DCS: Music Event:
The Age of French Baroque with the Academy of Ancient Music
Tuesday 26th June 2012 Return to Alumni Events
This was another first for DCS - a midweek evening concert. The Academy of Ancient Music contacted us about a year ago to suggest that we may consider attending their concerts with a pre- concert talk and reception and a private drinks interval, all at a discount price. The first fruition of what we hope will be a regular collaboration took place on a Tuesday evening in June for a concert entitled "Musical Revolutions: The Age of French Baroque".
The pre-concert talk was given by Richard Egarr. He began by talking of the reign of Louis XIV who he described as believing he was a god and who put huge amounts of money into the patronage of the arts, much of which went into his palaces especially that at Versailles. His special love was dance which makes for a strange link. Jean-Baptiste Lully was the son of an italian miller who was employed when a boy, as a scullionin a minor french household. Through strange strands of fate, Lully was good at dancing and came to the attention of Louis who employed him initially as a dancer, with whom he danced throughout their time together, and then as a composer. Despite Lully having no formal musical background, Louis gave him the title of Surintendant de la Musique de la Chambre, gave him his own band, allowed many of his operas to be premiered at royal palaces and finally elevated him to the peerage.
Four Lully pieces were on the program, the "De Profundis" and the "Dies Irae" written for the funeral of Louis's wife with much larger group of singers and musicians than appeared on stage for our concert and the "Salve Regina" and the "Regina Coeli Laetare" both featuring 3 women voices, originally probably nuns, described by Richard Egarr as the Andrews Sisters of baroque! The unusual story of Lully left little time to discuss the more ordinary lives of the final 2 composers, Marc-Antoine Charpentier whose piece "Sonate a\ Huit" was played as well as "Suite from Sonatas Pour Coucher de Roy" by Marin Marais written for the 'Louis-going-to-bed' ceremony which occurred every day!
It was a very good and interesting evening and the officials and volunteers were most helpful, and all our thanks go to them, The wine and apple juice was waiting for us for the reception half hour between the main concert and the pre-concert talk and for the interval and we were in an area separate from the main crowds. It was a very fine experiment!
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