3 et 4 novembre 2015
Chapelle royale du Château de Versailles
The death of Louis XIV on 1 September 1715 left the Kingdom of France orphan after a reign of 72 years, during which the state, the monarch’s power, sciences, arts and the frontiers of France were entirely redesigned. The long expected event still caused a wave of shock and the whole Kingdom mourned with grand funeral ceremonies, three of which are now know as the Royal Funerals of Louis XIV.
The first, the burial itself took place at the Basilique Royale of Saint-Denis on 23 October 1715. On 9 September the impressive funeral procession carrying the King’s body left Versailles. The Basilique covered with all the funeral decoration habitual in these circumstances, designed by Berain and made by the Menus Plaisirs du Roi was draped in black and all the funeral ornaments of the Crown of France were displayed. The ceremonies in the presence of the King’s body lasted for 40 days, during which a permanent religious service unfolded, marked by the death-knell for the King’s death, tolling three times a day.
On 23 October the Funeral itself took place. The King’s body was placed in an immense Catafalque decorated with burning candles, allegorical figures adorned the angles and colossal statues symbolized the virtues of the deceased Prince. A black drapery, decorated with fleurs de lys, tears and silver embroidered crests covered the whole. The royal family and the entire Court attended, the Swiss Guards stood in the choir and the Gardes du Corps du roi surrounded the catafalque. The Musique de la Chapelle Royale and the Musique de la Chambre du Roi were also present, conducted by Maître Michel-Richard Delalande, who had been at the service of Louis XIV for 32 years.
After this sumptuous ceremony, two others took place “in representation” (i.e. without the body) at the Sainte Chapelle and then in Notre-Dame de Paris, with the same decorations by Berain, and again considerable attendance and lavish musical performances. Raphaël Pichon has decided to revive this funeral music cycle, playing first the Music for the Lying in State of Louis XIV, then to evoke his Funeral Procession; finally the Office for the Dead as played by the Musique du Roi, with Delalande’s grandiose De Profundis, followed by the Absolution and the Burial with plainsong and falso-bordone; finally the orchestra plays “The King is Dead; Long live the King!” The Funeral Ceremony and the Anniversary Mass bring the concert to a grand end with Delalande’s Dies Irae.
Raphaël Pichon cals on a great number of musicians and singers called on to interpret this forgotten music and conducts his Ensemble Pygmalion to the summits of sacred music, using the entire space of the Chapelle Royale in Versailles for sound effects, and drawing on its symbolic strength.
Lying in state
Jean Colin – Miserere, falso-bordone for 6 voices
André Danican Philidor - Drums and Funeral March for the King's Procession
Office for the Dead
Michel-Richard de Lalande - De Profundis, Grand Motet
Absoution & Burial
Plainsong and Falso-bordone
Jean Colin - Pie Jesu, falso-bordone for 6 voices
Fanfare "Le Roy est mort ! Vive le Roy !"
Funeral ceremony & first anniversary
Michel-Richard de Lalande - Dies Irae, Grand Motet
Céline Scheen, soprano
Chantal Santon, soprano
Samuel Boden, tenor
Marc Mauillon, barytone
Christian Immler, bass
Raphaël Pichon, conductor