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James Paisible (1656 - 1721)

Jacques Paisible (c.1656-1721) Six Setts of Aires Born in France, the composer, recorder player and oboist Jacques (James) Paisible lived and worked in London for more than forty years. He arrived in England from his native France in 1673 together with his compatriot Robert Cambert and a number of other French musicians, and started his new professional life playing the oboe, an instrument recently adapted in France from the shawm, and practically unknown elsewhere.

In 1675 he played the recorder in Calisto: Or, the Chaste Nimph, a masque written by John Crowne with music by Nicholas Staggins, Master of the King's Musick. This lavish entertainment, staged at Whitehall Palace, was the first in Paisible's life-long association with the royal household. He obtained a licence to marry Mary (Moll) Davis - a retired singer, actress and dancer who had famously borne a daughter, Lady Mary Tudor, to King Charles II in 1673. They were married on 4 December 1686, and according to his own testimony, he was then 'about 30'. This is at present the only source for his date of birth. It is therefore possible to assume that he was born around 1656, the year of the celebrated viola da gamba virtuoso Marin Marais' birth in Paris.




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