Jean Paul Égide Martini (1741-1816) - Messe de Requiem (1815)
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Composer: Jean Paul Égide Martini (1741-1816)
Work: Messe de Requiem pour la Pompe funèbre de Louis XVI et de Marie Antoinette (1815)
Performers: Adriana Gonzales (soprano); Sébastien Droy (tenor); Mikhail Timoshenko (bass-baritone); Le Concert Spirituel; Hervé Niquet
Engraving: Reinier Vinkeles (1741-1816) - Terechtstelling van Maria Antoinetta van Oostenrijk, voormaals Koningin van Frankrijk, op den 16 den van Wijnmaand 1793 (1799)
Further info: https://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/grovemusic/view/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.001.0001/omo-9781561592630-e-0000017926
Listen free: No available
Jean-Paul-Gilles [Martin, Johann Paul Aegidius; Schwarzendorf; Martini il Tedesco] Martini
(Freystadt, 31 August 1741 - Paris, 10 February 1816)
A son of the organist Andreas Martin, he was trained first by his father and later at the Jesuit seminary in Neuburg. In 1758 he began studies in philosophy at the University of Fribourg, supporting himself by playing the organ at the local Franciscan convent. During this period he was known as Schwarzendorf. In 1760 he arrived destitute in Nancy, where his musical gifts soon brought him to the attention of two influential patrons: in Fléville the Marchioness of Desarmoises, who held what was reputed to be the most aristocratic and witty salon in the provinces, and in Lunéville Stanislas I, the exiled King of Poland, Duke of Lorraine and father-in-law of Louis XV. Shortly after Stanislas’s death in 1764 Martini went to Paris, where his instrumental works began to appear under the name ‘Martini il Tedesco’ to distinguish him from G.B. Martini. Thanks probably to his Lorraine patrons, Martini had introductions to important courtiers. After winning a contest for march composition, he received the recommendation of the Duke of Choiseul and was consequently appointed to the Marquis of Chamborant’s regiment (with responsibility for composing military music, now apparently lost) and, more importantly, to a post in the service of the Prince of Condé. In 1773 the prince promoted him to the position of intendant de la musique, in which he wrote chamber music, romances and chansons, and composed and arranged theatre music. The Duchess of Bourbon lent her support to the première of Le fermier cru sourd, but to no avail. Martini’s celebration of Louis XVI’s accession, Henri IV, met with better success, though the king reportedly found it boring and sycophantic. Court performances of many of Martini’s works followed. His resetting of Favart’s Annette et Lubin brought him to the attention of the Count of Artois (the future Charles X), who then appointed him his directeur de la musique and had the opera presented at Fontainebleu (6 February 1789).
In 1787 Martini became the unofficial director of the concerts de la reine, and two years later he was appointed general director of the Théâtre de Monsieur (later the Théâtre Feydeau). However, with the fall of the monarchy (1792) the latter position disappeared, and his principal patrons emigrated. One of his collaborators, the Chevalier de Curt, published in London a collection of Martini’s songs (many of them connected to members of the royal family) and his Prière pour le roi, which by 1793 would have been considered subversive in France. His involvement with the court was well known, and he risked arrest as a supporter of the ancien régime; he left the capital for Lyons and returned only with the end of the Terror (late 1794). With the Thermidorian Reaction he again benefited from official support; although his proposal for the reform of music education was not adopted, he received a special government grant in 1795 and an appointment as inspecteur to the new Conservatoire (he assumed duties in 1798 and retired, unwillingly, in 1802). He also participated in government-sponsored fêtes. Martini adapted skilfully to the changing regimes. After the signing of the concordat re-establishing Roman Catholicism in France (1802) and the failure of his most recent operas to stay in the repertory, he turned increasingly to church music. He also served the imperial regime, and his Messe solemnelle and Te Deum were performed on official state occasions. His scène héroïque in honour of Napoleon’s marriage in 1810 to Marie-Louise of Austria includes representations of classical Greece (Sappho), the French heritage (Corneille) and the emperor’s favourite bard (‘Ossian’). Yet with the Restoration of the Bourbons he insisted on – and received – his appointment as surintendant de la musique du roi (to which in 1788 he had been named en survivance, next in line after the death of the current holder). His last compositions were written for the royal chapel; for some he reworked compositons of the previous decade.
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