Official publication of the National Maritime Museum's exhibition "Ships, Clocks and Stars: The Quest for Longitude". 300 years ago, amidst growing frustration from the naval community and pressure from the increasing importance of international trade, the British government passed the 1714 Longitude Act. It was an attempt to solve one of the most pressing problems of the age: how to determine a ship's longitude (east-west position) at sea.
Is it fair to say that most born Frenchmen have considered themselves exceedingly fortunate in their nativity? Moi? I didn't enjoy such luck. Neither did Jean-Baptiste Lully, the favorite of Louis XIV and thus the tyrant of French music for thirty-four years. Lully was born in Florence in 1632, but carried to France as a youthful Ganymede; he entered the service of the Sun King in 1653 as a dancer, and he rose to a position of monopoly influence in Louis XIV's court despite his flagrant debauchery and libertine sexuality. Just as Louis declared, that 'he was the State,' Lully could well have said "French Music, it's me!"
Kathleen Battle ended her operatic career on a sour note when she was fired from the MET, and this album somehow reflects that–it lacks her usual vivacity and joy. This is the only recital I've heard form her that's routine, and things aren't helped by the fact that her voice, a light colorature, isn't substantial enough for many of these arias, which are for a lyric soprano.By Santa Fe Listener