Louis-Nicolas Clerambault

Louis-Nicolas Clérambault (1676-1749) was one of a family of musicians: his father was one of the 24 violons du Roi, and his sons went on to succeed him in his musical appointments.

Renowned as an organist, he held two important posts in Paris - those at the Grands Augustins, and Saint-Sulpice. He gained the patronage of Madame de Maintenon, who was formerly the King’s mistress, secretly married to him in the 1680s. Under her influence there was less emphasis on lavish court entertainments: instead, she held musical evenings for the King in her own apartments. Clérambault was involved in arranging these musical occasions. It is probable that many of his cantatas were written for the King’s entertainment.

Although he was well-regarded for his sacred music and his keyboard and instrumental compositions, he was better known as a master of the French Cantata, equal in reputation to Campra, Bernier and Batistin (Stuck): he “wrote his cantatas with the assurance and self-discipline of one to the manner born”.