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War of the Buffoons

Date: Wednesday 12 July 2017
Venue: The University of Queensland Art Museum, James and Mary Emelia Mayne Centre Building, University Dr, St Lucia
Time: 5.30‒6pm: Reception (Foyer)
           6‒7pm: Concert (Gallery D)
Free. All welcome.
Enquiries: Xanthe Ashburner uqche@uq.edu.au
Register online by 7 July 2017.

Register here


In 1752, a performance of Pergolesi’s comic intermezzo La serva padrona at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music in Paris ‒ an institution founded by Louis XIV and considered the purest sanctuary of French art ‒ caused a heated debate about the merits of French and Italian music. This was known as the Querelle des Bouffons: ‘quarrel of the buffoons’, or comic actors. The two styles were very different: the Italian flashy and extrovert; French restrained, relying on elegance and taste rather than overt virtuosity. Had the Baroque composer François Couperin still been alive, he would certainly have been a peacemaker: decades earlier, he had preached for understanding, and even reunification, of the styles.

This program contrasts French and Italian music of the period, illuminated by a commentary composed entirely of quotations from the polemic pamphlets of the time. The program features music by Marin Marais, Arcangelo Corelli and others, culminating in a rare performance of Couperin’s homage L’apothéose de Corelli with the composer’s commentary.

The Badinerie Players:

Baroque violin: Wayne Brennan, Chen Yang
Baroque viola: Margaret Caley
Baroque cello: Dan Curro
Viola da gamba, narration: Michael O’Loghlin
Harpsichord: Juanita Simmonds

Presented by the UQ Node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, Europe 1100‒1800, in conjunction with the 2017 CHE Meanings Collaboratory, ‘Art and Affect’ (12‒14 July, The University of Queensland).

Image: Unknown artist, portrait of François Couperin (1668‒1733), collection of the Château de Versailles.