The Eighteenth Century French Cantata

The Eighteenth Century French Cantata

The Eighteenth Century French Cantata

The Eighteenth Century French Cantata

Synopsis

The first edition of this book has become the classic study of one of the most popular musical forms in early 18th-century France, not only because it documents and examines its considerable repertoire for the first time, but also because it places the genre in the wide context of both French and Italian baroque music styles. This new edition incorporates research by the author and other scholars that has appeared during the twenty years since the first edition, reflecting today's growing interest in French baroque music. It also features a new chapter dealing with the French cantata in performance.

Excerpt

During the twenty years since this book first appeared there has been a growing interest in French baroque music. Who would have believed in those days that composers like Henri Dumont, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, and many others would become more than mere textbook names, or--even more unlikely--that Lully's operas would become sought-after events in the Paris operatic calendar; that a Centre for French Baroque Music with activities embracing research, publishing, and performance would be established at Versailles; or that a mastery of the French style would become the cachet of the best performing ensembles?

Fine performances of French baroque music have been underpinned by equally fine research around the world, particularly in the United States, Britain, and--especially in recent years--France. To list even the major publications dealing with the subject is beyond the scope of a preface, but mention must be made of James R. Anthony French Baroque Music, which, first appearing in 1974, is undergoing its fourth edition and continues to illuminate its fascinating subject. As far as the eighteenth-century French cantata is concerned, one of the most gratifying developments has been the appearance of a number of modern performing and facsimile editions. There were twenty-one listings of such publications in the first edition of this book; the present edition lists 268--mostly in facsimiles of the originals, which in any case are what many skilled performers of early music nowadays prefer to use. The seventeen-volume Garland edition offers the complete published cantata output of the most notable composers and a cross-section of those from lesser-known ones. A comparison between the Select Bibliography for this edition and that for the previous one is another way of recognizing the extent of new research into French baroque music which has been undertaken in those twenty years--and this lists only research linked in some way to the cantata. Inevitably, some early publications which have been superseded during that time have been omitted from the present Bibliography.

During this same period my own research into French vocal music has fanned out to take in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, and I hope . . .

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