September 27, 2011
Much of listening, watching, thrilling New York was turned on its ear last week by the latest iteration of Jean-Baptiste Lully‘s Atys as performed by Les Arts Florissants. For the most part it’s just as well to concentrate on Lully’s art rather than his biography, which had a particularly gruesome ending and was all but ignored (aside from a few grudging sentences in music-history books) until the American William Christie persuaded the French that some of their own music was far better than they knew.
An interesting part of Lully’s biography is the part where, to retain his position as virtual dictator of music in France, the rumors about the Italian-born composer’s liaisons avec les hommes had to be kept under wraps. But the always-invaluable Alex Ross has pointed, via Twitter, to some scurrilous poetry that outed the guy without mercy.