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The Rococo and the Age of Sensibility The Italian style and the French style have long divided the Republic of Music in France For my part I have always valued those works which have merit without regard for their composer or country of origin by Franois Couperin In the reigns of King Louis1643-1715 and Louis the old regime was waning After the death of Louis art moved from the monumentality of the Baroque to the caprice and intimacy of the Rococo the word comes from rocaillle a shell suggesting the decorative scroll and shellwork characteristic of the style Rococo took shape as a reaction againsy yhe grandiose gesture of Baroque out of world of Baroque came a world where ornate art aimed at the enchantement of senses and asserting a new doctrine whose first law was to enjoy yourself Great painter of French Rococo was Jean Antoine Watteau 1684-1721 He brought the insights and the techniques of the Dutch school of Rubens Watteaus intimate pastoral scenes reflected the shift in French society Musical counterpart to Watteau was Franois Couperin 1668-1733 Couperin came from a family of distinguished musicians his works along with Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre crystallized the miniature world of Rococo their goal was to charm delight and entertain the coming era the Age of Enlightenment was characterized by the desire to systemize all knowledge Jean-Philippe Rameau 1683-1764 the foremost French composer of the era tried to establish a rational foundation for the harmonic practice of his time his Treatise on Harmony 1722 set forth concepts that served as the point of departure for modern music theory The Rococo witnessed as profound a change in taste as any that has ever occurred in the history of music in turning into polished entertainment music composers adopted new ideals of beauty Elaborate polyphonic textures yielded to a single melody line with a simple chorale accompaniment Classical homophony in much
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