Essay on Jean-Baptiste Lully

1787 Words 8 Pages
     Giovanni Battista Lulli was born on November 28, 1632. His father, Lorenzo di Maldo, was a miller and his mother, Caterina del Sera, was a miller’s daughter. Lully was born in Florence, Italy and lived there until age 11. While in Italy he studied dance and music; he played violin and guitar. In March of 1646 he moved to France to tutor Mlle de Montpensier in Italian. There he studied composition and harpsichord. Lully was able to hear the King’s grande bande perform, witness balls where the best French dance music was played.
When Mlle de Montpensier was exiled from Paris, Lully was released from her service and gained the attention of King Louis XIV. In February 1653 he danced in “Ballet de la nuit” with
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In 1673 Lully began composing and performing one opera each year for fourteen years, except 1681. The most famous work from this period was “Le Triomphe de l’Amour.” It was the first to use a recitative with orchestral accompaniment. It was also the first performance to include professional female dancers. (Newman, 1979) Lully’s monopoly stunted the natural progression of music. He once had the King personally stop the production of an opera that had not received Lully’s permission to be performed.
Lully’s career never slowed down. In 1687, while conducting his Te Deum in celebration of the King’s recovery from illness, he got excited and hit his toe with the tip of the cane he used to beat time. The wound developed gangrene but he refused to let doctors remove the toe. Three months later, on March 22, 1687, Lully died.
The musical monopoly lived for decades after Lully’s death. People criticized and rejected others for writing music in different and progressive styles. His exclusive hold on opera writing led to one hundred years of French opera in his style. Music in England was also highly influenced by Lully’s work. Charles I sent his musicians to France to learn how to emulate Lully’s style. Some of the advancements he made with orchestra and the development of the ballet and tragedies lyriques as respectable genres drastically influenced western music for centuries following his career.
Lully established a distinct French style for
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