The sacred music of Michel-Richard de Lalande (1657-1726)
The purpose of this study is to survey the sacred music of the most celebrated and
significant composer for the French royal chapel during the grand siecle.
The prefatory material of the 1729-34 edition of some of Lalande's motets, notably the essay
by Alexandre Tannevot, has served as the basis of all previous biographical notices of the
composer; here, it is reproduced in full for the first time, both in the original French and in
translation, annotated with additional information from other sources.
All known manuscript and printed sources (recueils, separate scores, parts, word-books) are
described, revealing the existence of fragments of several motets thought lost, differing
versions of others, and the texts of some not previously listed. The composer's autograph
manuscripts are identified and discussed. A chronology of composition is postulated, in
which the principal secular works are also incorporated. A catalogue raisonne of all sacred
works is included.
The composer's revision processes are discussed on the basis of some of the 32 grands
motets shown to survive in more than one version, revealing development of structures,
scoring practices, harmonic procedures, and other features. Comparisons are made with
works of some of the composer's predecessors and contemporaries. Evidence of performing
practice, including tempo and tempo relationships, is discussed.
An assessment is made of the importance of Lalande's motets in the repertories of the
Versailles royal chapel, the Paris Concert spirituel, and in French provincial academies de
concert, in the composer's lifetime and subsequently.
Appendices include transcriptions of a representative collection of motets from different
periods of the composer's career.