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Michel Blavet (1700-68)

Blavet was by all accounts the most brilliant French flute virtuoso in the first half of the eighteenth century. The son of a turner, he taught himself to play almost all instruments, specialising in flute, which he played left-handed, and bassoon. He made his debut playing a concerto (a totally new form of musical composition) at the newly-formed Concert spirituel in 1726. Numerous enthusiastic reports of Blavet's effect on his audience indicate that the 'exciting, exact, and brilliant' style of his playing made the flute even more popular in France, where the instrument had previously been played only in a languorous manner. Listeners also noted his extremely accurate intonation even in difficult keys, though his published pieces, intended for amateurs to play, were set only in the easiest tonalities.

Blavet held important posts in French music throughout his career, including posts at court and in the Paris opera. He played quartets with Telemann when that composer visited Paris, and became freindly with Quantz on the latter's visit to Paris in 1726. Blavet later turned down a post at Frederick the Great's court that Quantz eventually accepted, after the pay had been raised to an extrremely high level.

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