Baroque Era

1661
Pro-Royalist ‘Cavalier’ parliament meets in England • General John Lambert (Eng) is executed for treason • France's chief minister Cardinal Mazarin (Fr) dies; King Louis XIV rules as absolute monarch • Sweden and Russia agree the Peace of Kardis • Dutch and Portuguese settle colonial disputes • Arabs raid Portuguese settlement in Mombasa (now in Kenya) 

1662
England sells city of Dunkirk to France • King Charles II (Eng) marries Catherine of Braganza (Port) • Spaniards attempt to invade Portugal • Chinese pirate Cheng Ch’en- Kung (‘Koxinga’) captures Taiwan (Formosa) from Dutch
• Pierre Corneille (Fr): Sertorius
1663
Portugal defeats Spain at Ameixal, Portugal • Austria and the Ottoman Empire start a war • Dutch help China's emperor Sheng-tsu to drive Cheng Chin away from mainland China • Slave trading is first specified as an objective of an English chartered company
  • Rembrand - Self  portrait as Zeuxis Laughing  • Johannes Vermeer - Woman Holding a Balance
1664
England seizes New Netherlands, which is handed to James, Duke of York; City of New Amsterdam is renamed New York • Austrians and French defeat Turks south east of Vienna; Turks sue for peace •
Le Monde, by philosopher Rene Descartes (Fr), is published posthumously • Jean Baptiste Racine (Fr): first tragedy, La Thebaicle
1665
In the Second Anglo-Dutch War, English fleet defeats Dutch off Lowestoft (Eng) • Felipe IV of Spain dies; succeeded by his four-year-old son Carlos II • Mathematician Isaac Newton (Eng) develops differential calculus; begins research into light and gravitation • Outbreak of bubonic plague in London; 68,596 people die • Moliere (Fr):
Don Juan 
 

Isaac Newton

 

1661

Louis XIV installs the Academic Royale de Danse

Paris Opéra Ballet, ballet company established in France in 1661 by Louis XIV as the Royal Academy of Dance (Académie Royale de Danse) and amalgamated with the Royal Academy of Music in 1672. As part of the Théâtre National de l’Opéra, the company dominated European theatrical dance of the 18th and early 19th centuries. 

The Academy's founding letters patent

La Académie Royale de Danse

John Blow, aged 12, joins the choir of Chapel Royal. 

Composer and keyboardist Louis Couperin dies in Paris aged about 35. A key influence on the French keyboard tradition and pioneer of the ‘unmeasured’ keyboard prelude (written with no rhythmic indications), Couperin leaves all of his music unpublished. 

Louis Couperin - Suites - 1
I. Suite in F major 0:00
1. Prélude
2. Allemande grave
3. Courante
4. Sarabande
5. Branle de Basque
6. Gigue
7. Gaillarde
8. Chaconne
9. Tombeau de M. de Blancrocher
II. Suite in G minor 23:25
10. Prélude
11. Allemande
12. Courante
13. Sarabande
14. Passacaille
III. Suite in C major 39:57
15. Prélude
16. Allemande
17. Courante
18. Sarabande
19. Passacaille

Louis Couperin - Suites - 2
I. Suite in C minor 0:00
1. Prélude
2. Allemande la précieuse
3. Courante
4. Sarabande
5. Gigue
6. Chaconne la Bergeronnette

II. Suite in D minor 12:14
7. Prélude
8. Allemande
9. Courante
10. Sarabande
11. Canaries
12. Volte
13. La Pastourelle
14. Chaconne

III. Suite in A minor 31:23
15. Prélude à l’imitation de Mr Froberger
16. Allemande l’amiable
17. Courante La Mignone
18. Sarabande
19. La Pièmontoise
20. Pavane en fa dièse mineur

Matthew Locke becomes Composer to the King’s Private Music. He composes Music for His Majesty’s Sagbutts and Cornetts for Charles II’s coronation celebrations. 

Locke - Musick for His Majesty's Sackbutts and Cornetts

Jean-Baptiste Lully and Benserade (Isaac de Benserade, 1613-1691, French poet), collaborate on two ballets: L’impatience, performed at the Louvre, and Les saisons, performed at Fontainebleu. While both ballets feature texts mainly in Italian (Lully’s native language), over the next few years the composer will incorporate an increasing amount of French settings into his productions for wider audience appreciation. 

Jean-Baptiste Lully - Airs pour Madame La Dauphine: Pavane des saisons

9 March
Cardinal Mazarin, French First Minister, Royal advisor, and high- profile patron of Italian opera, dies in Paris. His death heralds the demise of Italian opera in France, and the gradual development of home-grown French opera. 

Cardinal Mazarin

23 April
Henry Lawes's anthem Zadok the Priest is first performed at the coronation of 
King Charles II. 

16 May
Jean-Baptiste Lully succeeds as superintendent of music to Louis XIV, the highest musical position at court. At the end of the year he becomes a naturalised Frenchman. 

6 June
Italian composer Giacomo Antonio Perti is bom in Bologna. 

1 July
Domenico Anglesi provides music to the horse ballet Il mondo festeggiante, presented in the amphitheatre of the Boboli gardens, Florence. The spectacle contributes to the wedding celebrations of Prince Cosimo III de’ Medici and Princess Marguerite Louise d’Orleans. 

Princess Marguerite Louise d’Orleans and 
Prince Cosimo III de’ Medici 

8 July
Jacopo Melani’s opera Ercole in Tebe is premiered during the ongoing matrimonial festivities of Prince Cosimo III (later the Grand Duke of Tuscany) and Princess Marguerite, in Florence. 

17 August
The dramatist Moliere launches comedie-ballet in collaboration with the composer-choreographer Pierre Beauchamp, presenting Les facheux (The Bores) at the inauguration of Nicolas Fouquet’s spectacular Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte in Maincy. Fouquet, finance minister to Louis XIV, also provides a sumptuous feast for the king and thousands of guests. The spendthrift is later charged with embezzlement of the Crown’s money and imprisoned for life. 

Pierre Beauchamp - Ballet Des Fâcheux (1661)
00:00 Ouverture
02:41 Courante de Mr. de Lully 
03:30 1e Entrée - Les Siluains 
04:48 2e Air pour les mesmes 
05:18 1e Entrée du 2e Acte - Les Joueurs de Mail
06:30 2e Entrée - Les Curieux
08:25 Les Joueurs de Boulle
09:28 Les Frondeurs 
10:44 Sauetiers et Reuandeuses
11:45 Les Jardiniers
13:10 2e Air des Jardiniers
14:31 Pr. Entrée du 3e Acte - Les Suisses
15:38 Les Bergers
17:00 2e Air des Bergers

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

Francesco Gasparini, Italian composer, born.

Giacomo Antonio Perti

Giacomo Antonio Perti (6 June 1661 – 10 April 1756) was an Italian composer of the Baroque era. He was mainly active at Bologna, where he was Maestro di Cappella for sixty years. He was the teacher of Giuseppe Torelli and Giovanni Battista Martini.












 





Life
He was born in Bologna, then part of the Papal States, and began studying music early, learning harpsichord and violin there; later he studied counterpoint. By the age of 17 he had already written a mass, a motet, and a setting of the Magnificat; and in 1678 he wrote his first opera and oratorio. During a stay in Parma, where he studied with Giuseppe Corsi da Celano, he formed his sacred music style; most of his psalm settings of the 1680s and 1690s show the influence of Corsi. Later he went to Venice, most likely for a production of one of his operas.

In 1690 he was appointed to the post of Maestro di Cappella at S Pietro, replacing his uncle Lorenzo Perti. In 1696 he became Maestro di Cappella in another Bolognese church, S. Petronio, after the death of Giovanni Paolo Colonna the year before. He remained in charge for exactly sixty years, until his death at age 95.

Perti was a prolific composer of operas and sacred music, and was recognized as a distinguished musician not only by other composers, but by aristocrats and emperors, including Ferdinando de' Medici (one of the last of the Medici) and Emperors Leopold I and Charles VI.

Giacomo Antonio Perti - Messa 'La Lambertina' - (1736)

Giacomo Antonio Perti - Gesù al Sepolcro - (Oratorio della Passione)

GIACOMO ANTONIO PERTI - Messa, Salmi, Sinfonie e Magnificat

 

Francesco Gasparini

Francesco Gasparini (19 March 1661 – 22 March 1727) was an Italian Baroque composer and teacher whose works were performed throughout Italy, and also on occasion in Germany and England.
Born in Camaiore, near Lucca, he studied in Rome with Corelli and Pasquini. His first important opera, Roderico (1694), was produced there. In 1702 he went to Venice and became one of the leading composers in the city. In 1720 he returned to Rome for his last important work, Tigrane (1724). He wrote the first opera using the story of Hamlet (Ambleto, 1705) though this was not based on Shakespeare's play.

Gasparini was also a teacher, the instructor of Marcello, Quantz and Domenico Scarlatti. He was musical director of the Ospedale della Pietà, where he employed Antonio Vivaldi as a violin master. He wrote a treatise on the harpsichord (1708). At one time, Metastasio was betrothed to his daughter. He died in Rome in 1727.

"Amori e ombre" - Duets and cantatas by Francesco Gasparini. 

1. Da me che più volete - 00:00
  2. Sdegno ed amor - 9:34
  3. Nice, s'è ver che m'ami - 15:37
  4. Andate, o miei sospiri - 19:34
  5. Tu chiudi in dolce sonno - 30:16
  6. Luci mie - 36:08
  7. Ahi sorte, ahi dipartita - 41:46
  8. Queste voci dolenti - 51:19
  9. Sento tal fiamma al core - 57:43
  10. A voi, piante innocenti - 1:03:49

 
 

1662

Robert Cambert is appointed maitre de musique to the Queen Mother, Anne of Austria. 

24 July
Jean-Baptiste Lully marries Madeleine Lambert, daughter of the composer Michel Lambert. Louis XIV and Queen Marie-Therese both sign his marriage contract. 

Giovanni Legrenzi's first opera, Nino il giusto, is introduced in Ferrara. 

26 January
Marco Marazzoli, celebrated above all for his cantatas, dies in Rome, aged in his late 50s. 

21 October
Composer Henry Lawes dies in London, aged 66. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.

7 February
Francesco Cavalli's opera Ercole amante (Hercules in Love) is premiered at the Tuileries Palace in Paris. Commissioned by the opera-loving Cardinal Mazarin (d.1661) for the wedding of Louis XIV (1660), the production is slanted toward French tastes with its inclusion of a ballet by Jean-Baptiste Lully and Benserade: Hercule amoureux. The opera is not a success, and the fortunes of Italian opera in France come to a swift end. 

Cavalli: Ercole Amante - Prologue & Act I

John Banister becomes leader of King Charles II's ‘24 Violins'.

. . . instead o f the antient and solemn
wind musique accompanying the

organ was introduced a Consort of

24 Violins hetweene every pause,

after the French fantastical light

way, better suiting a Tavern or

Playhouse than a Church. 

21 December
Diarist John Evelyn bemoans the music
of the Chapel Royal. 

John Evelyn, (31 October 1620 – 27 February 1706) was an English writer, gardener and diarist.

 

1663

Giovanni Legrenzi's opera L’Achille in Sciro is produced in Ferrara. This year also marks the publication of his third book of chamber sonatas, in Venice. 

Giovanni Legrenzi - Sonatas; Dies Irae

1. Sonata sesta a quattro viole da gamba 0:00
2. Dies Irae 06:11
3. Quantus tremor 07:05
4. Tuba mirum 08:18 
5. Mors stupebit 09:21 
6. Liber scriptus 10:11 
7. Judex ergo 11:09 
8. Quid sum miser 12:21
9. Rex tremendae 13:41 
10. Recordare 14:50 
11. Quarens me 15:36
12. Juste judex 16:53 
13. Ingemisco 17:31 
14. Qui Mariam 20:25 
15. Preces meae 21:05 

16. Inter oves 21:56 
17. Confutatis 22:38 
18. Oro suplex 23:36 
19. Lacrimosa 26:25 
20. Pie Jesu - Amen 27:43 

21. Ricercar del secondo tono   29:11
22. Angelorum ad convivia 35:18 
23. Sonata quinta a quattro viole da gamba 41:53
24. Suspiro Domine 47:03 

Louis XIV appoints four sous-maitres de la chapelle roijale (vice-directors of the Royal Chapel): Henry Du Mont, Pierre Robert, Thomas Gobert and, the following year, Gabriel Expilly. Each composer holds the post for three months of the year. 

Pierre Robert (ca. 1618 – 30 December 1699) was a French composer and early master of the French grand motet.
Thomas Gobert (Picardy, c.1600 - 26 September 1672) was a French priest and composer.
Gabriel Expilly (c. 1630 - c. 1690)

Georg Muffat, aged ten, arrives in Paris to further his musical education. He will stay for six years, studying with several teachers including Jean-Bapttiste Lully

2 July
German composer Thomas Selle, remembered 
chiefly for his sacred music, dies in Hamburg, aged 64. 

Jean-Baptiste Lully and his father-in-law, Michel Lambert, jointly compose the music to Benserade's Ballet des arts, first performed at the Palais Royal, Paris. 

Jean Baptiste Lully "Ballet des Arts"

Jean-Baptiste Lully and the playwright Moliere begin their collaborative partnership with the one act comedy L’impromptu de Versailles. It is performed before the king in the royal hunting-lodge at Versailles. 

Jean-Baptiste Lully - Les Divertissements de Versailles
01.Psyché - prélude pour les trompettes
02.Psyché - Chantons les plaisirs charmants
03.L'amour médecin -Quittons notre vaine querelle
04.Georges Dandin -Chantons tous de l'amour
05.Armide -enfin il est en ma puissance
06.Les plaisirs de l'Île enchantée -Chère Climène, dis-moi
07.Isis -Je vous aime, nymphe charmante, & Plainte du Dieu Pan
08.Isis - Duo des nymphes
09.Georges Dandin -Laisse-nous en repos, Philène
10.Isis -Scène du froid L'hiver qui nous tourmente
11.Isis -Scène des forges Que le feu des forges s'allume
12.Ballet des Muses - Trop indiscret Amour
13.Roland -Ah! J'attendrai longtemps
14.Armide - Armide, vous m'allez quitter, Passacaille

Biagio Marini, innovative Italian composer- violinist, dies in Venice, aged about 69. 

26 September
Heinrich Scheidemann, one of the leading lights of the north German organ school, dies from the plague in Hamburg, aged about 68. 

Maurizio Cazzati wrote a “Messe e salmi per li defonti”, in 1663, as his opus 31. It contains the (already mentioned) Messa concerta a 5 (Requiem Mass) and the following psalms for the dead.

Maurizio Cazzati - Messa e Salmi per li Defonti
01. Invitatorio a 5 - Regem cui omnia vivunt
02. Primo Salmo a 5 - Verba mea auribus percipe Domine
03. Secundo Salmo a 3 voci - Domine, ne in furore
04. Terzo Salmo a 5- Domine Deus meus, in te speravi
05. Prima Letione a voce sola - Parce mihi Domine
06. Primo Responsorio a 5 - Credo quod Redemptor
07. Seconda Letione a 2 voci - Taedet animam meam
08. Secondo Responsorio a 5 - Qui Lazarum resuscitasti
09. Terza Letione a basso solo accompagnata da 5 istromenti se piace - Manus tuae
10. Terzo Responsorio a 5 - Domine, quando veneris
11. Messa concerta a 5 - Introïtus - Requiem aeternam
12. - Kyrie
13.  - Sequentia-Dies irae
14.  - Offertorio - Domine Jesu Christe
15.  - Sanctus - Benedictus
16.  - Moletto per la elevatione a 3 voci -Recordare, o homo quia pulvis
17.  - Agnus Dei - Lux aeterna
18.  - Libera me

Messa concertata per li defonti 
Introitus - kyrie (03'04)
- Dies irae (05'05)
- offertoire (12'54)
- Sanctus (15'38)
- Agnus Dei (16'57)
- Libera me Domine (19'28)

 

1664

Empeeror Leopold I ennobles the German composer-keyboardist Johann Caspar Kerll

Jean-Baptiste Lully composes his most famous grand motet, the commanding Miserere, scored for soloists, double choir and orchestra. 

Lully - Grand Motet "Miserere"
I. Miserere mei Deus [00:00]
II. Amplius lava me [03:17]
III. Tibi soli peccavi [06:25]
IV. Ecce enim veritatem dilexisti [07:57]
V. Asperges me [08:57]
VI. Averte faciem tuam [11:35]
VII. Ne projicias me a facie tua [12:51]
VIII. Docebo iniquos vias tuas [14:46]
IX. Domine labia mea aperies [16:44]
X. Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus [18:21]
XI. Benigne fac, Domine [19:47]
XII. Tunc acceptabis [20:14]

29 January
Jean-Baptiste Lully and Moliere collaborate on their first comedie-ballet, Le Mariage force (The Forced Marriage), presented at the Louvre in Paris. Moliere's recently invented genre of comedie-ballet presents spoken satire/comedy with airs and dances. Music and dance play a much more integrated dramatic role than in previous court ballets. 

Jean-Baptiste Lully - Bourée du Mariage Forcé 

9 February
Francesco Cavalli's opera Scipione affricano is staged for the first time, at the Teatro SS Giovanni e Paolo, Venice. 

Francesco Cavalli - Aria: Hora si ch'issai più fiero - Scipione Africano

On the death of Henry Purcell (the elder), his brother, Thomas Purcell, takes up guardianship of the younger Henry Purcell, who turns five this year. 

Henry Purcell Senior, whose older brother, Thomas Purcell, (d. 1682) was a musician, was a gentleman of the Chapel Royal. Henry the elder had three sons: Edward, Henry and Daniel.

Daniel Purcell (1664 - 1717), the youngest of the brothers, was also a prolific composer who wrote the music for much of the final act of The Indian Queen after Henry Purcell's death.

Johann Heinrich Schmelzer issues his Sonatae unarum fidium, the earliest known German print of sonatas for violin and continuo. The six pieces of the collection are rich in contrast, offering languid heartfelt
sections and exciting passagework in equal measure. 

Johann Heinrich Schmelzer - Violin sonatas - I -VI, 
Sonata "Cucù", Sonata "Victori der Christen

 

Michele Mascitti, Italian composer, born.

13 February
Jean-Baptiste Lully, in collaboration with Benserade and Octave de Perigny, introduces Ballet des amours deguises, at the Palais Royal, Paris. Possessing little talent for dance, Queen Marie-Therese takes a cameo role as Proserpine, appearing for the first and last time in a ballet. 

Jean-Baptiste Lully - Ballet des Amours Déguisés: Ah Rinaldo, e dove sei?

8 May
Jean-Baptiste Lully and Moliere, presenting a three-day festival at Versailles, introduce their comedie-ballet La princesse d’Elide. 

Jean-Baptiste Lully: Aria de "La Princesse de l'Elide" 

Daniel Purcell

Daniel Purcell (c. 1664 – buried 26 November 1717) was an English Baroque composer, the younger brother of Henry Purcell.













Like Henry Purcell before him, Daniel Purcell joined the choir of the Chapel Royal at about the age of 14. In his mid-twenties he was appointed organist of Magdalen College, Oxford where he began to compose. In 1695 he moved to London to compose for the theatre providing incidental music for more than 40 plays. One of his first engagements was to complete the concluding Masque for Act V of the semi-opera The Indian Queen, the preceding music for which had been written by Henry Purcell during the early months of 1695. It is unclear if Daniel Purcell had been engaged because of pressure to complete the score in time for the first performance or as a result of Henry Purcell's failing health and subsequent death. The performance history of the piece is uncertain, and the first performance may have gone ahead without Daniel Purcell's contribution.

In 1701, he came third in a competition for the best musical setting of William Congreve's masque, The Judgment of Paris. His instrumental compositions published c.1710 included sets of sonatas and trio sonatas for recorder in addition to works for violin. In 1713, at the age of 49 he was appointed organist of St Andrew's, Holborn, a position he held until his death. He was subsequently buried in St Andrew's Church where he had worked.

The most frequently performed of his compositions are probably the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in E minor, liturgical pieces written for use in the Church of England service of Evensong.

Daniel Purcell-Sonate à deux flûtes

Daniel Purcell - The Masque of Hymen (part 1)

Daniel Purcell - The Masque of Hymen (part 2)

Daniel Purcell: Morpheus, thou gentle god

Daniel Purcell - Toccata in la min e lesson in re min e re mag

Michele Mascitti

Michele Mascitti (1664 in Villa Santa Maria (from Chieti); 24 April 1760 in Paris) was an Italian violinist and Baroque composer.














He was educated by a relative, Pietro Marchitelli (1643-1729), a violinist in the royal court orchestra in Naples, and at the "Teatro San Bartolomeo", possibly by Corelli. Mascitti found a temporary position in the royal orchestra, but he soon left. First, he traveled through Italy, and later throughout Europe, spending time in Germany and the Netherlands. He was under the protectorate of Cardinal Ottoboni and the reigning Duke of Bavaria.

In 1704, he settled in Paris and took the Frenchified given name of Michel. He became a French citizen in 1739. Philippe d'Orléans was a patron, allowing Mascitti early appearances at the court of Versailles.

 

Mascitti published all nine of his sonata collections in Paris. The four concertos from Op. 7 follow the concerto grosso style of Corelli. During his lifetime, Mascitti enjoyed similar fame to Albinoni and Corelli. His compositions were mainly in the Italian, and sometimes French, style. They contained an abundance of novel harmonies for the period.

Michele Mascitti 6 Sonatas for Violin and Cello Op.2
Son I in D: Adagio 0:00
Son II in d: Adagio  10:38
Son III in g: Adagio 20:25
Son IV in B flat: Allemanda 31:53
Son V in G: Largo 
Son VI in C: Largo 51:54

Michele Mascitti - Concertos and Sonatas

 
 
 

1665

Mauricio Cazzati publishes his Op. 35 sonatas in Bologna. The collection is formed of twelve pieces for two to five instruments and basso continuo, and includes three of the earliest knownsonatas for trumpet and strings. 

Maurizio Cazzatti - Sonata "La Bianchina" Op.35

Christopher Simpson, England’s leading authority on music, publishes The Principles of Practical Musick, later revised as A Compendium of Practical Musick (1667). 

January
Francesco Cavalli is officially appointed principal organist at St Marks, Venice, though in practice he has been the highest paid organist there for many years. 

French composer Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers, organist at St Sulpice, Paris, publishes 100 keyboard pieces in his first Livre d ’orgue. 

Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers - André Isoir, orgue

28 January
Jean-Baptiste Lully and Benserade's Ballet de la naissance de Venus, a tribute to Henrietta of England, premieres at the Palais Royal, Paris. 

Heinrich Schutz composes his St Luke and St John Passion for unaccompanied choir, thus idhering to the liturgical requirements for Holy Week. The 80-year-old composer writes his St Matthew Passion in the same manner the following year. 

Heinrich Schütz - Lukas Passion

Heinrich Schütz - Johannes Passion

Heinrich Schütz - Matthäus Passion

17 March
Composer and keyboardist Elisabeth Jacquet (later, Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre) is baptised in Paris. 

14 September
L'amore medecin (The Love Doctor), a comedie-ballet by Jean-Baptiste Lully and Moliere, is introduced at Versailles. 

Jean-Baptiste Lully, Chaconne de L'Amour médecin

10 December
Tarquinio Merula, progressive Italian composer and Knight of the Golden Spur, dies in Cremona, aged about 70. 

Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre
 

Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, also known as Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre or Elisabeth Jacquet, Elisabeth also spelled Élisabeth, (baptized March 17, 1665, Paris, France—died June 27, 1729, Paris), French composer, harpsichordist, and organist, who was the first woman to compose an opera in France.













 





Elisabeth Jacquet was born into a family of artisans that included both musicians and instrument builders. She emerged as a musical prodigy and made her debut as a singer and harpsichordist at the court of Louis XIV, apparently at quite a young age. At about age 15 she was taken into the court as a musician and placed under the care of the king’s mistress, Madame de Montespan. Jacquet left the regular service of the court in 1684 and that year married Marin de la Guerre, an accomplished Parisian harpsichordist, organist, music teacher, and composer from a well-established family of professional musicians. The fact that she dedicated nearly all of her published works to the king, however, indicates that she retained connections to the royal circle throughout her career. With Marin she had one son who died at age 10, having shown promise as a musician himself. Marin died in 1704.

Jacquet de la Guerre’s first published collection of compositions was the Pièces de clavessin (1687; “Harpsichord Pieces”), noteworthy especially because publication of harpsichord music was still rare in France in the 17th century, even for male composers. The work consists entirely of sets of dance pieces grouped by key, with each group preceded by an “unmeasured prelude,” a genre notated mostly in whole notes to indicate that it does not adhere to a strict metre and thus approximates improvisation. Jacquet de la Guerre’s next published instrumental work, a two-volume set that juxtaposed the French and Italian instrumental styles, did not appear until 1707. The first part of the set, entitled Pièces de clavecin qui peuvent se jouer sur le viollon (“Harpsichord Pieces That May Be Played on the Violin”), again consists of dance pieces in the French tradition. The other part, entitled Sonates pour le viollon et pour le clavecin (“Sonatas for the Violin and for the Harpsichord”), employs idiomatic string writing that shows influence from the Italian instrumental style; these Italianate features include quick passagework, harmonic sequences, and imitation between parts. As was typical in the 18th century, the accompanying harpsichordist played from only a bass line, improvising the harmonies and melodic figures to suit the violin line; this practice was called basso continuo. Jacquet de la Guerre is known to have composed other sonatas for one or two violins and basso continuo. Some of these may be dated to about 1695, while the composition dates of the others remain unknown.

As a composer of vocal music, Jacquet de la Guerre was a pioneer. Her opera, Céphale et Procris (based on the myth of Cephalus and Procris, adapted from Ovid’s Metamorphoses), a tragédie en musique in the mold of Jean-Baptiste Lully, is thought to have premiered at the Paris Opéra on March 15, 1694, though this date is transmitted only in a 19th-century source. Although the opera did not meet with much success, it has the distinction of being the first composed by a woman in France, and the music was published in the same year.
Jacquet de la Guerre also published sets of cantatas on both sacred themes (1708, 1711) and secular ones (1715); the volume of secular cantatas was dedicated to one of her patrons, Maximillian II Emanuel, the exiled elector of Bavaria who was then living near Paris under the French king’s protection. Her cantata style has been noted for its close attention to the meanings of the text and its dramatic use of French-style recitative (solo singing that imitates the rhythms and accents of speech). Some of her songs were included in anthologies produced in Paris and The Hague, and she also wrote a choral setting of the Te Deum, now lost, to mark the recovery of Louis XV from illness.

Shortly after her death the French scholar Evrard Titon du Tillet bestowed special praise upon her in his Parnasse françois (1732; “French Parnassus”), a compilation of biographical vignettes concerning eminent poets and musicians in France. He wrote,

One might say that never has a person of her sex had such great talent for the composition of music, and for the admirable manner in which she played on the harpsichord and on the organ.

Elisabeth Claude Jacquet de La Guerre - Sonata

Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet De La Guerre - Cembalo Suites N 1,2,3

Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet De La Guerre - Cembalo Suites N 4,5,6

Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre: Cantata, 'L'Isle de Délos'

 

Rembrand - Self-portrait as Zeuxis Laughing

Johannes Vermeer - Woman Holding a Balance

 

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