Scholars of Louis XIV have long recognized the “representational” strategy employed by the composers of the Chapelle Royale (and those who designed its liturgy), in which the words of the psalms (the work of poet-musician King David) allied to an elaborate musical setting (the grand motet) attested to the king's strength and power in both spiritual and temporal domains. By contrast, in the absence of a comparable repertory inspired by the psalms from an earlier period, the role of King David at the court of Louis XIII has received almost no attention. Yet, as this article shows, the biblical king did indeed play a central role at the court of Louis XIII, albeit in unexpected ways. The “public” voice of David—the voice of a warrior who defeated his enemies—spoke outside the confines of the court in orations, pamphlets, and psalm paraphrases (with simple musical settings), celebrating, in particular, the king's victory over the Huguenots at La Rochelle in 1628. On the other hand, study of the psalm-texted works composed for Louis XIII's Musique de la Chambre (recently identified in Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS Vma rés. 571) reveals a “private” voice, a voice that reflected Louis's anxiety and penitence in the years around 1620 and that was heard only by the king's closest allies at court. By contextualizing this “private” voice it is also possible to account for the rise of the Domine salvum fac regem, a musical genre that originated in the same circumstances, and to suggest that Louis XIII and Louis XIV in fact had a common interest in David as supplicant.
- © 2016 by the American Musicological Society. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Reprints and Permissions web page, http://www.ucpress.edu/journals.php?p=reprints.