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”.


Cle 1

La Mort d'Hercule

Cantata

for bass (G-e'), violin and continuo

Price: £ 7.90
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Cle 2

Leandre et Hero

Cantata

for soprano (c'-a''flat), flute, violin and bc

Price: £ 10.50

Leandre et Hero comes from the second book of cantatas, published in 1713. The cantata is based on the tragic story of the Leander the lover of Hero who is a priestess of the goddess of love, and lives in the city of Sestos, on the Grecian side of the Hellespont. Leander lives in Abydos on the Asian side. To reach his lover, Leander attempts to swim the Hellespont. In this version of the story, the jealous god of the north wind causes a storm in which Leander drowns. Hero, grief-stricken, casts herself into the waves. Neptune however takes the tragic lovers into the realm of the immortals where they are united forever. The cantata gives Clérambault ample scope for a range of dramatic expressions: of eager love; of heroic resolve; of terror; and inconsolable grief. The cantata concludes with a reproach to Love – “always on the most tender of lovers fall the most cruel sufferings”.

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Sample page: download
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