A fine tradition of French classical music was encouraged by King Louis XIV, who established an orchestra in court of Versailles, under the guidance of Jean Baptiste Lully. Lully composed the lion’s share of France’s court music in the 17th Century, before meeting an untimely death after injuring himself conducting! From Lully to Berlioz and his Damnation de Faust this French collection explores a range of styles. Bizet wrote his famous opera, Carmen, as a flamboyant description of Spain, even though he never went there and Offenbach’s playful Les Oiseaux dans la Charmille features Sonia Bellugi as the wind-up doll. In complete contrast, we’ll hear two Pavannes from the 20th Century Impressionists, Faure and Ravel.