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13.10.03

Conference on the Air de Cour at Versailles (Part 4 of 4)

This is the conclusion of my report on the international colloquium on the air de cour of the late 16th and early 17th centuries (L'air de cour au temps d'Henry IV et de Louis XIII), hosted by the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles. (Here are Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.)

Simon Vouet, Portrait of Louis XIIIToday was the final day of the colloquium, which began with a Round Table on the use of the air de cour in royal court ballet. The organizer of the colloquium, Mme. Georgie Durosoir, led a panel of specialists, only one of whom has a background in music, Pierre-Alain Clerc. The other panelists were Christine Bayle, a choreographer and scholar of Baroque dance; Jocelyne Chaptal, a specialist in symbols of Baroque ballet; Sophie Landy, a singer of Baroque music, especially the air de cour; and Anne Surgers, a scholar of Baroque costumes and stage decoration. This mixture of research interests created an intense interchange of views and opinions, some of which I had never heard applied to the ballet de cour. Some of the questions that came up in the discussion included the problem of who sang airs de cour in these ballets; how were lutes and other instruments incorporated into the ballet; and what do the costumes mean and what are their antecedents? The purpose of a Round Table like this is not necessarily to answer such questions but to open up discussion to new ideas. Philippe Vendrix then gave a short address to conclude the colloquium before we adjourned for lunch.

In the afternoon, there was a broadcast of the radio program Cordes Sensibles (France Musiques) at the CMBV. Host Jean-Michel Damian talked with Georgie Durosoir, Thomas Leconte, and Gérard Geay from the CMBV. This introduced the major event sponsored by the CMBV this fall, the annual concert series known as the Grandes Journées, this year on the theme Louis XIII musicien et les musiciens de Louis XIII. (The image at left is a detail from Simon Vouet's portrait of Louis XIII.) The show also featured Denis Raisin-Dadre, director of the performing group Ensemble Doulce Mémoire (see this list of their recordings), as well as performances from singer Sophie Landy and lutists Pascale Boquet and Charles-Édouard Fantin, from Ensemble Doulce Mémoire, one of the groups who inaugurated the Automne Musical du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles later in the evening.

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