Castanet Events

De Luxe: Music of France around 1700

Sunday, November 19     02:30 PM

Kelowna Forum, 1317 Ethel (at Cawston), Kelowna, Kelowna Locate on the map

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Early Music Studio presents:

De Luxe: Music of France around 1700
Susan Adams, harpsichord and Clive Titmuss, baroque guitar, lute, theorbo, mandora

Music of Couperin, Daquin, de Visée, Mouton, Gallot

Sunday, November 19 at 2:30 pm
Kelowna Forum, 1317 Ethel (at Cawston), in Kelowna

Tickets: $22 Adults, $20 Seniors and Students at Kelowna Tickets Orchard Park, Annegret’s Chocolates and More info at

We have taken our idea of luxury primarily from the French court of the early 1700’s--deep colour, rich fabric and fine food and wine. The idea of décor and comfort in the home, and even the layout of our houses, descends from trends in furniture, design and art from French chateaux around 1700. But what music did they listen to, and how did the impulse to celebrate luxury translate into music? To answer that question, Early Music Studio presents a programme of music of harpsichord, lute, theorbo and baroque guitar from the Court of Louix XIV, the Sun King. The instruments are intricately decorated and so is the music. Though the underlying melodies and harmonies are simple, almost like folk music, the way that they are worked out is elaborate, almost to the extent that refinement comes close to being the point of the music’s existence. It is like lace, but made of notes.

In the expression of the French love of luxury in music, the instruments themselves play a role: The harpsichord works by plucking the strings, like a mechanical guitar. French-style harpsichords have not one, but two keyboards mounted on top of one another. They have not one set of strings, but three sets, and four ranks of plucking jacks. The number of combinations and the sheer complexity gives musicians and tuners nightmares. Similarly, the French played the then-novel guitar, and they made and played fancier guitars than anybody else did at the time, edged with inlays of ebony and ivory, made from the most prized woods. They revelled in the largest and smallest lutes: the theorbo and the mandora. The mandora is a miniature lute, which children, with their tiny expressive fingers, could play easily.

The composers of music for these diverse instruments were figures of mystery, attaining almost cult status among the nobility at Louis’ court. Employed in private service, they were called upon to play for gatherings of only a few people. We may not live, eat or dress as they did, and we probably would not want to. But being able to hear this exotic music in person, played live on instruments of the period in the hands of Early Music Studio musicians Clive Titmuss and Susan Adams, is to enjoy greatest of their luxuries.