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Music in Versailles palace

Versailles had become the capital of music in Europe during 1650 to 1720. it was under the patronage of the kings Louis XIV and Louis XV. In fact, Louis XIV was considering music as a symbol of his power and wanted to show off his magnificence by the help of composers through their musical works. His motive was to attire all the greatest musicians and composers from all over the country and other countries as well. So that they could contribute to find a new musical style, called baroque music which was based on ornamentation and dissonances. 

Among all these greatest composers, we are going to perform François Couperin today, who is one of the best and very famous, known as “François Couperin the Great”. He came from an important family of musicians and was being appointed at Versailles in 1694 as teacher and composer. He notably taught music to the Princesses of France, daughters of Louis XV. He wrote his three Darkness Lessons in 1714 for a group of college girls near Paris, using a famous text where wise men celebrate Jerusalem, the great city of Palestine.  Jerusalem is also the theme of a recent piece written by Philippe Hersant, composer living today in France and fond of ancient music.

I will also perform a beautiful piece of Sainte Colombe, famous composer and viola da gamba player. We have very few information about this composer actually, except he was living outside Paris and Versailles at the end of 17th century and was virtuoso in viola da gamba. His music is often meditative and sad, like the piece tears which comes from a larger song called “the cries”.   

The last piece of the concert is a soloists and choir piece, written by Marc-Antoine Charpentier who was the musical teacher of the Princes of France in Versailles. He also wrote several pieces for college girls in Paris, such as this song that will be performed today with the participation of AUW choir.

Just before the Third Couperin’s Lesson, I will propose a village melody written by a Dutch composer, Jacob Van Eyck, for flute. This very simple melody recalls us the atmosphere of France and Europe outside of Versailles in a way which can directly and simply touch the heart.

Selvam Thorez

Shreya Nayak, soprano

Born in 1996 in a Bengali family, Shreya Nayak began studying music at the age of 10. In 2013, she participated in a masterclass conducted by the internationally renowned Indo-British Soprano Patricia Rozario and the pianist Mark Troop. She developed an instant liking to western classical music. She presently studies under the Mumbai based Soprano ‘Minaish Doctor’. Shreya is a regular participant of the Giving Voice Society Programs and has performed in various Indian cities. She had her first operatic role in an all Indian cast of Benjamin Britten “The little sweep”; at the Conbrio festival held at the National center for performing arts (NCPA) in July, 2013. She went on to perform in Henry Purcell Opera “Dido and Aeneas”; in Mumbai, Pune, Panaji and Delhi in 2014 organized by GVS. In 2015, GVS performed scenes from Opera concert in which Shreya performed the role of Atalanta in “Xerxes”; and Elisetta “il matrimonio segreto”. She performed in GVS’s organized Domenico Cimarosa’s opera, ‘Il Matrimonio Segreto’ as Carolina(soprano) under the baton of Indian born Danish conductor Maria Badstue. Performed in the sold out shows at the Royal Opera House Mumbai in July, 2017. German Consul General invited her to sing the German and the Indian national for the German National Day on the 5th of October and she have been invited to perform again this year.

In December 2017, she was invited to sing in the French festival ‘Bonjour India’ in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Chennai. She also performed the part of Celia as an understudy in Joseph Haydn’s opera, La Fedelta Premiata, Produced by GVS under the baton of Australian /British conductor Natalie Murray Beale and performed at The Royal Opera House Mumbai in August 2018. The same month, the director of French baroque group Akademia, Francoise Lasserre, organized the first Indian National competition in western classical singing ‘Voices of India’ in which she was selected as finalist by a prestigious international jury.

Anoushka Pokhare, soprano

Born in Mumbai in 1995, Anoushka Pokhare, a young Mezzo-Soprano with pure dark voice of varying colors has been singing since the age of 5. It was at the KMCollege of Music and Technology that her journey into the world of Opera began.

She completed her diploma in Music at the KM College in the year 2016 and was awarded the 'Best Performer' Anoushka then went on to graduate in Music from Middlesex University,

London. After a few performances in India. She went on to perform at the Arsenal de Metz and Opera de Reims in France. She also performed in solo concerts at the Burgh House and Arts Depot, London. She has completed eighth grade in electronic keyboard and sixth

grade in speech and drama from Trinity Guildhall College, London.

Her association with the 'Giving Voice Society' began in 2017 when she performed the role of Elisetta in the first full length Opera ' Il Matrimonio Segreto at the Royal Opera House, Mumbai. She was invited again in August 2018 to sing the role of Amaranta in the opera ‘La fedeltà premiata by Haydn.

She recently won the award of ‘The Best Young Singer’ at the very first Indian singing competition ‘Voices of India’ held at NCPA Mumbai.

Musical program :

Philippe Hersant (born in 1948):

Le Chemin de  Jerusalem,

for viola da gamba

François Couperin (1668 -1733):

Seconde Leçon des ténèbres

for soprano and viola da gamba

Anonymous from the 17° century:

Fantaisia for viola da gamba

Sainte Colombe (around 1640 - around 1700)

Les Pleurs

for viola da gamba

François Couperin (1668 - 1733): First Darkness Première Leçon des ténèbres

for soprano and viola da gamba

Jacob Van Eyck (1590 - 1556):

The song of Daphnee

for flute

François Couperin (1668 - 1733): Third for

Troisème Leçon des ténèbres

for two sopranos and viola da gamba

Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643 -1704),

Pange Lingua

motet for sopranos, choir and viola da gamba