A French cantata
for bass (A-e'), violin and bc
Thétis borrows elements of French opera in the thunder symphonie preceding Jupiter's air (no. 5) and in Neptune's air (No. 3) which ends with an instrumental 'storm' passage. The work opens with a prelude based on the grave section of the French overture.
Thétis is a sea-goddess, one of the primal beings, and of extraordinary beauty. The cantata tells of her being courted by both Zeus (Jupiter) the thunderer, and Poseidon (Neptune) the ruler of the waves. Both demonstrate their power in terrifying, but characteristic fashion. In fact Thétis in the end married a mortal, Peleus , and her famous son was Achilles. The moral is that if you are beautiful enough you may choose whomever pleases you most.