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In this tribute to the famous Vingt-quatre Violons du Roy at the height of its powers, the Sebastians juxtaposes Bach’s Overture in the French Style with music for the famous orchestra.
The “24 Violins” was the official string band for France’s court at Versailles. It was so alluring that the British court copied its five-part structure almost immediately. The distinctive sound of the orchestra came from the way the parts were distributed, with three inner lines played by different sizes of viola, and with the outer parts (the melody and bass) weighted more heavily. On top of that, every member of the band was impeccably credentialed; for its time, it seems like it must have been an incredibly disciplined ensemble.
We have gathered our largest ever group of strings to try to reimagine the sound of this magnificent ensemble, performing music by Jean-Baptiste Lully, who was famous as Louis XIV’s maître de musique. Lully is generally considered the inventor of the French overture, which was the two-part musical structure used to open his operas.
In 1735, almost 50 years after the death of Lully, Bach published his Overture in the French Style for harpsichord. Often called the French Overture, the suite opens with a large piece in Lully’s overture form: a slow section filled with jerky dotted rhythms and ornaments, followed by a fast fugal section filled with contrast. The rest of Bach’s “Overture” is filled with dance movements, and not the traditional variety. The Sebastians will intersperse the movements of Bach’s work with Lully’s music for his own orchestra, drawing a line from one country and time period to the other.
Dessus de Violons, Hautes-contres, Tailles, Quintes
Violoncelles, Violes de gambe, Basses de violon
Safety and COVID-19
The safety of our performers, staff, and audience are of the utmost importance to us. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, we will closely monitor local conditions as concerts date draw near. We reserve the right to require proof of vaccination, masking, and distance inside the concert hall. We will announce our safety procedures for each concert in advance of the performance date.
By purchasing a ticket and attending a concert, you acknowledge that despite all reasonable precautions, there are risks in attending live musical events and you agree to accept those risks yourself. You release the Sebastians (legally, Sebastian Chamber Players, Inc.) from any claims based on your attendance of one of our concerts. Your in-person concert ticket grants you access to the virtual concert experience—available shortly after the performance. If you have any questions or need assistance, we are always reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.