André Campra

Biography

Born: December 4, 1660; Aix-en-Provence, France   Died: June 29, 1744; Versailles, France  
The most significant composer for the French stage between Lully and Rameau, Campra was born in Aix-en-Provence in 1660. His father, an amateur violinist, provided him with his first music lessons, and while he was a slow learner at first, he did begin to show talent, and joined the choir of St. Sauveur in 1674. At one point he nearly lost his place in the choir when he was caught giving unauthorized performances in secular theaters on the side. Read more In August of 1681 he became the music master at the church of Ste. Trophime in Arles, and two years later moved on to the same position at the Cathedral of St. Étienne in Toulouse. In 1694 he took a leave of absence that became permanent when he became music master at Notre Dame. Until he arrived in Paris he had composed mostly sacred music, but even though he had reached a top position in the world of church music, the dramatic stage once again began to draw his creativity.

in 1697, he presented a new form of his own invention, the opéra-ballet. A loosely plotted song-and-dance spectacle, L'Europe galante was well received by its aristocratic audience. Its successors, the similar divertissements Vénus (1698) and The Venetian Carnival (1699), were likewise successful. He had published these in his younger brother's name because he was afraid of losing his church appointment, but after these successes, he was confident in his ability to support himself with secular music. In 1700, he left Notre Dame and wrote his first opera, Hesione. Of the eight operas (or tragédies-lyriques) that followed, only Tancrède (1702) and Idomenée (1712) have been performed with any regularity in the twentieth century. Campra assumed a dominant position in the world of dramatic music; he was granted a publishing monopoly and, in 1718, an annual no-strings-attached pension by King Louis XV. In 1708, he wrote his first book of secular cantatas in French, specifying that he wanted to combine the liveliness of Italian music with the delicacy of French music; this was followed by a second book in 1714 and a third in 1728. In 1720, Campra began to write sacred music again, and in 1722 he was made master of the royal chapel and official composer and music director for the Prince of Conti. He wrote a good deal of material for the royal chapel between then and his retirement in 1742.

Campra's prolific writing was more or less evenly divided among opéra-ballet, sacred music, and tragic opera. While the opéra-ballet was intended as light entertainment, Campra's works in the form are musically sophisticated and varied. They combine characteristics of Italian music, particularly an emphasis on melody, with various influences from Lully, providing new ideas after French music had become somewhat stale under Lully's near-complete domination. Similarly, his tragic operas also show innovations, such as the highly atmospheric musical special effects of Idomenée and Hesione; these paved the way for Rameau's musical language. Like that of his contemporary Bach, Campra's sacred music also wove Italian influences into an essentially conservative idiom. Read less

There are 46 André Campra recordings available.

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Works

André Campra


MOST POPULAR WORKS
Miserere: Symphonie ... Miserere mei Deus
Miserere: Amplius lava me
Miserere: Ecce enim in iniquitatibus
Miserere: Asperges me
Miserere: Averte faciem tuam
Miserere: Redde mihi laetitiam
Miserere: Libera me de sanguinibus
Miserere: Quoniam si voluisses
Miserere: Benigne fac Domine
Miserere: Tunc acceptaberis
Messe de Requiem: I. Requiem
Messe de Requiem: II. Kyrie
Messe de Requiem: III. Graduel
Messe de Requiem: IV. Offertoire
Messe de Requiem: V. Sanctus
Messe de Requiem: VI. Agnus Dei
Messe de Requiem: VII. Post-Communion
WORKS
Lentement: Dans un desert inaccessible
Aria: Par les vents et par l'orage
Symphonie: Ah! qu'un coeur est malheureux
Vivement er mesure: La Coquette nous trahit
Gravement: Fils de la nuit et du silence
Loure: Je borne mes reveries
Recitative: Que les Amants dans leurs chaines
De profundis: Symphonie
De profundis: De profundis clamavi (Recit de basse-taille)
De profundis: Si iniquitates (Recit de haute-contre)
De profundis: Quia apus te (Choeur)
De profundis: A custodia (Recit de dessus)
De profundis: Qui apus te (Trio haute-contre/taille/basse-taille)
De profundis: Et ipse rediment (Dialogue haute-contre/taille/basse-taille)
De profundis: Requiem (Choeur)
Exaudiat te Dominus (psaume 19): Exaudiat te Dominus (Recit de taille)
Exaudiat te Dominus (psaume 19): Mittat tibi auxilium ( Choeur)
Exaudiat te Dominus (psaume 19): Memor sit omnis sacrificii tui (Dialogue haute-conte/basse-taille)
Exaudiat te Dominus (psaume 19): Lµtabimur in salutari tuo (Choeur & basse-taille)
Exaudiat te Dominus (psaume 19): Impleat Dominus (Duo haute-contre/taille)
Exaudiat te Dominus (psaume 19): Hii in curribus (Duo de basses-tailles)
Exaudiat te Dominus (psaume 19): Ipsi obligate sunt (Choeur)
Exaudiat te Dominus (psaume 19): Domine salvum fac Regem (Trio haute-contre/taille/basse-taille)
Exaudiat te Dominus (psaume 19): Et exaudi nos (Choeur)
Miserere: Symphonie ... Miserere mei Deus
Miserere: Amplius lava me
Miserere: Ecce enim in iniquitatibus
Miserere: Asperges me
Miserere: Averte faciem tuam
Miserere: Redde mihi laetitiam
Miserere: Libera me de sanguinibus
Miserere: Quoniam si voluisses
Miserere: Benigne fac Domine
Miserere: Tunc acceptaberis
Messe de Requiem: I. Requiem
Messe de Requiem: II. Kyrie
Messe de Requiem: III. Graduel
Messe de Requiem: IV. Offertoire
Messe de Requiem: V. Sanctus
Messe de Requiem: VI. Agnus Dei
Messe de Requiem: VII. Post-Communion


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