Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing

Haiku Wednesday – Jean-Baptiste Lully


Lully_Nicolas_MignardConducting is hard.

Now batons, then walking sticks.

Lully got the point.

Some of you may already be groaning; the rest of you will soon.

Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687) was a composer, musician and dancer of great renown in the French court of Louis XIV.  He wrote a number of operas, some in collaboration with Molière, ballet music, instrumental pieces, and religious music.

Before batons, conductors used to direct the orchestra with a long staff, like a walking stick.  While conducting his Te Deum, Lully struck his foot with his staff.  The wound became infected, but, being a dancer, Lully refused to have his leg amputated.  He died of gangrene poisoning.

Here is his epic (and fatal) Te Deum


2 thoughts on “Haiku Wednesday – Jean-Baptiste Lully

  1. How cool it would be if the conductor in this video used a staff! One can hear how the staff approach would suit the music. Does anyone still conduct with a staff? Maybe some of these early music aficianados? In the meantime, I’m left only with the image of Gerard Depardieu in “Tous les matins du monde” — A mixed blessing.


  2. Yep- the most famous musical death. Those there are other fun ones- like bicycle accident and poisonous mushrooms.



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