Sébastien Le Camus

(ca. 1610 – 1677)

French composer, also a virtuoso gamba and theorbo player. Born in Paris around 1610, he joined the ranks of the court musicians at the beginning of the 1640s, and he was in the service of the king's brother, Gaston d'Orléans, during the regency. From the dawn of the new reign, he held the position of surindendant de la musique to Queen Marie-Thérèse and in 1661, along with Nicolas Hotman, he was appointed viol player to the Young Louis XIV in replacement of Louis Couperin, who had just died in the prime of life. Until his death in 1677, he led a well-to-do life, collecting books, paintings and musical instruments in his residence of the Grand Arsenal, where he stayed with his mistress. Among the most prolific composers of court song, some thirty of his serious songs appeared between 1656 and 1703 in the collective anthologies issued by the Ballard family, but he himself published nothing during his lifetime. His son Charles, a year following his death, brought out a book of his father's Airs à deux et trois parties (Two- and Three-Part Songs), many on poems by Philippe Quinault. The art of Le Camus shows great freedom in the handling of the melody in the voice, often very independent from the basso continuo line.

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