20. Voltaire, Rousseau and the Enlightenment

13 October 2020, 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Please note that due to a technical issue the scheduled streaming of this event was delayed. The film is now available in the Digital Concert Hall to ticket holders, and Suzanne Aspden and Nicholas Cronk will conduct a live Q&A here on Friday 16 October at midday. The Q&A film is just underneath the main Livestream window in the Digital Concert Hall (and at the bottom of this page).


Presented in association with TORCH, with support from the Humanities Cultural Programme, the Voltaire Foundation, and The Queen’s College

Several events this year explore the Age of Enlightenment, asking what it signified for composers and poets in song. Nicholas Cronk, Director of the Voltaire Foundation, introduces Voltaire and Rousseau, two key Enlightenment figures. We are delighted to present this from the stunning Upper Library in Queen’s College, one of Oxford’s great libraries, built between 1692 and 1695.

In Rousseau, we find not only philosopher but also both poet and composer, and this is a rare opportunity to hear some of his own songs. Rousseau was a well-known composer in his own day (Beethoven arranged an aria from his opera Le Devin du village) and wrote many songs. These were collected in a volume compiled in 1781, three years after his death, in a collection entitled Les consolations des misères de ma vie.

Voltaire appears in song primarily via a translation into Russian of his poem ‘À Madame la Princesse Ulrique de Prusse’ by Pushkin. We hear four settings of this poem by Cui, Glazunov, Arensky and Rimsky-Korsakov.



[youtube url=https://youtu.be/dftUR4Arjuw]



As this event was not shown at its announced time due to a technical problem, Suzanne Aspden and Nicholas Cronk will be conducting the live Q&A here at midday on Friday 16 October. Please send any questions for Suzanne and Nicholas to [email protected].

[vimeo id=468076600]

  • Hébert Philippe Adrien Leemans de Bruge (1741 - 1771)
  • Le Songe
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 - 1778)
  • L'Eté Romance from Les Consolations des misères de ma vie
  • Chant from Les Consolations des misères de ma vie

10 October 2020 | 10:00am

Connections Across Time - A Brief History of Song

Previous Event
19. Beethoven, Schubert and Gordon: James Gilchrist & Anna Tilbrook
13 October 2020, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Next Event
21. Imogen Cooper plays Schubert: Imogen Cooper & Harriet Burns
13 October 2020, 5:30pm - 6:30pm

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