french

Music Monday: Les Pièces de Clavessin 1670

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Jacques Champion de Chambonnières
Image Credit: musimem.com

Three hundred, fifty years ago, Jacques Champion de Chambonnières, a French harpsichordist and dancer, composed Les Pieces de Clavessin de Monsieur de Chambonnieres or Harpsichord Pieces.

Due to lack of manuscript sources, little is known about French harpsichord music of the first half of the 17th century and Chambonnières emerges as the sole, major composer of the time with a large surviving oeuvre (works of art). Some 150 pieces are extant, almost all of them dances. Sixty were published by the composer, himself, in 1670 in two volumes of Les Pièces de Clavessin and the rest are known through some 20 manuscript sources, most of which were discovered only in the mid and late 20th century.

Since the exact course of evolution of the classic French harpsichord style remains a mystery, it is impossible to ascertain the role Chambonnières played in establishing said style. He was obviously influenced by the French lute school, adapting its style brisé to the harpsichord and he may have been among the first to do so. Another important influence was a thorough grounding in counterpoint, probably transmitted from his grandfather Thomas through his father.

Harpsichord Pieces Image Two
Source: imslp.org
Image Credit: Wikipedia

[The] Pièces de Clavecin (published 1670) reflect in style and texture the compositions of the noted lutenist-composer Denis Gaultier and thus emphasize the roots of the early harpsichord style in lute music. The Pièces are highly ornamented, and rich in harmony, and are grouped by key into suites of dances […] and miniature pieces with fanciful titles. There is no thematic relationship between the movements of a single suite, the aim being rather for contrast within a given key. Chambonnières was one of the first to attach tables of ornaments to his works, indicating the manner of performance of the many embellishments so vital to his free-voiced style.

It appears that he had lavish tastes and struggled financially because of it. He lived beyond his means and died in poverty two years after his Harpsichord Pieces.

Additional Reading & Sources:
Jacques Champion de Chambonnières (Britannica)
Jacques Champion, Sieur de Chambonnières (Here of a Sunday Morning Site)
Chambonnières, Jacques Champion, Sieur de (Oxford Music Online)
List of Compositions (Wikipedia)

These are, roughly, two & half hours long, taken together.
The first one has a minute’s worth of spoken French at the beginning.

National Louisiana Day

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National Day Calendar Louisiana Image

November 9 has three celebrations. National Louisiana Day highlights the 18th state. Purchased as a territory in 1803 during the Jefferson Presidency and admitted to the Union on April 30, 1812, its largest city is New Orleans and its capital is Baton Rouge. Those native to the state are referred to as ‘Louisianians‘ but, having had a great neighbor in Texas that was from this state, he, frequently, referred to himself as a certain Cajun ethnicity. The official nickname is the Pelican State but, other nicknames are Bayou State, Creole State, Sportsman’s Paradise and The Boot.

With a blending of cultures, this multilingual state has Native American (seven distinct tribes), French (Acadians), Spanish, African, German, Irish and Haitian influences. This unique mixture has brought forth grand cuisine, excellent music, Creole culture and Mardi Gras.

Louisiana State Official Image

Louisiana is home to the National World War II Museum, the Historic Voodoo Museum, the Mardi Gras Museum, the New Orléans Jazz Museum, the Delta Music Museum, the Old State Capitol and the Tabasco Museum. It is also home to the earliest North American mound complex: Watson Brake, the U. S. National Monument & UNESCO World Heritage Site: Poverty Point and, the Troyville Earthworks.

Notable Louisianians:
Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe [Jelly Roll Morton] – Musician (October 20, 1890 – July 10, 1941)
Louis Daniel “Louie” Armstrong [Satchmo] – Musician (August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971)
Truman Garcia Capote – Author (September 30, 1924 – August 25, 1984)
Antoine “Fats” Domino, Jr. – Musician/Singer/Songwriter (February 26, 1928 – October 24, 2017)
Howard Allen Frances O’Brien [Anne Rice] – Author (October 4, 1941)

List of Other Louisianians

Also celebrated:
Microtia Awareness Day
National Scrapple Day

Cheers and enjoy!