Ennemond Gaultier

Ennemond Gaultier


• 1575 1651


Ennemond Gaultier was the earliest great French lutenist and should not be confused with his cousin Denis Gaultier; in the seventeenth century, it was customary for the knowledgeable music lover to refer to Ennemond as "des Vieux Gaultier" (the old Gaultier) or as "Gaultier de Lyon" as he was born in Dauphiné, close to Lyon. In youth, the "old" Gaultier served the House of Montmorency, but in 1600 he left to join the court of Henry IV of France and his new queen, the former Marie de Medici. Gaultier remained in her service after Henry IV was assassinated in 1610 and elected to retire from her court only after Medici was exiled in 1630; he returned to Dauphiné and lived more than two decades there, dying in Nèves. Gaultier's fame was made as a member of the Queen's court, performing at significant diplomatic functions wherever she traveled and in some cases sent out on his own as a musical emissary, such as when he traveled to England around 1630. Des Vieux Gaultier was widely admired throughout Europe and his pieces celebrated throughout his lifetime; however, none of them appeared in print while he lived, and he was probably under a royal restriction not to publish.

Both des Vieux Gaultier and his queen had been dead more than two decades before his music appeared in print, in an edition prepared by his cousin, Denis Gaultier. However, Denis -- "le jeune Gaultier" or "Gaultier de Paris" -- died before the print was finished and it was completed by one of his pupils; in the finished aspect the volume contained pieces from both composers. This was the standard observed among three more printed collections of music of the Gaultiers issued through 1703, and in the manuscript realm the situation was even worse, with many pieces attributed only to "Gaultier" with no indication as to whether "des Vieux" or "le jeune" was intended; some pieces are ascribed to both. While the question about what belongs to whom remains a matter of debate, an edition of the works of des Vieux Gaultier appeared in 1966, going into a second edition in 1980.