Who was Louis XIV? As the self-proclaimed “Sun King,” was he a tyrant who ruled the people of France with an iron fist? Or was he a titan of benevolence, who oversaw an extraordinary expansion of arts and culture as France flourished during his reign of over seventy years (1643-1714)? Of course, he was both—and it cannot be denied that his autocratic oversight influenced the artistic advancements of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.
Those of us involved with the Kansas City Baroque Consortium invite you to come experience music composed during and just after Louis XIV’s reign. French music composed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is simply magnificent. It is rich, full of ornamentation and surface-level brilliance; but underneath the music pulses to steady dance rhythms inspired by the king who funded nearly all of the composers you will hear on our program. As you listen to these works, by composers such as André Campra, François Couperin, and Jean-Philippe Rameau, imagine that you aren’t in hot, humid Kansas City, but rather at the court of Versailles; perhaps you are strolling through the lush gardens and admiring the fountains; or maybe you are in the palace itself, getting lost in the famous Hall of Mirrors or regarding the frescoes that adorn the walls. The luxury of Versailles perfectly matches the music that was written for Louis XIV’s court. Getting lost in this music is like going back in time, to a place where beauty is not only appreciated, but is rather the only aesthetic allowed by the king.
Please join us for our final concert on our summer series, which features music from the French Baroque, as well as a new piece by Anthony Maglione: Friday, August 17, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in KCMO. Tickets can be purchased via our website: kcbaroque.org. We look forward to seeing you there!