Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

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A hymn written by Joseph Gossec to celebrate national unity on the first anniversary of the taking of the Bastille. Combining old and new, Gossec set a traditional Latin text to music scored for wind instruments (rather than the common organ), the…

Popular during the early years of the Revolution, this song’s lively tune and repetitive chorus expressed revolutionaries’ hopefulness about the future. Singers manipulated its malleable lyrics to address a broad range of topical issues.

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…

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…

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…

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.

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…

With lyrics drawn from a Republican Ode composed by the revolutionary poet Lebrun in 1793, this hymn commemorates the execution of Louis XVI.

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).

Composed by J.M. Souriguieres, a parisian dramatist, and Pierre Gaveaux, an actor, this song demands revenge for the crimes and bloodshed of the Terror. It was quickly adopted as an anthem by the "gilded youth" of the Thermidoran Reaction, who sang…
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