For Various Chamber Combinations of Double Reeds and Brass
The musical establishment of Louis XIV was unparalleled in size and scope. Musicians were divided into several classes among the Maison Militaire, the Chambre, the Chapelle, and L’Écurie. L’Écurie alone was divided into five main performing groups of wind instruments: Les Grands Hautbois, Musettes et Hautbois de Poitou, Les Cromornes, Les Fifres et Tambours, and Les Trompettes. Les Grands Hautbois in particular served as an important link from the consort music characteristic of the Renaissance to the Harmoniemusik characteristic of the Classical period (which remains in the canon today).
In addition to the frequent performance of music, King Louis XIV also established the Royal Library of Music in 1665, to serve as a repository both for music currently being performed and any and all older manuscripts that could be acquired. He appointed François Fossard and André Danican Philidor to serve as librarians and copyists, tasking them to “recover[… all] ancient music”.
Despite the wealth of wind music performed and archived and the historical significance of this music to the development of the wind ensemble and its repertoire, it is rarely if ever performed today. A significant barrier to modern performance is that much of this music remains in manuscript, in collections where many pieces are for unspecified instrumentation. By examining the instrumentation of contemporary ensembles for which the music was written and comparing the ranges of individual parts to those of contemporary instruments, I hope to begin the process of producing performance editions of these works for modern performance.
Additional details regarding the transcription process may be found in my paper "A Question of Instrumentation: Adapting Wind Music Recorded at the Court of King Louis XIV for Modern Performance" (2018).