Armide paper1

Armide paper1 - Jake Priddy Music 111, TR Prof. Adam Booth...

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Jake Priddy Music 111, TR Prof. Adam Booth Time, Sound and Story: A Look at Jean Baptiste Lully’s Armide On Saturday, February 3, our class was privileged to attend a concert opera performance of Jean Baptiste Lully’s Armide at the University of Maryland. In this report, I will discuss both the historical and musical content of the work itself, as well as its continued relevance to audiences today, using the Opera Lafayette rendition as a source. It is worth noting that Lully himself did not “invent” Armide. While the operatic interpretation is his, the story is based on a much older work – namely, the epic poem “Gerusalemme Liberata” (Jerusalem Delivered) by Torquato Tasso, an Italian poet. It is the story of the warrior princess/sorceress, Armide, and her love/hate relationship with the Crusader Renaud (Rinaldo in the original poem). Renaud is the one warrior she cannot best on the field of battle, and so devises a plan to use love as a weapon against him; a plan that ultimately backfires, and leads to Armide’s downfall. This story was famous throughout Europe within Tusso’s lifetime, and it is probable that The Court of Louis XIV was intimately familiar with it. This brings us to the original purpose of Lully’s Armide . Lully was in service to Louis XIV as a court composer at the time he penned this opera. It is written as a “Tragedy in Five Acts” with a two-part Prologue. The full orchestra, in dupal meter, plays the Prologue Entrée. The tempo is vivace, with an allegro dynamic supported by the strings and woodwinds over a relatively simple cadence. The effect is a march, regal and dignified, yet light and joyful in mood. This is the music of the king, and it will be used throughout the opera as a major thematic component of the music that distinguishes our hero, Renaud. In this way, Lully reminds the listener of who his “real” hero is, and further musical references to Renaud go hand in hand with King Louis. The Prologue is then broken into two minuets, performed by “Wisdom” and 1
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Jake Priddy Music 111, TR Prof. Adam Booth
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Armide paper1 - Jake Priddy Music 111, TR Prof. Adam Booth...

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