Suite du Cinquieme Ton : Work information
- Work name
- Suite du Cinquieme Ton
- Work number
- 1680-01-01 02:01:00
- Forlane CI
- Ivan Pastor
- Jean-Marc Laisne
- Recording date
- 1993-01-01 00:00:00
Born Giovanni Battista Lulli in Florence, the composer's name was so spelled until his French naturalization and marriage in 1661, when he became Jean-Baptiste Lully. Allegedly given a guitar and tuition by a friendly monk, Lully left for Paris in 1646 to teach Italian to the niece of the Chevalier de Guise. At court he became a fine dancer, violinist and guitarist, and he began compositional studies under Nicolas Métru, one of many fine musicians he was to meet there. The Italian violinist Lazzarini, who composed instrumental music for the court of Louis XIV, became a friend and possibly a tutor to the young Lully, whose talents in the arts of mime and dance had already come to the king's notice. In 1653, Lully and the young Louis danced in the same ballet, and within a month he replaced the recently deceased Lazzarini as compositeur de la musique instrumentale du Roi.
Lully's work was well received; he continued to dance and was also a gifted comedian. By 1657 he was coordinating the music of large projects such as the Ballet de l'amour malade. From the larger forces available at court, Lully worked especially with a group of the string players, known as the 'petits violons', or 'la petite bande'. With them, Lully strove to rein in the extravagant ornamentation and reckless improvisation which dogged the ensemble playing of the time. In 1661 he was made surintendent de la musique et compositeur de la musique du chambre and the following year he was made master of music to the royal family. As if this were not proof enough of Lully's standing at court, his marriage contract was signed by both the king and his queen, Anne of Austria.
1664 saw Lully's first collaboration with dramatist Molière, Le mariage forcé. This partnership was to yield several more works until 1670's Le bourgeois gentilhomme. By then, Lully's control over French musical life had become somewhat dictatorial, with his permission needed for the staging of any work sung throughout, exclusive rights to establish a Royal Academy of Music and numerous patents. Molière disapproved of Lully's extensive use of these powers, and turned instead to work with Marc-Antoine Charpentier. Quinault was his next librettist, often composing texts for their tragédies lyriques on apt themes suggested by the king.
Despite cautions from the king regarding what was seen as his flagrantly homosexual manner, Lully continued to rise in stature, becoming sécretaire du Roi in 1681. He continued to compose and lead performances of his work until a performance of his Te Deum in 1687. Beating time with a cane against the floor, he impaled his toe; refusing to have it amputated, the wound became gangrenous and within months proved terminal.
Related Composers: Rameau