is my favorite opera by Jean-Philipe Rameau
(1683 - 1764). You can find more information on it in the Wikipedia article
My exposure to classical and avant-garde music has been very eclectic. After going from Bach to Bali and back again, I finally figured out that my golden age of music is 17th and 18th century France. Perhaps this period most matches one of my aesthetic and philosophical first principles, best summarized by Frederich Nietzsche:
Oh, those Greeks! They knew about living: for this, it is necessary to stop courageously at the surface, at the drapery, at the skin, to worship appearances, to believe in forms, sounds, and words, and the entire Olympus of appearances! Those Greeks were superficial- out of profundity!
-Frederich Nietzsche, The Gay Science
French baroque music for me is profound in its utterly decadent sense of superficialness
. Who else could set the Lamentations of Jerimiah
for the Office of Tenebrae
to such achingly beautiful arrangements like this one
? If you've listened to Delalande's De Profundis
, you will also get this sense of terrestrial beauty that does not pretend to reach higher than it can go, but the heights it does reach are truly astounding.
Perhaps Lully will never reach the popularity of Bach or Mozart for a variety of reasons (not that Lully is obscure, but still...) Maybe it's because he and his contemporaries are so darn FRENCH (it helps in my case that I have a dash of French in my racial Mexican sopa). There is a sobriety in their aesthetically "superficial" drunkeness, one that is very much at home with being human, and loving human things (unlike Bach, for example, who always wishes to storm the heavens with fugues). If there is a music I can listen to all day long, it is theirs.