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Charpentier, Marc-Antoine

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Charpentier, Marc-Antoine, significant French composer; b. Paris, c. 1647; d. there, Feb. 24, 1704. He studied with Carissimi in Italy. After returning to Paris, he became active as a composer to Molière’s acting troupe; he was also in the service of Marie de Lorraine, the Duchess of Guise, later serving as her haute-contre, and finally as her maître de musique until her death (1688); likewise he was in the service of the grand Dauphin. Louis XIV granted him a pension (1683), and he subsequently served as music teacher to Philippe, Duke of Chartres, was maître de musique to the Jesuit church of St. Louis, and finally held that post at Sainte-Chapelle (1698–1704). Charpentier was one of the leading French composers of his era, distinguishing himself in both sacred and secular works. He wrote some 30 works for the stage, including the tragédies lyriques David et Jonathas (1688) and Médée (1693), cantatas, overtures, ballet airs, pastorals, incidental pieces, airs sérieux, airs a boire, etc. H. Hitchcock has prepared Les OEuvres de Marc-Antoine Charpentier: Catalogue raisonné (Paris, 1982).

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