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"La Toilette de Venus"
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Author:  cherecoeur [ Sat Oct 31, 2009 4:20 pm ]
Post subject:  "La Toilette de Venus"

Dear Reader: Jean-Fr├ęderic Edelmann entitled one of his set of four divertissements for keyboard with optional string accompaniment (keyboard quartets from 1786) "La Toilette de Venus". The others he entitled "Le Rendevous", "La Partie de Chasse", and "Les Regrets d"Herminie" (I'm going by memory here, so I'm not sure "Herminie" is correct). At this late date the use of titles in keyboard works, so characterisic of the old French clavecinists, had become rare. These divertissements, clearly intended for amateur musicales and for fun, and they are musical treasures surviving from our period of interest. Edelmann was a victim of the Terror, and died on the guillotine in July 1794 at the age of 45, I believe on the same occasion as the nuns Poulenc commemorated in his "Dialogue of the Carmelites." Edelmann's patron the Baron de Dietrich, a fellow Alsatian, was also executed (I don't know the date). The Baronne de Dietrich was the dedicatee of Edelmann's last work: a little volume of airs for solo keyboard from 1788, in which forte-piano appears on the title page for the first time in his entire keyboard output; also unusual for the late date. He wrote an opera "Les Bergers des Alps" which he dedicated to Dr. J.I. Guillotine. I have read that the salon of the baronne reverberated to an early performance of "The Marseillaise."

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