Music of the Baroque French Court and Theatre
When one thinks of dance music at the French baroque court of Louis XIV, visions of lavish productions involving orchestras, choruses, dancers and actors immediately come to mind. Indeed, there were countless ballets, Operas, and divertissements which all employed large numbers and varieties of instruments and players. The opera Alceste, for example, is said to have employed no less than thirty lutes in the orchestra, and one of the most famous fêtes, a celebration which took place at Versailles in 1664, required a “small army” of entertainers, including many musicians, to amuse over six hundred invited guests over the course of nine days! The illustrious Sun King relished his ability to produce such spectacles for all to witness his wealth and power, and often exhibited his exquisite dance skills in them as well. Yet there are also instances in which smaller forces are more in order. Within these larger works mentioned above, for example, there may be a number of trio settings, for two treble instruments and bass. The majority of trio music at the French court, however, was composed in order to fulfill the king’s every wish for music within his own household. Louis XIV adored music and dance, and therefore surrounded himself with it from the moment he awoke until he dropped off to sleep. For this purpose, the monarch chose the best vocalists, lutenists, gambists, harpsichordists and violinists to entertain as he saw fit.
Julie Andrijeski, baroque violin
Emily Davidson, baroque violin
Patricia Halverson, viola da gamba
Scott Pauley, theorbo & baroque guitar
Danny Mallon, percussion