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The Royal Chapel of Louis XV

Summary

Concerts
  • Thursday November 17th 2022
  • Royal Chapel
  • 8pm | 2h with intermission
Homepage The Royal Chapel of Louis XV 2022

Cast

Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris / instrumentalists from the early music department / vocal soloists from the vocal disciplines department

Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Lyon / instrumentalists and soloists from the early music department

Le jeune chœur de paris – CRR de Paris (conducted by Marc Korovitch and Richard Wilberforce)

Les Pages et les Chantres du Centre de musique baroque de Versailles (conductor Fabien Armengaud)

Emmanuelle Haïm conductor

 

Presentation

When Louis XV’s power was consolidated by his return to Versailles in 1722, the Regent Philippe d’Orléans decided to renovate the music of the Chapelle Royale, which had been in the hands of De Lalande for decades. The appointment in January 1723 of a new team considered both tradition and modernity: De Lalande (sixty-five years old) kept the responsibility for one quarter of the year, remaining the prestigious link with the splendours of Louis XIV’s century. André Campra (sixty-two), who oversaw music at Notre-Dame de Paris before a glorious career in opera, returned to sacred music for another quarter at the Chapelle Royale. Nicolas Bernier (fifty-seven years old), a protégé of the Regent, who enjoyed great success in the French cantata style and hosted the brilliant Nuits de Sceaux, while directing sacred music at the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, was also granted a quarter at the Chapelle Royale, and specifically the education of the Pages. Finally, Charles-Hubert Gervais (fifty-one years old), an opera composer very close to the Regent, whose Music Superintendent he had been since 1700, and whom he had accompanied in the composition of his two operas, completed this new Chapelle Royale, for which he composed some forty Grands Motets. This concert highlights the four sub-master composers of the Chapelle Royale brought together by Emmanuelle Haïm, at the head of the academic forces of the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles, for a programme to the glory of the young King Louis XV, ending with Lalande’s mythical Te Deum created for Louis XIV four decades earlier: modernity and tradition!

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Return to Versailles

Sacred music for young King Louis XV

 

Versailles, 15 June 1722. After seven years of slumber, begun at Louis XIV’s death (1 September 1715), the palace was once again buzzing with the effervescence of the court. The young Louis XV, who had been living in the Tuileries until then, returned to his grandfather’s palace, and with him the entire court who, during Philippe d’Orléans’s regency, had made Paris the epicentre of political and cultural activity. In a few months’ time, on 25 October, the king was to be crowned in Rheims and proclaimed of age (15 February 1723), and the royal ceremonial was gradually re-established in the very setting that Louis XIV had fashioned to stage it.

 

The Regent, the King’s uncle, carefully prepared the return of the court, the services and the ceremonial, focusing in particular on the king’s mass, a major moment in the king’s day. In the royal chapel, consecrated in 1710, the organists, including François Couperin, were able to play the great Tribuot-Clicquot organ again, revised for the occasion. The Chapel Music also prepared to regain its full lustre. The Regent appointed three musicians from his entourage to head it: André Campra, former master of music at Notre-Dame de Paris; Nicolas Bernier, former head of the Sainte-Chapelle choir; and his own master of music, Charles-Hubert Gervais. Three talented musicians, spearheads of a new aesthetic trend, willingly Italianate, who would assist the late king’s favourite musician: the old Michel-Richard de Lalande, who had held the highest musical positions at court, but who would gradually give way to a new generation. This programme presents three works by the three new sub-masters (In convertendo, Miserere, Exaudiat te, respectively), composed during Louis XV’s first years at Versailles, and which, through the variety of their inspirations and musical styles, bear witness to the innovation that was expected from this renewal.

 

Nevertheless, Lalande remained a respected musician until his death in 1726, celebrated at court and in the city, and his music accompanied the ceremonial of the first years of the reign. For this reason, as was his wont, he constantly revised his motets, bringing them up to date and updating them to the style of the beginning of the 18th century. His Te Deum in particular, dear to Louis XIV, was profoundly reworked around 1722 – a version that is included in this programme -, contributing to the evolution of the genre of the grand motet. Until the coronation (1723) and the king’s wedding (1725), this ceremonial motet thus helped to enhance the first lights of the Enlightenment.

 

                                                                         Thomas Leconte, Centre de musique baroque de Versailles

 

Produced by the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles, in partnership with the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris, the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Lyon, the jeune chœur de paris, the Festival baroque de Pontoise and the Grands Concerts de Lyon.

Co-production Opéra Royal / Château de Versailles Spectacles, Centre de musique baroque de Versailles

Scores produced by the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles

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Programme

Charles-Hubert Gervais (1671-1744)

Exaudiat te Dominus

 

Nicolas Bernier (1664-1734)

Miserere

Organ pieces

 

Intermission

 

André Campra (1660-1744)

In convertendo (version 1726)

 

Michel-Richard de Lalande (1657-1726)

Te Deum

The Royal Chapel of the Château de Versailles

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