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Volume 10, no. 1:

James R. Anthony (1922–2001): An Appreciation

By Rebecca Harris-Warrick*

James R. Anthony’s death on April 6, 2001, left a gaping hole in the field of French Baroque studies and in the hearts of those who knew him. Not only did his enormous scholarly output legitimize an entire area of study that had been sorely neglected in the English-speaking world, his generosity in welcoming others into his field made him a mentor without peer. For so many of us in the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, his scholarship and his humanity are inseparably intertwined, as we remember with gratitude his encouragement and confidence in us when we were mere beginners. Our work is unimaginable without his, and I am sure I am not alone in emulating his warmth and openness to others.

Following studies at New England Conservatory, Columbia University, and the Sorbonne, Jim taught at the University of Arizona for over forty years, during which time he completed his dissertation on the opera-ballets of André Campra (University of Southern California, 1964) and wrote the book that is surely on the shelf of every member of the Society, French Baroque Music from Beaujoyeulx to Rameau (Norton, 1974). The book was translated into French in 1981; both the English and the French editions were later revised. Articles and reviews that he wrote have appeared in most major scholarly journals, not to mention multiple articles, large and small, in both editions of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (London: Macmillan, 1980, 2001), the New Grove Dictionary of Opera (London: Macmillan, 1992), and the Dictionnaire de la musique en France aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (Paris: Fayard, 1992). He was also active in making French Baroque music available for performance, through his work on numerous editions. For his contributions to French culture he was named a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1995.

Jim was a dedicated teacher, not only in the classroom, but also as a performer and director of ensembles at the University of Arizona, including its Collegium Musicum. He was also extremely active in the musical community outside the university, coaching generations of piano students—an aspect of his life of which I was unaware until a visit of mine to him in Arizona happened to coincide with a recognition ceremony being held in his honor. Because he was so modest about his own achievements, few among his acquaintances were aware of the full scope of his activities, and I am sure this brief list doesn’t begin to do him justice.

I heard the news of Jim’s death after returning from a conference in England, at New College, Oxford, entitled “Gods, Men, and Monsters.” During three stimulating days, I had found myself writing letters to Jim in my mind, storing up tidbits from the papers—all of which dealt with Baroque opera or theater—that would have piqued his interest. I didn’t get to write my letter, but one of the things I would have said was how acutely aware such a conference made me of the debt all of us in the field owe him. His work underpins ours, in ways both large and small, and I think that he would have enjoyed seeing some of the byways that his work has made possible for other scholars to pursue. He would also have been thrilled by the concert Les Arts Florissants gave on October 13, 2001, in the royal chapel at Versailles, of motets by Lalande and the Requiem of André Campra—a concert that would not have been sold out weeks in advance without his contributions to restoring French Baroque music to its warranted place in our musical culture. That concert, fittingly and movingly, was dedicated to his memory.

* Rebecca Harris-Warrick (rh14@cornell.edu) is Professor of Music at Cornell University. Her research interests center around French Baroque ballet and opera, and much of her work is inflected by her studies of Baroque dance. With James R. Anthony she co-edited the ballet Les Amours déguisez (1664), published in the Œuvres complètes (ser. 1, vol. 6) of Jean-Baptiste Lully (Hildesheim: Olms, 2001).

 


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