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Henri IV - An unfinished reign

Listen to the the music tracks

Nos esprits libres et contents


Source : ‘Anthoine Boesset: Je meurs sans mourir’; Le Poème Harmonique; dir. Vincent Dumestre; Alpha ‘Ut pictura musica’ 057 (2004).


(from the Ballet de la Reine, 1609)

Set to the rhythm of the zarabanda, a sensual dance from Spain or Latin America, cet anonymous air is one of the only surviving fragments of the Ballet de la Reine, which was performed at the Louvre on 31 January 1609. It was during the rehearsals for this ballet that Henri IV was smitten with one of the twelve dancing nymphs, Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency, and felt the first stirrings of a risky, burning passion.

Transcription (in French)

Nos esprits libres et contents
Vivent en ces doux passe-temps,
Et par de si chastes plaisirs
Bannissent tous autres desirs.

La dance, la chasse, & les bois,
Nous rendent exemptes des lois
Et des miseres dont l’Amour
Afflige les cœurs de la Cour…

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