Concert Spirituel
The Concert Spirituel was one of the first public concert series in existence. The concerts began in Paris in 1725 and ended in 1790; later, concerts or series of concerts of the same name occurred in Paris, Vienna, London and elsewhere. The series was founded to provide entertainment during the Easter fortnight and on religious holidays when the other spectacles (the Paris Opera
Académie Royale de Musique
The Salle Le Peletier was the home of the Paris Opera from 1821 until the building was destroyed by fire in 1873. The theatre was designed and constructed by the architect François Debret on the site of the former Hôtel de Choiseul...

, Comédie-Française
The Comédie-Française or Théâtre-Français is one of the few state theaters in France. It is the only state theater to have its own troupe of actors. It is located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris....

, and Comédie-Italienne
Over time, there have been several buildings and several theatrical companies named the "Théâtre-Italien" or the "Comédie-Italienne" in Paris. Following the times, the theatre has shown both plays and operas...

) were closed. The programs featured a mixture of sacred choral works and virtuosic instrumental pieces, and for many years took place in a magnificently-decorated Salle des Cent Suisses (Hall of the Hundred Swiss Guards) in the Tuileries Palace
Tuileries Palace
The Tuileries Palace was a royal palace in Paris which stood on the right bank of the River Seine until 1871, when it was destroyed in the upheaval during the suppression of the Paris Commune...

. They started at six o’clock in the evening and were primarily attended by well-to-do bourgeois, the lower aristocracy, and foreign visitors. In 1784 the concerts were moved to the stage area of the Salle des Machines (an enormous former opera house in the Tuileries), and in 1790, when the royal family was confined in the Tuileries, they took place in a Paris theater.

Original series (1725-1790)

The first concert took place of 18 March 1725 where two of Delalande's motets and Corelli
Corelli may refer to:*Arcangelo Corelli , Italian violinist and composer of Baroque music*Marie Corelli , British novelist*Franco Corelli , Italian tenor*Correlli Barnett , English military historian...

's Christmas Concerto were performed.

The series was managed by a succession of director-enterpreneurs, who paid a license fee in order to obtain a royal privilege which granted them an exception to the monopoly on public performance of music held by the Paris Opera (Académie Royale de Musique). The first director was Anne Danican Philidor
Anne Danican Philidor
Anne Danican Philidor is best remembered today for having founded the Concert Spirituel, an important series of public concerts held in the palace of the Tuileries from 1725 to 1791....

, brother of the composer and chess master François-André Danican Philidor
François-André Danican Philidor
François-André Danican Philidor , often referred to as André Danican Philidor during his lifetime, was a French composer and chess player. He contributed to the early development of the opéra comique...

. Philidor went bankrupt within two years. His successors, Pierre Simart and Jean-Joseph Mouret
Jean-Joseph Mouret
Jean-Joseph Mouret was a French composer whose dramatic works made him one of the leading exponents of Baroque music in his country...

 (1728–1733), expanded the operation with a series of "French Concerts," but met the same unhappy fate.

Because no one was willing to take their place, the series was administered by the Académie Royale de Musique for the next fourteen years (1734–1748). During this period, the works of French composers (particularly Michel-Richard Delalande, Mouret, and Jean-Joseph de Mondonville
Jean-Joseph de Mondonville
Jean-Joseph de Mondonville , also known as Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville, was a French violinist and composer. He was a younger contemporary of Jean-Philippe Rameau and enjoyed great success in his day...

) were favored, although Italian works were never entirely absent. The series was finally profitable because the Académie did not have to pay the license fee, but in general this was a period of stagnation. Two new entrepreneurs, Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer
Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer
Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer was a French composer and harpsichordist.Born in Turin, Royer went to Paris in 1725, and in 1734 became maître de musique des enfants de France, responsible for the musical education of the children of the king, Louis XV...

, and Gabriel Capperan (1748–1762), purchased the privilege, redecorated the concert hall, augmented the size of the orchestra and chorus, and set out to make their fortunes. They continued to perform new and existing French works, but also presented the most famous Italian singers. Beginning in 1755, oratorios
Oratórios is a Brazilian municipality located in the state of Minas Gerais. The city belongs to the mesoregion of Zona da Mata and to the microregion of Ponte Nova.-See also:* List of municipalities in Minas Gerais...

 with French texts were introduced and became popular.

The series was soon profitable. In 1762 a well-connected royal functionary, Antoine Dauvergne
Antoine Dauvergne
Antoine Dauvergne was a French composer and violinist. Dauvergne served as master of the Chambre du roi, director of the Concert Spirituel from 1762 to 1771, and director of the Opéra three times between 1769 and 1790...

, forced Royer's widow out of the operation she had run since her husband's death in 1755. Dauvergne and various associates managed the concerts until 1773. The interest of the public was excited by adding a motet
In classical music, motet is a word that is applied to a number of highly varied choral musical compositions.-Etymology:The name comes either from the Latin movere, or a Latinized version of Old French mot, "word" or "verbal utterance." The Medieval Latin for "motet" is motectum, and the Italian...

 competition and by expanding the presentation of instrumental virtuosi beyond violinists to include masters of wind instruments. Although the concerts remained profitable, Dauvergne abandoned the concerts. As a result the Académie replaced him with Pierre Gaviniès
Pierre Gaviniès
Gavini, son of a violin maker, was one of the most significant of the French school of violin in the eighteenth century. At the age of thirteen, he was already noticed alongside Joseph-Barnabé Saint-Sevin said the Rev. Son in a duo of Jean-Marie Leclair the Spiritual Concert...

, Simon Le Duc
Simon Le Duc
Simon Le Duc was a French violinist, soloist at the Concert Spirituel, music publisher and composer. His younger brother, Pierre Le Duc , was also a violinist...

 and François Joseph Gossec
François Joseph Gossec
François-Joseph Gossec was a French composer of operas, string quartets, symphonies, and choral works.-Life and work:...


From 1777 the Concert Spirituel was directed by Joseph Legros
Joseph Legros
Joseph Legros was a French singer and composer of the 18th century. He is best remembered for his association with the composer Christoph Willibald Gluck...

, its last and most brilliant director. Legros, a star singer at the Opera, who managed the concerts until they came to an end in 1790 with the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

. He attracted the most famous performers in Europe and renewed the repertoire, eliminating 17th-century grand motets and replacing them with works by Johann Christian Bach
Johann Christian Bach
Johann Christian Bach was a composer of the Classical era, the eleventh and youngest son of Johann Sebastian Bach. He is sometimes referred to as 'the London Bach' or 'the English Bach', due to his time spent living in the British capital...

, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

 (the Paris Symphony in 1778), Joseph Haydn
Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn , known as Joseph Haydn , was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms...

, whose symphonies were on nearly every program, and others.

The final concert took place on 13 May 1790.

The 19th century

During the Napoleonic period concerts were occasionally held in Paris under the title "concert spirituel", particularly after 1805 as religious feeling revived in France. During the Restoration
Bourbon Restoration
The Bourbon Restoration is the name given to the period following the successive events of the French Revolution , the end of the First Republic , and then the forcible end of the First French Empire under Napoleon  – when a coalition of European powers restored by arms the monarchy to the...

 (1814–1830), the Théâtre-Italien
Over time, there have been several buildings and several theatrical companies named the "Théâtre-Italien" or the "Comédie-Italienne" in Paris. Following the times, the theatre has shown both plays and operas...

 and Académie Royale de Musique gave 6 to 9 concerts spirituels per year, but only during Holy Week
Holy Week
Holy Week in Christianity is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter...

. They became a regular feature at the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire
Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire
The Orchestre de la Société des concerts du Conservatoire was a symphony orchestra established in Paris in 1828. It gave its first concert on 9 March 1828 with music by Beethoven, Rossini, Meifreid, Rode and Cherubini....

 shortly after it was founded in 1828 and remained so for most of the nineteenth century. They were frequently benefit performances featuring notable soloists - for example, Charles-Valentin Alkan
Charles-Valentin Alkan
Charles-Valentin Alkan was a French composer and one of the greatest virtuoso pianists of his day. His attachment to his Jewish origins is displayed both in his life and his work. He entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of six, earning many awards, and as an adult became a famous virtuoso...

 led one of the three Concerts Spirituels in 1828.

The 20th century

In 1988 Hervé Niquet
Hervé Niquet
Hervé Niquet is a French conductor, harpsichordist, tenor, and the director of Le Concert Spirituel, specializing in French Baroque music.-Biography:...

, a specialist in Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

music, founded an early-music ensemble called Le Concert Spirituel in order to perform the repertoire of French music composed in the eighteenth century on period instruments.


French bibliography

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.