First Post! 06/21/2008
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     VERSAILLES...A musical impression of the Sun King's world

    Young Louis XIV in the 1660s...

    While alluding to deeper themes,Baugin captured here in a hauntingly compelling way the pursuit of pleasure  in life through sensation that Louis XIV sought through his lifestyle.

    Frencesco Corbetta was the most sought after musician by Louis XIV,Charles II of England,and Christian VII of Denmark during the 1650-1670 era.He played the Baroque guitar,which was 4 double strings and a single top string.The French tuning that he used had no Bass strings at all and made a willowy-wispy sound.Samuel Pepys,(The famous English Diarist of the times),saw Corbetta and admired his skill but wondered why he bothered himself to go to such great lengths on such a poor instrument.Interestingly as much as the early music today makes of NOT using nails when playing the lute or Baroque guitar,We know that Corbetta canceled a gig because of a broken nail.

    Rosario Conte plays Francesco Corbetta

    Marin Marais was the Chief Viola da Gambist at Versailles from 1676 forward.The Court also had a deep love for bitter and mysterious rhetoric at the time,no better captured than by Marin's Bass Viol compositions,which were usually accompanied by a aingle-strung Golden sounding French theorbo lute.THe affect of those 2 instruments always sounds like one of those glorious suns setting or rising in a Claude Lorrain Italian landscape.

    Italian landscape from The Time Of Francesco Corbetta's dominance by Claude Lorrain....

    The Tombeau de Monsieur Meliton by Marin Marais

    Another Setting Sun Landscape by Claude Lorrain...

    Jean Baptiste Lully is the musician of Greatest consequence in the 17th Century.His real name was Giovanni Battista di Lulli as he was the son of a Miller from Florence Italy.He was discovered by a French nobleman who brought him back to Louis's court and immediately Lully's great genius for melody made him the enduring favorite  for the next 30 years of Louis XIV.He also had a great talent for boys and married noblewomen and his life was rocked by scandals until he simply became reknowned not only as the Realm's Greatest composer but also it's most legendary sodomite...WHICH was a great achievement in both categories; considering the level of dedication Culture as a whole at this time brought to both pursuits.

    Marche Pour la Ceremonie des Turcs by Jean Baptiste Lully 

    Sadly no pictures of the Great Court Hapsichordist Jacques Chambonnieres survive.(He probably was too bsuy blowing the money on  an exorbitant lifestyle that was always way beyond his means).Nonetheless he was rhetoric was a sharp combination of Vieux Gaultier's and Francesco Corbetta's style that make his phrasing very sharply defined in it's expressive affect.


    Above... is the kind of Chamber in Versailles where he would have recited.

    Jacques  Champion  de  Chambonnières  played by Francoise  Lengellé on an Original  clavecin  Vincent  Tibaut  Tolose  1681 

    A Bedchamber at Versailles...

    Although no portrait  of Ennemond Gaultier survives,this painting captures his era,clothing and 10 course Lute exceedinly well.Although Ennemond died when Louis Was a child,He had invented the French Baroque language it seems by himself.Harpsichordists such as Chambonnieres and D'Anglebert made arrangements of his work for their instruments long after his death.When one listens to Marin Marais as well one clearly hears the rhetoric of Ennemond...(so bittersweet,mysterious, lonely, bucolic,and highly poetic)
    For that reason a performance of his is below....

    Ennemond Gaultier's Tombeau de Mézangeau played by Hopkinson Smith

    Michel DelaLande...After the Lully stubbed his toes with his long conducting Baton and died of Gangrene,It was Delalande who rose to meet the large demands of Versailles unquenchable thirst for large scale music....

    Symphonies for The King's Dinners by Michel Delalande

    When Jacques Chambonnieres lost his interest in playing at court as he aged in the 1660s,His assistant D'Anglebert took his place at the recital duties and bought Chambonnieres place at court from Chambonnieres widow upon Chambonnieres death,and continued as the  court harpsichordist unitl his death near 1700.

    The state of mind that his music conveys is best represented in Painting by Poussin's work which we show here in addition to D'Anglebert's music

    Jean-Henry D'Anglebert's  Folies d'Espagne

    Painting here and above by Poussin as a visual illustration of D'Anglebert's art.

    Ste Colombe's Tombeau Les regrets


    June 2008



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