Jean Baptsiste Lully
Giovanni Battista di Lulli
Lully (Lulli) was borne in Arno, Italy (Some
say Florence.) Lully was a dancing master of court, a comic
and a composer of music in the 17th Century. At age fourteen came
to the French Court from Italy in 1646 and became a teacher of
the Italian language as well as a violinists.
Lully's band was
known as the Petitis Violins du Roi (The Petite Band.)
He came into Louis XIV (aka the "Sun King") service
in early 1653 as a dancer. The King was impressed with him when
he He composed some music for the "Ballet de la nuit,"
and made him a Valet de Chamber to which he composed many Spectacles
( Ballets) for the King, working with Molière on
a majority of them.
King Louis loved to dance and would
often times take part in the dancing along with Lulli. In 1654
he composed music for the Le Ballet de la Galanteri du Temps as
well as many others.
Lully's main music was from the middle Baroque
period between 1650 to 1700. He created music for such ballets
as The "ballets de cour (1653-63)" and the "comédies-ballets
(1663-72)" which were performed as royal entertainments.
In 1672, Lully became the director of the 'Academie Royale de
Music' and composed many spectacles with Molière, many
of which set the stage for the ballets done today. He found great
success composing the music for Molières Comedie's, including
the Le Mariage forcé (1664), L'Amour médecin (1665),
and Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (1670) as well as collaborated with
Corneille and with the poet Quinault. Lulli also worked on a French
type of opera known as tragédie lyrique, between 1673 and
1686 ( Tragédie lyrique, Bellérophon, Achille
et Polyxène.) Lully was also influential in the choice
of musicians and music used for the royal chapel. Lully's music
ranged from Orchestral, Opera, Chamber, Choral, Sacred, Secular,
Instrumental, Suites and Ballets.
Some of Lulli's most popular and creative
works were based around dances of the time. His chaconne and Passacailles
(passacaglia) which were related to dance's were also found in
many of his works such as Armide or Phaëton. The influence
of Lully's music changed the older style of the dances of the
court itself into a more lively and entertaining form of expression
by the dancers. Instead of the slow and stately movements which
had prevailed until then, he introduced lively ballets of rapid
rhythm. As a dancer and musician, Lulli understood the necessity
of using music for creative dancing, and not forcing dance on
top of the music. Lulli used Bourée's, Galliardes, Marches,
Sarabande's, Pavanes, Gavotte's, Menuet's etc. He also had a major
effect on many important improvements in the composition of the
orchestra, into which he introduced several new instruments. Lully
composed many operas and other works, which had overwhelming reviews.
On January, 8, 1687 when he was just 55 years
of age Lulli was conducting a Te Deum ( An early Christian
hymn of praise) in Paris to celebrate the king's recovery
from a serious illness, Lulli was beating time by banging a long
cane on the floor and stabbed the cane into his foot. The wound
turned gangrenous, and stubbornly refusing to have his toe amputated,
he died from his infection. He is buried at Church of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires,
Paris. He was the most important French composer of his period.
Lully founded French opera, which replaced the Italian Opera's
of his day and in the years that followed his death.