Arts-Scène Diffusion

Il Festino


The Spanish Air at the Court of Louis XIII

The Spanish Air at the Court of Louis XIII

The impressive body of airs de cour published over the course of the 17th century (with over 1,000 currently catalogued) includes barely thirty airs in Spanish. Some were performed in the context of ballets de cour, a key genre during Louis XIII’s reign, in which narrative sections alternated with dances organised into ‘entries’. It was not uncommon to see the king or members of the nobility take the stage during these spectacles, aiming to dazzle their fellows in a society that emphasised appearances, while also sending out a social and political propaganda message.
Some of these air were published by Pierre Ballard, mostly in versions for solo voice with lute or guitar tablature, but some in four-part settings. It is likely that they were more or less popular Spanish songs or tonos that were disseminated across Europe by the musicians and singers themselves, without a care for geographical or linguistic boundaries.

The practice of singing in Spanish for its exoticism was not peculiar to France, but the documented inclusion of these airs in the ballets de cour, and the fact that they were all published, are evidence of an enthusiasm not matched elsewhere.




Dagmar Saskova soprano
Francisco Javier Manalich tenor & viola
Ronald Martin Alonso viola
xx theorbo
Manuel de Grange lute, guitar & direction
Eric Bellocq guitar


This program was created in August 2014 for the Festival Musique & Mémoire


El baxel está en la playa


Orilla del claro Tajo


Passava amor



Air in Spanish at the Court of Louis XIII
Air in Spanish at the Court of Louis XIII

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this website you are giving consent to cookies being used.