Concert spiritual

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Concert spirituel ( French : "spiritual concert" or "spiritual, witty concert") is the name for a concert event that existed in Paris from 1725 to 1791 and was groundbreaking for musical tastes in 18th century France .

The organizers

Poster of the Concert spirituel from August 15, 1754

Before the birth of the Concerts spirituels , it was difficult to organize public concerts in Paris because of a privilege held by the Royal Academy of Music ( Académie royale de musique ). The concert series was initiated by the composer and oboist of the royal band Anne Danican Philidor (1681–1728, brother of François-André Danican Philidor ), who received permission from King Louis XV. and received from the Academy, under the following conditions: The concerts were only allowed to be held on days on which the opera was not playing due to Catholic holidays; these were about 30 days a year. There was also a substantial sum of money to be paid to the Academy. The first concert could be given on March 17, 1725, the program included a concerto grosso by Arcangelo Corelli and two motets by Michel-Richard Delalande . The concerts took place in the concert hall ( Salle des Cent-Suisses ) of the Tuileries Palace, a hall 17 m wide, 19 m long and nine meters high, which could accommodate up to 100 musicians and 1,800 listeners. Thus, the first permanently usable concert hall in France was created in Paris.

Philidor teamed up with Michel Delannoy as organizers. From 1728 the concert privilege passed to Pierre Simart and Jean-Joseph Mouret . In 1731 new terms were negotiated with the academy, which posed financial problems for the organizers.

Because of these difficulties, the academy took over the direction of the concerts in December 1734, which it held until 1748. Thereafter, the direction of the concerts changed several times. From 1755 to 1762 Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville directed the concerts in an absolutist manner. In 1771 the concerts passed into the hands of the city of Paris. The city appointed Pierre-Montan Berton as the director, Simon Leduc and François-Joseph Gossec in 1773, and the singer Joseph Legros from 1777 . In 1778, Mozart created his Paris symphony for the series of events on behalf of Legros, and in the same year the German tenor Anton Raaf performed nine concerts.

Repertoire and musicians

According to an agreement with the academy, no French music or operas were allowed to be performed. At the beginning, contemporary sacred music and Italian music, secular cantatas and opera arias were performed. French music was only allowed to be played from 1727 onwards.

The Concerts spirituels were also the opportunity to Jean-Baptiste Lully declining Grands motets listed. Over time, more and more instrumental music was performed, so musicians like Pierre Baillot could make a name for themselves here.

Numerous foreign composers and performers also performed here. In 1737 Georg Philipp Telemann performed his works; later Joseph Haydn had great success with several symphonies and his Stabat mater , as did Antonio Salieri , who wrote the oratorio cantata Le Jugement dernier for the institution in 1787 . On March 17, 1782, Giovanni Battista Viotti performed for the first time with great success in the Concert Spirituel. On the other hand, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was unable to win the favor of the public during his second stay in Paris in 1778 and even had to leave without payment. Even Jean-Philippe Rameau's failure at the concerts was so large that it occurred only once.

At the total of 1280 concerts in the history of the Concert spirituel , works by around 500 composers, some of whom are now forgotten, were performed.


In 1988, the baroque specialist Hervé Niquet founded an ensemble called Le Concert Spirituel that performs the repertoire of 18th century French music on historical instruments .


Web links