Manchester, 14th-18th July 2004


Don Fader (Indiana University, USA)

“Les chanteurs italiens de M. le duc d’Orléans”: Philippe II d’Orléans’s Italian Ensemble, Its Repertory, and Influence, 1701-1706

Although the increasing influence of the Italian style in France around the turn of the eighteenth century has been the object of much commentary, both by period writers and modern scholars, there has been comparatively little discussion of how particular Italian repertories came to influence native composers. One repertory worthy of further examination is that of Philippe II d’Orléans (1674-1723) and his musicians. Beginning around 1701, Orléans assembled a unique cadre of native Italian musicians and Frenchmen trained in the latest Italian techniques. This ensemble’s membership included two violinists (Antonio Guido and Jean-Baptiste Anet fils), two castrati borrowed from cardinal Pietro Ottoboni (Pasqualino Tiepoli and Pasqualino Betti), and a bass player (eventually Jean-Baptiste Stuck), which was supplemented on various occasions by French musicians. Over the next few years Orléans staged a number of concerts at his own palaces, at the royal residences, and elsewhere, which contributed to French familiarity with current Italian music as it was performed in Italy. Documentary evidence and the cantatas composed by Stuck and Guido indicate that the ensemble’s repertory consisted largely of works based upon recent Roman models, particularly Corelli’s solo sonatas and Giovanni Bononcini’s cantatas, music that became popular in France during the very period of the ensemble’s activity. Orléans’s ensemble thus made possible the performance of compositions in the latest ultramontane vein, giving impetus to the developing French interest in Italian music and providing a forum for experiments with the two styles by the duke and his musicians.

Last updated on 25 May 2004