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Jean-Baptiste Lully

(1632—1687) French composer, born in Italy


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(b Florence, 1632; d Paris, 1687).

It.‐born composer (Fr. nationality from 1661). At 14 went to Fr. and worked as page to cousin of Louix XIV until prowess as dancer and mime was noted. Entered service of Louis XIV 1653, composing instr. mus. for the court ballets. Some time before 1656 he became leader of ‘les petits violons du Roi’, a band of 21 players (an offshoot of the ‘24 violons du roi’). ‘Instrumental composer to the King’ 1653–61, ‘Superintendent of Mus. and chamber mus. composer’ 1661–2; ‘music master to Royal Family’ from 1662. From 1664 collab. with Molière in series of comedy‐ballets which were forerunners of Fr. opera, the last and most famous being Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, in which Lully danced role of the Mufti. Having assimilated both It. and Fr. styles and tastes, from 1673 he turned to opera comp. and obtained from the King exclusive rights to arrange operatic perfs. in Paris. For the next 14 years, working with the poet Quinault, he not only wrote about 20 operas and ballets, but prod. and cond. them and trained the singers with firm discipline. He developed the formal ‘French Ov.’ and replaced It. recitativo secco with acc. recit., placing special emphasis on a style of declamation suited to Fr. language. He introduced professional female dancers into the ballet. A supreme courtier and intriguer, he nevertheless made Fr. opera a popular art. His death was caused by a gangrenous abscess which formed in his foot after he struck it with the long staff he used for beating time on the floor while conducting a Te Deum to celebrate Louis XIV's recovery from illness. Prin. works:

operas

tragédies en musiqueLes Fêtes de l'Amour et de Bacchus

(): (1672);

Cadmus et Hermione

(1673);

Alceste

(1674);

Thésée

(1675);

Atys

(1676);

Isis

(1677);

Psyché

(1678);

Bellérophon

(1679);

Proserpine

(1680);

Persée

(1682);

Phaëton

(1683);

Amadis de Gaule

(1684);

Roland

(1685);

Armide

(1686);

Acis et Galathée

(1686);

Achille et Polixène

(with Colasse, 1687, prod. posthumously).

comedy‐ballets

Le mariage forcé

with molière: (1664);

L'amour médecin

(1665);

La Princesse d'Elide

(1664);

Le Sicilien

(1667);

Georges Dandin

(1668);

Monsieur de Pourceaugnac

(1669);

Les amants magnifiques

(1670);

Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme

(1670).

choral:

Motets for 2 choirs (1684);

Miserere

(1664);

Te Deum

(1677);

De ProfundisGrands Motets

(1683); 5 (1685).

Subjects: Music.


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