Recueil de pièces de viole en musique et en tablature (1666) (Ms M2.1 T2.17C.Case, Washington: Library of Congress). Introduction and index by Stuart Cheney. Geneva: Minkoff, 1998. [36, 91 pp. ISBN 2-8266-0901-7. FS 65 ($45).]
Reviewed by Mary Cyr*
2.2 The four suites by Dubuisson from the manuscript in the Library of Congress have been published in a modern edition, (note 1) but the facsimile edition is rewarding even for players who are already familiar with the suites, since the manuscript has two additional viol pieces in tablature as well as two additional parts, consisting of six dance melodies for treble instrument (presumably violin) and twenty hunting horn signals. At the end are several rules for bowing dance pieces on the viol that anticipate Muffat's instructions from 1698.
2.3 In an informative preface (in English,
with French translation), Stuart Cheney describes the Library of Congress
manuscript, which is dated 1666, as containing the "oldest French suites
for any media written in the 'classic' sequence: prelude-allemande-courante-sarabande-gigue."(note
2) It includes four suites in this sequence, all in staff notation
for six-string viol, followed by two apparently introductory pieces in
tablature, one entitled "prélude." All but the latter piece are
attributed to "D.B." or "Dubuisson," and the unattributed piece appears
to be in the same hand and style as the others. The handwriting for the
viol music appears to be that of an amateur rather than of a professional
musician, and there are a few bowings, ornaments, and fingerings. The
other two portions of the manuscript are in different hands.
3.2 François-Pierre Goy's preface
to the Tournus manuscript is also exceptionally well-documented. As Goy
demonstrates, Sainte-Colombe now emerges as the most important French
composer of unaccompanied viol music. Previously known as the first player
to add the low seventh string to the viol and as the composer of a volume
of Concerts for two viols, Sainte-Colombe may now be regarded as
one of the most prolific seventeenth-century composers. Nine anonymous
pieces and a fragment were added to the manuscript at a later time and
appear to be in a later style than that of Sainte-Colombe. Goy suggests
Caix d'Hervelois as a possible composer for these works, with the exception
of a gigue à l'angloise from Marin Marais's second book
of viol pieces (1701).
*Mary Cyr (email@example.com) is the author of Performing Baroque Music (Portland, OR: Amadeus Press, 1992), a viola da gambist, and is presently Director of the School of Fine Art and Music at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Her current musicological work is on the cantatas of Nicolas Bernier and Jean-Philippe Rameau.
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Notes1. Four Suites for Solo Bass Viol, edited by Barbara Coeyman and Donald Beecher (Dove House Editions, Canada, c. 1980). Two subsequent volumes, Thirteen Suites for Solo Viola da Gamba, 2 vols., edited by Donald Beecher and Stuart Cheney (Hannacroix, N.Y.: Dove House Editions, 1993) present some of the same music by Dubuisson, but they are drawn from a manuscript in Warsaw (PL-Wtm, R. 221 In. 377).
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2. Introduction, p. 1.
3. A previous study of Dubuisson by Cheney forms a
worthwhile complement to the present work. See "A Study of Dubuisson's
Life and Sources," Journal of the Viola da Gamba Society of America 27 (1990), 7–21, which includes a full list of contents of the Dubuisson
4. R221 in the Biblioteka Warszawskiego Towarzystwa
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