VII. Western Europe from 1650 to 1750

England had an outstanding genius in Henry Purcell (died 1695), the 'Orpheus Britannicus,' most celebrated for his compositions for the great English dramas, but also a composer of universal range. In France Jean Baptiste Lully (died 1687), an Italian who had migrated to Paris in Early youth, set the classical seal on French opera, and as chief 'conductor' to Louis XIV, provided ballet music and operatic suites for the festivities of 'Le Roi Soleil.' French composers for the harpsichord, and above all Fran┴ois Couperin 'the Great' (died 1733) adopted the principle of the suite to keyboard music, at the same time introducing elements of tonepainting and program music. In this way the powerful energy of the Baroque was transformed more and more into the delicate and graceful art of the Rococo, of which the chief musical representative is Jean Philippe Rameau (died 1764). French composers also wrote sonatas, not only for the violin and the gamba, but also for the woodwind instruments (flute, oboe and bassoon) which their craftsmen constructed with such great skill.

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