Music in the Times of King Louis XIV  Cover Image
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Music in the Times of King Louis XIV

Author(s): Leszek Kolankiewicz
Subject(s): Fine Arts / Performing Arts
Published by: Stowarzyszenie Czasu Kultury
Keywords: film Tous les Matins du Monde; directed by Alain Corneau and based on a novel by Pascal Quignard; as a story about the extraordinary power of music; metaphysics of music played on the viola da gamba by the master Sainte Colombe and his apprentice Marin Ma

Summary/Abstract: Art can add “brightness to the world”, but it can also “bring out the shadows of the great beyond”. It may also make the visible world grander just as it can become “a bridge to the invisible side”. The film Tous les matins du monde, directed by Alain Corneau and based on a novel by Pascal Quignard, is set in the times of Louis XIV and tells the story of the extraordinary beauty of music set. The lyrical and visionary melody which comes from the viola da gamba is an element of the film that not only embraces life, but also touches death. These sounds, which have such an enormous impact, come from the genius composer Sainte Colombe. This withdrawn artist lives as a hermit in the country and has devoted his whole life to one passion: music, and through this devotion finds a way of playing his viola da gamba that is so expressive that he invokes the spirit of his long-dead wife. Sainte Colombe is the teacher of a very talented musician, Marin Marais and the lessons the young man receives prove invaluable during his later career at the court of the Sun King. The master makes his apprentice realise that music cannot be reduced to merely technical virtuosity or excellent improvisation, but that it conveys a miracle “when playing becomes not playing - playing without using an instrument”. Later on as royal viola da gamba player and composer Marais in turn invokes the spirit of his late master while performing his very moving piece Tears. The ghost says to Marais “I am proud to have been your teacher” and in this way the magic of the art is fulfilled. The music of Colombe and Marais stands out against the works of another artistic genius, Jean Baptiste Lully. In Gérard Corbiau’s film The King Is Dancing the viewer can see how art can very easily adapt to social and economic conditions in order to take advantage of them. Lully wins the heart of Louis XIV by skilfully feeding the king’s love of music and dance.

  • Issue Year: 2004
  • Issue No: 02-03
  • Page Range: 60-67
  • Page Count: 8
  • Language: Polish