Web Projects by John S.
with hyperlinks to pdfs of published articles
Music and Theatre in
France, 1600-1680 (Oxford University Press, 2000)
Theater in France in the Seventeenth Century
an ongoing project that makes available a select group of 17th-century
French plays in facsimile together with the music that accompanied the
first performance and subsequent performances.
- selected multimedia presentations
- "Music and French Baroque Gesture" (Paper given at the 15th Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music, University of Southampton, 11-15 July 2012.
- "Italian Elements in the Comédies-Ballets of Molière and Lully"
(Paper given at the 19th International Congress of the International
Musicological Society, Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome 1-7 July
- Henry Gissey's Costumes for Psyché (1671)
(Paper given for the symposium “Fashioning Opera and Musical Theatre”
at the Fondazione Georgio Cini, Venice, 29 March to 1 April 2012).
- Lucien Durosoir: La guerre comme rupture de la carrière et l'axe de vie (Paper given for the symposium "Un compositeur moderne né romantique: Lucien Durosoir" at the Palazzetto Bru Zane, Venice, 19-20 February 2011).
- Debussy, Watteau, et la Fete Galante (Lecture-Recital given for the conference Watteau et la Danse at the
Universite de Valenciennes, France, on 8-9 December 2010).
Gesture, and Tragic Declamation in the Scene of the Dancing Demons from
Thomas Corneille's Machine Play Circé (1675) (Paper given for the
symposium Gesture on the French Stage, 1675-1800 at the Festival Oudemuziek
Utrecht on 27 July 2010).
The Metamorphosis of Psyché (Paper given for the conference
Opera and Politics in the Ancien Régime at the
William Andrews Clark Memorial Library on 27
for the Season of Epiphany, by Charpentier (In Circumcisione Domini [Jan. 1st], Pour le Jour de Ste Geneviefve [Jan. 3rd], Pour la Feste de l'Epiphanie [Jan. 6], In Festo Purificationis [Feb. 2nd]); plus, as a prelude to Epiphany, Charpentier's Christmas cantata In Nativitatem DNJC
- Pastoral operas by Charpentier:
La Descente d'Orphée aux enfers
a chamber opera in a performing edition prepared for performance by the
Catacoustic Consort, dir. by Annalisa Pappano; this site includes
a progressive-downloading video in QuickTime format of the September 2003
Les Arts Florissants
- another lovely work...but this edition
still needs to be proofread, so let me know if you want to use it
and I'll check it over
Il faut rire et chanter: Dispute de bergers
La Couronne de
- La Couronne de fleurs is
an adaptation of the original Prologue to Le Malade imaginaire
(1673), which Charpentier arranged for the singers of Mlle de Guise in the
mid-1680s. In fact, of the 19 movements only 2 are borrowed (and are
extensively recomposed); the rest of the opera is entirely original (though
the text is wholly by Molière).
This is a terrific, very musical work that deserves to be performed.
Les Plaisirs de
- Another gem, also composed for
the Guise singers and, like La Couronne des fleurs, is also based on
the theme of the singing contest. It too borrows a number from the
original Prologue to Le Malade imaginaire, and incorporates three of
Charpentier's chansons. One of the numbers is lost; for this I
have substituted a lovely air from Les Fous divertissants.
- A miniature tragédie en musique, and
quite possibly Charpentier's finest piece of musical theater
- Actéon changé en biche
- A reworking of the above opera, but with some
revisions...the most important being that Acteon is written for a
- La Feste de Ruel
lovely pastorale composed for the Duc de Richelieu, who wished to honor
Louis XIV with an equestrian statue in his gardens at Rueil;
unfortunately the King bailed, and it seems that Charpentier's music
was never performed. 'Tis a pity, because it's a nice piece.
- Oratorios by Charpentier:
- Judith, sive Bethulia Liberata (Judith, or Bethulia Liberated)
ultimate bad date: Judith saves Bethulia by seducing the Assyrian
general Holofernes and cutting off his head; more of those 9/7/#5 chords; by the way, here is an interesting silent movie of 1914 by D.W. Griffith: Judith of Bethulia
- Historia Esther (The Story of Esther)
- another Old Testament "femme forte"
- Sacrificium Abrahae (The Sacrifice of Abraham)
- God plays a prank on Abraham...what a character!
- Le Reniement de St Pierre (The Denial of Saint Peter)
- an absolutely gorgeous oratorio on St. Peter's threefold denial of Jesus, with harmonies to die for (no pun intended)
- Le Reniement de St Pierre (The Denial of Saint Peter) with added instruments
- there are multiple reasons for doing this:
- the score for Le Reniement de St Pierre survives in a MS copy found in the Brossard Collection with only B-c; the Brossard Collection also has a MS copy of Sacrificium Abrahae, with only B-c; Sacrificium Abrahae is also found in Charpentier's MS, with added instruments; therefore, I suspect that Le Reniement de St Pierre once had more instruments than found in the Brossard copy
- another reason is that I feel that Le Reniement de St Pierre with
just voices and B-c is too spare...that something more is needed;
Charpentier evidently felt that about his earlier oratorios, as he
later added instrumental preludes and ritornelli to them
- In Honorem Caeciliae, Valeriani et Tiburtij, Canticum (In Honor of Cecilia, Valerian, and Tiburtius, Canticle)
lovely little Saint Cecilia oratorio, without all that martyrdom
unpleasantness; also some pretty interesting harmonies...including a
9/7/#5 chord resolving to a #8/6
- In nativitatem D. N. J. C., Canticum (The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Canticle)
- my favorite of Charpentier's little Christmas oratorios
- Comic Prologues, Intermèdes, and Pastoral Entr'Actes by Lully and Charpentier:
- La Princesse d'Élide - Prologue
- Aurora sings
an air to bring on the dawn; meanwhile, the dogkeepers arise from sleep
and get ready for the hunt. Lysiscas (orig. played by Moliere)
has slept in late, and the other valets de chasse come and try to rouse
him in song. After making many excuses--he needs more sleep, he
has wet his bed-- Lysiscas gets up and torments them in kind. The
prologue ends with 3 dances: one for the sleepy dogkeepers, one for the
hunting horns and trumpets, and one for the awakened dogkeepers.
- André Campra's nearly-forgotten masterwork, and his first tragédie en musique,
was a big hit when it premièred at the Paris Opéra on 21 December
1701. Now it is available for the first time in a performing
edition with English translation. The plot is familiar: boy
loves girl, who loves another boy, and who is beloved by Venus, who
conjures up a vision showing boy 1 and girl together...thereby making
boy 2 jealous. Meanwhile, Neptune is pissed off and sends a Sea
Monster to destroy Troy, and the King promises girl to whomever defeats
the Sea Monster and, for further incentive, has girl chained naked to a
rock to be gobbled up. Venus fixes it so that boy 1 kills Sea
Monster, while she flys away with boy 2 (who, being a bad sport, curses
Charpentier's Grand Office des Morts
Charpentier's Grand Office des Morts, a performing edition of
Charpentier's early, double choir Mass for the dead (Messe pour les
Trépassés), together with a related psalm setting of the De Profundis,
the Dies Irae, and a Motet pour les Trépassés (with text taken
from the Office of the Dead); this edition is being used by Les Arts Florissants for performance and recording in 2004.
- petits motets by
Carissimi, Nivers, Dumont, Henry, and Campra based on
texts from the Song of Songs
- Concert pour Quatre Parties de Violes
- a setting by Charpentier of Psalm
1, which would go nicely on a double bill with Monteverdi's setting of the
Trio de Monsieur Charpentier
Airs de differents compositeurs (1678)
and unique collection of French, English, Italian, and Spanish airs
composed by leading composers of the mid-17th Century, and now owned by
the Westminster Abbey Chapter Library.
The composers include Michel Lambert, Honoré d'Ambruis, Michel Farinel,
Sébastien Le Camus, Robert Cambert, Jean Sicard, Michel-Richard de
Lalande, Jacques Paisible, Charles Hurel, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Luigi
Rossi, and William Turner.
collection includes only vocal parts without accompaniment, I have
sought out and transcribed concordant sources for many of the airs.
Among other curiosities, this anthology includes the earliest work by
Lalande (a drinking song) and an early source for Io's lament from
Lully’s opera Isis.
- another ongoing project that provides samples of the handwriting of
various late 17th-century and early 18th-century French copyists; it isolates
various characteristic features of these hands (clef formation, notes, flags,
beams, and script) to aid in identifying the copyists of other French