Wednesday, September 25, 2013


The “grand carrousel du roia pageant-like affair with horses, music, and fireworkspresented in the Place Royale (Place des Vosges, Paris) during the first week of April 1612, celebrated the engagement of Louis XIII to Anne of Austria, royal princess of Spain. He was 11; she (a lifelong equestrian), 10. The event was commissioned by his mother, Marie de' Medici and, naturally, described by observers in detail.

     The Place Royale and the Carrousel in 1612
     Musée Carnavalet, Paris

The ballet à cheval, or horse ballet segment, was performed to music by Robert Ballard, royal printer of music, with choreography by the king's riding teacher, Antoine de Pluvinel.

the 2000 reconstruction
Walnut Creek, CA
A video feature on Kate van Orden's reconstruction of the ballet, as presented at the Berkeley Festival 2000 and revived in 2002, is linked HERE (m4v; takes time to download) and on her new Harvard University webpage. The project formed a portion of the research she presented in Music, Discipline, and Arms (University of Chicago Press, 2005).

Van Orden, who continues to appear as a Baroque bassoonist, will write further on these kinds of entertainments—texts, she says, of virtue, power, and redefining chivalry—in a blog post next month.


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