Michel Lambert

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Mid 18c watercolor, purportedly a portrait of Michel Lambert[1]

Michel Lambert (1610 – 29 June 1696) was a French singing master, theorbist and composer.

Lambert was born at Champigny-sur-Veude, France. He received his musical education as an altar boy at the Chapel of Gaston d'Orléans. He studied also with Pierre de Nyert in Paris. Since 1636, he was known as a singing teacher. In 1641, he married singer Gabrielle Dupuis who died suddenly a year later. Their daughter Madeleine became a wife of Jean-Baptiste Lully (in 1662). After his marriage, Lambert's career became closely linked to his sister-in-law and famous singer Hilaire Dupuy (1625-1709).

In 1651, he appears as a ballet dancer at the court of Louis XIV. Beginning in 1656, his reputation as a composer was established and his compositions were regularly printed by Ballard. They consist mainly of airs on the poems of Benserade and Quinault. He was the most prolific composer of tunes in the second half of the seventeenth century. In 1661, he succeeded Jean de Cambefort as a maître de musique de la chambre du roi and kept this position until his death. In 1670, he became Kapellmeister. In that time, Lully was a superintendent of the royal music.

Lambert's role as a singing master and composer of dramatic airs contributed to the creation of the French opera. As a singing master, he enjoyed a reputation attested by many testimonies of his time (including singers Anne de La Barre, Pierre Perrin, and La Cerf of Viéville). Titon du Tillet mentions concerts given in his house in Puteaux, during which Lambert himself accompanied on theorbo. He also collaborated with Lully in the creation of several ballets (e.g. Ballets des amours déguisez).

He died at Paris, France.


  • Airs du sieur Lambert, Paris, Charles de Sercy (1658)
  • Les airs de Monsineur Lambert, 19 airs with doubles, for two voices and basso continuo, Paris (1660)
  • Airs de Monsieur Lambert non imprimez, manuscript, Paris (c. 1692)
  • Pièces en trio pour les violons, flûtes ou hautbois, Amsterdam, Estienne Roger (1700)
  • 75 airs de Monsieur Lambert (manuscript) (50 with doubles), for a voice and basso continuo (c. 1710)
  • Leçons de ténèbres pour voix et basse continue manuscript (1662-1663) - recorded by Marc Mauillon 2017
  • Leçons de ténèbres pour voix et basse continue manuscript (1689) - recorded by Piveteau
  • 60 airs for 1 - 5 voices, two instruments and basso continuo, Paris (1689)
  • Miserere mei Deus for 2 - 3 voices and basso continuo, manuscript

External links[edit]