Reviewed by Carl B. Schmidt*
1.2 Into the partial void left by Lully's
death also stepped Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, not yet thirty,
who had fashioned her reputation on the harpsichord as a respected performer
and improviser, and who had experience as a composer of pièces
de clavecin (1687) and an opéra-ballet entitled Jeux à l'honneur de la victoire (1691). However, in inevitable comparison
with her predecessor Lully, who wrote numerous ballets and comédie-ballets
before turning to tragédies lyriques, Jacquet de la Guerre
had sparse experience writing for the stage when she composed her only
tragédie lyrique, Céphale et Procris, in 1694.
While we await modern scholarly editions of most of Lully's stage works,
we owe a debt of gratitude to Wanda R. Griffiths for providing us with
a most useful reconstruction of Jacquet de la Guerre's work.
2.2 But Griffiths's aim is not to create a scholarly edition per se, though what she produces shares various attributes with such editions. In her words (p. 276), "this edition retains as much as possible the musical text as found in the manuscript partbooks, while putting this information into a useful performing edition [italics by this reviewer], one in which issues of consistency must necessarily override those of retaining insignificant details." (note 2) In spite of using the partbooks as a primary source, Griffiths conflates her sources, taking continuo figures from one, Brossard's performance indications from another and so forth. Conflation is something that has been denigrated to generations of students, but in dealing with late seventeenth-century French sources, where autographs are lacking, editors have increasingly realized that harvesting layers of information from different sources has its advantages. (note 3)
2.3 For a literary source, Griffiths has relied on the famous early eighteenth-century Ballard collected edition. It is unfortunate that she did not locate a libretto associated with the 1694 Paris Opéra performance in time to use it as a source for her edition. The value of such librettos, which frequently contain lists of performers and indications not reproduced in Ballard's collected edition, cannot be underestimated. Recent work on literary sources for Lully's tragédies has clarified much about the production of librettos, and it is a shortfall of the present edition that this work is nowhere taken into account. (note 4) A strength, however, is the clear printing of the French livret with a parallel English translation. Good English translations of librettos from the préramiste period are few, and this one is a welcome addition, even if the play itself is hardly representative of the best literary work of the period.
2.4 In general, the editing seems to be both
careful and based on sound principles. There are, however, a number of
infelicities which mar an otherwise fine edition of a work by a woman
whose music is increasingly becoming appreciated even by readers of beginning
music-history anthologies. Unnecessary redundant accidentals are to be
found in various places (note
5) and continuo figures are not always handled consistently.
For Acts I–V Griffiths has used the Ballard print as her principal source
of figures, retaining the old Ballard procedures of putting vertical sets
of figures out of order (top to bottom 7,9,5; or 6-4 going to 5-7) and
adding missing figures in square brackets. On occasion first inversions
go unaccounted for by either Ballard or Griffiths, and raised or lowered
thirds of chords are similarly unmarked on others. (note
6) The Ballard print itself is quite inconsistent in how it
indicates final inversions of seventh chords, and Griffiths does not always
help the situation by adding editorial figures. More disturbing are instances
where the readings for voice and continuo are corrupt. The misplacement
of the figures on p. 76, m. 24 obscures a normal V7-I cadence
and mm. 11–12 on p. 77 must be in error. On p. 82, m. 21 the continuo
note is probably E, not C. (note
*Carl B. Schmidt (e7m7SHM@TOE.Towson.edu) is Professor and Chairperson of Music at Towson University. His Entrancing Muse: A Documentary Biography of Francis Poulenc will be published by Pendragon Press this year. He is also editing Lully's Roland for the new Lully edition coordinated by Herbert Schneider and Jérôme de La Gorce, and compiling a detailed catalogue of the music of Georges Auric.
Return to beginning
Notes1. James Anthony, French Baroque Music from Beaujoyeulx to Rameau, rev. ed. (Portland, OR: Amadeus Press, 1997), 143.
Return to text
2. The unavailability of instrumental parts, however,
makes any performance of this work somewhat problematical. No mention
of parts is contained in the edition and none were supplied with the score.
3. Editors working on the complex plethora of Lully
sources have been in the forefront of reexamining the use of sources in
creating a scholarly edition from this period. See, for example, Jean-Baptiste
Lully: The Collected Works, Series IV, Sacred Works, Vol. 5, ed. by
Anne Baker, John Hajdu Heyer, Lionel Sawkins, and Carl B. Schmidt (New
York: The Broude Trust, 1996 [reviewed
in this Journal, vol. 4.1 (1998)]).
4. See my Livrets of Jean-Baptiste Lully's Tragédies
Lyriques: A Catalogue Raisonné (New York: Performers' Editions,
1995) and "Livrets for Lully's Ballets and Mascarades. Notes Toward a
Publishing History and Chronology," in Jean-Baptiste Lully: Actes du
colloque, ed. Herbert Schneider and Jérôme de La Gorce
(Laaber: Laaber Verlag, 1990), 331–56. In addition, Buford Norman has
just published Philippe Quinault: Livrets d'opéra, 2 vols.
(Toulouse: Société de litératures classiques, 1999).
Norman's work amply illustrates the problems of editions of Quinault texts
and the multiple variant readings they contain.
5. See p. 79, m. 12; p. 83, Arcas, m. 2. At this point
the measure numbers are also wrong.
6. For example, necessary editorial continuo figures
are not always included. See p. 77 (flat lacking for Dorine, m. 11), p.
79 (6 lacking at end of m. 10), p. 166, m. 38 (sharp missing from continuo),
p. 167, m. 11 (6 lacking from "D" in continuo), p. 182, mm. 6–7 (where
the lack of figures implies a number of parallel root position triads
and the 7 over 5 figure is incorrect).
7. The reviewer has not had access to the primary musical
sources for Céphale et Procris and thus cannot make a detailed
accounting of discrepancies, if any.
Copyright © 1999 by the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music. All rights reserved.
 Copyrights for individual items published in The Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music (JSCM) are held by their authors. Items appearing in JSCM may be saved and stored in electronic or paper form, and may be shared among individuals for purposes of scholarly research or discussion, but may not be republished in any form, electronic or print, without prior, written permission from the author(s), and advance notification of the editors of JSCM.
 Any redistributed form of items published in JSCM must include the following information in a form appropriate to the medium in which the items are to appear:
 Libraries may archive issues of JSCM in electronic or paper form for public access so long as each issue is stored in its entirety, and no access fee is charged. Exceptions to these requirements must be approved in writing by the editors of JSCM, who will act in accordance with the decisions of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music.
 Citations to articles from JSCM should include the URL as found at the beginning of the article and the paragraph number; for example:
Jonathan Glixon, "Far il buon concerto: Music at the Venetian Scuole Piccole in the Seventeenth Century," Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music 1 (1995) <http://www.sscm-jscm.org/v1/no1/glixon.html>, par. 2.3.
This document and all portions thereof are protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. Material contained herein may be copied and/or distributed for research purposes only.