1902 Encyclopedia > Jean-Baptiste de Lully (Giovanni Battista di Lulli)

Jean-Baptiste de Lully
(birth name: Giovanni Battista di Lulli)
French composer of Italian parentage

GIOVANNI BATTISTA LULLY (1633-1687), was born in Florence, and joined in 1650, as a violinist, the orchestra of the French court. Though friendless and in a foreign country, his genius soon opened for him a road to honours and wealth. He was appointed director of music to King Louis XIV., and director of the Paris opera. The influence of his music was so great as to produce a radical revolution in the style of the dances of the court itself. Instead of the slow aud stately movements, which had prevailed until then, he introduced lively and rhythmically quick ballets. Having found a congenial poet in Quinault, Lully composed twenty operas, which met with a most enthusiastic reception from a delighted public. He effected important improvements in the composition of the orchestra, into which he introduced several new instruments. Lully enjoyed the friendship of Moliere, for some of whose best plays he composed illustrative music. His Miserere, written for the funeral of the minister Sequier, is a splendid work of genius; and very remarkable are also his minor sacred compositions. On bis death-bed he wrote Bisugna morire, peccatore. Lully's right to be numbered among the most original and the best musicians is undoubted. His music is full of the most charming and enthralling forms of Italian melody; and the fact of its being even now performed, after the lapse of so many years, is proof sufficient of its inherent beauty and intrinsic worth.

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