At the Toulouse Festival, Théotime and Justin, the Indiana Jones of baroque music

the essential
Théotime Langlois de Swarte and Justin Taylor have rediscovered forgotten scores by the Francoeur brothers, violinists at the court of Louis XV. To discover on Thursday, Raymond-VI garden, as part of the Toulouse festival.

On Thursday, July 21, as part of the Toulouse Festival, the public will experience for the first time the music of the 18th century, performed on period instruments, in a magnificent journey through time. Explanations by the violinist Théotime Langlois de Swarte, who will take the stage together with the harpsichordist Justin Taylor.

Who were the Francoeur brothers?

François Francoeur, born in 1692, and his brother Louis, born in 1698, are two violinists and composers, from an illustrious family of musicians. His father was part of the 24 violins of the king, all Lully, under Louis XIV. They in turn joined this orchestra, intended to accompany celebrations and ceremonies at the court of France. Francis was ennobled by Louis XV, he lived to be 88 years old. His brother Louis died younger and his music fell into oblivion.

Are these his scores that you have rediscovered?

Yes, Justin and I went to the National Library of France, rue de Richelieu in Paris. We knew sonatas by Francoeur and we were looking for other music, operas, dance suites, etc. We found many things that had never been played and had not been heard since the 18th century. This is the first time this music has been unearthed. We are a bit like the Indiana Jones of the Baroque!

You are 24 years old and Justin is 30, what attracts you to this 18th century repertoire?

For my part, I have always liked baroque music. There is a relationship with theater, with dance, with dramaturgy, with improvisation, with the voice that fascinates me. A direct, spontaneous side, almost akin to current music. We find in the Francoeur brothers a great virtuosity. But it’s not just about court music, you can feel the emotions of a musician of the time.

Does playing vintage instruments mean a lot?

It’s always exciting to find the material that the music was written for. This allows you to immerse yourself in the era, rediscover forgotten sounds. I have a 1664 violin by Jacob Steiner that the Francoeurs might have played on, which they might have known about, because it is the kind of instrument that could be found in the Versailles orchestra. Justin’s harpsichord is a reproduction on loan from the Toulouse Conservatory. It’s a two-manual harpsichord. The most beautiful.

You are playing this program for the first time in Toulouse…

It is an important city for me. I am from Perpignan. When I started out as a violinist, I took classes with Gilles Colliard in the early music department of the Toulouse Conservatory. I gave some concerts at Saint-Pierre des Cuisines. We met Justin at the Paris Conservatory. We have created a set, the Consort. We also play a duet. We have made a record about the Francoeur brothers which will be released in September on Alpha Classics. It is this program that we are presenting for the first time to the public in Toulouse. We want to make you discover this music, make you travel back in time to the 18th century.

At 9 pm, Thursday, July 21, Jardin Raymond-VI (allées Charles-de-Fitte), Toulouse. Various prices from €15.60 (-12 years-) to €32.60 ( and tourist office, tel. 05 17 42 31 31).

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