(bap. Besan?on, 13 March 1700; d Paris, 28 Oct 1768). French flautist and composer. The son of Jean-Baptiste Blavet, a turner, and Oudette Lyard, he taught himself several instruments, becoming accomplished on the bassoon and flute. He married Anne-Marguerite Ligier in 1718; the couple’s long and happy marriage resulted in two daughters and two sons, both of whom became priests and one of whom, Jean-Louis, was the author of five books and a number of translations.
In 1723 Blavet moved to Paris in the entourage of Duke Charles-Eug?ne L?vis. Three years later he made his d?but at the Concert Spirituel, launching a remarkable public career. During the next quarter of a century Blavet appeared at the Concert Spirituel more frequently than any other performer, and throughout the period musicians and writers were unanimous in stating that his singing tone, pure intonation and brilliant technique set the standard in flute playing for all of Europe. On 1 October 1728 Louis XV granted to Blavet, ‘musicien ordinaire de notre tr?s cher cousin le prince de Carignan’, a privil?ge g?n?ral for six years to publish ‘plusieurs sonates pour la fl?te traversi?re’, and op.1 was issued immediately, dedicated to Carignan. By 1731 Blavet had transferred his allegiance to the Count of Clermont, with whom he maintained ties for the rest of his life. An invitation to join the Prussian court, issued by Frederick the Great while still crown prince, was declined. When he added to his other duties the posts of first flute in the Musique du Roi (c1736), in the Musique de la Reine (1738) and at the Op?ra (1740), Blavet’s position in Parisian musical life was unrivalled. Among those who wrote with admiration of him were Telemann, Marpurg, Quantz, Hubert Le Blanc, Serr? de Rieux, Ancelet, La Borde, Daquin and Voltaire. It is likely that many of Leclair’s nine flute sonatas and his flute concerto were written for Blavet, for the two often performed together.
Blavet’s sonatas, among the masterpieces of the early flute repertory, represent the successful transfer to the flute of the go?ts r?unis of French violin sonata style, developed by Anet, Duval, Senaill?, Leclair and others. The sonatas of op.2 show the influences of the French suite and the Corellian sonata da camera, and those of op.3 exhibit a more modern, galant style. Only one of Blavet’s flute concertos survives: it has brilliant Vivaldian outer movements flanking a pair of French gavottes serving as a slow movement.
Blavet’s four stage works were written for the private theatre of the Count of Clermont’s ch?teau at Berny; Le jaloux corrig? was also given six performances at the Paris Op?ra on a double bill with Rousseau’s Le devin du village. The music of the overture, arias and an accompanied recitative of this pasticcio was taken from popular Italian intermezzos; Blavet provided the secco recitatives and the divertissement (six dances and a vaudeville). His innovation was to abandon for the first time the arioso recitative that the French had used since Lully. ‘The recitative of this French intermezzo’, reported the Mercure de France, ‘is approximately in the style of Italian recitative, at least to the extent that the differences between the languages permitted it; and in spite of the almost universal bias of our nation against the Italian recitative, it did not appear that the spectators were extremely shocked by this first attempt’. The Mercure politely neglected to mention that the audience hissed. Whatever the initial reception (Blavet’s divertissement continued to be performed at the Op?ra after the rest of the intermezzo had been dropped), Le jaloux corrig? and Le devin du village helped launch a new era of italianate music at the Op?ra, and with it the Querelle des Bouffons. Le jaloux corrig? was also performed at Mannheim in 1754.
Blavet’s interest in teaching was reflected in his op.2, in which he meticulously marked correct breathing places, and in his three Recueils de pi?ces, which contain pieces in all styles and at all levels of difficulty, many arranged for two flutes in a manner suitable for student and teacher to play together. Blavet’s most brilliant flute pupils were the composer and publisher Pierre-Evard Taillart and the teacher and composer F?lix Rault, who succeeded Blavet at court, the Op?ra and the Concert Spirituel.
Floriane, ou La grotte des spectacles (com?die-ballet), Ch?teau de Berny, 25 Aug 1752, F-Pa
Le jaloux corrig? (int with divertissement, 1, C. Coll?) [music by Pergolesi, Galuppi, Orlandini, Dolletti [Auletta], Buini, Caroli, Capelli, Blavet and others], Ch?teau de Berny, 18 Nov 1752 (Paris, 1753)
Les jeux olympiques (ballet h?ro?que, Henri-Charles, Count of Senneterre), Ch?teau de Berny, 25 Aug 1753, F-Pa
La f?te de Cyth?re (op, 1, A. de Laur?s), Ch?teau de Berny, 19 Nov 1753, Pa
Songs in 18th-century anthologies
6 sonates, 2 fl, op.1 (Paris, 1728); ed. H. Ruf (Mainz, 1967); ed. W. Kolneder (Heidelberg, 1977); ed. J. Pat?ro (Paris, 1978)
 Sonates m?l?es de pi?ces, fl, bc, op.2 (Paris, 1732/R); ed. W. Kolneder (Heidelberg, 1969); ed. W. Hess (Winterthur, 1983); ed. D. Ledbetter (Paris, 1999)
 Sonates, fl, bc, op.3 (Paris, 1740/R); ed. P. Baubon (Paris, 1980)
Conc., fl, D-KA, ed. in Florilegium musicum, xi (L?rrach and Baden, 1956)
Miscellaneous pieces in 18th-century anthologies
See also ‘Arrangements’
1er [– 3?me] recueil de pi?ces, petits airs, brunettes, menuets, etc. avec des doubles et variations, 2 fl/vn/tr viols (Paris, 1744–c1751/R, 2/1755/R), incl. some pieces by Blavet; 1er recueil ed. Y. Morgan and W. Michel (Winterthur, 1993)
[Recueil des menuets anglais, autrichiens, hongrois, alsaciens, prussiens et russes], fl (Paris, after 1754), title-page lacking in sole surviving copy, F-Pn
M. Fran?ois de Neuf-Ch?teau: ‘Eloge de Monsieur Blavet’, N?crologe des hommes c?l?bres, iii (1770), 335–43
H. Bonhomme, ed.: Correspondance in?dite de Coll? faisant suite ? son journal accompagn?e de fragments ?galement in?dits de ses oeuvres posthumes (Paris, 1868)
M. Brenet: ‘La libraire musicale en France de 1653 ? 1790, d\'apr?s les registres de privil?ges’, SIMG, viii (1906–7), 401–66
L. de La Laurencie: ‘Deux imitateurs fran?ais des bouffons: Blavet et Dauvergne’, Ann?e musicale, ii (1912), 65–125
C.W. Coffee: The Sonatas for Flute and Bass of Michel Blavet (diss., Boston U., 1965)
J.M. Bowers: The French Flute School from 1700 to 1760 (diss., U. of California, Berkeley, 1971)
D. Launay, ed.: La Querelle des Bouffons (Geneva, 1973) [a repr., with introduction and index, of 61 pamphlets pubd Paris, 1752–4]
J.M. Bowers: ‘Catalogue of French Works for the Transverse Flute, 1692–1761’, RMFC, xviii (1978), 89–125
C.C. Bauer: Michel Blavets Fl?tenmusik: Eine Studie zur Entwicklung der franz?zischen Instrumentalmusik im 18. Jahrhundert (Freiburg, 1981)
L. Vaissier: ‘Michael Blavet, 1700–1768: essai de biographie’, RMFC, xxii (1984), 131–59
L.E. Peterman: ‘Michel Blavet\'s Breathing Marks: a Rare Source for Musical Phrasing in Eighteenth-Century France’, PPR, iv (1991), 186–98
B.A. Berryman: Michel Blavet’s Flute Concerto: an Edition and Commentary (diss., Stanford U., 1994)