Premiere Suite de Symphonies

By Jean-Joseph Mouret

Jean-Joseph Mouret (1682-1738) was a court composer active in France during the reigns of Louis XIV (the “Sun King”) and his son, Louis XV. Very few of his compositions have survived, and even fewer are known to the public.

The major exception is this collection of fanfares known as his “Premiere Suite de Symphonies” which was first performed for Louis XV. The Suite has four movements, each with a different character, and each featuring contrasting forces – strings and woodwinds; trumpets; and timpani.

The Suite opens with a Rondeau, a grand fanfare (also known as the “Masterpiece Theater” theme), with 2 contrasting couplets. The second movement is a graceful minuet, played first by strings and woodwinds, with trumpets and timpani joining in; there are two string couplets in the middle of the movement, followed by a return to the opening minuet. Next is a sprightly march, in 18th-century military style. A short lilting final movement (“Guay”) closes out this work.

Mouret’s formalized style emphasizes rhythmic precision and simplicity of line, and typifies the French style in baroque music.