Requiem pour les funérailles de Louis XV

Chapelle Royale, Versailles

(Chapelle Royale, Versailles, 22 June 2016)

What do the composer Jean Gilles (1668-1705), the composer Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) and King Louis XV (1710-1774) have in common? The answer’s an odd one: they all had the same piece of music at their funerals. This was Gilles’s Messe des Morts, which had its premiere at its composer’s own funeral and remained so popular for the next seventy years that it was reworked and adapted in numerous ways to fit the requirements of later taste.

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Rameau: Maître à danser

Rameau: Maître à danser

★★★★

(Les Arts Florissants at the Barbican, 18 November 2014)

It’s the Christmas holiday: a chance to escape from London and retreat to the countryside: time for family, log fires, games of charades, and hopefully a chance to work on my overdue posts. This seemed a good place to start. Conceived as a tribute to the French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) , this was my first introduction to Baroque ballet, which played such a crucial role in early operas and entertainments. It was a real feast for the eyes – and even more rewarding because I was able to see yet another Baroque legend live on stage: the doyen of French early music, William Christie himself.

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