Reflecting the life of Jean-Baptiste Lully, godfather of French opera, New York Baroque Incorporated debuts at the Miller Theater with a program shaped by the style, structure, and spectacle of his music as well as his multicultural upbringing. Pairing French opera overtures and ballet dances with virtuosic Italian sinfonias and concerti grossi, the program balances the two leading musical tastes with music by Mondonville, Telemann, and expats (like Lully himself) Muffat and Handel.
Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville Sonata No. 1 from Pièces de clavecin en sonates
George Frideric Handel Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 5
Jean-Baptiste Lully Armide, passacaille
Georg Muffat Sonata No. 5 from Armonico tributo
Georg Philipp Telemann Ouverture-Suite in A minor
Jean-Baptiste Lully was born in Florence, Italy in 1632 as Giovanni Battista Lulli. At the age of 14, while he was busking as Harlequin and playing the violin, he was noticed by Roger de Lorraine, son of the Duke of Guise, who was looking for an Italian tutor for his niece. He returned with Guise to Paris to work as a garçon de chambre until his employer, Mademoiselle de Montpensier, also known as la Grande Mademoiselle, was exiled to the countryside after choosing the losing side of the rebellion known as the Fronde.
Lully was freed from her service and was soon noticed by a young Louis XIV, when the two danced together in the thirteen-hour Ballet Royal de la nuit. When Louis XIV fully took over the government in 1661, he made Lully both Superintendent of Royal Music and Music Master of the Royal Family as well as granting him naturalization as a citizen of France. Today he is considered the master of French baroque music, creating the distinctive french baroque sound and composing masterpieces including Armide, Les Plaisirs de l'Ile enchantée, and Le Bourgeois gentilhomme.