Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

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This song was composed for one of the many Directorial festivals that were not overtly political. Several, like the festival for which this song was composed, celebrated important moments in the life cycle.

Although festivals drew much smaller audiences during the final years of the Revolution, the government continued to celebrate them. Now, however, they tended to commemorate apolitical events: thus a festival, and hymn, devoted to the subject of…

This hymn commemorates the overthrow of Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety by the men of the National Convention. It had its debut performance on the first anniversary of that event (27 July 1795).

This song illustrates the fluid boundary between "high" and "popular" musical forms. Althought these lyrics were set to a new composition by Joseph Gossec, they could also be sung to a tune already familiar to many French men and women. The song…

One of many hymns that was composed by rhyming new lyrics to the wildly popular tune of the "Marseillaise," this song was performed at a festival celebrating the first anniversary of the republican revolution of August 10.

Composed by Joseph Rouget de Lisle when he learned that France had declared war on Austria, the Marseillaise quickly became the anthem of the republican Revolution. it remains the French national anthem today. A republican anthem, the Marseillaise…

Sharing its name with a popular dance, this song heaps scorn upon the queen (Madame Veto), believed to be a traitor, and the "aristocrats" who support her. Like "It’ll Be Okay", the simple tune of the "Carmagnole" permitted even the illiterate to…

This aria from the Gretry opera, Richard the Lion–Hearted, was adopted by royalists during the early years of the Revolution. The song’s accusation that the king had been abandoned by all but his most devoted followers made it a suitable…

In 1713, the Pope had issued a bull entitled Unigenitus, condemning as heretical 101 beliefs held by some French Catholic priests who were known as "Jansenists." To Jansenists, this bull, or "constitution," was the religious equivalent of…

In June 1749, the priest of the St.–Etienne–du–Mont parish in Paris, acting on instructions from the Archbishop of Paris, refused the Eucharist and last rites to one of his parishioners who could not produce a "certificate of confession"…
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