The beginning of the eighteenth century saw the creation of musical societies by knowledgeable music lovers in many French cities. Their goal was “concertation,” meaning musical performance, but also discussion. These academies in the provinces took on the name of Concerts and were similarly organized as official and independent bodies, a reflection of the academism movement and the development of learned societies so typical of the Enlightenment. All in all, Concerts would be established in at least 35 provincial cities. During Louis XV’s reign, they became essential footholds in the musical landscape, following the example of Paris’s Concert Spirituel, and they played a central role in the circulating of the motet à grand chœur as well as the lyrical genres.
This project adopts a transdisciplinary approach, one that seeks to map the relevant institutions in order to then begin to study their very functioning, their place in the French academic space, the implications for a region’s social and political life, the dynamic created by the exchange of musical ideas, and the circulating and performance modes of the sacred and profane musical repertoire at the Concert.