For our prelude this weekend, I will play Rigaudon from Idoménée, by French composer André Campra (1660 – 1744).
Campra was born to a prestigious family in Aix-en-Provence, France. His first music teacher was his father, who himself was an accomplished violinist. Campra received further training at the choir school of Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur, and later went on to become a priest.
Campra served as music director at numerous cathedrals, perhaps most notably Notre-Dame de Paris. His work there was innovative, and somewhat controversial. He had a secret love of theatrical music, and frequently published his theatrical compositions under his brother’s name, in order to avoid the church’s scrutiny. In 1700, he resigned his position at the cathedral and dedicated himself to composing theatrical music.
Campra was successful in his new career. He enjoyed the admiration of audiences and critics alike, but the press was often unkind to him. Many of his operas, including Idoménée, remain popular to this day.
Enjoy the music this weekend - and until we meet again, take care and stay well!