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<<  -- 4 --  Jennifer Paull    REMINISCENT RETROSPECTIVES


What began upon landing as a frenzied Portuguese dance gradually evolved into a stately sarabande, although the title Madness remained. One of the earliest known instrumental settings was Lully's Air des Hautbois, written in 1672 for the Bande des Hautbois. This ensemble of oboes and bassoons formed the orchestra at the French Court in Versailles.

Music travelled with those who played or sang it from town to town. If we really think of the practical implications of this horse-powered promotion, it is amazing that so many people remained captivated by this one popular melody and dance for so many years!

One of the most popular settings is Les Folies d'Espagne by Marin Marais. He was the central figure of the French School of bass viol performer-composers that flourished in Paris during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Although most of his compositions were intended for his own instrument, he left written permission to perform them upon others. This adaptability to circumstance was typical of the composers of the time. Going to another chateau to play with musicians one had never met could well imply a different pitch and a music room filled with unfamiliar varieties of instruments. Music did travel, thoughts and ideas circulated, and somehow everything grew and developed.

It's exciting living with the past, sharing in the present, and dreaming of the future in every art form today. In those long gone centuries, artists were respected and the Arts revered. Therein lies perhaps one of the greatest changes in contemporary society. The struggle to maintain and continue the standards we know and expect is still carried out by the courageous few. They are as they always have been, the minority. Whereas the scholar was once applauded for his choice of a dangerous path, he can now be ridiculed for choosing it in our pop-cultured, science-worshipping society.

Copyright © 11 January 2002 Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland






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