Music in Private Life in Late Seventeenth-Century Rome: The Case of the Princesse des Ursins and Her Social Circle

Abstract : Music stands as one of the major topics in the late sevententh-century letters of Anne-Marie de La Trémoille, married to Duke Flavio Orsini and known as Princesse des Ursins, and of her sister Louise-Angélique, wife of Antonio Lante della Rovere. Two neglected series of letters preserved in the Fondo Orsini of the Archivio Storico Capitolino and in the Fondo Lante of the Archivio di Stato di Roma give new insights into the place held by music, musicians and concerts within the social life of these two Roman families, linked to the royal court of France. The private letters of the Princesse des Ursins, who headed the francophile party in Rome, and of her sister, the Princess of Belmonte, give evidence about all kinds of musical activities, either for private entertainments (personal pratice, musical lessons, dance lessons), or for social gatherings (musical concerts and lyrical performances). Within the circle of a huge diplomatic, political and artistic network in Rome, the two sisters maintained a conversation à la française as it had been held in Parisian salons such as the Hôtel de Rambouillet at the height of its fame. This paper has a double scope: first, it gathers new information about musical practices within Francophile circles in late seventeenth-century Rome through an analysis of these epistolary archives and a study of family inventories and account books; second, it reports and discusses a very complex case of "cultural transfer" between Paris and Rome through the efforts of two French princesses at home in their adoptive city without losing their identity. This case study documents how aristocratic women could import Parisian manners in fashion design, social entertainment and a new way of living, while at the same time giving support to Italian, rather than French, musicians and musical genres.
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Contributor : Anne-Madeleine Goulet <>
Submitted on : Thursday, June 6, 2013 - 4:16:49 PM
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  • HAL Id : halshs-00831282, version 1



Anne-Madeleine Goulet. Music in Private Life in Late Seventeenth-Century Rome: The Case of the Princesse des Ursins and Her Social Circle. The nineteenth annual conference of the society for seventeenth-century music, Apr 2011, Minneapolis, United States. ⟨halshs-00831282⟩



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