Jean‐Baptiste Lully

Composer. Born 28 November 1632. Died 22 March 1687
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
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1632-11-28
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Jean‐Baptiste Lully

Jean‐Baptiste Lully Biography (BBC)

If Louis XIV’s long reign over France was the very model of absolutism and centralised power, the rule of Jean-Baptiste Lully over the country’s musical life, though rather shorter, was in its way no less total. For a time his dominance as an opera composer and manager was unchallengeable, and combined with his achievement as the creator of all-sung French opera to ensure that he came to be viewed as the very embodiment of music in France.

In fact he was born in Florence, in 1632, the son of a miller. His early musical training was basic, but developed when as a teenager he was sent to Paris to be a garcon de chambre to the king’s cousin Mlle de Montpensier, and in 1653 he joined the service of the young Louis XIV as a provider of court dance entertainments in which his skills as a dancer and comedian stood him in good stead just as much as his evident ability as a composer.

His revitalisation of the king’s violin band to become a new model for orchestral standards added further lustre to his reputation, and in the early 1660s his position at the heart of the royal musical establishment as a composer of music both secular and sacred was cemented by his appointment as surintendant.

In 1664 he began a fruitful collaboration with Moliere, and together they devised a new form, the comedie-ballet, producing 10 (L’Amour medecin and Le Bourgeois gentilhomme among them) before parting company in the early 1670s.

By that time, however, Lully was on the verge of the final and most important achievement of his career. In 1672 he obtained a royal monopoly for the composition and performance of opera in French, and thus empowered he kept a ruthless check on his rivals, creating for himself a clear field at a formative period in French opera. His first tragedie en musique, Cadmus et Hermione, appeared in 1673, and a dozen more followed over the next 14 years, most composed in partnership with the librettist Philippe Quinault. So successful were they in aligning music-drama with the already-strong French classical theatre tradition that in a short time operas such as Alceste, Armide, Th‚s‚e and Amadis achieved canonic status.

The manner of his death was bizarre; in January 1687 he was directing a performance of his Te Deum by beating time on the ground with a cane, when he accidentally struck his toe. Refusing treatment for the injury, he contracted gangrene and died two months later.

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Featured Works


Jean‐Baptiste Lully Tracks

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Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Roland (Prologue)
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Roland (Prologue)
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Te Deum, LWV 55
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Te Deum, LWV 55

Te Deum, LWV 55

Choir
Collegium Vocale Leipzig
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Phaëton, LWV.61 (Overture)
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Phaëton, LWV.61 (Overture)
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Le Bourgeois gentilhomme suite
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Le Bourgeois gentilhomme suite
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Roland - tragedie lyrique: air, Deux insulaires
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Roland - tragedie lyrique: air, Deux insulaires
Georg Muffat
Suite for Orchestra
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Suite for Orchestra
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Te deum
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Te deum

Te deum

Ensemble
Collegium Vocale Leipzig
Merseburger Hofmusik
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Plaude laetare gallia
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Plaude laetare gallia

Plaude laetare gallia

Ensemble
Collegium Vocale Leipzig
Merseburger Hofmusik
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Armide: Act II Scene 5: Enfin, il est en ma puissance
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Armide: Act II Scene 5: Enfin, il est en ma puissance
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Marche pour la cérémonie des Turcs
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Marche pour la cérémonie des Turcs
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Chaconne d'Amadis
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Chaconne d'Amadis
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Phaeton; Air pour les Suivants de Saturne & Chaconne
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Phaeton; Air pour les Suivants de Saturne & Chaconne

Phaeton; Air pour les Suivants de Saturne & Chaconne

Orchestra
Members of the European Baroque Orchestra
Last played on
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Amadis (Chaconne)
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Amadis (Chaconne)
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Phaëton (Chaconne in G major)
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Phaëton (Chaconne in G major)
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
La fête infernale; Les démons (Suite from Alceste)
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La fête infernale; Les démons (Suite from Alceste)
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Marche des Combattants en rondeau; Menuet (Alceste)
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Marche des Combattants en rondeau; Menuet (Alceste)
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Te Deum
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Te Deum
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Le Bourgeois gentilhomme: Chaconne des Scaramouches, trivelins et Arlequin
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Le Bourgeois gentilhomme: Chaconne des Scaramouches, trivelins et Arlequin
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Le Bourgeois gentilhomme: a selection
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Le Bourgeois gentilhomme: a selection
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Air des Hautbois
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Air des Hautbois
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Ballet de Flore LWV.40: a selection
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Ballet de Flore LWV.40: a selection
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Happy, who can see from the shore / May Proteus leave us (Phaeton)
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Happy, who can see from the shore /  May Proteus leave us (Phaeton)
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Chaconne des Scaramouches (Le bourgeois gentilhomme)
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Chaconne des Scaramouches (Le bourgeois gentilhomme)
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Le Roi Danse - suite
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Le Roi Danse - suite
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Chaconne (L'amour médécin)
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Chaconne (L'amour médécin)
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Plainte d'Armide from Les Amours deguises
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Plainte d'Armide from Les Amours deguises
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Le Bourgeois gentilhomme LWV 43 - Overture, Gavotte, Canaries
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Le Bourgeois gentilhomme LWV 43 - Overture, Gavotte, Canaries
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Atys: Act 4, sc 5: Prelude. 'O vous prenez part' and Gavotte. 'la beaute la plus severe'
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Atys: Act 4, sc 5: Prelude. 'O vous prenez part' and Gavotte. 'la beaute la plus severe'
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Chaconne des Maures (Alcidiane et Polyxandre)
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Chaconne des Maures (Alcidiane et Polyxandre)
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Regina coeli
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Regina coeli
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Two excerpts from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme
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Two excerpts from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Canaries (Ballet des muses)
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Canaries (Ballet des muses)
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Two excerpts from Cadmus et Hermione
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Two excerpts from Cadmus et Hermione
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Marche des Grecs (Ballet des Muses)
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Marche des Grecs (Ballet des Muses)
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Entrée des Italiens (Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme)
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Entrée des Italiens (Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme)
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Marche en rondeau 'Les Combattants' (Alceste)
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Marche en rondeau 'Les Combattants' (Alceste)
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Bois Epais
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Bois Epais

Bois Epais

Performer
Leo Taubmann
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme
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Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Amadis (Chaconne)
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Amadis (Chaconne)
Jean‐Baptiste Lully
Alceste 1674 - Loure pour les pecheurs
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Alceste 1674 - Loure pour les pecheurs
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