Born: March 13, 1700 Died: October 28, 1768
The foremost flutist of the mid eighteenth century, Michel Blavet mastered his primary instrument and the bassoon without any formal instruction. In the employ of Duke Charles-Eugène Lévis, Blavet moved to Paris in 1723. Within three years, he made his debut at the Concert Spirituel, where during the next quarter century he would appear more often than any other soloist. Acclaimed for his singing tone and brilliant technique, Blavet drew praise from Telemann, Quantz, and even Voltaire. His sometime performing partner Jean-Marie Leclair probably wrote his flute concerto and nine flute sonatas especially for Blavet. Blavet was a composer himself, noted mainly for his flute sonatas, which developed from the French violin sonata style. His first works bear some resemblance to Corelli's chamber sonatas, but his later sonatas take up the new galant style. His sole surviving flute concerto, though, smacks of Vivaldi in the outer movements. Several of Blavet's sonatas were openly pedagogical, his Recueils de pièces surveying a variety of styles at varying levels of difficulty. Blavet also wrote several songs and four major stage works, the latter for private performance at the chateau of the Count of Clermont. Blavet jettisoned the arioso recitative that had been de rigeur in French music since Lully, adopting a more Italianate manner and thus taking the Italian side in the famous Querelle des bouffons.