Note: these pages were first published in the late 1990s, and they were several years old at the time. During the past decade, new findings have sometimes led to other conclusions. Try, therefore, to compare the pages listed below with my later writings.
I have made available to scholars the evidence I have found about things that took place each year during the 1670s and 1680s, to suggest how these details are reflected in the notebooks of the Mélanges year after year.
These materials were divided into three groups, with apologies for the inconsistent type sizes caused by this attempt to import the old files into the newly done site.
This first group shows, in table form, the activities of the Guises, year after year:
A second group of files presents the evidence upon which I base my dating and my observations about how this evidence shaped the composer's creativity. (Note: These explanations cease with 1680.)
A third second group presented chronologies of Charpentier's works year by year for both the "Roman"-numbered and the "French"-numbered series of notebooks. I do not currently plan to reproduce these old files for this reworked site.
BLUE = Mlle Marie de Lorraine de Guise, age 55, whose involvement is shown by blue type, just as music for the Virgin, her patron saint (who is generally depicted in a blue gown), will be shown by blue type. (Mlle de Guise was born on August 15, the Ascension, the principal feast day of the Virgin, and she not only was named for the Virgin but was a devotee of the Virgin.) Since Mlle de Guise became somewhat inseparable with her sister, the Abbess of Montmartre, between 1675 and 1680, I am showing Montmartre as blue (sometimes mixed with red when Mme de Guise seems involved). Using blue for Montmartre seems appropriate, because there was a strong devotion for the Virgin at the abbey.
RED = her ward and adolescent nephew, Joseph Louis de Lorraine, the young Duke of Guise; and his young wife, Elisabeth (Isabelle) d'Orléans, a royal princess of the House of Orléans who soon came to be known as "Mme de Guise." Isabelle was the first cousin of both Louis XIV and his brother, "Monsieur," Duke of Orléans. Activities involving her will also be shown in red type, to suggest her royal status. References to Mme de Guise's mother, Marguerite de Lorraine, Dowager Duchess of Orléans, appear in maroon.
PURPLE = King Louis XIV, the Queen, and their son, the Dauphin. Mme de Guise was very close to these cousins. Their regal status is suggested by purple type.
FUCHSIA = the theater, first Molière (an old family "friend" of the Charpentiers) and then his successors. Works written for them appear in this flashy fuchsia type.
The Jesuits , the Theatines and the fathers of the Mercy are indicated by rather "florid" types that suggest their florid worship services. By the early 1670s, Charpentier clearly had begun working for the Jesuits; and then in 1675 Mme de Guise obtained a chapel in the Theatine church.
OLIVE = the Infant Jesus. After 1675, both princesses became involved in projects that are named after the Holy Child. This rather sad color suggests the Mount of Olives.
TEAL = M. Du Bois, director of the Guise Music, Latinist, and sometime friend of Port-Royal, where Charpentier's sister was a converse nun. To suggest the modesty of this convent, references to Du Bois and Port-Royal will be in teal, a somber variant of the greens and turquoise I use for the other two religious houses.
GREY = one of two prelates: Gabriel de Roquette, bishop of Autun, described by sources as Mlle de Guise's "Tartuffe." He exerted considerable influence over Mlle de Guise throughout these years. Roquette does not appear to have commissioned any music, although it is possible that his close friend, François Harlay de Chanvallon, Archbishop of Paris, may have done so.
In addition, these charts employ, for dates:
bold type: this marks activities mirrored in one of the two series of notebooks, perhaps that very month but perhaps the beginning of a Guise-centered activity
colored bold type : an activity that appears related to a specific individual
italicized bold type : a work that corresponds to an event attended by one of the Guises or their friends (and perhaps involving music)