The Longer He Lived the More He Remembered


 

The older he got, the better he remembered. The aging Louis XIV was helping his musicians to resurrect the music for the Court Library. Some of pieces went back to the days when he was a teenager.  Restoring the music brought back memories.

Henry Desmarest was a young promising composer at the Versailles Royal Chapel who had got a seventeen-year-old girl pregnant and then fled with her to avoid the sentence. Consequently Desmarest was accused of both statutory rape and kidnapping, no trifling matter and punishable by death.

Desmarest musical career continued outside of France. There his work earned quite a bit of recognition. When restoring the old pieces, Desmarest’s former colleagues at the Royal Chapel decided to slip a motet composed by him into their repertoire, and they thought it prudent not to mention the author. After the performance, the old king had addressed his musicians in person, saying that he had been missing Henry more than anyone, but could not pardon the composer for the crime committed.

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