Ben Dollman will lead Adelaide Baroque in  Les Plaisirs: Music of the French Baroque as part of the Adelaide French Festival. We spoke to the violinist about the unique and beautiful music that flourished under the reign of the Sun King, Louis XIV.

Ben Dollman, Adelaide Baroque Violinist Ben Dollman. Photo: supplied

What were the typical features of music during the reign of Louis XIV?

It was quite an extravagant age – the music of the courts of Louis XIV and XV was highly decorative and styled to reflect the dramatic flair, dancing and exuberance of the French court. The ‘Sun King’ as Louis XIV was known, was the centre of artistic, cultural and political life. The music, highly ornamented, reflected his grandeur and with its bold, exact rhythms was grand and audacious but could also be inward and delicately reflective, showing passion and tenderness.

What role did music play in the French court?

Music was used at the Royal Chapel in Versailles, often composed to the words of the Latin Mass, for requiems and for general religious celebrations. The court held many festivities, dramas and grand ceremonial occasions and music was composed to be central to these....