The sacred motets of Henry Du Mont (1610-1684) : aspects of classification, dating and performance
The music of Henry Du Mont fell ,into oblivion soon after his death. Although the rediscovery of his life and music began, with Quittard's 1906 publication, it is only in the last twenty years that Du Mont's importance in the development of sacred music in seventeenth-century France has been acknowledged by academics and performers alike. The present study begins by drawing together from scattered musicological writings the current state of research into Du Mont's biography. Much of this material appears here in English for the first time, and provides a useful frame of reference for the subsequent discussion of his music. The dissertation continues by examining three aspects of Du Mont's sacred motets which were written throughout his career as organist of St Paul's in Paris and as composer and director .o f music at the chapel of the court of Louis XIV. Firstly, it looks at the classification of the sacred motet, detailing the hitherto unreported variety of small-scale formats encompassed by the modern term petit motet, and investigating the development of the larger-scale grand motet. Secondly, the study questions the validity of evidence currently available for the dating of the sacred motets, including a comparison of multiple extant sources of some of the grands motets. Finally, it looks at previously unexplored issues of performance practice, in particular the distribution of voices between the two choirs in the grands motets and aspects of Du Mont's use of instruments in his sacred works. Arising from this is a clarification of the number of singers and instrumentalists serving under Du Mont at the royal chapel and the consequent implications on performance practice.