The Ranums' Panat Times
that remained in Patricia's files
All research is fortuitous, be it the archives and libraries, or be it in one's own notes and files, where interesting little facts have the annoying habit of going astray. I am so fond of some of these little facts, these "factlets," that I am creating a page especially for them. The most recently uncovered factlet will be placed at the TOP of the list.
Note: in May 2011 I abandoned the derogatory term "factoid" in favor of the late William Safire's "factlet," which he defined as a "little bit of arcana." (Arcana denotes "mysterious or specialized knowledge, language, or information accessible or possessed only by the initiate — usually used in plural.")
Here are the factlets, from newest to oldest. I have not made links. Simply look at this list, then scroll down to the desired date.
September 13, 2013: Irrefutable proof that Marc-Antoine Charpentier went to Rome and studied with Carissmi while there
February 1, 2013: A prank in
the French Wikipedia article on Charpentier?
(September 13, 2013) We have been overlooking irrefutable proof that Marc-Antoine Charpentier did indeed go to Rome and that he studied with Carissmi while there.
At a conference on Marc-Antoine Charpentier's oratorios, held at the Abbey of Royaumont in May 2013, two young Italian participants almost spontaneously reacted in the same way when the discussion turned to the composer's stay in Rome: "If he really did go to Rome...!" they exclaimed. (It turns out that, like Orest and me, they had searched in vain for him in the collection of known as the stati d'anime, that is, the annual parish records of the faithful who had taken confession and would therefore be allowed to take communion at Easter). They were considerably taken aback when I replied: "Oh, he had to have gone to Rome. He would not have dared allow a lie to appear several times in the Mercure Galant. Such dishonesty might well have ended in his being promptly dismissed from the service of Mlle de Guise!"
Thinking about the Society of Jesus while preparing for my Musing on the comments about Charpentier published in the Journal de Trévoux in 1704 and 1709, made me aware that the Journal provides even stronger proof that Charpentier went to Rome! In fact, it offers irrefutable proof that he did indeed study with Carissimi, just as the Mercure Galant repeatedly asserted. The 1709 article says this about Charpentier: [Charpentier] étoit l'Elève du Carissimi. C'est sous ce grand maître qu'il avoit acquis le talent si rare d'exprimer par les tons de la Musique le sens des paroles, et de toucher (p. 1488) - ♪♪♪ - "Charpentier was the pupil of Carissimi. It was under this great master that he had acquired the very rare talent of expressing by the tones of the music the meaning of the words and of moving [his listeners]."
The Journal of Trévoux was published by the Jesuits at the Collège de Louis-le-Grand in Paris. And the Society of Jesus did not print hearsay! If the Jesuit journalists informed their readership throughout Europe that Charpentier had studied with Carissmi — the music master at the Jesuit-administered Germanicum (German College) in Rome —, then we can be absolutely certain that Charpentier did in fact study with him. And since Carissimi is known to have been carrying out his duties at the Germanicum in 1666-67 (the probable years when Charpentier encountered Dassoucy there), we can in addition be absolutely certain that Marc-Antoine Charpentier did indeed spend time in Rome.
(February 1, 2013) It has been some time since I looked at the French Wikipedia page on Marc-Antoine Charpentier. Today I did just that, and I was flabbergasted by the first paragraph, which asserts that "He went to Germany to study architecture but fell under the influence of a composer called Ronalde Bossue, studied singing at Dijon for four years,..." and only later went to Italy and fell under the influence of Carissimi... Here is the Wiki text:
... for which the only documentation provided is "Diapason, Oct. 2004."
As far as I can judge, this is a prank, not a scholarly discovery that should be followed up. If so, it's a shame that Wikipedia-France has allowed this material to remain on the page. I point out, with a bit of pride, that the Charpentier article on Wikipedia.org, the English-language site, is far superior to the French one. I personally have worked hard to raise it to a high level of scholarship, and I have benefited from the expertise of the Wiki staff on stylistic manners. They have flagged the site to keep pranksters from having fun, and I keep watch over it too. I can't redo the French article, however. What a shame, quel dommage for France and French musicology!
(December 20, 2012) Was the watercolor portrait of Henri Du Mont based on the bust on his tomb at Saint-Paul? A visit to the Louvre rekindled my questions about the possible inspiration for the portrait of Henri Du Mont in Frankfurt am Main. In the Musing called The watercolor portrait of Henri Du Mont, was it based on the bust on his tomb at Saint-Paul? I explain what I think I am seeing when I look at the portrait.
(September 28, 2011) Why would Marc-Antoine Charpentier have both an "ordinary" signature and a calligraphed one? I recently came upon a source that sheds light on that conundrum. In his autograph will dated March 1, 1673 (AN, MC, XLIV, 47), a painter named Isaac Moillon alluded to his "ordinary" handwriting: "J'ay escrit le mien testament dans ma propre main & de mon escriture ordinaire, et j'ay signé ... Moillon." This sentence suggests that the painter had mastered two distinct scripts; that he routinely chose one or the other according to the circumstances; and that he feared the will might be attacked because the handwriting did not correspond to the writing with which an heir was familiar. For his will, Moillon opted for his "ordinary" every-day hand. Like Moillon, Charpentier had an "ordinary," day-to-day signature and script (we have become familiar with it not only in receipts, registers and notarial acts, but also in the lyrics preserved in the Mélanges); and he had an archaic calligraphed signature and script that he apparently reserved for momentous events such as the guardianship of his niece and nephews and of which we, thus far, possess only one example. For Charpentier's hands, see Les signatures dans la Biblia Sacra; and see also Sylvie Béguin's "Pour Isaac Moillon," in Mélanges en hommage à Pierre Rosenberg (Paris: Réunion des Musées nationaux, 2001), p. 72.
(September 27, 2011) Did Marc-Antoine Charpentier once own the Biblia Sacra now owned by Abbé Jèrôme Prosdocimi, as shown recently on Facebook? My conclusion is: No, the signatures on the title page are not Charpentier's, nor are the notes in the back. See my reasons.
(April 23, 2010) The papers presented at the Conservatoire of Birmingham (UK), during the conference celebrating the tercentenary of Marc-Antoine Charpentier's death, have just appeared in book form: New Perspectives on Marc-Antoine Charpentier, ed. Shirley Thompson (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010). I am eager to call attention here to Shirley Thompson's article in that volume (pp. 287-314, and especially pp. 293-306), which provides precious new insights into the "gros cahier" about which I wrote in my Musing on the "Gros Cahier." Thompson saw things that Patricia Ranum did not see! So I hope that my Musing will henceforth be filtered through her article.
(January 11, 2010) The Fioravantys, householders of Mme de Guise
In her Mémoires, the Grande Mademoiselle asserted that shortly after the wedding of Isabelle d'Alençon and Louis-Joseph de Lorraine Duke of Guise. May 15, 1667, Mlle de Guise dismissed a sister and brother who had long been in the bride's household:
"Trois ou quatre mois après qu'elle fut mariée, on lui chassa une femme de chambre qu'elle aimoit fort et à qui elle étout accoutumée, l'ayant eue depuis qu'elle étoit au monde; on lui ôta son écuyer et son secretaire, qui étoit frère de cette femme. Je crois que c'étoit par grandeur, parce que dans les pays étrangers on chasse les Français d'ordinaire." (Mlle de Montpensier, Mémoires, ed. Chéruel, vol. IV, p. 74)
During my research in the Minutier Central des Notaires, I came upon documents that not only confirm the Grande Mademoiselle's assertion, but that reveal who these domestics were and how their dismissal was conducted.
The records of the guardianship of the Orléans princesses preserved at the Arsenal in Paris show that as early as 1652, the "demoiselle Fioravanty" had been Mademoiselle d'Alençon's femme de chambre; she was paid 660 livres a year (ms 4212, fol. 6v, 66ff). Another document in that collection reveals her full name: she was Marie de Fioravanty, wife of André Langlois, a gentilhomme of Isabelle d'Alençon's father, Gaston Duke of Orléans. (Widowed by the early 1660s, she remarried and became the "épouse non-commune en biens de Messire Adrien de Monceau d'Auxy, chevalier, marquis d'Hanoville") (ms. 6525, fol. 55). Marie outlived Princess Isabelle and was still alive in 1700 (ms. 6525, fol. 127).
Acts preserved in the Minutier Central des Notaires of Paris shed some light on the conditions under which Mlle de Guise dismissed Marie de Fioravanti and her brother, whose first names turns out to have been Charles and who had indeed been Isabelle's secretary: "Charles Fioravanty, secrétaire des commandements de S.A.R. Madame duchesse de Guise, demeurant faubourg Saint Germain, rue de Tourrois, paroisse Saint Sulpice." On November 15, 1667, six months to the day after Isabelle's wedding to the Duke of Guise (not the "three or four months" recalled by the Grande Mademoiselle) Charles Fioravanty surrendered this "charge" to Mlle de Guise in return for a payment of 6000 livres. Mlle de Guise was authorized to give the position to anyone she pleased (MC, LXXV, 137). She paid him 2000 livres that day and promised to pay the remaining 4000 livres over the next few years. (A quittance confirms that the 6000 livres were paid in full on March 20, 1671, XCI, 374).
I did not find a similar act for Marie Fioravanty.
The Grande Mademoiselle's wording is slightly ambiguous and could be taken to mean that Charles Fioravanty was both Mme de Guise's écuyer and her secretary. That proves not to have been the case. Shortly before dismissing Fioravanty, Mlle de Guise obtained the resignation of Alexandre-Emmanuel de Condren, seigneur de Largny, Mme de Guise's écuyer. (MC, LXXV, 137, October 20, 1667).
A letter that young Mme de Guise sent to Rome a few months after Charles Fioravanty's dismissal (January 13, 1668), suggests that the ties that bound the two Fioravantys to the House of Orléans were long-standing and rather broad. Indeed, they clearly stretched, via Florence, all the way to Rome. Isabelle recommends to the Pope "le sieur de Fioravanti, c'est un gentilhomme originaire de Toscane qui a esté très longtemps employé à Rome par feu Monsieur [Gaston d'Orléans]" (Vatican, AVS, Principi 92). This Rome-based Tuscan clearly was not her erstwhile écuyer.
(January 10, 2010) More about the Messe Rouge, that is, the opening of Parlement on the day after the Feast of St. Martin
Pierre Zoberman, Les Cérémonies de la parole: l'éloquence d'apparat en France dans le dernier quart du XVIIe siècle (Paris: Champion, 1998). I provided below (DATE) some details about the mis en scène of the annual Messe Rouge, for which Marc-Antoine Charpentier wrote not only his music for a longue offrande and also his oratorio on the judgement of Salomon. Zoberman adds another dimension to the descriptions I presented below: the ceremony was an occasion for spoken eloquence (in addition to the musical eloquence provided by singers of the Sainte-Chapelle), and it reaffirmed the ties between the Church and the Parlement. I quote a few excerpts from Zoberman:
"La rentrée du Parlement se place sous le signe de la religion. Les membres du Parlement vont entendre une messe haute. Cette messe est appellée Messe Rouge, parce que 'Messieurs du Parlement' y assistent en robes rouges. Donneau de Visé juge bon, en 1686, de rappeler les traits majeurs du cérémonial à sa correspondante fictive:
Vous sçavez, Madame, que tous les ans le lendemain de la S. Martin, le Parlement se trouve en Robes rouges avec les Presidens au Mortier en teste dans la grande salle du Palais, c'est à dire dans la Salle des Marchands, dans laquelle il y a une Chapelle; Tout le costé que cet auguste Senat occupe & qui est celuy de la Chapelle est tapissé, & gardé par les Archers de la Ville. la Messe est chantée en musique, & elle est toujours célébrée par un Evesque, qui en est prié quelques jours auparavant, de la part du Parlement.
Après la messe, l'évêque qui a officié est introduit dans la Grand'Chambre, où le premier président le remercie d'avoir célébré le sacrement pour la Compagnie. Le prélat répond au compliment du premier président par un autre compliment qui marque combien il a été honoré du choix qu'on a fait de sa personne pour une telle fonction. ... L'échange de compliments entre l'évêque, qui a officié à la demande de la Compagnie, et le premier président, qui parle au nom de la Compagnie, permet de voir comment les rapports entre l'Eglise et le Parlement, que la cérémonie de rentrée concrétise, s'inscrivent pratiquement dans l'éloquence d'apparat. La journée se termine avec la prestation de serment des avocats et des procureurs (pp. 328-29).
"La messe rouge présente ... toutes les caractéristiques de l'apparat: retour cyclique ritualisé, habit de cérémonie, tapisserie, orateur prodigieux que l'on invite spécialement et même présence des arches de la ville -- à mi-chemin entre troupe de parade et service d'ordre. Mais le rituel ne s'achève pas avec la messe, et l'éloquence va reprendre ses droits. La messe finie, on passe dans la Grand'Chambre. L'ordre est, comme tout le reste, figé, comme le Mercure de novembre 1680s l'explique:
Un Evesque est toûjours prié de la dire [la messe], en suite de quoy il est conduit à la Grand'Chambre entre deux Presidens à Mortier. Le premier, passe avant luy; le second n'entre qu'aprés.
... Les orateurs lient fortement justice et religion. ... La proximité institutionnelle entre Parlement et Eglise est d'autant plus sensible en ces occasions que l'évêque appartient parfois à une famille de parlementaires out de haut magistrats" (pp. 440-442).
(November 5, 2009) Edition of Marc-Antoine Charpentier's petits motets by the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles
I just received Catherine Cessac's impressive edition (over 300 pages!) of Charpentier's "petits motets." This volume is especially welcome, because none of the works requires more than 2 singers, continuo and, sometimes, two treble instruments. In short, musicians who could not perform Charpentier because they could not call upon soloists, a small choir and a basic baroque orchestra, can now perform the composer's devotional music. Even more, these relatively short pieces lend themselves to performance during church services. In other words, thanks to Cessac and the CMBV, Marc-Antoine Charpentier's music is now readily available to choirmasters, in a scholarly edition in both French and English, and with useful background information, information about historical performance, and English translations of the Latin texts. (For another edition of Charpentier by the CMBV, see below, October 27, 2008.)
(March 18, 2009) The funeral decorations at the royal necropolis of Saint-Denis went to the monks
I just came upon a note I took when consulting A.N., K 1716, liasse 6, items 2 and 3, which contains materials about funerals at the basilica. I noted: "The monks get the ornaments! A huge squabble about it, with Sainctot," the royal master of ceremonies. This was no small matter because, for the funeral of the Dowager Duchess of Orléans in 1672, the decor consisted of yards and yards and yards of black woolen drap "strewn with silver teardrops"; marble (and fake-marble) skeletons; hundreds of candles of costly white wax, in 300 silver candlesticks; and a silver-gilt crown on the bier. (BnF, ms. fr. 16663, pp. 181-91). Even if we suppose that some of these items (the crown and the candlesticks) belonged to the Crown, enough remained to fight over, down to the burned-down candle stubs, which religious traditionally collected and sold to candle-makers.
(March 16, 2009) a Corpus Christi procession at Versailles, June 5, 1681
Source: Mercure Galant, June 1681, pp. 4 ff.
As far as I can determine, Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Beati omnes (Psalm. 127), H.178, was performed that day by the Dauphin's Music, composed of the two Pièche sisters, the bass Frison, and the Pièche brothers playing the two unspecified treble instruments. Although assigned to work for the Dauphin, these musicians were part of the King's Music: hence the bold-faced passage in the quote that follows. (This work was copied into the notebooks that contain "extraordinary" compositions.) I do not have a description of the Procession held at Versailles in June 1686, so I cannot propose a setting for H.344, In festo Corporis Christii canticum: Venite ad me, a piece for a large ensemble that the Memoir of 1726 describes as a "Grand motet pour le reposoir de Versailles en présence du roi défunt [Louis XIV]."
"Vous scavez quelle est la solennité des Processions qui se font par tout pour la celébrer. Celle de Versailles estant preste à sortir de la Paroisse qui est dans la ville neuve, Sa Majesté s'y rendit pour l'accompagner, suivie de toute la Cour, qui estoit nombreuse et magnifique. Tous les Pages de la Chambre, avec ceux de la Grande et Petite Ecurie, les Cent Suisses, et les Gardes du Corps, poroient chacun un Flambeau de cire blanche. On en compta près de mille. ... Les Pères de la Mission, les Recolets, et les Aumôniers de toute la Maison Royale assistèrent à cette Procession, qui passa devant la Pompe et s'y arresta. Mr Denis, Fontenier de Sa Majesté, avoit pris le soin d'y faire dresser un Reposoir d'un façon extraordinaire. C'estoit une Feuillée toute remplie de Cascades et d'eau et de Rocailles. La Procession passa de là dans l'Avantcourt du Chasteau et en suite dans la Court, toutes deux tenduës des plus belles Tapisseries de la Couronne. Tous les Balcons et toutes les Fenestres, jusqu'au comble du Chasteau, estoient parez de Tapis de Perse à fonds d'or et d'argent. On avoit placé le Reposoir au bas du grand et magnifique escalier. ... Il est d'une forme qui fournit de quoy faire quelque chose de très-somptueux dans les rencontres de cette nature, sans qu'il faille ajoûter beaucoup d'embellisisemens. Aussi n'y employa-t-on que ce que demandoit l'ordre de cet Escalier. De grands Vases d'argent remplis de Plantes de Fleurs avoient esté mis sur les piédestaux de marbre qui accompagnent les Balustres de bronze doré. On en avoit posé de semblables sur les Corniches et aux autres endroits où de pareils ornemens pourvoient convenir. L'Autel estoit sur la première hauteur du Degré, vis-à-vis la Fontaine. Un Parement de Drop d'or d'une beauté surpenante, faisoit admirer le devant de cet Autel, dont le Tabernacle qu'on avoit percé à jour, estoit orné de Rubis, d'Emeraudes, et de Diamans. Une Couronne de trois pieds de diametre en faisoit le Dôme. Elle estoit toute de Pierreries, et jettoit un feu si eblouissant qu'on avoit peine à en soutenir l'éclat. Les Cascades de la Fontaine paroissoient au travers du Tabernacle, et rien n'estoit plus agreable à la veue que cette Eau et les Pierreries que les lumieres faisoient briller. Il y avoit de grandes Guéridons avec de grandes Torchères aux deux costés de l'Autel, ainsi que sur les extremitez des marches de l'Escalier. La Musique de la Chapelle du Roy estoit placée sur le haut. Il seroit fort malaisé de trouver un lieu plus avantageux pour l'Harmonie. Aussi les Instrumens et les Voix y furent-ils entendus avec grand plaisir. Il n'y eut aucun desordre, et tout parut ce jour-là digne de la Cour d'un Roy Tres-Chrestien. La Procession estant sortie du Chasteau, passa devant les superbes Ecuries de Sa Majesté. ... Ce Prince la ramena jusques à l'Eglise, ayant eu la teste nue pendant trois heures, sans s'estre mesme servy de Parasol, contre l'ardeur du Soleil. Il entendit la Grand' Messe à la Paroisse, où tous les soirs de l'Octave il est venu au Salut.
(March 14, 2009) "The Great Guise Music," a name I coined for the Guise ensemble of the 1680s
I've never explained why I felt a name was necessary, and why, my Portraits, I call the small ensemble created in the early 1670s "The Guise Core Trio." I created these names because 1680s marked a very important turning point.
During the 1670s, Mlle de Guise's "Music" (Musique), that is, the musicians at the hotel de Guise, constituted an ensemble typical of the household of a high noble: a handful of domestics with more or less adequate musical skills who had duties other than performing music. At the hotel de Guise, this Music more often than not consisted of a trio ― my "Guise Core Trio" ― composed of two women and a bass, accompanied by one or two recorders or viols and a keyboard. (Occasionally, especially for works performed at a male convent, the trio consisted of a counter-tenor, a tenor and a bass.) This Core Trio calls to mind the Duchesse de Chaulnes's little ensemble, which performed at a mass at the Fille de Sainte-Marie in June 1647 : "La Reine fut entendre la messe ... où chanta la Musique de la duchesse de Chosne, laquelle Musique est composée de son aumosnier, son écuyer, son valet de chambre et deux de ses demoiselles. Cette Musique chanta un fort beau mottet, une petite élévation du précieux corps de mon Dieu, et un Domine salvum fac Regem, et le tout très juste et de belles voix. Les filles tramblotoient un peu, mais cela n'estoit point désagréable." (DuBois, Mémoires, pp. 37-38) If the girls' voices "trembled," it probably was less from nervousness than from their inadequate musical training!
Then, circa 1680s, Mlle de Guise, a "sovereign princess of Lorraine naturalized in France" who was the last of her illustrious family, decided to see to it that the House of Guise would go out in splendor. She therefore took into her household at least seven very young people, to work as "musiciens ordinaires" and "filles de la musique," and she saw to it that they received the necessary training. In other words, this was a "musique entretenue," a musical ensemble that she "supported" from day to day, as distinct from musicians "hired" for special events or doing double duty within the household.
Thus it came to pass that, when Mlle de Guise died in 1688, the Mercure galant informed its readers that: "elle avoit jusqu'à sa Musique entretenue. Cette Musique étoit si bonne, qu'on peut dire que celle de plusieurs grands souverains n'en approche pas.." (March 1688, p. 306).
The key words here are "souverains" and "entretenue." That is, the quality of her ensemble was so "great" that it surpassed than that of many "great" sovereigns. Indeed, who in Paris other than a sovereign (read, a "sovereign princess") would have presumed to create an ensemble in residence that was good enough to perform at the royal court, along with the Dauphin's Music? Marie de Lorraine, a grande (a great noble), had created a musical ensemble worthy of her greatness. Hence my name for this embodiment of Her Highness's pride and magnificence: "The Great Guise Music."
(March 14, 2009) A reposoir for the Fête-Dieu at the Palais-Royal, 1648
I copied this out because it suggests the sort of reposoirs for which Marc-Antoine Charpentier composed music, once for Madame de Guise, at the Luxembourg Palace, and later for the Jesuits of the rue Saint-André. This description is especially interesting because it refers to musicians: singers, instrumentalists, and even an organ!
source: BnF, ms. 500 Colbert, 143, fols. 16 ff.
"Comme la Reyne a de coutume de faire faire un reposoir dans le Palais Royal pour la procession de la Feste Dieu, elle voulut qu'en cette année, que leurs Majestez estant à Paris, que rien ne fût obmis tant pour son architecture, decoration que pour ses richesses." The work was supervised by sieur Le Camus, surintendant des bâtiments, who had recently succeeded Cardinal Mazarin.
"Toutes les bagues de la couronne, et des plus grandes de ce Royaume en faisoient le principal enrichissement."
The reposoir was deep, like a theater (8-10 toises). "Dans le fond estoit un grand autel en demi-lune," with four steps leading up to it. Une "espèce de pavillon" covered it, held on each side by an angel. "Estoit plus bas une espèce de petit tabernacle d'or, duquel sortoit une très longue verge de fer noire, au bout de laquelle tomboit en l'air sur le milieu de l'autel une grande couronne fermée de perles et diamans estimés du pris de trois millions d'or. Sur ledit tabernacle une grande croix d'or toute semée de diamans."
"Autour ... quantité de corbeilles de fleurs dont les soutiens estoient enrichis de diamans, et entre deux corbeilles une quantité de vases de cristal" that were very costly. "Derrière iceux quelque vingt grands bassins d'or cizelez à coquilles et d'autres façons. Dans tout le fonds, et dedans de l'autel et reposoir, pres de cent plaques d'or vermeillis cizelées d'une grandeur admirable remplies de luminaires. Le fonds de l'autel estoit de cinq cadres remplis de cinq grands miroirs, les glaces de trente-six pouces de hauteur, dont les bordures estoient couverts d'argenterie rare." Between each mirror were tall gold vases full of flowers (I noted:"3 or 4 feet high," but I no longer recall whether that refers to the vases or the bouquets of flowers).
On the altar were 2 reliquaries made of precious materials; they belonged to the Queen. All about were dozens of candlesticks. And, "dans ce grand dôme, à la droite en entrant estoit un grand eschaffaut sur lequel jouoient les 24 violons du Roy. A l'opposite, à la gauche, un autre eschaffaut sur lequel estoit l'orgue et le corps de musique de la chapelle du Roy, qui à chaque procession qui venoit chantoient differents motets."
A balustrade made the altar area resemble "une espèce de choeur." This area of the reposoir was "pavé de peintures," and "tendu des plus riches tapisseries de la Couronne, dont les actes des apôtres en estoit l'histoire."
The late Cardinal Richelieu's richest "parements d'autel" were used that day, having been willed to the Crown. Lastly, "toute la cour estoit couverte à la hauteur des toits d'un ciel de tapisserie," and in some places these tapestries overlapped, being "tendue à deux, l'un sur l'autre." Some of the exterior walls of the building were also hung with tapestries.
(February 8, 2009) William H. McCabe, S.J., An Introduction to Jesuit Theater (St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1983)
This posthumously-published D. Phil. dissertation, defended at Cambridge University (UK) back in 1929, provides abundant information and rich insights for scholars of French baroque theater and opera. True, it focuses on the English college at Saint-Omers; but like most things jesuit, the evidence about the theatrical productions given at Saint-Omers applies to the Society as a whole. Thus McCabe's Introduction provides a solid base from which to explore Marc-Antoine Charpentier's David et Jonathas. Especially useful is Part III, on Jesuit tragedy.
(You can order the book at: http://www.jesuitsources.com)
A brief summary of the book follows:
This is a posthumous edition (by Louis J. Oldani, S.J.) of the doctoral dissertation that William McCabe completed at Cambridge University, UK, in 1929. Owing to his subsequent responsibilities in the Society of Jesus, Father McCabe never finished final revisions, and the manuscript lay nearly forgotten until two decades after his death, when the Institute of Jesuit Sources decided to make the study available to the public.
Eight decades after the thesis was written, the materials are as fresh and meaningful as they were back in the 1920s.
Part I deals with "The Jesuit Theater" and discusses Jesuit collèges, the rise of Jesuit theater in the late sixteenth century, the purpose of the theater, the people involved both actively and passively, the plays themselves, and the place that Jesuit theater occupies in the history of drama. (All of this sounds pretty routine just the sort of thing one finds in Boysse or Lowe on Louis-le-Grand, for example. But it is far from routine, because Father McCabe relies on a variety of Latin sources.
Part II focuses on the Society's English collège at St. Omers and the plays performed there. Part III presents Father Joseph Simons, St. Omers' early-seventeenth-century playwright-teacher, and scrutinizes his five surviving tragedies. Particularly meaningful ― especially for musicologists who want to understand the implications of the texts that Marc-Antoine Carpenter set to music for the Jesuits from the mid-1670s on ― is the chapter entitled "The Jesuit Tragic Principle," where the tragedies are placed in the broader context of Jesuit theology. Other chapters provide specific evidence about how the Jesuits represented the hero of a play, how (if at all) they portrayed females, the messages conveyed by the chorus (and the ballets!), the use of dumb shows and plays-within-plays, the role of miracles and marvels in Jesuit theology, and the influence of Seneca upon Jesuit theater.
In writings about Marc-Antoine Charpentier's David et Jonathas ― or about his work for the Jesuits in general ― have I overlooked citations to McCabe's book? Or have musicologists overlooked McCabe? As I worked my way through this book, I kept saying, "Yes, that is in David et Jonathas! Ah, that's what it means!"
True, on the surface, the book seems to be restricted to St. Omers college, in the Artois; but to ignore McCabe's work on those grounds is to misunderstand the Society of Jesus and how homogenous and deeply rooted it was, across Europe as a whole. For example, McCabe points out that, within a scant few years, a specific Latin play might be performed in a college in Spain, in France, or in Eastern Europe. To emphasize this point, he begins Part III of his book as follows:
"From our study of the theater of the English College of St. Omers, one of the smaller Jesuit schools in a minor town, we have been enabled to gather an idea of what was happening during the seventeenth century in the whole system of the Jesuit theater [my italics], nearly all of whose centers were greater, many of them situated in much larger towns. (p. 133)
In short, a very important study exists that ― in our discussions of the music woven into theatrical productions at Louis-le-Grand during the 1680s and 1690s ― will permit us to go beyond continually regurgitated citations from books about the Parisian college: Emond, Boysse, Lowe, Dainville, and so forth. Indeed, the libretto of David et Jonathas only takes on meaning when viewed through the theological glasses that Father McCabe provides for his readers in part III.
There is, of course, much new work on the Jesuits, and I have not kept abreast of it all. But it seems to me that this book should be an essential tool for any musicologist working on Jesuit rhetoric and music, be the work secular or be it devotional. It is devoutly to be wished that this tool be taken out of the closet and that it henceforth occupy a prominent place among our basic reference books. It can be purchased at: http://www.jesuitsources.com
(December 15, 2008) Terpsichore at Louis-le-Grand, by Judith Rock (St Louis: The Jesuit Institute of Historical Sources, 1996)
Judith Rock modestly describes this book as a study "to make available for English-speaking readers a survey of dance at the Jesuit college in Paris between 1660 [...] and 1762" (p. 7). Indeed, she pulls together ― and presents from a Jesuit perspective ― materials published prior to the mid-1980s. (These works included not only 17th and 18th century sources, but also standard French secondary works about the Parisian collège, such as Boysse, Dainville, Emond, and Lowe.) The book would be extremely useful for anglophones whose French is shaky; but francophones would also profit from reading it. I personally got quite caught up in Rock's discussions of dancing Jesuit fathers, costumes, audiences, and "Allegory and Actuality" in the ballets. Do consider purchasing it!
There is another plus to the book: Rock's translations are accurate. I do however wonder about her use of the word "characters" on pp. 92-93. She summarizes Father Ménestrier's discussion of how ballet "expressed the soul," and is a painting which speaks by its "movement and by its characters." (pp. 138 ff, of Des ballets anciens et modernes). Mouvement and caractère are terms that often appear together in seventeenth-century texts, to describe the "mouvements of the soul" as transferred to the movements of the body, and how these "movements" contribute to the "ambiance," caractère, of a specific dance form. In such a context, I am surprised to find Rock referring to "ballet characters' costumes." (I don't have access to that particular work of Ménestrier's, so I shall be content to alert readers to the possibility of a mis-reading of the source.)
I want to seize this opportunity to clarify something I wrote two decades ago. Summarizing my article on the sarabande in Early Music (1986), Judith Rock focuses on my "misunderstanding of the Jesuit attitude toward and involvement with dance," and my "assumption that a celibate priest would naturally have disapproved of the passionate Spanish Sarabande" (pp. 110-111). To correct me, she wrote several very useful and insightful paragraphs about the Inquisition in general; so I am glad I used some sloppy vocabulary in that particular paragraph of my article!
This is the sloppiness to which I am referring: On p. 24 of that article, while summarizing Father Pomey's definition of "Sarabande," I used "the Church" (that is, the Catholic Church as a whole) as a synonym for "the Spanish Inquisition" (a very localized phenomenon): "For Pomey the sarabande was 'Spanish,' and so lewd that it was outlawed by the Church." I want to assure Judith Rock, and my readers, that I did not intend to suggest that Pomey was influenced by the Spanish Inquisition and therefore disapproved of sarabandes à l'espagnole. The idea never entered my mind! If Pomey had disapproved of them, or if the Society of Jesus had disapproved of then, or if "the Church" as a whole had disapproved of them, Pomey would scarcely have included his "Description d'une Sarabande dansée" in his Dictionnaire royal. In addition, I was not expressing my personal "assumptions"; I was letting Pomey speak for himself ("For him ...", "he considered ...," "he gave ...," "he did not address ...," and "the lascivious gestures ... did not prevent the Jesuit pedagogue from dwelling at length upon this dance"). Nowhere did Pomey himself suggest that French Jesuits were influenced by the Spanish Inquisition and that the Society therefore frowned upon this very passionate dance; and I frankly can't find any place in that article where I made such a point. Still, I hope readers will dig out that article in Early Music, will cross out "the Church," and will write "the Spanish Inquisition" in its place.
(You can order the book at: http://www.jesuitsources.com)
(October 28, 2008) Segalion and Polymestor
Among the Fugitive Pieces on this site is a page about Music in Jesuit schools. One of the quotes on that page talks about the ballet called Segalion and the tragedy named Polymestor, both of which were performed at the Collège Louis-le-Grand during the summer of 1689. Now, the entire issue of XVIIe Siècle, January 2008, no. 238, is devoted to Segalion and Polymestor!
(October 27, 2008) Editions of Marc-Antoine Charpentier's compositions by the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles
Year after year the postman leaves me yet another scholarly edition by Catherine Cessac published by the Centre: four fat volumes of his masses, plus a slimmer one containing his Sacrificium Abrahae. It is a pleasure just to look at them on the shelves near my desk! Reading the "scholarly apparatus" (which is in both French and English) is a great joy: simply stated but oh-so-learned and accurate! The other day yet another fat volume arrived on my doorstep, but this time the editor is Théodora Psychoyou. This volume contains five works for the Guise ensemble (the large group of the early 1680s that I christened the "Great Guise Music"). Théodora Psychoyou's introduction brings to life the constraints with which Marc-Antoine Charpentier had to cope when composing for this group: neither the instruments nor the ranges of the singers' voices fit the usual mold. Psychoyou also investigates how, after his Mlle de Guise's death in 1688, Charpentier went about adapting these works for use at the Jesuit church of which he was now music master. To purchase one or another of these volumes, go http://editions.cmbv.fr/achat, choose "partitions," and then type in Charpentier's name. You will recognize the volumes by the large red rectangle on the covers.
(September 17, 2008) Descriptions of canonization festivities at a Jesuit establishment
For information on just how lavish the settings for Marc-Antoine Charpentier's compositions could be during the years he worked for the Jesuits of Paris (1688-1698), see Camille de Rochemonteix, Un collège de jésuites aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles, le collège Henri IV de La Flèche (Le Mans: Leguicheux, 1889), vol. 2, pp. 210-264. The first document quoted in extenso is a very detailed description of the festivities organized at the Jesuit collège of La Flèche in 1622 for the canonizations of Ignatius Loyola and Francis Xavier. The second document is a lengthy account of the canonization festivities organized for Francis Borgia in 1671. These narratives abound in details about decor, processions, pontifical masses, music....
(September 15, 2008) "Les goûts réunis" not only in the music of the late 1720's but in painting and cooking as well
François Couperin's expression, les goûts réunis is generally understood in a rather narrow sense by musicologists and musicians. (Les Goûts-réunis is the title Couperin gave to some instrumental pieces published in 1724.) They generally consider the expression as denoting a blend of Italian and French styles in music: "... ce recueuil, qui scelle l'union des styles italien et français," as Denis Herlin described it in the Dictionnaire de la musique en France aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (1992), ed. Marcelle Benoit, p. 324.
The identical expression les goûts réunis is also found in a book printed just one decade after the publication Couperin's Les Goûts-réunis. But this time the expression was applied to food!
The statement about les goûts réunis is cited in Florent Quellier's new book, La Table des Français, une histoire culturelle (XVe-début XIXe siècle (Rennes, 2007), p. 210. It is found in the preface to a cookbook, Les Dons de Comus ou les délices de la table (Paris, 1739) a preface generally attributed to two Jesuits, Pierre Brumoy and Guillaume-Hiacinthe Bougeant. Although one might wonder how two Reverend Fathers came to preface a cookbook, a quick glance at their biographies as preserved in any of the mid-eighteenth-century editions of Moréri's Dictionnaire reveals that both men were extremely knowledgeable about the arts in general, and that they were aware of the broader cultural and esthetic picture when they drew parallels between the arts (specifically, music and painting), the sciences, and cooking. This suggests that the expression has a far deeper and more pervasive meaning and extended beyond music and Couperin.
The sentences quoted by Quellier read as follows. (I have highlighted key ideas or expressions in bold type):
"On distingue aujourd'hui chez les gens du métier & chez les personnes qui se piquent d'avoir une bonne table, la Cuisine ancienne & la Cuisine moderne. La Cuisine ancienne est celle que les François ont mis en vogue par toute l'Europe, & qu'on suivoit generalement il n'y a pas encore vingt ans. La Cuisine moderne établie sur les fondements de l'ancienne, avec moins d'embarras, moins d'appareil, & avec autant de variété, est plus simple, plus propre, & peut-être encore plus sçavante. L'ancienne Cuisine étoit fort compliquée, & d'un détail extraordinaire. La Cuisine moderne est une espèce de Chymie. La science du Cuisinier consiste aujourd'hui à décomposer, à faire digérer & à mieux quintessencier des viandes, à tirer des sucs nourissans & legers, à les mêler & les confondre ensemble, de façon que rien ne domine & que tout se fasse sentir; enfin â leur donner cette union que les Peintres donnent aux couleurs, & à les rendre si homogènes, que de leurs différentes saveurs il ne résulte qu'un goût fin & piquant, & si j'ose dire, une harmonie de tous les goûts réunis ensemble."
Try a simple experiment. Change a few key words in this quotation, replacing "cuisine" with "musique"; "ancienne" with "pre-1715 or thereabouts" (that is, the music of Lully and his contemporaries and followers); "moderne" with "post-1715 or thereabouts" (as exemplified by the music of Couperin and Rameau). Does this revised version not suggest that the quest for "les goûts réunis" in French music may have alluded to a blend of "old" and "new" French musical styles, in addition to the more-talked-about blend of French and Italian forms?
In our revised version of the Jesuits' statement, the aim of this blending would be to produce a musical sound where the sharply contrasting tonal colors of the second half of the seventeenth century ― one thinks immediately of the works of "ancient" painters such as Mignard, Le Brun, Bourdon, La Hyre ― survive, but where they have been softened, blurred and pastellized, in the manner of "modern" painters such as Watteau, Fragonard, Boucher. Indeed, with a few different changes in vocabulary, so that art terms replace cooking terms, the Jesuits' statement could be applied not only to French music from circa 1665 and into the 1720's, but also to the evolution of French paintings.
Several decades ago Jean-Louis Flandrin (Histoire de la vie privée, ed. Ariès and Duby, paperback edition Paris: Seuil, vol. 3, p. 293) quoted other lines from the Reverend Fathers' preface. I quote these lines here, because they help us better to understand the context in which the expression les goûts réunis was used:
"Les Italiens ont poli toute l'Europe, & ce sont eux, sans contredit, qui nous ont appris à manger [...]. Il y a cependant plus de deux siècles qu'on connoît la bonne cuisine en France, mais on peut assurer sans prévention qu'elle n'a jamais été si délicate, & qu'on n'a point encore travaillé ni si proprement ni d'un goût si fin [pp. xii-xiii].
" La Cuisine, comme tous les autres Arts inventés pour le besoin ou pour le plaisir, s'est perfectionnée avec le génie des peuples, & elle est devenue plus délicate à mesure qu'ils se sont polis [...]. Les progrés de la cuisine [...] ont suivi parmi les Nations civilisées les progrés de tous les autres arts" [p. 1]
I wish I could quote the entire discussion, but no copy of the first edition of Les Dons de Comus is available to me; and that definitely is the edition that should be consulted. The version available online at Gallica2.bnf.fr is the second edition (1758), where an entirely new treatise on the history of food replaced Bourgeant and Brumoy's original preface.
(May 12, 2008) Some doubts about paper G/26 in cahier 22
It is odd to find 6 half-sheets in a cahier of the Mélanges. In fact, I am beginning to wonder whether cahier 22 contains 3 different types of paper G, and whether paper G/26 is really a "red flag." See my brief Musing on paper G/26 versus paper G/82 in that cahier.
(April 4, 2008) More on "oi" and how it was pronounced by non-rustics, circa 1680
For several years now, I have been protesting the pronunciation of the dipthongue oi that has been adopted by a number of Baroque ensembles. (See my Musings: How was the vowel-sound 'OI' pronounced in 17th-century France?; and "La Musique Françoise", plus my newest bit of evidence: Scipion Dupleix and the pronunciation of "OI," 1651)
I return to the attack, because in January 2008 I copied out a collection of letters written in the fall of 1680 by two Highnesses (see A trip through Champagne, 1680.) One Highness was the Abbess of Montmartre, the other was her sister, the Duchess of Guise. Throughout the Abbess's letters I caught her writing -ais -ait, and so forth, instead of the more common -ois, -oit. In other words, she pronounced avoit as if it were written avait ― using the very same vowel she used when saying the name of the Guise estate she was visiting: Marchais. In my transcription of this correspondence, I have highlighted in bold green type all the instances where she either uses an e (which, of course, has the same sound as -ais, or -ait), or else writes ai instead of the more common oi. She, of course, uses ai elsewhere to convey the phonetic sound "eh." For example, just as we do today, she writes "souhait, plaît, fais, and plaisir." In other instances, instead of ai or oi, she uses the letter e. In short, in her spelling of the sound "eh," the Abbess was well over a century in advance: not until the Revolution did -oi yield to -ai in published works and in most correspondence.
Some of these very revealing spellings are: serais, when most people in her day wrote serois; avet for avois; estet for estoit; auret for auroit; and j'yrais for j'irois. Especially interesting is fesblesse in lieu of foiblesse and crayés, for croyez. The latter phonetic rendering parallels the preferred pronunciation of avoine as avène.
There are fewer instances of the phonetic rendering "ai" in the letters of the Duchess of Guise, for whom spelling was always a challenge. But she too offers us a few instructive insights into the pronunciation that Lully ― and all his contemporaries who hoped to have a work performed at court or before a high noble of her standing ― would have envisaged for their vocal music. For example, instead of reconnoissance she wrote reconnessance: that is, she pronounced reconnaissance as we do today.
As for the third correspondent, M. Du Bois, a future member of the French Academy, although he consistently wrote -oi, it would be plain obstinacy for us to imagine that he would have embarrassed Their Highnesses, and himself, by pronouncing that vowel "oueh" or "ouah."
PS: Orest has been working on the death inventory of Cardinal Richelieu, It's clear that notaries in the early 1640s also pronounced many oi's as "E": for example, this particular notary, referring to the weight of an item, spelled pesant as "poisant"!! I would infer from this that he pronounced poids as "pouwa," or "pouwhe", more or less as we do today; but that he knew when to treat the oi as an E: poisant/pesant. In short, he wrote two very different sounds in the very same way. As one of the Musings at the top of this factoid reveals, the notary's contemporaries spelled the woman's name Françoise but pronounced it "Fransouwaze," as we do today; but when talking about a Frenchwoman, a "Française" (which almost everyone in those days spelled "Françoise," just like the christening name) they said "Franceze," as they do today.
(March 28, 2008) The handwriting on cahier 1, fol. 1 recto of the Mélanges
In her recent article on Charpentier's handwriting and what it suggests about chronology (see my Musing on the subject), Jane Gosine convincingly suggested that this is a copyist's hand. I wondered if this hand, found only on the recto of cahier 1, fol. 1, could be the hand of Monsieur Du Bois, the founder and director of the Guise Music.
While in Paris in January, I checked Du Bois' handwriting BnF, ms. fr. 17052: the handwriting of the text set to music on fol. 1 does not resemble his handwriting. It clearly was someone other than Du Bois who copied out folio 1 recto of cahier 1
(February 1, 2008) April 24, 1691: Marc-Antoine Charpentier, "me de musique du Colege de Louis le Grand," signs a notarial act involving the organ at the Jesuit school
Our knowledge of Marc-Antoine Charpentier's career is broadened by Érik Kocevar's discovery of a notarial act signed by the composer.
See Érik Kocevar's article, "L'orgue du collège Louis-le-Grand au XVIIe siècle à la lumière d'un marché d'orgues inédit," in the latest issue of Recherches sur la musique française classique, 31 (2004-2007), pp. 165-80.
I will say nothing here about the most momentous facet of this precious document: it provides musicologists with a detailed description of the organ and all its stops!
During the 1680's and 1690's there were, so to speak, actually two organs at Louis-le-Grand: there was the organ that was available early in Marc-Antoine Charpentier's tenure there, and that was reworked starting in February 1689; and there was the perfected organ that was "received" by Charpentier, by the college organist Louis Marchand, and by the Jesuit fathers on April 21, 1691. Between the two organs, there was a hiatus of almost two years, while the instrument was being reworked. Organ music during those two years is therefore unlikely at Louis-le-Grand, unless we are willing to argue that the reverend fathers rented a "cabinet" instrument to replace the dismantled organ. (This two-year hiatus suggests that unless Marchand was already serving as organist for the College prior to February 1689 and was kept on the payroll even though he had no work to do, his nomination probably dates from early 1691.)
Érik Kocevar quotes excerpts from two nineteenth-century accounts of how Louis Marchand came to be appointed: these accounts clearly are based on the very same source as Émond's 1845 narrative of the same event, one of my Fugitive Pieces! But what might that source be?
A few details in the notarial act caught my attention, for what they tell us about Charpentier. My musings about these details follow:
(September 20, 2007) Charpentier's funeral music of 1672-1674
I have repeatedly referred to the numerous events at which one or another of Marc-Antoine Charpentier's funereal compositions in cahiers 3, 4 and 5 could have been performed. In my notes I just came upon the following details about expenditures for the Bout de l'an of Marguerite de Lorraine (Mme de Guise's mother), celebrated at Saint-Denis on May 6, 1673:
"A Pierre Le Blanc, peintre, pour armoiries par luy fournies pour les deux services qui ont esté célébré pour deffuncte Madame à Saint Denis et à Montmartre," 1000 livres, paid by Mme de Guise on May 25, 1674.
"A Pierre Robert, menuisier," for a wooden coffin....
"A Sr de Mouhers, brodeur, pour 4 grandes armes d'une aulne de hault en broderie d'or et d'argent appliquées sur le poisle de la couronne à Saint Denis..." 200 livres
To the juré crieur who had supervised the pompe funèbre, 4000 livres
In other words, two separate Bout de l'an services were held for the late Madame in May 1673. As in 1672 (when Madame was buried at Saint-Denis and her heart was buried at Montmartre), in May 1673 there was a memorial service for her at Saint-Denis, and there was another memorial service at the Abbey of Montmartre, where Madame's heart reposed. (According to the same document, the funeral services celebrated in 1672 had cost Mme de Guise a total of 19,044 livres, 14 sols, 4 deniers.)
Source: Arsenal, ms. 6525, fol. 3
(September 15, 2007) Battles over church benches
Mlle de Guise's war over a church bench was scarcely a example of such a dispute. I have two similar tales in my files. Each involves an old seigneurial family that is entitled to a special bench in a church, and whose prerogatives are challenged by someone eager to gain control of this sign of prestige.
The first battle was waged not very far from Panat, at a small town called Sénergues. For fifty years (1687-1728) the Guirard de Monternal family, lords of Sénergues, fought with the Madrières family and once even came to blows over a church bench. As feudal lords of Sénergues and holding the right to wield "la haute justice," the Guirards were entitled to a bench (banc) in the choir of the parish church. (Diderot's Encyclopédie confirms that a "banc" is a "terme de jurisprudence: dans le choeur [d'une église] est une des droits honorifiques qui appartiennent ... au seigneur haut justicier dans la haute justice duquel elle est située.") Protestants for close to a century, the Guirard's became Catholics in 1687 after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, only to discover that in the mid-1650s the wealthy Madrières had obtained permission to place a bench in their chapel just to the left of the high altar. One bench led to another, so to speak, and by 1687 the Madrières were sitting in the prestigious old seigneurial bench that the Guirards had once occupied. In fact, since they were far wealthier than the Guirards, the Madrières were laying claim to being "co-seigneurs" of the town.
From 1687 until the mid-1690s, the younger males of the two families periodically fought over the bench both legally and physically. Indeed, a young Guirard was exiled for having profaned the church by wounding his rival during a dispute over the bench. The war continued and by 1711 the Madrières were trying to purchase the seigneurie of Sénergues from the indebted Guirards ― who were rescued by a friend at the last moment.
In 1727 the final skirmish took place, and it
very much resembled the battle waged at Guise a half century earlier. The
Guirards built a new seigneurial bench, a very tall seigneurial bench, a very
wide seigneurial bench. And they placed it in the choir, just where it would
entirely block the Madrières' view of the mass as they sat on their
bench inside their chapel. Monsieur Madrières protested that the church
did not belong to the Guirard family and that they should be ordered to "ôter le
nouveau banc et de reprendre l'ancien banc..." Guirard replied with a notarized
statement by the parish priest to the effect that "le banc n'empêche en aucune
manière le service divin ni même n'incommode nullement pour donner la Sainte
Communion aux fidèles ... qu'au contraire le banc affermit le balustre qui
aurait été plusieurs fois renversé s'il n'était soutenu par le nouveau banc."
Guirard also presented documents proving that the family had been entitled to
this bench since 1419, when it first was granted the rights to exercise
justice. Like a deus ex machina, the abbot of Conques finally
stepped in and declared that the Guirards' bench could remain where it was, but
that the back would have to be lowered, "pour ne pas porter incommodité à ceux
qui prendront place sur le banc de la chapelle Saint-Antoine," which belonged to
"The two clashed over the presence of the arms
of Hingant in a parish church. Du Brueil was seen dragging the bench that bore
Hingant's arms out of the church. He then took the bench to the market square
where he proceeded to smash it to smithereens. This was an open challenge to
Hingant that sought to cause him 'grand deshonneur, injure et scandalle.' By
choosing to destroy the bench on the market square, du Brueil was purposefully
making the affair as public as possible. Such defiance flew in the face of the
considerable social gulf that separated the two protagonists, but was made
possible by the protection that the count afforded du Brueil. At a moment of
heightened tension between the Lavals and Rohans, the affinities of both
families sought to emulate the rivalry of their patrons. Indeed, du Brueil might
even have been encouraged in his actions by the count who thus showed his power
and the protection he could give his followers."
(April 5, 2007) The "Marquis de Sablé" at Monsieur de Riants' opera
I am always eager to correct any errors I may have made. In my presentation of Charpentier's opera for Monsieur Riants' and his friends, I identified the "marquis de Sablé" as a descendent of Urbain de Laval, a Leaguer. Over the years I have, however, kept in mind the fact that the Laval de Sablé family trees I consulted did not show a "marquis" contemporary with Riants. Just the other day, when going through old notes taken at the Minutier Central, I encountered a more plausible candidate, whom I present here:
On July 8, 1671 some seven years before the performance at Riants' residence Philippe Goibaut du Bois, Mlle de Guise's chapel master, was reimbursed for 28,422 livres he had loaned to the princess the previous year so that she could pay some of her late brother's debts. She got some the cash from the "Marquis de Sablé"! Specifically, from:
Louis François Servient [read: Servien], chevalier, marquis de Sablé, and from his brother Augustin Servien, abbé de Saint-Jouin. They were the children of the late Abel Servien, one of Louis XIII's ministers and surintendant des finances. (AN, MC, XCIX, 248, quittance)
This type of loan is very strong of a link of trust or of "clientage" existed between the Serviens and the princess. I do not, however, know the nature of that link, or when it began. However, the Serviens do not appear to have asked for repayment during Mlle de Guise's lifetime. At any rate, although I went through all the acts the princess signed before that notary, I found none involving the Servien brothers.
In short, when Charpentier's opera was performed for Riants in February 1678, Mlle de Guise was heavily indebted to Louis-François Servien, "Marquis de Sablé," How aware of this debt the readers of the Mercure galant might have been is a matter for conjecture.
(February 23, 2007) A description of the staircase at the château of Aubais, and of the library for which Pierre Prion copied out so many manuscripts
(For our transcription of the Manuscrit in which Prion recounts his adventures, see our Présentation of the manuscript.)
From Louis Moréri, Le Grand Dictionnaire, ed. of Paris, 1743.
"Aubais, château du Languedoc dans le Diocése de Nîmes, à quatre lieuës de cette ville, & à pareille distance de celle de Montpellier. L'on y voit un escalier très hardi, & qui mérite que nous en fassions au moins une briéve description. La cage de cet escalier a six toises & demie de long, sur cinq & demie de large, & les murailles onze toises d'élevation, & cinq piez d'épaisseur. On a pratiqué dans cette épaisseur deux escaliers our monter au dôme. On monte par cinq rampes qui sont toutes doubles, à la réserve de celle du milieu. Si on arrive par la grande avenue, on me monte que deux rampes de seize marches, parce que l'escalier est construit sur un terrain haut & bas. Les marches, au nombre de quatre-vingt-huit, quoiqu'il n'en faille monter que trente-sept, ont sept piez de longueur. Le pallier, par où l'on communique aux deux appartemens d'enhaut, a cinq toises & demie de long sur trois & demie de large, & sa voûte n'a presque point de cintre. On ne sauroit voir rien de plus hardi que cette platebande. A côté de l'Escalier, il y a deux salles dont les voûtes de pierre de taille sont extraordinairement plates, & d'une grande beauté. Gabriel Dardaillon, natif de Nîmes, mort en 1693, fut l'Architecte de cet escalier, & l'acheva au mois de septembre 1685. On trouve encore dans le château d'Aubais une Bibliothéque, qui n'est pas seulement considérable par un très grand nombre de volumes concernant l'Histoire & les Belles-Lettres, mais encore par beaucoup d'Editions fort rares & fort belles, par des reliures magnifiques, & par quantité de Manuscrits curieux sur l'Histoire de France & sur la Géographie. Ce château appartient depuis plus d'un siécle à la Maison de Baschi, qui a produit plusieurs personnes connues dans l'Histoire."
The article concludes with a genealogy of the Baschis. Return to our Présentation of Prion's Manuscrit
(December 5, 2006) Pietro Guerrini’s visits to the Hôtel de Guise in 1685
In several of my writings I have alluded to the information I found in Florence about Guerrini’s visit to Paris, and particularly his encounters with Mlle de Guise and Mme de Guise. I was speechless when I first read ugh this narrative with its many illustrations of technology; and I still en more speechless when I learned that archivists at the Achivio di Stato of Florence were unaware of its existence! I am pleased to say that this wonderful document has been edited by Francesco Martelli and published by Leo S. Olschki (Florence, 2005)
I’ll quote here the passages to which I referred in my writings. Thanks to this publication scholars can put them in the broader tableau of Paris and the royal court in 1685
On November 8, 1684, Guerrini recounted his failed attempt to pay his formal respects to Madame de Guise, the sister of his master’s estranged wife, at the Luxembourg Palace:
Fui ieri per inchinarmi all’Altezza di madama di Ghisa, ma elle mi fece risposta che non era abbigliata et che voleva ch’io vedesse il suo palazzo in stato più proprio, mentre ora vi fa travagliare per abbellirlo e seguito che sarà mi farà saper il gioro che mi vol veder, per sentir (dice ella) quello me no pare. Io senz’altro saprò lodare e approvare, ma le gran bestialità che qua si vedono, se lì ne saranno non le posso tacere. Credo ora vostra signoria illustrissima libera del suo fastidioso trattenimento et potrà con franchezza frequentar la corte. (I, p. 281)
Note: the editor confused Mme de Guise and Mlle de Guise, note 311.
On March 12, 1685, Guerrini alluded to his visits to Mademoiselle de Guise at the Hôtel de Guise:
Non si può poi far di meno di non affezionare a questa città che sempre si provano passatempi per allettar le persone. Ora c’è di più che vado qualche volta la settimana a passar un’ora o due da Madamiselle di Ghisa, dove vi è musica e strumenti et conversazione insomma galante et studiosa et quel molto che la medesima Altezza à gran satisfazione che ci troviamo là. (I, p. 312)
Guerrini also frequently saw Sir Samuel Morland (engineer, spy, and amateur musician), who at the time was in close contact young Sébastien de Brossard. This was just about the time when Brossard was making friends with Etienne Loulié, the Guise musician!
(November 6, 2006) Two factoids about services at the Jesuit church of Saint-Louis in August 1673, kindly copied out for me by Jérôme de La Gorce
From the Gazette d'Amsterdam of Tuesday, August 15, 1673 (BnF, G. 4277):
De Paris, le 8 Aoust
Les jours passés les Reverents Pères de la Société donnèrent au Peuple de Paris le divertissement des violons, avec l'apparence d'une Tragedie, car il y avoit un combat de coqs et de grenouilles; et il se fit à leur porte une merveilleuse distribution de coups de canne par l'ordre et la libéralité d'un bon Pere qu'ils avoient posté à leur Tourniquet, où il en fit donner avec profusion au Gouverneur des enfans de Monsr. le Garde des sceaux. On dit que y'a esté en reconnaissance du zèle qu'il avoit témoigné l'année passée à les délivrer de ces Messieurs qui leur estoient peut-estre à charge dans leur Collège, et qui est digne d'estre inséré dans la Morale Pratique.
and, from that same publication, for Thursday, August 31, 1673:
De Paris, le 25 août
Hier il y eut grand bruit dans l'Eglise des Reverens Peres de la Société de la rue S. Antoine, au sujet de quelques places que des personnes de mérite y avoient prises pour leur argent [?], parce que des Messieurs de plus haute qualité voulant s'y placer, un du Couvent en vouloit faire sortir les autres, ce qui faillit troubler toute leur feste.
Was the public attracted to either, or both event by Marc-Antoine Charpentier's music? Apparently not: neither series of his notebooks for that year contains a work for the Assumption, or a work for the Feast of Saint Louis.
(November 5, 2006) Pierre Perrin's wedding, 1653
From a copy of the parish records of the church of Saint-André-des-Arts, January 27, 1653 (BnF, ms. fr. 32589, p. 484):
Pierre Perrin, "éc[uyer], conseiller du Roy et me d'hotel ordinaire du Roy et de S.A.R." [Gaston d'Orléans] et "Elisabeth Grisson, widow of Pierre Bizet, conseiller du Roy en sa cour du Parlement, de la paroisse de St Sulpice. Led. mariage fait en lad. église par l'ordre de Mr l'official de [Paris] qui a dispensé de la publication des bans et des fiancailles en presence de Paris de la Vigne, bourgeois de Paris; Jean Jacqueteau, bourgeois de Paris; Claude Collinet, marchand de vin à Paris. Signé Paris de la Vigne, J. Jacquetot, Cl. Collinet.
Although he has been called "l'Abbé Perrin," Pierre Perrin clearly was not a cleric. And at the time of his marriage he was not Gaston's introducteur des ambassadeurs, but his maître d'hôtel.
At the time of Gaston's death in February 1660, Perrin was his introducteur and was owed 9,500 livres in wages (Arsenal, ms. 4213, fol. 12).
(November 5, 2006) A letter of recommendation by Marguerite de Lorraine, Duchess of Orléans, 1657
I found this autograph letter in the Library of the University of Amsterdam, 35 AX:
J'ay une priere à vous vaire en faveur de l'Abbé Boyer l'un de mes aumosniers lequel m'oblige par son affection et ses services assidus d'avoir soin de ses interestz mais ce n'est pas tant par cette consideration que je pretens vous le recommander comme par son propre merite et sa pieté. Il desire vous avoir l'obligation d'une pension de deux ou trois mille livres sur telz benefices qu'il vous plairra. Le conte de Bury que je charge de cette lettre vous dira qu'une pareille grace ne scauroit estre mieux employée et pour moy je vous assuray que je me sentiray vostre obligée. Je vous faites connoistre à ce mien domestique que vous considerez la priere que je vous en fait.
Mon Cousin, vostre tres affectionnée cousine
Marguerite de Lorraine.
A Blois ce 4 fevrier 1657
As great nobles tended to do, Madame expresses her "prayer" through a householder. I had this letter in mind whenever I pondered about how the sort of "prayers" the Guises might have written about Marc-Antoine Charpentier perhaps as early as his journey to Italy, and above all during the months leading up to Mlle de Guise's death in March 1688.
(November 5,2006) The Messe Rouge at the Parlement of Paris and the "Longue Offrandes" at the masses for St. Nicolas
Excerpts from "Explication des Cérémonies qui se font tous les ans le 6 Décembre dans la Chapelle de S. Nicolas, en la Grand'Salle du Palais de Paris," in my copy of a stray volume of the anonymous Variétés historiques, physiques et littéraires, ou Recherches d'un sçavant, Paris, 1752, pp. 45-86:
After a disastrous fire at the Palais in 1618, which virtually ruined the "salle des procureurs," that is, the Grand'Salle, the Community of the Procureurs rebuilt their chapel of St. Nicolas, so that it would "servir tant pour l'Office du lendemain de S. Marint: que pour les deux Fêtes de S. Nicolas, & pour y célébrer deux Messes tous les jours de Palais."
C'est dans cette Chapelle que la Communauté des Procureurs fait dire le lendemain de S. Martin, une Messe solemnelle du S. Esprit pour l'ouverture du Parlement: cette Messe est nommé communément la Messe Rouge parce que Mrs. du Parlement y assistent en Robes rouges. M. le Premier Président fait, en allant à l'Offrande, un grand nombre de révérences à l'Autel[,] au Clergé, à sa Compagnie, & en fait autant pour revenir à sa place, les encensemens se font dans le même ordre que ces révérences.
Cette Messe est ordinairement célébrée par un Evêque, lequel a ce jour-là séance & voix délibérative en la Grand-Chambre, mais il ne peut pas y faire porter la Croix devant lui, quand même ce seroit l'Evêque Diocesain.
Après la Messe, le Parlement s'assemble en la Grand'Chambre, on lit les anciens réglemens concernant la discipline du Palais; ensuite M. le Premier Président reçoit le serment des Avocate & Procureurs; après quoi la Communauté des Procureurs fait distribuer auprès du Greffe, des bougies à chacun de ceux qui ont prêté le serment. ...
Les Avocats & et Procureurs ont établi une Confrairie commune en la Chapelle de S. Nicolas.
Le Bâtonnier des Avocats, que l'on élit tous les ans le 9 May, jour de la S. Nicolas d'Eté, est le Chef de cette Confrairie, & c'est par cette raison que les Procureurs de Communauté donnent leurs voix pour son élection; le nom de Bâtonnier qu'on lui donne, vient de ce qu'il portoit autrefois le Bâton de la Confrairie, où est l'Image de S. Nicolas. ...
La veille de S. Nicolas, la Communauté des Procureurs fait chanter les Vêpres & l'Office du Saint, en la Chapelle de la Grand'Salle; le lendemain, elle fit dire une grande Messe, qui est chantée par la Musique de la Sainte Chapelle; le Bâton de la Confrairie est posé au-devant du Lutrin, avec deux Torches de cire allumées & placées aux deux côtés.
Le Bâtonnier des Avocats est assis du côté de l'Evangile, sur un banc separé, à la tête des quatre Procureurs de Communauté, du Greffier & des six Procureurs, qui quêtent cette année-là pour la Chapelle.
Du même côté, sur un banc plus avancé, sont les anciens Bâtonniers & anciens Avocats.
Sur un autre banc, du côté de l'Epitre, sont assis les anciens Procureurs de Communauté & autres anciens Procureurs, en robe & en bonnet.
Le Bâtonnier des Avocats va le premier à l'Offrande, & fait en y allant & en revenant 36 révérences à l'imitation de celles que fait M. le premier Président à la Messe Rouge; sçavoir, d'abord à l'Autel, ensuite au Bâton de S. Nicolas & au Clergé, qui est à l'entour, aux anciens Bâtonniers, aux Procureurs de Communauté[,] aux anciens Procureurs de Communauté, & aux six Receveurs entrans.
Les encensemens se font dans le même ordre, tant à cette Messes qu'aux autre Messes & Services qui se disent dans cette Chapelle; on donne trois coups d'encensoir devant le Bâtonnier.
Les anciens Bâtonniers & autres anciens, vont aussi à l'offrande, chacun à leur rang; & apres eux les Procureurs de Communauté & autres anciens Procureurs, & les six Aspirans.
Pendant la Messe le Bâtonnier fait distribuer des bougies au Clergé, aux Avocats & aux Procureurs; c'est un ancien usage, qui a, sans doute, été instituté à l'instar de ce qui se pratique dans la plûpart des Confrairies, où chaque Confrere porte un cierge dans les Processions & autres Cérémonies. Cette distribution & celle qui se fait après la Messe rouge, peuvent aussi avoir été institutées dans un tems où ces Messes se disoient plus matin & où on avoit besoin de bougies pour s'y éclairer.
La Communauté des Procureurs donne après la Messe un grand repas au Bâtonnier, à l'Ex-Bâtonnier, à l'Avocat de la Communauté, aux quatre Procureurs de Communauté, au Greffier & aux anciens Procureurs de Communauté. ...
Le Parlement, les Avocats & les Procureurs, font aussi faire d'autres services dans la Chapelle de S. Nicolas, selon les événemens publics.
A mass similar to the Messe Rouge and to the masses for St. Nicolas was also held on May 9, "jour de la Translation de S. Nicolas" except that on that day the Bâtonnier distributed bouquets instead of candles. A new bâtonnier was elected each year: he immediately contributed 1000 livres for the Community's alms, and he was expected to furnish all the wax and other supplies for the two feasts of St. Nicolas. The estimated cost for wax, bouquets, and so forth was 800 livres, which he paid in advance, immediately after his election.
The Messe Rouge was jokingly called the ballet des écrivisses, "crayfish ballet." It was for this event that Marc-Antoine Charpentier wrote his Jugement de Salomon. On the other hand, his music "pour une longue Offrande" must have been intended for one of the masses honoring St. Nicolas.
And a related factoid:
A description of the opening of Parlement, 1661
From a letter to Chancellor Pierre Séguier written by Ballesdans, BnF, fonds Saint-Germain français 709, published as an appendix to Réné Kerviler, Le Chancelier Pierre Séguier, second edition (Paris, 1875), pp. 684-85:
"Ce 13 novembre 1661 ― ... Messieurs du Parlement sont entrés au palais [de justice] le lendemain de la Saint-Martin, comme c'est l'ordinaire, et ... la messe du Saint-Esprit, dont la descente est si nécessaire dans l'esprit des juges, fut célébrée par Monseigneur l'évêque d'Amiens, qui s'acquitta aussi dignement de cette cérémonie que du compliment qu'il fict à l'assemblée pour la remercier de l'honneur qu'il avoit receu, et de celuy qu'il recepvoit encore de se voir sur les fleurs de lys. La cour n'estoit pas nombreuse, et Monsieur de Bailleul y fut le seul président au mortier qui accompagna l'illustre chef de cette compagnie, comme Monsieur Paris fut le seul maistre des requestes qui y garda son rang. Monsieur Ferrand, sur l'esprit et sur le visage duquel les années n'ont point eu de prise jusques icy, fit paroistre sa profonde piété aux yeux de toute l'assistance, ayant demeuré à genoux, un livre et ses deux bougies à la main, durant toute la messe, avec tant de dévotion, que nous en fusmes merveilleusement édifiez. Ce bon homme pria Dieu si long temps et avec tant d'activité, que je me suis imaginé qu'il avoit dit son office de la Vierge pour les trois temps de l'année, affin d'en estre quitte et de vacquer plus librement aux affaires des parties, ce qui est une espèce de priéres qui pénètre les cieux quelquefois mieux que les autres. Ce qui divertit merveilleusement et sans perdre le respect qu'on doibt au plus sainct de nos mystères, ce fut les deux procureurs de communauté qui présentèrent les bougies. Ces bonnes gens estoient coiffés de chascun une calotte à oreilles garnie de cheveux à l'antique, qui les faisoient remarquer pour estre agez tout au moins de quatre-vingt-dix ans. mais ce qui fit paroistre encore davantage leur belle vieillesse, ce fut quand, après avoir marché à petit pas, le dos presque contre terre, ils commencèrent de faire des révérences selon la qualité des personnes. Je vis l'heure qu'au lieu de révérences, ils alloient baiser les pieds de la cour, en danger de se casser le nez. Car, ou ces Messieurs ont oublié les leçons de leur premiers maistres à dancer, ou ils n'en on jamais eu, quoy qu'on dit assez haut que c'estoient des compagnons et qu'ils courroient encore assez bien après une boulle avec leurs amis, en donnant quelquefois du genouil pour la faire advancer. ...
The mass was the annual "Messe Rouge" organized for the opening of the Parlement of Paris by the procureurs and for which the master of the Sainte-Chapelle and his singers generally provided the music. The endless "bows" made by the two senior procureurs are described at greater length in the companion "factoid." It is interesting to note that this pompous service ― made even longer by the music ― was not widely attended, (Brenet's Sainte-Chapelle does not contain an allusion to their participation in the mass that year; but then, the event was rarely mentioned in the archives of the chapel.)
The pious parlementaire Ferrand (Michel II?) was a friend of the Charpentier family and had recently helped Etiennette Charpentier set up her linen business. President de Bailleul was also a family friend: in 1662 his mother and his daughter would sign Elisabeth Charpentier's wedding contract. As for Pierre Séguier, he was a protector of several Charpentier cousins. Through his family and through friends who came to visit his ailing father, did a similar account reached the ears of young Marc-Antoine Charpentier? If so, he could scarcely have imagined that he would one day compose for that event!
See also, above, the factoid dated January 10, 2010.
(October 19. 2006) La Grande Mademoiselle on a single (or widowed) woman's options
In 1670, when the maiden princess, age forty-three, was setting her sights on M. de Lauzun, she discussed with him the options available to a single woman of her high estate. Lauzun summarized her situation thusly:
Je trouve que vous avez raison de prendre un parti, rien au monde n'étant si ridicule, de quelque qualité que l'on soit, que de voir une fille de quarante ans, habillée dans les plaisirs, dans le monde, comme une de quinze qui ne songe à rien. Quand l'on est à cet âge, il faut ou se faire religieuse ou dévote ou habillée, modestement, n'aller à rien. A cause de votre qualité, vous pourriez une fois, pour faire voir votre cour, aller à un Opéra, encore ne faudroit-il pas que ce fût tout le temps, et vous en faire bien prier; ne témoigner pas être aise ni y prendre plaisir, ne louer rien, par l'inapplication que vous y auriez; aller à vêpres, au sermon, au salut, aux assemblées des pauvres, aux hôpitaux, ne s'acquitter des devoirs envers la reine, où votre qualité vous oblige, qu'en pareilles occasions, ou bien vous marier; car l'étant, à tous les âges on va partout; on est habillée comme les autres, pour plaire à son mari. On va aux plaisirs, parce qu'il veut que l'on fasse comme les autres ...." (Mémoires, ed. Chéruel, IV, p. 100)
This wonderful statement inevitably proved too long to tuck into an article or a chapter of my Portraits! Yet it shaped much of what I have said over the past twenty years, about the options open to Mlle de Guise and Mme de Guise.
When Mlle de Guise offered her protection to Marc-Antoine Charpentier she was past fifty and, as far as the public knew, she was a spinster princess. If she entertained lavishly or went to court, it was as "regent" for her ward and nephew, Louis-Joseph Duke of Guise. After his death in 1671, she eschewed stylish clothing, courtly events, balls and evenings at the Opera and, acting her age and behaving according to the conventions appropriate for a maiden lady, she devoted herself to pious activities. We don't know much about any charitable activities she may have become involved in, but from Charpentier's manuscripts we know that she indeed "went to vespers, to sermons and to salut." As for Mme de Guise, she was only in her twenties when she was widowed in 1671. Though her hopes of remarriage were dashed, she did not immediately give up court festivities. It was her young son's death in 1675 that turned her to devotion: the sources tell us that she not only assiduously attended vespers, saluts and sermons, but she also was a central figure in the sort of activities described by Lauzun: "assemblies of the committees for the poor, hospitals," and "her duties toward the Queen" who was her very close friend. By 1687, when Charpentier was preparing to leave the Hôtel de Guise for the Jesuits, Mme de Guise had totally renounced the amusements of the "world" and was vainly hoping that Louis XIV would allow her to become a Carmelite.
(October 15, 2006) On the devout seigneur
I was struck by the following passage from the Duc de Luynes' Instruction pour les seigneurs (1658), quoted by J.-L. Quantin, "Port-Royal et la haute noblesse: sur le cas du duc de Luynes (1620-1690)," Le second ordre: l'idéal nobiliaire, ed. C. Grell and A. Ramière de Fortanier (Paris, 1999), p. 121:
Dans les Eglises où personne ne luy dispute la préeminence, il doit [le seigneur] bien prendre garde de n'affecter jamais la premiere place, ny les autres honneurs qu'on luy rend, par un esprit de vanité, mais user seulement de ces avantages pour attirer de ses sujets un respect qui luy donne l'authorité dont il a besoin pour les pouvoir porter à Dieu, et les obliger bien vivre, en se considerant dependant devant Dieu comme le serviteur des autres, puis qu'en effet il doit croire qu'il ne jouit de ces préeminences et de ces honneurs, qu'afin de servir ceux qui luy sont soûmis, et non pas afin d'en estre servy.
Luynes was, of course, a Jansenist. But so in the 1660s was Philippe Goibaut des Bois, who spent twenty years "auprès de" Her Highness Mlle de Guise, and who appears to have played a considerable role in her devotions (more often than not musical). Luynes' statements also mirror what we know about the devotions of Her Royal Highness Mme de Guise, that is, her charitable activites and her conversionary activities.
(Oct. 10, 2006) Lorenzani and the musical devotions at the Theatine church
Sometimes the end of a statement in a historical source merits being quoted with the rest of the text. For example, the following statement about the Theatins and the opera-like works performed in their convent church had been quoted many times by musicologists. But I don't recall having read the final sentence (highlighted by bold type), which I happened upon the other day when looking for something else in Depping's Correspondance administrative sous le règne de Louis XIV (Paris, 1851), II, p. 602:
Colbert de Seignelay to Archbishop Harlay of Paris, Fontainebleau, Nov. 6, 1685:
On s'est plaint au roy que les Théatins, sous prétexte d'une dévotion aux âmes du Purgatoire, faisoient chanter un véritable opéra dans leur église, où le monde se rend à dessein d'entendre la musique; que la porte en est gardèe par deux suisses, qu'on y loue les chaises 10 s, qu'à tous les changemens qui se font, et à tout ce qu'on trouve moyen de mettre à cette dévotion, on fait des affiches, comme à une nouvelle représentation. Sur quoy S.M. m'ordonne de vous escrire pour sçavoir de vous s'il y a quelque fondement à cette plainte, et pour vous dire que, dans le mouvement où sont les religionnaires pour leur conversion, il seroit peut-estre à propos d'éviter ces sortes de représentations publiques que vous sçavez leur faire de la peine, et qui peuvent augmenter l' esloignement qu'ils ont de la religion.
The Edict of Nantes had been revoked only a few weeks earlier, on October 18. Louis XIV viewed the new collaboration between Paolo Lorenzani and the Theatins as creating a unnecessary psychological and moral obstacle to the conversion of France's Huguenots to Catholicism. True, Lorenzani continued to work for the reverend fathers for two more years, but this text suggests that the theatricality of these "devotions" was curtailed after late 1685. Was Marc-Antoine Charpentier -- and the two Guise ladies, whose devotional activities included converting Huguenots -- given the same message? It seems likely that the royal desire was indeed made known to Mlle and Mme de Guise, all the more so because, if I am correct in hypothesizing that many of Charpentier's oratorios were performed at the Theatins, the princesses and their composer were as open to criticism for sponsoring opera-like devotions as the Theatins were.
At any rate, after the Feast Day of Saint Cecilia, 1685 (that is, approximately two weeks after Seignelay wrote this letter) Charpentier abruptly stopped composing in the oratorical genre. (He did, however, write a new prelude for an older work for Saint Cecilia's Day. 1686, H.415a, which I have surmised may have been intended for a private performance to honor M. Du Bois' dedication of a book to Mlle de Guise). Nor after 1688, while in the service of the Jesuits, did Charpentier go back to writing elaborate compositions that could be accused of resembling operas. True, the 1690s brought a few works that C. Cessac classifies as histoire sacrées, but they rarely called for more than 4 singers and 4 instruments (H.417, H.416; H.418, H. 421). The Judicium Salomonis (H.422), written for the opening of the Parlement of Paris, is a notable exception to this rather surprising about-face. but it was commissioned for a very exclusive event that was unlikely to affect Huguenot sensibilities.
A related A factoid that I just found in one of Depping's footnotes, shows how committed to conversions Mme de Guise was during the weeks after the Revocation. On December 30, 1685, her secretary, Charmoy, wrote La Reynie, head of the Paris police:
Mme de Guise vient de me commander de me donner l'honneur de vous escrire qu'elle estime, si vous voulez bien faire encore quelque semonce un peu forte à Mme de la Garde, qu'elle prendra le party de faire l'abjuration plustost que de quitter Paris; S.A.R. vous prie de luy garder le secret.
La Reynie (or his aide) noted on the letter: "Si elle ne veut pas faire abjuration, le roy ne la veut pas souffir à Paris." (Depping, IV, p. 388, note 1.)
To summarize: The Guises promoted the oratorio in France; and from 1675 on into 1685, they ordered Charpentier to compose numerous, often quite ambitious works in that genre. But after the Revocation of October 1685, they bowed to Louis XIV's wishes and ceased sponsoring oratorios. I personally have not come upon any sources, post-Revocation, that suggest how the Theatins responded to the king's wishes. As for the Jesuits, throughout the 1690s they clearly refrained from presenting full-blown oratorios in their church.
(Oct. 10, 2006) Why was "Liselotte," the second wife of Philippe d'Orléans, shown holding a piece of fruit (for example, in Landry's Almanach for 1682)?
When the German princess arrived in France in 1671, she shocked the French court by munching on a pomegranate:
Elle arriva avec un habit de brocard d'argent. ... Il faisoit froid; elle n'avoit pas mis de masque; elle avoit mangé des grenades, qui lui avoient fait devenir les lèvres violettes. Quand l'on vient d'Allemagne, on n'a pas l'air françois. (Mlle de Montpensier, Mémoires, ed. Chéruel, IV, p. 310)