Online Encyclopedia

LULLY

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 121 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LULLY, JEAN-BAPTISTE (c. 1633-1687), Italian composer, was born in Florence. Through the duc de Guise he entered the services of Madame de Montpensier as scullery-boy, and with the help of this lady his musical talents were cultivated. A scurrilous poem on his patroness resulted in his dismissal. He then studied the theory of music under Metra and entered the orchestra of the French court, being subsequently appointed director of music to Louis XIV. and director of the Paris opera. The influence of his music produced a radical revolution in the de Tarraga (c. 2370), a converted Jew who studied the occult. Others are ascribed by Morhof to a Raymundus Lullius Neophytus, who lived about 1440. See ALCHEMY, and also J. Ferguson, Bibliotheca chemica (1906). style of the dances of the court itself. Instead of the slow and stately movements which had prevailed until then, he introduced lively ballets of rapid rhythm. In December 1661 he was naturalized as a Frenchman, his original name being Giovanni Battista Lulli. In 1662 he was appointed music master to the royal family. In 1681 he was made a court secretary to the king and ennobled. While directing a Te Deum on the 8th of January 1687 with a rather long baton he injured his foot so seriously that a cancerous growth resulted which caused his death on the 22nd of March. Having found a congenial poet in Quinault, Lully composed twenty operas, which met with a most enthusiastic reception. Indeed he has good claim to be considered the founder of French opera, forsaking the Italian method of separate recitative and aria for a dramatic consolidation of the two and a quickened action of the story such as was more congenial to the taste of the French public. He effected important improvements in the composition of the orchestra, into which he introduced several new instruments. Lully enjoyed the friendship of Moliere, for some of whose best plays he composed illustrative music. His Miserere, written for the funeral of the minister Sequier, is a work of genius; and very remarkable are also his minor sacred compositions. On his death-bed he wrote Bisogna morire, peccatore.
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