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18thc. Music in France - 2

'The Delights of Life', Watteau, c.1720. Chamber Music Although Rameau dominated music in France in the 18thc, there were other well known court musicians, including Marin Marais and Francois Couperin who, like Rameau, composed chamber music for aristocrats to play, or to be performed by professional musicians for the aristocrats. Joseph Boismortier, a French amateur musician and tax collector, composed chamber music for musicians with more modest skills, including duet sonatas for pairs of cellos/violas da gamba/or bassoons. He self published the music, which proved to be very popular, became wealthy as a result, and gave up being a tax collector. The baroque flute, viola da gamba, lute, and harpsichord were the instruments of aristocratic choice. By definition, an aristocrat could only be an amateur musician even if he/she could play to a professional standard. Violin family instruments were typically used only by professional musicians of much lower social status - servants!

LA RÊVEUSE. MARIN MARAIS. Johanna Rose - viola da gamba Jean Rondeau & Thomas Dunford record "Les Baricades Mïstérieuses" by François Couperin Rameau - Pièces de clavecin en concert N° 5 (La Marais) / Il Giardino Armonico Dance The ability to dance the Sarabande, Chaconne, Gavotte, Bourree, Tambourin, Courante, Allemande etc., and especially the Minuet, was a necessary aristocratic accomplishment at the French court in the 18thc. Dancing masters were employed to teach the aristocrats the dance steps and most fashionable gestures, and choreographed notation of the steps were published by Feuillet and other dancing masters. Some of the dances danced at court were originally 'folk dances' including the gigue (jig) - one of the few dances to have been imported from England. Composers across Europe in the 18thc. used dance music as the basis for solo or orchestral 'Suites' (collections of dances) - Bach's unaccompanied Cello Suites, and his Orchestra Suites are good examples. Gigue Baroque Dance - Gigue / Il Giardino Armonico Tambourin Rameau - Pièces de clavecin en concert N° 3 (Tambourin) / Il Giardino Armonico Rococo is an ornamental and theatrical style of architecture, art, and decoration which combines asymmetry, scrolling curves, gilding, pastel colors, Chinese and Japanese motifs, and trompe-l'oeil paintings to create surprise, and the illusion of motion and drama. The style began in France in the court of Louis XV in the 1720s as a reaction against the more formal and geometric style of Louis XIV, and quickly spread to other parts of Europe. The word rococo was first used as a variation of the word rocaille - a method of outdoor decoration using pebbles and seashells dating from the Renaissance and early Baroque period.

Next Week –

18thc. Music in Germany - 1. J S Bach and His Contemporaries.

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