VPMA93H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Der Ring Des Nibelungen, Cardinal Mazarin, Francesco Cavalli

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4 Aug 2016
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VPMA93 Lecture 8 – Music and Spectacle
French Opera in the time of Louis XIV – Jean-Baptiste Lully
Louis XIV (The Sun King) – (1638-1715)
- Learned from Cardinal Mazarin and the events of His childhood the importance of centralizing state
control.
- Hired them to put on opera
- Loved to dance. The political reason was he could act out aristocracy
- Opera first introduced to France through Cardinal Mazarin’s commissions of Italian composers didn’t
really catch on. (Luigi Rossi and Francesco Cavalli)
- Longest reigning king, 72 years
- People wanted to be like him
- Opera in Italy and tragedy in France
Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687)
- Born in Florence, Italy.
- Made the garçon de chamber of Madamoiselle de Montpensier, an important courtier.
- She took him home to France to teach him Italian
- In 1661, when Louis XIV was made absolute ruler of France, Lully was made the most important court
composer.
- Was able to create a musical style for opera which appealed to Louis XIV and the French.
Definitions:
- French overture: a two part form with each part repeated. The first part is a slower processional
featuring the heavy use of double dotting. The second is a faster section featuring lots of fugal
counterpoint.
- Because of Lully who made it famous
- a section: slow, double dotted rhythms
- b section: faster, imitative counterpoint (round)
- Air (Italian- Aria): Text set to more lyrical music in a less natural style. Used for moments where
characters are reflecting on events in the opera (similar to a soliloquy). In French opera, the style was of
Airs was kept elegant and simple. In Italian, Arias were moments of vocal pyrotechnics where the singers
could show off their abilities.
- Recitative: A section of text set to music in a more natural declamatory style. Usually employed when
the text is moving the plot along.
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