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Great French musician, nicknamed the "Lully Latin" Michel-Richard De Lalande embodies the French Baroque in his pieces on violin and organ. Becoming master of the grand motet, his fame would continue to be great until the Revolution. But he also creates entertainments such as ballets, pastorals.
De Lalande was born on December 15, 1657, having 14 brothers and sisters before him. His father was a master tailor in the parish of Saint Germain l´Auxerrois, at the age of 10 he sang in the choirs under the direction of François Chaperon, while learning letters. Practicing the violin in 1672, he regrets not being admitted to the Lully Academy of Music. He then became organist and performed in 4 churches in Paris between 1670-1680: Saint Germain where he served as François Couperin until 1686, Petit Saint Antoine, Saint Paul and in 1682 Saint Jean de Grève.
Luck turns and François Chaperon calls him to participate in the Lessons of Darkness of Holy Week in 1680. At the same time, he is professor of harpsichord with Marshal de Noailles and also instructs princesses like Madame de Montespan, Mademoiselle de Nantes, Mademoiselle de Blois. Esteemed by the king, he created his first secular music for the entertainment of the Court. He became sub-master by quarter at the Royal Chapel in 1683, and spent his entire career there, obtaining the second, third and fourth quarters every 10 years until 1714. Married in 1684 to Anne Rebel, he succeeded Lully at title of 1st Court musician in 1685 and composed the Epithalame for the marriage of the Duke of Bourbon and Miss de Nantes. During the carnival of 1686, he supplants Lully with his Ballet de la Jeunesse. Composer of the chamber in 1690, he was finally recognized and obtained the highly prized position of Superintendent of Chamber Music from 1689 to 1719.
He lost his 2 daughters in 1711 and his wife in 1722. The same year, the Regent offered him the order of Saint Michael. He remarried in 1723 to Marie Louise Cury, daughter of a surgeon from Les Conty, but died 3 years later on June 18, 1726 in Versailles. His last daughter will ensure the survival of his works by having his motets published together with a biography written by Colin de Blamont.
All his compositions are listed in 3 manuscripts: that of Philidor in 1689 requested by Louis XIV, an engraved edition produced after his death by his 2nd wife, a manuscript by Cauvin drawn up in 1742 with around forty motets.
Sacred music is the most important part of his work. De Lalande composed around 75 motets among which the Beati quorum thanks to which he became deputy master of the chapel in 1683, the Te deum in 1684 the most played during his lifetime, the Miserere in 1687, and finally the famous De profundis in 1689 and the famous 3rd Dark Lesson on Holy Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. By 1770 his motets had been performed over 600 times at the Concerts Spirituels.
Besides religious music, he tried his hand at secular music by composing symphonies, ballets, entertaining and light works, among which the Symphonies pour les suppers du roi - a suite of dances taken from fashionable operas, The Serenade in 1682, the Fountains of Versailles and the Esculape Concert in 1683, the Youth Ballet and Love flexed by constancy.
Colin de Blamont spoke of his master in these words: "The great merit of M. De la Lande consisted in a marvelous turn of song, a precious choice of harmony, a noble expression, always emphasizing the words which he had in treat, making the meaning true ... Icy, learned and deep, there simple and natural, he did all his study and put all his application to touch the soul through the richness of expression, and vivid paintings ... "
- Michel Richard Delalande - Norbert Dufourcq. Picard Editions, 2000.
CD "Te Deum" by William Christie - Les Arts Florissants
Box 200 Years of Music at Versailles CD n ° 5 “Symphonies for the King's Suppers”; CD n ° 14 "Les Folies de Cardenio"