MICHEL-RICHARD DE LALANDE (1657 - 1726)
Variously known as La Lande, de La Lande or Delalande, Michel-Richard de Lalande was a chorister at St Germain-l’Auxerrois in Paris and won a reputation as an organist and harpsichordist. In the former capacity he succeeded Charles Couperin at St Gervais, to hold the position until François Couperin came of age. He was later appointed court composer, gradually assuming fuller responsibilities, sharing a position with one unmusical son of Lully and succeeding another as superintendent of the royal chamber music. He enjoyed a successful and prosperous career in the service of Louis XIV and was also honoured by his successor.
De Lalande contributed significantly to the French grands motets: compositions for solo voice, chorus and instrumental ensemble that formed an important element in the music of the royal chapel at Versailles. De Lalande left some 70 grands motets – representing the height of a form also used by Lully and Charpentier – in addition to other liturgical settings.
De Lalande provided music for ballet and opera-ballet and from this assembled instrumental music for concert use, collected for publication in suites or symphonies. To this was added a collection of instrumental music based on French Christmas carols, Symphonies de Noëls.