have been applied exclusively to instrumental works consisting of separate ‘pièces’. Examples include Charpentier's manuscript ...

Article

Edward Higginbottom

(b c1680; d Paris, after 1756). French organist and composer. His name first appears in the archives of Ste Madeleine-en-la-Cité, Paris, where he was appointed organist in 1706; he had competed against Rameau on that occasion, and owed his success to Rameau’s refusal to accede to the conditions laid down by the church authorities. Ten years later, in 1716, Dornel left Ste Madeleine for the abbey of Ste Geneviève where, after deputizing for André Raison until the latter’s death in 1719, he was appointed his successor. In 1725 he also became maître de musique to the Académie Française, in which capacity he was required to write and direct a motet for the feast of St Louis celebrated each year by the Académie on 25 August. References in the Mercure de France (April 1726, June and July 1729, December 1736) reveal that the motets composed for these occasions were also heard at the Concert Spirituel. Unfortunately none of them has survived. Despite indications that Dornel’s compositions were found pleasing (his motet of ...

Article

[Assoucy, Charles d’]

(b Paris, Oct 16, 1605; d Paris, Oct 29, 1679). French poet, lutenist and composer. In 1637, through the Duke of St Simon (father of the author of the Mémoires), Dassoucy came to the attention of Louis XIII. Until 1653 he stayed in Paris and made friends with the libertins Tristan l’Hermite, Paul Scarron, François de La Mothe le Vayer, Cyrano de Bergerac and Jean de La Chapelle, and with musicians such as Pierre de Nyert and Luigi Rossi, whom he met at court, where he worked as a lutenist and composer. The king admired his musical verve and his astonishing powers as a lutenist, and he made him music master to the future Louis XIV. Dassoucy’s major works, the music of which is nearly all lost, were probably all composed towards the close of this period in his life.

After 1653 he left Paris and toured the provinces; at Lyons he met Molière, with whom he travelled to Avignon and Montpellier, where he was imprisoned. He later went to Turin, where he worked for Christine, Duchess of Savoy (Louis XIII’s sister), and travelled to Mantua, Modena, Florence and Rome, where in the early 1660s the French ambassador, the Duke of Chaulnes, protected him. Accused of atheism, he was imprisoned again, as he recorded in his ...

Article

Carol MacClintock

revised by Iain Fenlon

[Belgioioso, Baldassare de; ‘Baltazarini’]

(b Piedmont, c1535; d c1587). Italian ballet-master and violinist. He went to France in about 1555 as leader of a band of violinists sent by the Maréchal de Brissac to Catherine de' Medici; soon he adopted French nationality and changed his name to Balthasar de Beaujoyeux. Beaujoyeux was not only a good musician and a competent violinist, but also a tactful and successful courtier who rapidly found favour with his French masters, serving successively as valet de chambre to the sovereign, to Queen Catherine, Mary Stuart, Charles IX and Henri III of Valois. His principal duties at court were those of ballet-master and ‘master of the revels’, devising and superintending a variety of court entertainments, including masquerades, pastorals and intermedi. Influenced on the one hand by the performances of the Italian travelling troupe, the Compagnia dei Gelosi, then in Paris, and on the other by the aesthetics of the Pléiade, Beaujoyeux' choreographic skills found full expression in the luxurious and costly ...

Article

James R. Anthony

(b Paris, bap. June 5, 1635; d Paris, Nov 26, 1688). French dramatist, librettist and poet. Son of a master baker, he received an excellent literary education from the poet Tristan l'Hermite, through whom he was introduced to Parisian salons précieux. He was only 18 when his first comedy, Les rivales, was performed at the Hôtel de Bourgogne. He became a jurist at about the same time, having, according to Charles Perrault (Parallèle … des anciens et des modernes, Paris, 1688–97), studied law for only two or three years. After Tristan's death in 1655, Quinault became private secretary to the Duc de Guise, and on 29 April 1660 marriage to a wealthy widow, Louise Goujon (née Bouvet), brought him a degree of economic independence. In 1668 he composed verses for a court divertissement, La grotte de Versailles, thereby joining the select group of poets chosen to pay continual homage to Louis XIV. In ...

Article

William Hays and Jean-Paul Montagnier

(b Paris, 1660–65; d after 1700). French composer. The son of René Lochon, he entered the Ste Chapelle as a choirboy on 28 April 1670 and served continuously until 24 March 1679. Some time after this he may have held a position at Liège, which could explain Sébastien de Brossard's adding the word ‘Liégeois’ after his name on one of his motets. Lochon published Motets en musique … et un Oratorio (Paris, 1701). The motets (nine solos, one duet and two trios, with continuo) comprise slow récitatifs and fast movements. The oratorio is a Christmas work for four voices and two violins, comprising a chorus, a few dialogues and a symphonie. These works are part of the early 18th-century attempt to introduce elements of the Italian style into French music. Lochon's efforts, however, resulted in predictable and regular turns of phrase, sequential repetitions and idly rushing scales. As well as two motets from this volume, there are four further motets in Brossard's collection (...

Article

Margaret M. McGowan

(b c1605; d Paris, May 4, 1661). French composer and singer. He began his career as a singer in Cardinal Richelieu’s private chapel. After Richelieu’s death in 1642 he transferred his allegiance to Cardinal Mazarin, who always remained his loyal patron and to whom he dedicated his second book of airs de cour. In 1644, through Mazarin’s influence, he succeeded François de Chancy as maître des enfants de la chambre du roi and immediately discovered a rival in Jean-Baptiste Boësset, who was protected by Jean Baptiste Colbert. In 1650, again through Mazarin’s influence, he became compositeur de la musique de la chambre to Louis XIV. In 1655, by order of the king, he went to Languedoc to recruit new choirboys. When, five years later, he failed to obtain the post of maître de la musique de la reine he addressed a letter of complaint to Mazarin. This shows his own good opinion of himself, for he judged that both Le Camus and Boësset, who were successful, lacked the qualities necessary for the post. He did, however, hold the appointment of ...

Article

James R. Anthony

[not Laurent]

(fl 2nd half of the 17th century and early 18th). French composer and singer. His most productive years were spent in Paris, where he was highly esteemed as the ‘famous Sicard who sings, teaches and composes very well’ (Mercure galant, 1678). Titon du Tillet singled him out as one who ‘succeeded very well in [the composition of] airs à boire’. He may have been on good terms with the influential court singer Pierre de Nyert, to whom he dedicated his fifth book of airs (‘I am convinced that it is impossible to become illustrious in this beautiful art if one is not acquainted with your work’). The year 1710 found Sicard in Marseilles directing the Académie Royale de Musique en Provence.

A total of 336 airs by Sicard were printed in 17 books which, except for a gap in 1672, he produced at the rate of one a year between ...

Article

Denise Launay

revised by James R. Anthony

(d before Sept 1662). French composer and priest. He was choirmaster at Notre Dame, Paris, from 8 October 1640 to 4 May 1643. His reputation was such that Annibal Gantez (L'entretien des musiciens, 1643), after comparing him with Péchon and Aux-Cousteaux, pronounced him ‘le plus agréable en la musique’ in Paris. While remaining musical adviser to Notre Dame he went on in 1643 to become sous-maître at the royal chapel. On the death of Picot in 1657 he took over his post as composer there and also retained his appointment as sous-maître, which he shared with Gobert. He was ordained priest in 1646. Also in succession to Picot he was admitted to the ninth canonry in Ste Chapelle du Palais and in 1652 was nominated canon of St Aignan at Notre Dame. He was also abbot of Bois-Aubry and music master to the Benedictine nuns of Montmartre. He figures as composer and director of music in reports in the ...

Article

James R. Anthony

(b Picardy, early 17th century; d Paris, Sept 26, 1672). French composer and ecclesiastic. He was a choirboy at the Ste Chapelle probably between 1615 and 1627, canon at St Quentin in 1630 and maître de chapelle at Peronne, from which position he made ‘a good jump to the employ of M. le Cardinal [Richelieu] and a better jump still to the service of the king’ (Gantez). He followed Formé as sous-maître at the royal chapel in 1638, a position he shared first with Picot, then with Veillot and finally, after the latter's death in 1662, with Du Mont. He held several administrative posts at the Ste Chapelle, including that of canon in 1651. In 1664 Louis XIV decided that there should be four sous-maîtres for his chapel, each to serve for one quarter: Gobert (January), Robert (April), Expilly (July) and Du Mont (October). Gobert retired from the royal chapel in ...

Article

Beverly Wilcox

A multi-movement setting of a Latin liturgical text, usually drawn from the Psalms, for soloists, chorus, and orchestra. Many were written for the French royal chapel, and others were composed for cathedrals in the provinces and for public concerts in Paris. The term ‘grand choeur’, which was not applied to this genre before 1687, denoted a chorus constituted in five, rather than the usual four, parts. The term ‘grand motet’ came into use in the 20th century.

In the 17th century, grands motets were used to accompany the king’s daily mass on days when a Low Mass was said, but not on feast days, when High Mass was chanted. The musicians and singers gathered around the organ and performed for the length of time it took the priest, positioned beside the king, to say mass as far as the consecration of the host. The Psalm texts of the grands motets were not necessarily those liturgically appropriate to the day of performance. More often than not, they were, to use Montagnier’s term, encomiastic: chosen for the glorification of royalty. The texts (but not the music) were printed two or three times per year by Ballard....

Article

David Ledbetter

(b c1580; d Paris, bur. Oct 22, 1650. French composer and lutenist. He is first mentioned in 1601, and in 1614 is described as ordinaire de la musique de la chambre et de la chapelle du roi. Around 1619 he was appointed lute teacher to the choirboys of the royal chapel, a post he shared by semester with René Saman. In June 1625 he was one of nine French musicians who accompanied Queen Henrietta Maria (wife of Charles I) to England, together with his son, also called François and a lutenist (b c1604). There he joined his brother Louis, who had been in the service of Queen Anne (wife of James I) from at least 1612, and who later played an important role as master of the music of Henrietta Maria. Louis probably returned to France with the queen in February 1642, and died after ...

Article

James R. Anthony

(Fr.: ‘fair theatres’)

The name by which the troupes performing at the two Paris fairs, the Foire St Germain and the Foire St Laurent, in the 17th and 18th centuries, were commonly known. The fairs were important in the history of the musical stage in the late 17th century as the sites for the comédie en vaudevilles, out of which grew the musically more elaborate opéra comique. The Foire St Germain was located about where the Hôtel des Examens and the Marché St Germain are now; by the end of the 17th century it always opened on 3 February and ended on Palm Sunday. The Gare de l’Est now occupies the approximate site of the Foire St Laurent, whose season was somewhat variable, generally lasting from July to the end of September.

The fairs had been the scene of popular farces, acrobatic displays and animal shows since the Middle Ages and, after 1642...

Article

France  

François Lesure, Claudie Marcel-Dubois and Denis Laborde

(Fr. Republique Francaise)

Country in Europe.

François Lesure

At the end of the 9th century, after the decline of Gallican chant, France was divided both linguistically and on the question of musical notation: the area in which the langue d’Oc was spoken used Aquitanian notation, while further north the notations of Brittany and Lorraine were employed (see Notation, §III, 1). So a Romanized liturgy was imposed, with the aim of standardizing the heterogeneous usages of Provence, Aquitaine and Burgundy. Based at the cathedrals, clerics and scholares united under the same rule to ensure the provision of singers for the Offices of the church and liturgical chant; choir schools were attached to these centres. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the focal point of the Carolingian renaissance shifted from Tours to Reims, together with the Capetian kings who regarded themselves as heirs to the Empire. Aquitaine resisted this pressure: south of the Loire there was unwillingness to accept Carolingian dominance, the episcopal schools and the merging of spiritual and temporal influences: and something of its regional character, and of the courtly art cultivated there, persisted in this area (...

Article

James R. Anthony

(Fr.)

A generic term used in France during the 17th and 18th centuries for fragments or entire compositions for solo voice and, by extension, for solo instrument. The term was borrowed from spoken tragedy (récit dramatique), where it usually referred to a long monologue that brought passions to their highest point at the close of a tragedy (Brown, 109). The terms ‘récit’ and ‘recitative’ are not synonymous. All recitatives are a type of récit, because they are sung by a solo voice, but not all récits are recitatives. The difference was well understood by Lalande: within a baritone récit in the ‘Juste judex ultionis’ of his Dies irae (1690) he gave the label ‘récitatif’ to passages that were particularly declamatory.

Antoine Furetière was perhaps too restrictive in claiming (Dictionnaire universel, 1690) that the term was reserved for music ‘sung by one solo voice and above all by a soprano’; he must have been thinking of the Versailles ...