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Harpsichord in Continuo

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  • 7/24/2019 Harpsichord in Continuo

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    Oxford University Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Early Music.

    http://www.jstor.org

    The Role of the Keyboard Continuo in French Opera 1673-1776

    Author(s): Graham SadlerSource: Early Music, Vol. 8, No. 2, Keyboard Issue 2 (Apr., 1980), pp. 148-157Published by: Oxford University PressStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3126772Accessed: 31-10-2015 17:24 UTC

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    T h e

    r o l e

    o f

    t h e

    keyboard

    continuo

    i n

    r e n c h

    o p e r a

    1673-1776

    GRAHAM

    SADLER

    Nil

    t

    Iti

    J:low.

    Im

    "W

    ts

    ,?j

    - --

    A4

    ~?*,:~:~~

    1.

    Detail of

    a

    pen

    and

    ink and

    watercolour

    drawing

    by

    J.

    B.

    MWtoyen

    of

    a 'Plan

    de

    la

    Musique

    du

    Roy,

    au Grand Theatre

    de Versailles'

    (1773),

    showing

    the orchestral

    layout

    and

    the name of each

    player

    (Bibliothbque

    de

    Versailles)

    The research

    for

    this article

    was

    assisted

    by

    a

    generous

    award

    from

    the

    British

    Academy

    Small Grants

    ResearchFund in the

    Humanities.

    The article

    is a

    revised

    version

    of

    a

    paper

    read

    to

    the

    North Midlands

    Chapterof

    the

    Royal

    Musical Association

    at

    Birmingham

    University

    n November

    1978.

    'No

    piece

    can

    be

    performed

    well without the

    accom-

    paniment

    of

    a

    keyboard

    instrument.

    In

    the

    most

    powerful

    pieces,

    in

    opera,

    even out of

    doors,

    where

    one would

    certainly

    not

    expect

    to

    hear the least

    thing

    from the

    harpsichord,

    one misses

    it

    when

    it

    is

    not

    there."

    Such a

    categorical

    statement,

    from

    C.

    P. E.

    Bach

    in

    1762,

    attractively

    traightforwardhough

    it

    may

    be

    as

    a rule

    of

    thumb or the modern

    performer,

    needs

    considerable

    qualification.

    For even

    if

    we

    exclude

    performances given

    under

    inadequate

    conditions,2

    here

    remains much

    evidence that

    the

    absence

    of

    keyboard

    and

    other

    chord-playing

    continuo instrumentswas

    thought

    by many

    to

    be

    perfectly atisfactory,

    ven desirable

    n

    certain

    ircum-

    stances. There

    are,

    for

    example,

    accounts

    of

    such

    noted violinists

    as

    Anet,

    Guignon

    and Veracinieach

    content o

    play

    with

    accompaniment

    f no more than

    a

    melodic

    bass.3

    We also have nnumerable

    itle

    pages

    7\Yc~~b

    ~ ? i s ~

    h~~P

    ~ s ?

    r e & ~LIL

    "P

    40Ci~x

    ~~~Al

    :oil

    148

    EARLY

    MUSIC

    APRIL 1980

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    of

    ensemble music

    specifying

    a continuo section

    of

    'cello

    or

    harpsichord';4

    and while these must

    be

    inter-

    preted

    as

    'cello

    or

    harpsichord

    or

    both',

    they

    never-

    theless show that

    omission

    of

    the

    keyboard

    was at least

    acceptable,

    and not

    always necessarily

    second best.'

    In

    addition to this

    optional

    omission,

    composers

    sometimes

    deliberately

    excluded the

    keyboard

    and

    other chord-playing instruments from certainsections

    of works with

    directions such as

    senza

    cembalo r senza

    continuo.

    For

    much

    of

    Europe,

    this

    practice

    does not

    appear

    to

    follow

    any

    predictable pattern.

    In

    France,

    however,

    there is

    clear

    yet

    little-known evidence that

    a more

    systematic

    and extensive

    omission

    of

    these

    instruments

    was

    regularly practised,

    at least

    in

    the field

    of

    opera.

    It was first noted

    quite

    some time

    ago by

    several French

    scholars:

    Henry

    Prunieres,

    writing

    on

    the

    Lully

    operas,

    stated that 'the

    harpsichord

    and wind

    instruments,

    unless

    specifically

    indicated,

    do not

    take

    part

    in

    the

    performance

    of the

    airs de

    ballet,

    which are

    reserved for the strings . .6 Similarly, Paul-Marie

    Masson claimed that

    'Rameau

    temporarily

    omitted

    the

    harpsichord part

    in

    many

    of

    the instrumental

    passages

    of his

    operas,

    not

    only

    in

    the

    symphonies

    ut also

    in

    the

    accompaniment

    of

    certain

    airs.'7

    But

    because such

    conclusions were

    supported

    by

    little

    real

    evidence,

    few

    have

    paid

    them the attention

    they

    deserve,

    and

    it

    would therefore be of

    benefit to scholars and

    per-

    formers

    if

    the

    evidence behind

    these statements were

    set out

    in

    some detail. This

    article is thus

    concerned

    not so

    much

    with what

    the

    keyboard

    continuo

    played

    as

    with

    where t

    played;

    it is

    also

    restricted

    to

    perform-

    ance

    at the Paris

    Opera

    (the

    Academie

    Royale

    de

    Musique)

    and

    at the

    French

    Court.

    The French attitude to

    figuring

    As the evidence stems

    largely

    from

    the

    pattern

    of

    figuring

    in

    much of the

    primary

    source

    material,

    it is

    important

    that we

    first

    examine the

    French attitude

    in

    general.

    Jean-Jacques

    Rousseau describes

    it

    thus: 'It

    is

    the fashion

    in

    France

    to

    load the

    basses with a

    jumble

    of useless

    figures. They

    figure everything,

    even

    the

    most obvious chords, and he who adds the most

    figures

    believes himself the most

    learned.'8 With

    his

    characteristic

    bias

    against

    French musical

    customs,

    Rousseau is

    clearly

    exaggerating, though perhaps

    not

    excessively.

    Elsewhere,9

    he

    goes

    so far as to

    accuse

    Rameau of

    causing

    this

    state of

    affairs;

    and,

    while this

    too is

    obviously

    an

    over-simplification,

    it

    is

    certainly

    true

    that French

    composers-particularly

    those of

    Rameau's

    generation

    and

    later-do

    figure

    their

    basses

    very

    thoroughly,

    and

    necessarily

    so,

    given

    the richness

    of

    so

    much

    of

    their

    harmony.

    The

    contrast here with

    Italian

    practice,

    or more

    especially

    with

    Italian

    opera,

    is

    obvious,

    and was

    already

    noted

    in

    the 18th

    century:

    'The

    Italians

    despise

    figures',

    writes

    Rousseau

    in

    the

    Encyclopidie;'o

    the

    score itself is

    hardly

    necessary

    to them. The

    quickness

    and

    good quality

    of their

    ears

    compensate

    for

    it,

    and

    they

    accompany

    well

    without all this

    apparatus.'

    Significantly

    enough,

    Rameau

    picks up

    this

    very

    point

    in

    his Erreursur

    a

    musique

    ans

    l'Encyclopidie,"

    escrib-

    ing

    it

    as

    a

    'frivolous

    remark' and

    continuing:

    'Without

    figures

    or

    score,

    the least

    experienced [player

    can]

    accompany

    rondeaux

    hat

    almost

    always

    revolve around

    2. Detail of a sketchby C. N. Cochinfilsof a scene from Rameau's

    LaPrincessee

    Navarre,

    s

    staged

    n

    the Grande

    Ecurie,

    Versailles,

    in

    1745

    Paris,

    Mus&e

    e

    l'Op~ra)

    il

    :.

    ~7,

    .77.

    ..T

    .r...

    n

    :: P :

    V-2

    Milk A..t-'?9

    Alp~

    ~1L

    ?.?-?...

    .

    ~

    ,

    "

    .

    l

    im

    EARLY

    MUSIC APRIL 1980 149

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    two

    or

    three related

    keys.

    But

    when

    it

    comes

    to

    those

    modulations of

    which the ear cannot be

    forewarned

    ...

    that is

    where

    the

    greatest

    talents

    run

    aground

    in

    the

    absence

    of

    the

    [Thoroughbass]

    Method.'

    Whatever

    the

    Italian

    practice

    may

    have

    been,

    it is

    clear that

    in

    France

    careful

    figuring

    was

    regarded

    as

    essential

    to

    successful

    continuo

    playing,

    an attitude which

    helps explain

    the

    large

    number

    of

    18th-century

    French manuals

    mainly

    devoted to the

    simple

    realizationof

    figures.

    Rameau's

    figuring

    pattern

    Our

    suspicions

    must

    surely

    be aroused when

    we notice

    that

    many

    French

    opera

    scores,

    while

    copiously

    figured

    in

    certain

    places,

    are

    regularly

    devoid of

    figures

    in others.

    Nor is the

    presence

    or absence

    of

    figures

    purely

    random;

    rather,

    we

    find a

    clearly

    defined

    pattern.

    In

    investigating

    this

    pattern,

    it is

    simpler

    to start

    not with

    Lully

    and

    the

    beginnings

    of

    French

    opera

    but with

    the

    operas

    of

    Rameau,

    for

    in

    this

    later

    period

    (1733-64)

    the

    evidence

    is

    not

    only

    more

    plentiful

    but also more conclusive. The source

    materials

    that

    particularly

    concern

    us are

    those which

    either

    have

    the

    direct

    authority

    of

    Rameau

    himself

    or

    which

    derive

    from

    early performances

    at

    the

    Op6ra

    or

    at Court.

    They

    are: the

    dozen

    or

    so

    autograph

    or

    part-

    autograph

    scores,

    together

    with

    those

    manuscripts

    known

    to have

    been

    copied

    from

    autographs;12

    the

    surviving

    proofs

    of the

    18th-century

    editions

    of

    certain

    operas,

    several

    containing

    detailed

    autograph

    correc-

    tions,

    including

    some

    to the

    figuring

    (Rameau

    clearly

    thought

    the

    figures

    too

    important

    to leave

    to a

    pub-

    lisher's assistant);13 he original editions themselves,

    the

    production

    of which

    we

    know

    to have

    been

    over-

    seen

    by

    Rameau;

    and

    lastly

    the

    regrettably

    small

    number

    of

    basse-continue

    arts

    deriving

    from

    perform-

    ances

    at

    the

    Opera

    or

    at Court.14

    (It

    is

    worth

    remembering

    that

    the

    harpsichordist

    at these

    per-

    formances

    played

    from

    a

    part

    giving

    the bass line

    only,

    except

    in

    the

    recitative,

    where

    the

    vocal

    line

    was

    usually

    added.)

    The

    pattern

    of

    figuring

    that all

    these

    scores

    and

    parts

    show

    is,

    almost

    without

    exception,

    very

    straight-

    forward:

    figures

    are abundant

    in the solo vocal

    music,

    including simple and accompanied recitative, airs,

    duets

    and other

    ensembles.

    They

    are

    absent,

    however,

    from

    the

    overtures,

    the

    dances

    and

    self-contained

    symphonies,

    nd

    the

    choruses.

    The

    extent

    of

    this lack

    of

    figuring

    can

    be seen

    at its

    most

    extreme

    in the

    pro-

    logues

    and divertissements,

    with their

    large

    number

    of

    choruses

    and

    instrumental

    items.

    Of the

    24

    move-

    ments

    in the

    prologue

    to

    Les

    Indes

    galantes,

    only

    a

    quarter

    are

    figured,

    and

    the

    first

    figuring

    does

    not

    appear

    until

    the

    seventh

    item. A

    glance

    through

    the

    volumes

    of Rameau's (Euvres

    complhtes,

    hich

    for

    all

    their editorial

    shortcomings,

    do

    not

    normally

    distort

    the

    figuring

    pattern,

    will

    confirm

    that

    this distribution

    is not

    particularly

    exception

    in

    such

    places.'"

    Before

    jumping

    to what

    may

    seem

    the obvious

    con-

    clusion,

    let

    us

    consider

    an

    alternative

    explanation.

    Could

    there have

    been,

    for

    example,

    a second

    harpsi-

    chordist,

    an

    organist

    or even a theorbo

    player

    who

    realized

    a

    separate

    set of

    figures

    now

    lost?

    Such

    a

    suggestion

    can

    easily

    be dismissed: we

    are well

    supplied

    with

    lists

    of

    the

    Opera personnel

    during

    the

    period

    of

    Rameau's

    operas,

    and

    there

    is

    no indication

    of

    more than one

    harpsichordist

    in

    the

    orchestra at

    that

    time.'6

    Similarly,

    we

    may

    dismiss

    the

    various

    organ parts

    preserved

    in the

    Bibliotheque

    nationale,

    for

    almost all

    originate

    from

    performances

    in

    and

    around

    Lille,

    some

    as late

    as the 1770s

    or

    80s.'7

    As for

    the two

    theorbo

    players

    listed as

    still

    belonging

    to

    the

    Opera orchestra in

    1719,18

    there is no evidence that

    they

    remained

    until

    Rameau's

    time.

    (For

    an admit-

    tedly

    late

    seating-plan

    see

    illus.

    1.)

    The

    only

    realistic

    explanation

    is

    that

    in

    Rameau's

    day

    the

    single harpsi-

    chordist either did

    not

    play

    during

    the

    purely

    orches-

    tral

    music and choruses

    or at most

    played

    the bass

    line

    only,

    either

    tasto

    solo

    (at

    pitch)

    or

    all'unisono

    doubling

    an octave above

    or

    below).

    There

    is,

    moreover,

    one

    further

    piece

    of evidence

    which

    makes such

    a con-

    clusion

    virtually

    incontestable.

    It comes

    from a

    set

    of

    117

    vocal and

    orchestral

    parts,

    not

    of

    a

    Rameau

    opera

    but

    of Andre

    Campra's

    Achille

    et

    Deidamie,

    deriving

    from the work's first

    performances

    at the

    Opera

    in

    1735.

    The set is

    an

    especially

    convenient

    one because

    it

    is

    more

    nearly complete

    than

    any

    of the

    comparable

    Rameau

    sets

    and,

    since

    Achille was

    never

    revived,

    contains

    few

    revisions

    and

    substitutions

    to

    complicate

    matters.

    The

    table

    below

    lists

    the

    nine

    parts

    which

    between

    them

    make

    up

    the

    bass

    line,

    with

    the

    player's

    names

    and

    their

    function:

    Andre

    Campra,

    Achille

    t

    Deidamie

    1735).

    Bass

    parts

    in

    Bibliotheque

    de

    l'Opera

    Materiel

    18.

    [1

    (1-117)

    Mat. 18 [1 (109) Bassons MrrBrunelle

    ,,

    (110)

    Bassons

    Mrs

    Lenoire

    et Chedville

    ,,

    (111)

    Bassons

    Mrs

    Pierpont

    et Chedville

    ,,

    (112)

    B[asse]

    d[e]

    v[iolon]

    Mrs

    Le

    Large

    et Habram

    ,,

    (113)

    B.d.v.

    M

    rs

    Leclerc

    et

    L'AbC

    ,,

    (114)

    B.d.v.

    Mrs

    Marchand

    et

    Barriere

    ,,

    (115)

    B.d.v.

    Mrs

    Francoeur

    et

    Paris

    ,,

    (116)

    B[asse]

    c[ontinue]

    Mrs

    Monteclair

    et

    Charon

    [figured]

    ,,

    (117)

    B.c.

    Mrs

    Baudyet

    L'Abe

    [unfigured]

    150

    EARLY

    MUSIC

    APRIL

    1980

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    1?

    IU-I

    -

    w-

    9A',

    9 4

    1

    1W ist-

    itII T l Jim

    I rw

    I

    A i

    f=-

    ,

    iI

    Al

    II

    o

    er

    rtJ.

    it~*\*

    Campra,

    Achille t

    DWidamie

    Paris,

    Bibliotheque

    de

    I'Opera,

    Mat. 18

    [1]

    above left

    and

    right,

    ex.

    1,

    'M.rs

    Francoeuret Paris'

    pp.

    1-2;

    below

    right,

    ex.

    2,

    'M.rs

    Monteclair et

    Chiron'

    p.

    I

    Of

    the four basse

    continue

    players,

    L'Ab6

    (Labb6)

    and

    probably Baudy on part 117 were bassede violonplayers,

    which

    by

    this date

    simply

    meant cellists.

    Sharing part

    116,

    Michel

    Pignolet

    de

    Mont&clair,

    the

    composer

    and

    theorist,

    had

    long

    been a

    double-bass and

    basse de

    violon

    player

    in

    the

    Op6ra

    orchestra,

    while Andre

    Ch6ron

    was the

    Opera's harpsichordist

    from

    1734 to

    1737.'9

    Not

    surprisingly,

    figuring

    is

    absent

    in

    part

    117

    with

    its two cellists

    but

    present

    in 116 for

    Cheron's

    benefit.20

    When

    we

    compare

    all these

    bass

    parts

    with

    each

    other

    and

    with

    the

    score,

    several

    important

    features

    emerge.

    Exx.

    1

    and

    2 show

    successively

    the

    first two

    pages of one of' the basse de violon parts and the

    first

    page

    of

    the

    figured

    basse

    continue.21

    The

    first

    eight

    lines

    of

    ex.

    1

    comprise

    a French

    overture

    in A

    minor. In

    ex.

    2, however,

    this is

    simply

    not to

    be

    found.

    Instead,

    the

    placing

    of

    the

    word 'ouverture'

    shows the continuo

    players

    that their

    first

    piece

    is

    the

    D

    major

    'Prelude' that we also find

    on line 9 of

    ex.

    1.

    This is

    in

    fact an air

    sung by

    La

    Gloire,

    and

    her first

    words,

    'Deux

    mortels',

    are

    given

    as a cue

    in

    both

    parts.

    EARLY

    MUSIC

    APRIL 1980

    151

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    It is

    only

    after

    this

    cue,

    however,

    that

    the

    figuring

    begins

    in

    the

    basse

    continue

    part

    (ex.

    2).

    Moreover,

    it

    ceases

    whenever

    the

    singer

    rests

    (e.g.

    line

    3,

    bars

    8-10;

    line

    5,

    bars

    5-7),

    the

    equivalent

    bars in

    ex.

    1 being

    characteristically

    marked

    fort.

    After

    La

    Gloire's

    air,

    both

    parts

    contain

    the

    'Entree

    de

    Melpomene',

    but,

    as

    this is

    a

    purely

    instrumental

    movement,

    ex.

    2

    is

    sig-

    nificantly

    without

    figuring.

    The last

    three

    lines of

    the

    bassecontinueconsist of recitative and

    petits

    airs,

    all

    care-

    fully

    figured

    and

    with

    verbal

    incipits

    ('Gloire',

    'au

    merite'

    etc.).

    In ex.

    1,

    on

    the other

    hand,

    the first

    17

    bars of this

    recitative are not

    present;

    instead,

    the

    words 'mille

    nouveaux

    attraits'-the last

    words of

    the

    omitted

    passage-are

    given

    as a

    cue,

    and the basse

    de

    violon

    players

    join

    the

    basse

    ontinue

    t 'De

    l'empire'.

    In

    ex.

    1

    this

    leads to a chorus

    'Que

    la

    Gloire',

    but

    in

    ex.

    2

    the word

    'Choeur' in the

    bottom

    right-hand

    corner

    shows

    that once

    again

    a

    movement has been

    omitted.

    This

    pattern

    of

    alternating

    omissions and of

    partial

    figuring continues throughout the two sets of parts.

    Predictably,

    the

    passages

    omitted

    from

    the

    basse

    continue

    are all either instrumental movements

    or

    choruses,

    while those omitted from the bassesde violon

    are

    recitatives,

    petits

    airsand certain

    passages

    played

    by

    bassoons

    only. Predictably

    too,

    the

    unfiguredpassages

    in

    ex.

    2

    all

    occur where the

    solo

    singers

    are

    silent.

    From

    time

    to

    time

    in

    the

    figured

    passages,

    we

    find

    that

    somebody-presumably

    Charon

    himself-has

    added

    supplementary figuring

    carelessly

    omitted

    by

    the

    original

    copyist.

    One

    example

    of

    this can

    be

    seen

    in

    ex. 3: both the flat

    and the

    near-horizontal

    stroke

    have

    been

    pencilled

    in

    above the

    3

    bar

    (line

    1),

    though

    the

    distinction between

    this and

    the

    copyist's pen

    is

    not

    clear

    in

    a

    photograph.

    4 4

    41

    e/qt

    '//// i @

    Ex.

    3.

    Campra,

    Achille

    t

    Ddidamie

    source

    identical

    to ex.

    2),

    p.

    3

    Here

    then

    is

    our conclusive

    proof;

    for if Andre'

    Charon

    was the only chord-playing continuo playerin

    the

    orchestra,

    he cannot

    have

    played

    those move-

    ments

    not

    contained

    in his

    part,

    and the fact that he

    felt

    the

    need

    to add

    supplementary

    figures

    to

    the

    part-but

    only

    to

    passages

    which were

    already

    figured-makes

    it even

    less

    likely

    that he

    played

    in the

    lengthy

    unfigured

    passages.

    These

    must have been

    included

    for the

    benefit

    of

    Mont&clair,

    who shared the

    part.

    In other

    sets

    of

    original

    Opera

    parts,

    including

    those of

    the

    Rameau

    operas,

    the

    extent of

    such

    un-

    figured

    passages

    is

    actually

    greater,

    since

    it

    was more

    normal to

    include

    the

    unfigured

    bass

    line

    of

    the

    over-

    ture,

    choruses and

    dances.22

    From

    the

    evidence of

    the

    Achille

    parts,

    however,

    we

    can

    be

    virtually

    certain that

    all

    such

    passages

    were to

    be

    played

    by

    the

    basses

    de

    violon

    alone,

    or

    with

    harpsichord

    tasto olo

    at most.

    The

    most

    striking

    feature

    about the

    distribution

    of

    figuring

    in

    French

    operas

    of this

    period

    is

    the

    extent to

    which it

    reflects

    the

    presence

    or

    absence of

    solo

    voices.

    In

    the

    Rameau

    operas,

    only

    a

    handful

    of

    the

    many

    hundreds

    of

    instrumental

    movements

    are

    figured

    in

    reliable sources.

    Yet

    where,

    as

    commonly

    happens,

    a

    dance

    is

    followed

    by

    a

    vocal

    parodie,

    n

    which

    precisely

    the

    same music

    is

    sung

    by

    one of

    the

    soloists,

    we find

    that

    the

    harpsichord,

    having

    remained

    silent

    during

    the

    dance,

    is then

    required

    to

    accompany

    the

    singer.23

    Similarly,

    in

    choruses which

    incorporate

    passages

    for

    the

    solo

    singers,

    the

    figuring pattern

    shows

    that

    the

    harpsichord joined in only during the soloists'

    passages,

    even

    though

    these

    may

    last

    for

    as little

    as

    one

    or

    two bars.24

    In

    the

    solo

    vocal

    pieces

    themselves,

    Rameau's

    pattern

    of

    figuring

    changed

    as

    he

    grew

    older.

    In

    his

    earlier

    operas,

    the basses of

    these

    pieces,

    including

    their

    ritornellos,

    are

    normally fully

    figured.

    Indeed,

    we sometimes

    find

    lengthy,

    fully-scored

    instrumental

    preludes

    which are

    carefully figured

    simply

    because towards

    the end a

    solo

    voice

    enters-

    perhaps

    only

    to

    make-a

    transition within a few

    bars

    to

    simple

    recitative.25

    At

    this

    stage,

    Rameau

    evidently

    felt

    that if the

    harpsichord

    was

    required

    towards

    the

    end

    of

    the movement to

    accompany

    the

    singer,

    it

    might

    as

    well

    play

    from

    the start.

    In

    his

    later

    operas,

    however,

    figuring

    is

    often

    omitted

    from the

    ritornellos

    (see

    ex.

    4);

    although

    we

    have

    already

    seen

    an

    instance of

    this

    in

    Campra's

    Achille

    et

    Diidamie (1735),

    it

    was

    only

    in

    the

    later

    1740s

    that

    Rameau

    began

    to

    adopt

    the

    practice.

    Rameau's

    younger

    contemporaries

    Even

    then,

    Rameau

    did not

    go

    as far as some of his

    contemporaries.

    In the

    operas

    of

    Dauvergne,

    Laborde,

    Philidor and others (produced from the late 1750s

    onwards)

    it is not

    uncommon

    to find

    that

    figuring

    is

    absent

    not

    only

    from

    all the instrumental movements

    and

    choruses

    but also

    from the more

    fully-scored

    arias.

    Dauvergne's

    Les

    Fetes

    d'Euterpe

    1758)

    provides

    a

    good

    example,

    for

    we have a set of

    original

    Opera

    parts

    and a

    full score.26Of the nine arias in the first

    entrie

    of this

    opira-ballet,

    eight

    are

    accompanied

    by

    four-part

    strings

    at

    least,

    and none

    of these

    eight

    is

    152

    EARLY

    MUSIC

    APRIL 1980

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    7/11

    tr,~? ckMr,t?

    ,?,,.,

    t n i

    ,,

    10

    'o

    J-

    IbI

    --ALIAt

    i

    Ex. 4.

    Rameau,

    La Naissance

    'Osiris,

    utograph

    score

    (Paris,

    Bibliotheque

    de

    l'Opfra,

    Res.

    206),

    p.

    15

    figured.

    The

    remaining

    aria has

    a

    much

    lighter

    accom-

    paniment

    of solo flute and

    continuo,

    and

    here,

    not

    surprisingly, the basse continuepartbook is copiously

    figured.

    From the distribution

    of the

    remaining

    figures

    in

    this

    book,

    it

    is

    clear

    that the

    harpsichordist's

    role

    in

    this

    opera

    was limited

    to little

    more

    than

    the

    accom-

    paniment

    of

    the

    recitatives."2

    We can thus see the

    process

    which

    led to the

    eventual

    abandoning

    of the

    harpsichord

    at the

    Opera.

    Indeed,

    Grimm

    tells

    us that

    in

    1770,

    when Rameau's

    Zoroastre

    as

    revived,

    there

    was

    no

    keyboaird

    instru-

    ment

    in

    the

    orchestra

    at

    all.28

    The

    harpsichord

    did,

    in

    fact,

    linger

    on for

    a

    few more

    years;

    but with

    the

    arrival

    in

    Paris of

    Gluck's

    operas

    in

    the mid-1770s

    there must have seemed even less reason for retaining

    it,

    for not even

    the recitatives now

    required keyboard

    accompaniment.

    After 1776 it ceases to

    appear

    in

    the

    annual

    listing

    of

    the

    Opera

    orchestra

    published

    in

    the

    Almanach

    des

    spectacles.

    Having

    so

    far considered

    only

    the final

    stages

    of

    the

    harpsichord's

    deployment

    at

    the

    Opira,

    we must

    now

    return to

    the

    operas

    of

    Lully,

    where the

    evidence

    will

    be

    easier to

    interpret

    n

    the

    light

    of

    later

    practice.

    In the absence

    of

    autograph

    manuscripts

    of the

    Lully

    operas

    or of

    bassecontinue

    partbooks

    which can

    be

    linked

    indisputably

    with the

    first

    performances

    in

    the

    1670s

    and

    80s,

    the

    most

    reliable

    source material

    for our

    present purpose

    is

    the set

    of full-scores

    printed

    by

    Christophe

    Ballard from 1679 onwards. If

    we

    examine these in the order in which the

    operas

    were

    composed, a patternof figuringdoes emerge, but with

    a

    number

    of

    puzzling

    inconsistencies.

    If,

    on the other

    hand,

    we restrict

    ourselves

    to

    those editions

    printed

    during Lully's

    lifetime,29

    he

    production

    of

    which was

    almost

    certainly supervised

    by

    the

    composer

    himself,

    then all but the most trivial inconsistencies

    disappear.

    The

    pattern

    in

    Lully's operas

    The

    distribution of

    figuring

    in

    these scores

    is

    broadly

    as

    follows: the

    unfigured passages

    at

    this

    stage

    are limited

    to

    the

    airs

    de ballet

    and

    many

    of

    the other

    independent

    symphonies-including,

    as a

    rule,

    the overture.

    This

    means

    that,

    in addition to the solo vocal

    music,

    figuring

    is

    also

    found

    in

    the

    choruses and

    in

    a number

    of those instrumental movements

    paradoxically

    en-

    titled

    ritournelle

    ven

    though

    they

    do not

    normally

    'recur'.

    Such

    ritournelles

    re more

    likely

    to be

    figured

    if

    they

    are

    for two

    violins

    and

    bass than

    if

    they

    involve

    the full

    five-part

    orchestra.30

    An

    important

    feature

    of

    Lully's

    figuring pattern

    is

    that the

    presence

    or

    absence

    of

    figuring

    is

    closely

    linked with the

    presence

    or

    absence

    of

    the

    words

    BASSE-

    CONTINUE.f a

    piece

    does contain

    figuring,

    these words

    will normally appear not just at the beginning of the

    movement but underneath

    every

    system

    of

    the

    piece.

    We

    do

    not, however,

    find this

    indication

    in move-

    ments which lack

    figuring."3

    t is

    surprising

    that this

    simple

    fact

    (clearly

    demonstrated

    by

    ex.

    5,

    from

    Acis

    et

    Galatie)

    s so little known. Yet almost without

    excep-

    tion we find a

    clear

    distinction

    in

    these scores between

    the line marked BASSE-CONTINUEnd the line

    (usually

    unlabelled)

    to be

    played

    by

    the

    bassesde violon

    of the

    grand

    cheur

    (ripieno).

    In

    many

    choruses,

    these two

    lines

    may

    be identical

    apart

    from

    the

    continuo

    figuring,

    and

    yet they

    are

    printed separately through-

    out. The distinction is clearlyseen, too, in ex. 6 where

    an

    ensemble of solo

    voices

    accompanied

    only

    by

    con-

    tinuo contrasts with the full chorus and orchestra. The

    orchestral basses

    (second

    stave

    up)

    are

    given

    a

    separate

    line even

    though they merely

    double

    the

    notes of

    the

    continuo

    part.

    Where these two

    groups

    of instru-

    ments are

    required

    to

    play together

    in movements

    other than

    choruses,

    they usually

    share the same

    stave,

    which

    bears the words

    'Basse-continui

    et de

    violon'-

    EARLY MUSIC

    APRIL 1980

    153

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    8/11

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    pp.

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    Below: Ex.

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    1686

    edition

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    pp.

    xxviii

    and xxix

    l.

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    again,

    under each

    system.

    Sometimes

    the

    contrast

    between

    the two

    groups

    is

    exploited

    (as

    in ex.

    7,

    from

    Persee),

    yet always

    the contrasts are

    clearly

    labelled,

    and,

    inevitably,

    such

    figuring

    as there

    is

    appears

    only

    in

    the sections marked

    for the

    basse ontinue.

    On

    its

    own,

    this

    exceptionally

    close link between

    the

    presence

    of

    figuring

    and basse ontinue

    markingsmight

    not

    entirely satisfy

    the

    sceptic

    that as

    early

    as the

    1670s

    27Z

    E

    KR

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    1?-Coatbiu2.

    Violons.

    Baffc-Cuntmai.

    Ex.

    7.

    Lully,

    Pers

    e

    (Ballard:

    1682),

    p.

    172

    and 1680s

    the

    chord-playing

    continuo

    instruments

    remained

    silent

    during

    the

    symphonies.

    ut,

    quite apart

    from the

    clear connection with later

    practice

    at

    the

    Opera,

    we have one other

    piece

    of

    evidence,

    con-

    tained

    in

    a set of printed partbooks of Lully's Isis

    issued

    by

    Ballard

    in

    1677-again,

    during

    the

    com-

    poser's

    lifetime and

    almost

    certainly

    with his

    approval.32

    In

    this

    set,

    the basse

    continue

    part

    is

    quite

    separate

    from

    the

    basse

    de

    violon,

    and its

    title

    page

    runs

    significantly

    as

    follows:

    'Basse

    continue.

    Qui

    comprend

    toute

    la

    Piece,

    excepte

    les

    Airs

    de

    Danse

    qui

    sont

    dans la

    Basse de

    Violon.'33

    Presumably

    these

    part-

    books were

    issued

    for

    private

    performances,

    and

    were

    not

    used

    (as

    far as we

    know)

    by

    the

    Opera

    orchestra.

    Yet

    the

    exclusion of

    such

    movements

    must add

    strong

    support

    to the

    evidence in

    the

    scores,

    for it is

    difficult

    to see why else the instrumental pieces should have

    been omitted if

    this

    had not

    been

    established

    practice

    at

    the

    Opera.

    The

    practice

    itself

    may

    be

    older

    still,

    for

    most of

    the

    airs

    de

    danse

    in

    Lully's

    ballets

    also

    lack

    figures.

    The

    evidence

    here

    is

    inconclusive,

    however,

    as

    figures

    are

    almost

    as

    often

    absent from

    the

    vocal

    pieces,

    and

    the

    number

    of

    figured

    dances

    is

    substan-

    tial

    enough

    to

    cast

    doubt on

    the

    idea."4 We

    also

    know

    that the

    ballets

    used a

    very

    large

    number of

    continuo

    instruments,

    and it is

    unlikely

    that these were

    reserved

    for the

    comparatively

    small number

    of

    vocal

    movements.35

    In

    the

    operas,

    Lully

    was to reduce

    the size of

    his

    continuo

    section,

    though

    in addition to

    harpsichord

    and basses

    de viole it still included

    two

    theorbos,

    at

    least.36

    But,

    while it is

    rarely possible

    to

    specify

    where

    each of these instruments

    played,

    we can now

    be

    sure of the movements in which none of them

    played,

    even

    if the

    number of these is

    comparatively

    small

    by

    later standards.

    From

    Lully

    to

    Rameau

    The

    consistency

    of the

    figuring pattern

    in the

    printed

    scores

    appearing

    during

    Lully's

    lifetime is almost

    as

    impressively

    consistent

    as in Rameau's scores of half

    a

    century

    later.37

    Unfortunately,

    this

    consistency

    was

    not

    maintained

    during

    the

    intervening

    period.

    In the

    early

    years

    after

    Lully's

    death,

    it is

    true,

    disciples

    such

    as

    Collasse

    produced

    full scores which

    in their

    distribu-

    tion of

    figuring

    follow

    Lully

    to the

    letter.38

    But it soon

    became more common

    to issue

    operas

    in

    reduced

    score,

    with

    the inner

    parts

    of chorus and

    orchestra

    normally

    omitted. To

    compensate

    for the

    omissions,

    many

    of

    these scores were

    figured throughout,

    and this

    practice frequently

    extended

    to the

    smaller number of

    full

    scores that

    appeared during

    those

    years.

    The

    further

    removed a score is

    from

    the

    original

    perform-

    ances,

    the more

    likely

    it is

    to be

    entirely figured;

    a

    number

    of

    fully-figured

    second and third

    editions

    survive of

    operas

    whose

    first

    editions follow

    the now-

    familiarpattern of partialfiguring.39Such figureswere

    doubtless

    added

    primarily

    with

    the amateur

    in

    mind,

    so

    that

    those

    unable to

    muster

    the full

    forces or do

    without

    continuo

    support

    could

    still

    make use of

    the

    edition.

    Indeed,

    we do

    occasionally

    find

    players

    adding

    their own

    figuring

    to

    some

    unfigured

    passages

    in

    reliable full

    scores:

    ex. 8 is from

    a

    score that

    appears

    Ex.

    8.

    Lully,

    Atys

    Ballard:

    689),

    p.

    1

    (Bibliotheque

    ationale,

    Vm224)

    :O-lL

    T

    -If*

    =-

    -El

    S

    I

    r

    M

    EARLY

    MUSIC

    APRIL

    1980 155

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  • 7/24/2019 Harpsichord in Continuo

    10/11

    in no

    way

    to have been connected

    with

    performances

    at the

    Opera

    or at

    Court.

    By

    no

    means all

    French

    opera

    scores of the

    early

    18th

    century

    are

    fully figured,

    however.

    Altogether,

    about a

    quarter

    of the editions issued

    between 1687

    and 1733 follow our

    established

    pattern-a

    large

    enough proportion

    to indicate

    that

    the role of the

    continuo instruments remained

    much as

    in

    Lully's

    day.40

    It is

    not

    entirely

    clear

    from

    these sources when

    the

    practice

    was extended to include

    the

    choruses,

    but

    this

    seems to have

    been

    a

    gradual

    process.

    As

    early

    as

    1712 we find a

    few

    instances of

    unfigured

    choruses,4"

    while

    gradually

    during

    the

    next decades

    the

    number

    grows.

    The

    process

    was

    certainly

    completed by

    the

    early

    1730s

    and

    possibly

    earlier,

    though

    we cannot be

    entirely

    sure

    because of the

    higher

    proportion

    of

    fully-

    figured

    and

    therefore

    unreliable scores

    in

    the

    previous

    decade.

    The

    practice

    of

    limiting

    the

    continuo's role

    may

    haveemergedbecause Lully'sfull five-part scoringand

    the

    presence

    of

    a

    regular

    conductor

    in

    the

    Opera

    orchestra

    usurped

    many

    of the

    continuo

    players'

    func-

    tions.

    If it

    were as

    simple

    as

    that,

    one would

    have

    expected

    to find

    the

    continuo

    players

    silent

    during

    the

    choruses also. On

    the other

    hand,

    the fact that

    com-

    posers

    gradually

    became

    aware

    of

    the

    incongruity

    of

    including

    the

    harpsichord

    in

    choruses

    and

    other

    fully-

    scored

    passages

    does lend

    the idea some

    support.

    Whatever the

    reason,

    the

    practice

    seems to have

    been

    limited in

    France

    to

    opera,

    for

    there is no hint

    that

    it

    spread

    to

    other secular

    genres

    or to

    church

    music.

    (This is

    possibly

    why

    the

    practice

    does not

    appear

    to

    have been taken

    up

    outside

    France

    by

    composers

    influ-

    enced

    by

    other

    features

    of

    the French

    style.42)

    Yet

    it

    is

    clear that

    French

    opera

    composers

    were,

    from the

    very

    beginning,

    acutely

    aware of the

    distinctive tone-

    qualities

    of the

    chord-playing

    continuo

    instruments,

    and

    developed

    firm

    ideas on where it

    was

    appropriate

    to use

    them. This

    is an

    aspect

    of

    the

    performance

    tradition

    of a

    large

    and

    important

    repertory

    that

    editors

    and

    performers

    alike

    ought

    no

    longer

    to

    ignore.

    *aA. L

    In the

    1979

    English

    Bach Festival

    performances

    of

    Rameau's

    Zoroastre and

    Hippolyte

    et Aricie

    (both

    edited

    by

    Graham

    Sadler)

    the

    harpsichord

    ontinuowas

    employed

    n

    the manner

    suggested

    by

    this

    article.

    156

    EARLY

    MUSIC

    APRIL

    1980

    '

    Versuch

    iber

    die

    wahre

    Art

    das

    Clavierzu

    spielen,

    2

    (Berlin, 1762),

    Introduction

    ?7.

    Translations

    throughout

    this article are

    by

    the

    author.

    2

    See,

    for

    example,

    ibid,

    Introduction

    ??

    4 and 8.

    3

    For Anet

    and

    Guignon

    see Mercure e France

    April

    1725),

    p.

    836;

    for

    Veracini see

    Charles

    Burney,

    A General

    History

    f

    Music

    London,

    1776)3,

    p.

    568.

    4

    See

    Henry

    Burnett,

    'The Bowed

    String

    Instrumentsof the

    Baroque

    Basso

    Continuo

    (c

    1680-c

    1752)

    in

    Italy

    and

    France',

    Journal

    of

    the

    Viola

    da

    Gamba

    ociety

    f

    America,

    (1970),

    pp.

    65-91;

    8

    (1971),

    pp.

    29-

    63.

    5

    David

    Boyden,

    The

    History

    of

    Violin

    Playingrom

    its

    Origins

    o 1761

    (London, 1965),

    p.

    279,

    cites G. M. Bononcini's

    Arie,

    correnti,

    sarabande,

    ighe,

    & allemande

    violino,

    violone,

    ver

    spinetta

    ..

    op.

    IV

    (Bologna,

    167

    1),

    the violone

    part

    of which contains the

    following:

    'It

    should

    be

    noted that the

    violone

    will

    make

    a better effect

    than the

    spinetta,

    ince the basses are more

    appropriate

    to

    the one

    than

    to

    the

    other.'

    6

    J.

    B.

    Lully,

    (Euvres

    compldtesLOcl,

    Les

    Operas,

    2,

    Alceste

    Paris,

    1932

    R

    New

    York,

    1966),

    preface p.

    xxii.

    IP.

    M.

    Masson,

    L'Opira

    de Rameau

    Paris,

    1930 R

    New

    York, 1972),

    p.

    514.

    8

    J.J.

    Rousseau,

    Dictionnaire

    e

    musique

    Paris,

    1767),

    p.

    93.

    9

    Rousseau,

    Examen

    e

    deux

    principes

    Paris, 1755),

    pp.

    368-9.

    InJ.-P.

    Rameau,

    Complete

    Theoretical

    Writings,

    d.

    E. R.

    Jacobi

    (American

    Institute of

    Musicology,

    1969)

    5,

    pp.

    282-3.

    10

    Encyclopidie,udictionnaireaisonnidessciences, es artset desmitiers,

    ed. Denis Diderot

    (Paris,

    1751)

    1,

    art.

    'Accompagnement'.

    "

    Paris,

    1755R New

    York,

    1969,

    p.

    6.

    12

    The

    principal

    fully-autograph

    manuscripts:

    Les

    Paladins, Paris,

    Biblioth~que

    nationale

    (Pn)

    Res. Vm2. 120;

    Nelie et

    Myrthis

    and

    Ziphyre,

    Paris,

    Bibliotheque

    du Conservatoire

    (Pc)

    MS.

    372;

    La

    Naissance

    d'Oszris,

    Paris,

    Biblioth

    que

    de

    l'Op

    ra

    (Po)

    Res.

    206;

    Anacreion

    nd

    LeRetour

    'Astrie,Po,

    Res.

    207;

    Daphnis

    t

    Egli, Po, R&s.

    208.

    Partly-autographmanuscripts:

    Les

    Boriades,

    Pn,

    Res.

    Vmb. MS.

    4;

    Le

    Temple

    e

    la

    Gloire,

    Pn,

    Vm2.

    359;

    Acante t

    Ciphise,

    Po,

    R&s.

    A.174.b;

    Les

    Paladins,

    Po,

    Res.

    A.201;

    Hippolyte

    t

    Aricie,Po,

    A.

    128.a;

    LesFites

    de

    Polymnze,

    o,

    A.156.a;

    Le

    Temple

    de la

    Gloire,

    Po,

    A.157.a;

    Les

    Surprises

    e

    l'Amour,

    o,

    A. 196.c.

    Of the

    manuscripts copied

    from

    autographs,

    the

    most

    important

    are

    the

    Recueil

    de

    [8]

    ballets n un

    acte

    . . rassemblist

    copids

    ur es

    partitions

    originals

    e

    l'auteur,Pn, Vm2.

    309-316. For

    evidence

    that other scores

    in

    the Decroix collection

    may

    be based

    on

    autographs,

    see

    my

    article

    'A

    Letter

    from

    Claude-Francois

    Rameau

    toJ.J.

    M.

    Decroix',

    Music

    &

    Letters,

    9

    (1978),

    pp.

    139-47.

    13

    See

    Po,

    Acante

    t

    Ciphise,

    Res.

    A.

    174.a;

    La

    Guirlande,

    A.173.a;

    Zais,

    A.161.a; Platie,

    A.164.a;

    Les

    Fites de

    l'Hymen

    t de

    l'Amour,

    A.163.a;

    Dardanus,

    Res.

    A.

    145.b. The first three contain corrections

    to

    the

    figuring.

    14

    See,

    for

    example,

    Anacrion,

    Pn,

    Vm2.393;

    Daphnis

    t

    Egli,

    Pn,

    Vm2.

    395;

    La

    Naissance 'Osiris,

    Pn,

    Vm2.

    323;

    Les

    Indes

    galantes

    2e

    entree,

    'Les

    Incas'), Po,

    Fonds La

    Salle 66

    [76;

    Platie,

    Po,

    Materiel.

    "

    (Euvres

    complites

    ROcJ

    Paris,

    1902

    R

    New

    York,

    1968).

    Although

    the

    figuring

    in

    these scores

    is

    generally

    reliable,

    the

    markings

    'avec

    clavecin',

    'sans

    clavecin'

    etc,

    are almost all

    editorial,

    and are

    frequently

    misleading.

    16

    See, for example, Nicolas Boindin, Lettreshistoriquesur tous les

    spectacles

    de Pans

    (Paris,

    1719),

    cited

    in

    Maurice

    Barthelemy,

    'L'Orchestre et I'Orchestration des

    (Euvres

    de

    Campra',

    Revue

    musicale,

    numero

    special

    226

    (1955),

    pp.

    97-104;

    'Academie

    Royale

    de

    Musique,

    Etat

    genbral

    des acteurs et actrices du

    chant,

    danseurs et

    danseuses,

    symphonistes

    de l'orchestre ... Premier Avril

    1750',

    Paris,

    Archives

    nationales,

    AJ

    xiii

    1,

    iv. See also the annual roster of

    Opera personnel published

    in the Parisian

    Almanach

    des

    spectacles

    friom

    1752 onwards.

    "

    See

    E.

    Lebeau,

    'J.

    J.

    M.

    Decroix

    et sa collection

    Rameau',

    Milanges

    d'histoire

    et

    d'6sthetique

    musicales

    offerts

    d

    Paul-Marie

    Masson

    (Paris,

    1954)

    2,

    pp.

    81-91.

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    11/11

    '"

    Boindin,

    loc

    cit,

    p.

    97.

    '9

    While

    Boindin

    (loc

    cit,

    p.

    97)

    lists two

    Baudy

    brothers

    as

    basse

    de

    viole

    players

    in

    1719,

    Michel

    Corrette tells

    us in

    1741 that 'at

    present

    in

    the

    royal

    orchestra,

    at

    the

    Opera

    and in

    concerts,

    it

    is the

    cello

    that

    plays

    the

    basse continue'

    MWthode

    e

    violoncelle,Paris, 1741,

    preface).

    The two Labb?

    brothers,

    playing

    from

    parts

    113

    and 117

    are

    specifically

    called

    'violoncelles'

    byJ.

    B.

    de Laborde

    in

    Essai ur a

    musique

    ncienne

    t moderne

    Paris,

    1780)

    3,

    p.

    489.

    He

    goes

    on

    to

    describe the

    younger

    brother,

    Pierre,

    as

    'one

    of

    the

    most

    able cellists

    of

    his

    time;

    it was

    he

    who

    caused

    the

    viol to

    go

    out of

    fashion

    by

    the

    fine tone quality that he drew from his instrument'. On Mont&clair,

    the most

    up-to-date

    information is

    contained

    in

    the

    preface

    to

    his

    Cantatas

    or

    One and

    Two

    Voices,

    d.

    J.

    R.

    Anthony

    and

    D.

    Akmajian

    (Madison,

    1978).

    On

    Ch&ron,

    ee

    Pierre

    Barthdlemy's

    article

    on

    the

    composer

    in

    MGG

    2,

    columns

    1167-70.

    20

    At

    some

    stage,

    the

    last

    pages

    of both

    basse

    ontinue

    partbooks

    have

    become

    detached,

    and have been sewn back

    comparatively recently

    in

    such

    a

    way

    that

    the

    unfigured

    book has the last

    page

    of the

    figured

    part

    and vice versa.

    2'

    The

    two bassecontinue

    parts

    (116

    and

    117)

    are

    virtually

    identical

    except

    that one

    is

    figured

    and the other not. The four

    bassede

    violon

    parts,

    also,

    are

    for

    practical purposes

    identical

    with

    each other.

    22

    The

    orchestral

    bass

    parts

    of

    J.J.

    Mouret's

    Le

    Temple

    e

    Gnideof

    1741

    (Po,

    Materiel)

    were

    prepared

    by copying

    the entire bass line

    and then

    suppressing

    certain

    passages,

    either

    by

    pasting paper

    over

    the

    appropriate passages, by sewing pages together,

    or

    by deleting

    with

    red

    crayon.

    The two

    basse

    ontinue

    parts--one

    figured,

    the other

    not-contain

    the

    entire

    bass,

    though

    the

    pattern

    of

    figuring

    corre-

    sponds

    exactly

    to that in

    the Rameau

    and

    Campra

    works

    already

    discussed.

    23

    See Le

    Temple

    de

    la Gloire,I.ii,

    instrumental

    air

    with

    parodie

    Le

    dieu des

    beaux-arts';

    instrumental air with

    parodie

    Descends,

    dieu

    charmant'.

    The

    figuring

    pattern

    in

    ROc

    14,

    pp.

    98-102

    corresponds

    to that in

    the

    part-autograph manuscript,

    Po,

    A. 157.a.

    24

    For

    instance,

    Ziphyre,

    cene

    viii,

    Duo and

    Chorus

    'Amour,

    sois

    le

    Dieu'. The distribution

    of

    figures

    in

    ROc

    11,

    pp.

    342-51

    is

    derived

    from the

    autograph manuscript,

    Pc,

    MS

    372.

    25

    See

    Hippolyte

    t

    Aricie,

    V.iii,

    prelude

    to

    Aricie's recitative

    Oui

    suis-

    je?'.

    26

    Po,

    Parties

    separees(Materiel);

    score

    published

    in

    Paris,

    1758.

    27

    A

    curious feature

    of

    the

    figured

    basse ontinue

    partbook

    is that in

    two of the fully-scored arias ('Quoi I'Amour est votre vainqueur'

    and 'Se

    peut-il qu'un

    si

    beau

    jour')

    the

    copyist

    has,

    as we have

    noted,

    included no

    figuring,

    yet

    the

    harpsichordist

    has

    added

    on

    the

    last

    chord

    only

    one

    symbol-a

    natural

    in

    the

    first

    case,

    a

    sharp

    in

    the

    second-in red

    crayon.

    It

    seems

    most

    unlikely

    that

    he

    played

    throughout

    from an otherwise

    entirely

    unfigured

    line;

    rather the

    symbols

    suggest

    that,

    as both arias are followed

    by

    recitative,

    the

    player

    actually

    entered

    on the last chord

    of

    the

    aria in an

    attempt

    to

    disguise

    the break between

    aria and

    recitative.

    28

    FriedrichMelchior

    Grimm,

    Correspondance

    ittiraire,

    hilosophique

    t

    critique,

    d.

    M.

    Tourneux

    (Paris,

    1879)

    8,

    p.

    451.

    29

    Bellirophon

    1679),

    Proserpine

    1680),

    Persie

    (1682),

    Phaeton

    1683),

    Amadis

    (1684),

    Roland

    (1685),

    Armide

    (1686),

    Acis

    et

    Galatie

    (1686).

    We

    might

    also include the scores of

    Thisee

    1688)

    and

    Atys

    1689)

    which

    may

    well

    have

    been on their

    way

    through

    the

    press

    at the time

    of

    Lully'sdeath in 1687.

    30

    Most

    though

    not all of the ritournelles

    di

    3

    would have been

    played

    by

    the

    petit

    choeur,

    or concertino

    group.

    For the best discussion of

    this and other features of

    Lully's

    orchestra,

    see

    Jurgen

    Eppelsheim,

    Das

    Orchester

    n den

    WerkenJean-Baptiste

    Lullys (Tutzing,

    1961).

    31

    Very occasionally,

    as a result of the

    printer's

    carelessness,

    these

    words

    may

    be found on an isolated

    system

    in

    the

    middle of an air de

    ballet.

    32

    See

    Eppelsheim,

    op

    cit,

    pp.

    247f.

    It was

    this

    set

    of

    parts

    that

    gave

    rise to

    Prunibres'

    statement cited above

    (see

    note

    6).

    Eppelsheim

    was

    understandably

    cautious about

    accepting

    the idea of a limited role

    for

    the

    continuo on this evidence

    alone,

    for

    the link between the

    figuring

    and

    basse

    continue ndications had

    not at that

    time been

    noticed.

    "

    The

    system

    used

    to show the

    two

    groups

    of

    bass

    players

    where

    to

    be silent

    or to re-enter

    is

    exactly

    as in

    the

    18th-century

    Opera

    parts,

    illustratedabove

    by

    the

    Campra

    Achille

    et.

    4

    Most

    important

    sources

    of

    the

    ballets,

    in

    fact,

    contain

    no basse

    continue

    figures

    at all.

    See

    LOc,

    Les

    Ballets,

    1-3;

    also

    Meredith

    Ellis,

    'The Sources

    ofJean-Baptiste

    Lully's

    Secular

    Music',

    'Recherches'

    ur

    la

    musiquefrancauselassique,

    8

    (1968),

    pp.

    89-130.

    "

    Eppelsheim,

    op

    cit,

    pp.

    150-7.

    36

    ibid,

    pp.

    1511f

    31

    Apart from those already discussed, the only figured instru-

    mental movements in these scores are the

    overture

    to

    Bellirophon,

    and a number

    of

    passacailles

    nd

    chaconnes.

    he

    latter are

    not sur-

    prising

    where the movement

    also contains

    sections

    for

    voices,

    but

    figures

    do

    sometimes

    appear

    in a

    few

    that

    contain

    no such vocal

    passages

    (e.g.

    Persie,V.viii,

    passacaille).

    38

    See Pascal

    Collasse,

    Enie et

    Lavinie

    Paris,

    1690 R

    Farnborough,

    1972);

    Marc-Antoine

    Charpentier,

    Midie

    (Paris,

    1694 R

    Farn-

    bordugh,

    1968).

    In this

    latter,

    figures

    are

    found

    in a

    larger

    number

    of

    symphonies,

    ncluding

    the

    overture,

    chaconne

    and the

    trios de

    hautbois;

    ut

    the

    close association

    of the

    figuring

    and the

    words

    basse

    continue

    s as

    clear

    as in

    Lully's

    scores.

    39 Compare

    the three

    Ballard editions

    of

    Destouches'

    Issi.

    The

    first

    (1697)

    is

    a reduced

    score,

    but

    follows the

    partial

    figuring pattern

    of

    the

    Lully

    operas.

    The second

    (1708)

    begins

    in the same

    manner,

    but

    contains progressivelymore figures, until by Act IV the figuring

    is

    continuous.

    The

    third

    (1724)

    is a full

    score,

    figured

    throughout.

    4o

    See,

    for

    example, Campra,

    Les

    Muses

    (Paris,

    Ballard:

    1703),

    Bourgeois,

    Les

    Plaisirsde la

    paix

    (Paris,

    Ribou:

    17

    15), Mouret,

    Ariane

    (Ballard:

    1717),

    Collin de

    Blamont,

    Les

    Festes

    grecques

    t romaines

    (Ballard:

    1723).

    41

    See La

    Coste,

    Creuse

    Ballard:

    1712).

    42

    A hint that the

    practice spread

    to

    English

    Restoration

    theatre

    music

    is

    found

    in

    the

    first edition

    of'Thomas

    Shadwell's

    adaptation

    of

    The

    Tempest

    T.N.

    for H.

    Herringman,

    London

    1674),

    in which

    the.

    stage

    direction

    before

    Act

    I states

    that

    'the

    Band of 24

    Violins,

    with

    the

    Harpsicals

    and Theorbo's

    which

    accompany

    he

    Voices,

    re

    plac'd

    between

    the

    Pit and the

    Stage'

    (my

    italics).

    Music

    for this

    produc-

    tion

    was

    by

    Matthew

    Locke,

    Pietro

    Reggio,

    the elder

    John

    Banister,

    G.

    B.

    Draghi

    and Pelham

    Humphrey,

    the last-named

    providing

    a

    very

    obvious

    French connection.

    In

    general,

    however,

    the

    figuring

    pattern of Restoration theatre music is very much less consistent

    than

    that

    in

    contemporary

    French

    opera.

    Early

    Music

    will

    continue

    to

    publish

    important

    articles

    on the

    keyboard

    throughout

    1980

    EARLY MUSIC

    APRIL

    1980

    157