Spiritual Concerts – Music for the Royal Chapel
8pm – Saturday February 11
Alix Goolden Hall
After Lully’s iron grip on musical production in Paris and Versailles was released by his untimely death from gangrene (he inadvertently stabbed himself in the foot with the stick he used to beat time), musical life in Paris flourished. Music moved out of the court and the church and one of the first concert series anywhere was established in Paris, the Concert Spirituel. The music of de Lalande and Mondonville, a founder of the French violin school and a great musical innovator, featured prominently. The programs featured a mixture of sacred choral works and virtuosic instrumental pieces, and were performed in the magnificently-decorated Salle des Cent Suisses (Hall of the Hundred Swiss Guards) in the Tuileries Palace.
We think of Johann Sebastian Bach as one of the greatest composers of music for the church, without realizing how much of his cantata and passion movements are in fact based on French dance forms, such as the minuet, bourrée, gavotte and so on. Bach also wrote four noble orchestral suites, collections of pieces in French style, beginning with a grand French overture, followed by a suite of dances.
Louis XIV oversaw the building of four of the five chapels built at the Versailles Palace. The magnificent chapels were a focal point of daily life at the palace. Lavish music was composed for services in the chapel, where De Lalande was the Maitre de Chapelle. Jean Gilles’ magnificent Messe des Morts (Requiem Mass), was commissioned by a wealthy family, who then refused to pay Gilles for his efforts due to his delay in composing it. A furious Gilles then refused to have it performed until his own funeral; it went on to be one of the most frequently performed Requiems in France, and was played at the services for Rameau and Louis XV, as well as at least fifteen times at the Concert Spirituel. Gilles would most likely have replaced De Lalande as the Maitre de Chapelle had he lived longer than his 37 years.
Michel Richard de Lalande – Overture Les Fontaines de Versailles (1683)
Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville – Sonate en Symphonie, Op.3, No.3 (1742)
Marin Marais – Sonnerie de Ste-Geneviève du Mont-de-Paris (1723)
Johann Sebastian Bach – Ouverture (Suite) in b minor for flute, strings and continuo, BWV 1067 (1717)
Jean Gilles – Messe des Morts (1731)
Soile Stratkauskas – baroque flute
Natalie Mackie – viola da gamba
Pacific Baroque Orchestra (Marc Destrubé – director)
Victoria Children’s Choir (Madeleine Humer – director)
Some Music for Your Enjoyment
Jean Gilles, Requiem: Kyrie. From Gilles ‘Requiem’. La Chapelle Royale, Philippe Herreweghe. Harmonia Mundi HMX 2981341