Nicolas Chédeville


Born: February 20, 1705; Serez   Died: August 6, 1782; Paris, France  
Of the children of the French Chédeville family, which included four sisters and five brothers, Esprit Philippe and Nicolas matured into the most musical of the siblings and were regarded as the greatest musette players of the eighteenth century. These two men, and their brother Pierre, shared many similar interests in their careers and even had numerous parallels in their paths; for example, each occupied posts in the Grands Hautbois ensemble Read more and played the musette. However, it was only Esprit Philippe and Nicolas who composed extensively for the instrument, even building them as they had been trained by their great uncle Louis Hotteterre. Nicolas had many additional involvements in his art; for example, while performing in the orchestra, he relieved Esprit Philippe of Jean Hotteterre's post, eventually assuming the title in 1732. He also achieved the high status of maitre de musette de Mesdames de France while teaching others to play this instrument.

The most prosperous period of Nicolas Chédeville's compositional career was during the time he played for the opera orchestra, which was between the early 1720s and 1748. In this interval he wrote approximately one work every other year (sometimes one or more per year), producing the most in the early 1730s and the fewest between the mid-1740s and 1750. These works were not merely for the musette, but most were combinations requiring additional instruments like the flute, violin, and the oboe (his secondary instrument). In 1729, in Paris, he successfully gained permission to publish his own works, his earliest of which is Amusements champêtres, livre 1er, of the same year. His other compositions include Troisième livre d'amusements champêtres (1733), 6 sonates (1739), Les pantomimes italiennes dansées à l'Académie royale de musique (1742), Les variations amusantes: pièces de différents auteurs ornés d'agrémens (no date), and La feste de Cleopatre (1751). His pieces vary, and some are similar to those of his brother; others reflect his interest in the Italian style, one was once falsely credited to Vivaldi, another reminiscent of mortality, and many were designed to showcase the skills of particular lay musicians. Chédeville's last dated composition appeared in 1751, three years following his retirement from the opera. After this time he lived a reclusive lifestyle until his death in 1782.

Although neither receive all that much attention, Chédeville's instrumental music is recorded with greater frequency than his chamber works; Le printemps ou Les saisons amusantes: concertos d'Antonio Vivaldy (1739) has appeared on both the REM Editions and Linn labels, Les impromptus de Fontainebleau (1750) on Auvidis. Read less

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