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The Wedding Ball of the Duc de Joyeuse, 1581

Photo credit:
Wikipedia: Anne de Joyeuse (1561-87) married Marguerite de Vaudémont on the 24th of September 1581.  The painting is not identified other than as a work of the French school 1581-1582.  It is housed in Le Louvre.  Anne was and may still be, albeit rarely, both a masculine and feminine name.
Wikipedia: Dirck de Bray, 1635-1694 

Classical music & the “classical” era

There is a great deal of unnecessary confusion regarding the word “Classical” in music, but the matter can be simplified.

Broadly speaking, the eras of music listed below are called collectively “Classical music.”  In other words, for practical reasons, music composed during these periods can be called Classical, whether or not it is music of the Classical period.

The Eras, or periods, of Western music are

the Medieval era (500-1400)
the Renaissance (1400–1600)
the Baroque*era (1600–1760)
the Classical era (1730–1820) ←
the Romantic era (1815–1910)
the 20th century (1900–2000)
*the word “baroque” is used to describe an odd-shaped pearl.

Classical Music: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven…

Strictly speaking, Classical music is music composed between 1730 and 1820.  The three main figures associated with the Classical period are Joseph Haydn (31 March 1732 – 31 May 1809), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791), and Ludwig van Beethoven (baptized 17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827).  But Beethoven is also considered a composer of the Romantic era, early Romanticism.  So there is overlapping between periods.  To obtain the names of musicians associated with Classical music, simply click on Classical period.

Louis XIII as composer

Louis XIII (27 September 1601 – 14 May 1643), King of France from 1610, when his father Henri IV was assassinated, until his death in 1643, was very fond of music and therefore composed lovely pieces.  Contrary to Frederick the Great (Friedrich II) of Prussia, Louis XIII never truly reigned.  Louis’s life therefore allowed him to indulge his interests, such as music.

However, during that period, France was nevertheless governed.  Marie de’ Medici, Henri IV’s widow did rule for a short period, but France was soon governed  by Armand Jean du Plessis, cardinal-duc de Richelieu et de Fronsac (9 September 1585–1642), le Cardinal Richelieu.  Le Cardinal Richelieu also governed New France.  After Richelieu’s death, France’s Prime Minister was Jules Mazarin (1602–1661), born Giulio Raimondo Mazzarino and trained by le Cardinal Richelieu.

In other words, from the late 1610s until 1661, France was governed first by Henri IV’s widow, Marie de’ Medici, who was not up to the task.  As a result, Prime Ministers started to govern, the first of whom was Richelieu.  They may be called éminences grises, except that they were too visible to be referred to as “grey.”  The better term would be that of Prime Minister.  For instance, le Père Joseph (Father Joseph), the man behind le Cardinal Richelieu, was a genuine éminence grise.

When his father died, Louis XIV of France would not tolerate ministers.  He was an advocate of the divine right of kings.  He reigned between 1661 and 1715.  Absolutism was achieved when the Edict of Nantes, an Edict of tolerance issued on 13 April 1598, was revoked in October 1685, by Louis XIV.  In 1685, France lost some of its finest citizens: French Calvinist Protestants called Huguenots.

The News

The Montreal Gazette: http://www.montrealgazette.com/index.html
The National Post: http://www.nationalpost.com/index.html
The Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/
The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/
Le Monde diplomatique: http://mondediplo.com/ EN
CBC News: http://www.cbc.ca/news/
CTV News: http://www.ctvnews.ca/
Le Monde: http://www.lemonde.fr/
Le Monde diplomatique: http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/ 
La Presse: http://www.lapresse.ca/
Die Welt: http://www.welt.de/

Music: A “Ballet de cour” by Louis  XIII

But let us listen to Louis XIII the composer.  The French ballet de cour, the Masque, became a favourite divertissement in the late sixteenth century. However, it is associated with the reign of both Louis the XIII and Louis XIV.  Louis XIII wrote the Ballet de la Merlaison, all of which, i.e. the music, is on YouTube.

© Micheline Walker
August 6, 2012