100 Pages


In the wake of the French Revolution, the government’s banning of public religious practices deeply affected religious music-making and cathedral choirs in France. Yet the dissolution of many maîtrises-singing schools for church choirs-during that time did not bring choral singing and the composition of choral music to a halt. While France’s choral tradition may not present as linear a development from the mid-eighteenth century onward as that perceived in the English and German traditions, the French made concerted efforts throughout the century to develop choral singing and repertories, from the revival of Palestrinian polyphony to the creation of a modern oratorio repertoire. Choral activity was drawn along many societal lines, most notably Catholic and Protestant, aristocratic and working class, and particular repertories became associated with different groups whose motivations varied from religious devotion, to self-improvement, and to the advancement of the nation’s identity.