This project involves an appraisal of how the music corresponded to the needs of curial life, and how it was devised and structured to accompany and punctuate everyday life in a court governed by codified ceremonials, to mark the public occasions and private moments in the everyday life of the sovereign and his courtiers, and to provide court entertainment.
Symphonies pour les Soupers du Roi: the nature and role of court music
2019 / 2020 academic year
Focusing on the iconic Symphonies pour les Soupers du Roi, the CMBV has embarked on a joint 3-year research project into the composition and the role of music in court ceremonials.
Michel-Richard de Lalande’s series of Symphonies pour les Soupers du Roi are landmark examples of 17th and 18th century French music, although paradoxically they are very little known. This ceremonial music was written for the two violin ensembles at the French court (the Petits Violons and the Vingt-quatre Violons du Roi) and is typical of orchestra repertoire. Out of this vast musical formation (numbering over 300 instruments) amassed over three different periods (1703, 1727 & 1736-1745), only those at both ends of polyphony were retained. This project seeks to investigate the distinctive texture and composition style of the Symphonies and their specific features. It has led to a more general investigation of the historical aspects of the Grand Couvert court dining ritual, and the role of music in curial life: how it was devised and produced, and its specific features. Restoring these works is part of a digital publishing project designed to showcase French musical heritage. It involves pooling scientific and musical resources and pedagogical collaboration with Early Music conservatoires.
2019-2020 has been earmarked for the start of the project. It will involve the creation of a research team, the design of a digital publication, a final recording of the three collections of Symphonies, and the start of artistic and academic collaboration.