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 Collection: Virtual Music Rare Book Room
Echo et Narcisse, drame lyrique en trois actes

Echo et Narcisse, drame lyrique en trois actes

Date: 1779
Creator: Gluck, Christoph Willibald, Ritter von, 1714-1787 & Tschudi, Jean-Baptiste-Louis-Théodore, baron de, 1734-1784
Description: After the resounding success of Iphigénie en Tauride (1779), Gluck set out to compose his last of the seven Paris operas, which turned out to be his final opera. Whereas Iphigénie en Tauride is often considered Gluck’s best opera, its immediate successor, Echo et Narcisse (1779) was ill-fated and quickly disappeared from the repertoire. Echo was premiered a mere four months after Tauride, and the Parisian audience was not prepared for the differences between these two operas. Although the music resembles that of his other French operas, the pastoral story lacks the dramatic intensity that viewers expected in a Gluck opera. Thus, the serene music—though it is at times quite beautiful— lacks dramatic impulse.
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Le trompeur trompe, ou, La rencontre imprevue. Opera-comique en un acte. Represente pour la premiere fois sur le Theatre de la Foire S. Germain, le 18 fevrier 1754.

Le trompeur trompe, ou, La rencontre imprevue. Opera-comique en un acte. Represente pour la premiere fois sur le Theatre de la Foire S. Germain, le 18 fevrier 1754.

Date: 1754
Creator: Vade, M. (Jean Joseph), 1719-1757.
Description: In the mid-eighteenth century, comic opera librettos served a dual purpose, as evinced by the libretto to Vadé ’s Trompeur trompé (1754). Although the primary function of the publication was to allow audience members to follow along with the text of the opera, solo airs were printed in the back of the book. Not all the melodies are included, but those printed in the libretto enhance our understanding of an opera the music of which was never published as a comprehensive musical score.
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Orphée et Euridice; tragédie; opéra en trois actes

Orphée et Euridice; tragédie; opéra en trois actes

Date: 1783
Creator: Gluck, Christoph Willibald, Ritter von, 1714-1787 & Moline, M. (Pierre Louis), ca. 1740-1821
Description: The Viennese premiere of Orfeo was extremely well received, and Gluck decided to revise the opera as Orphée et Eurydice for Paris in 1774, with the French adaptation and additions provided by Pierre Louis Moline. The role of Orpheus was lowered slightly for an haute-contre singer (a male operatic voice type more in line with an alto range), adhering to French preferences. The opera was lengthened, to create a more magnificent spectacle, with extra arias, ensembles, and instrumental numbers. Gluck also modified the orchestration to accommodate the orchestra at the Académie Royale de Musique. This version, Orphée et Eurydice, became one of the most popular operas in France.
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Pigmalion

Pigmalion

Date: 1773
Creator: Panard, Charles-François, d. 1765.
Description: This is the 1773 edition of the libretto to the comic opera and vaudeville, "Pigmalion" by Charles-François Panard and Thomas Laffichard. The opera premiered at the Paris Opéra Comique in 1735 . The plot is an adaptation of Ovid's story of Pygmalion, a sculptor who fell in love with a statue that he carved. Operatic and ballet representation of the subject of Pigmalion (or Pygmalion) became famous after Antoine Houdar de la Motte's entrée "La sculpture" for the ballet "Le triomphe des arts," which staged in 1700 at Académie Royale de Musique with music by Michel de la Barre. Page 16 of this edition was incorrectly numbered as number 10.
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Tractatus de musica

Tractatus de musica

Date: 1875
Creator: Tinctoris, Johannes, d. 1511.
Description: The present volume is a 1875 compendium of various Latin music treatises by Johannes Tinctoris gathered from manuscript sources from Brussels, Bologna and Gand. The present edition, edited by Charles Coussemaker, comprises ten of the twelve surviving manuscripts of Tinctoris's theoretical works. According to Oxford Music, these were written in the first few years of his employment at Ferrante's court and demonstrate Tinctoris's intellectual and pedagogical mastery of music theory. They also demonstrate his acquaintance with contemporaneous composers of the early Renaissance Burgundian composers like Antoine Busnoys, as well as with the music of Franco-Flemish composers such as Johannes Ockeghem. Below is a table of content listing the titles of each treatise and a brief description of the concepts they treat. Treatises and Description: "Expositio manus" - this treatise is divided in 10 chapters consisting of: definitions, places, clefs, voicing, properties, deductions, mutations, conjunctions, conclusion; "Liber de natura et proprietate tonorum" - this treatise is divided in 51 chapters containing: definitions and name of tones, concerning the species diatessaron and diapente, formation of first throughout the eighth tone, authentic and plagal modes, ascending and descending perfect/imperfect tones; "Tractatius de notis et pausi" - this treatise is divided in two books. ...
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Colinette à la cour ou La double épreuve : comédie lyrique en trois actes

Colinette à la cour ou La double épreuve : comédie lyrique en trois actes

Date: 1782
Creator: Grétry, André Ernest Modeste, 1741-1813 & Lourdet de Santerre, Jean Baptiste, 1732-1815
Description: A comparison of the scores for Colinette à la cour and Barbe-bleue illustrates the primary distinguishing factor between the genres of comédie lyrique and opera comique: the method of dialogue delivery. In Paris, the issue of genre was tied to the performance venue of a particular opera, due to government regulations. Although comic opera was traditionally presented with spoken dialogue, as in opera comique, when Grétry composed for the Opéra, where recitative was expected, he merged comic subject matter with the sung dialogue heard in serious opera.
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Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Volume 2

Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Volume 2

Date: 1880
Creator: Grove, George, Sir, 1820-1900.
Description: This is a copy of the second volume of "Dictionary of Music and Musicians," edited by Sir George Grove. This volume, published in 1880, is an encyclopedic work that contains the biographies of well-known composers as well as articles contributed by various authors on music topics, concepts and definitions starting alphabetically from: "I" (improperia) to "P" (plain song). The names of contributing authors appear in a list on pp.[v]-vii, signed "Bedford Street, Covent Garden, October 1, 1880." The titles of volumes I and II, indicate that the dictionary was issued in three volumes. However, the titles of the third and fourth volumes changed that statement to indicate that the publication of the dictionary was in four volumes.
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Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Volume 1

Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Volume 1

Date: 1879
Creator: Grove, George, Sir, 1820-1900.
Description: This is a copy of the first volume of "Dictionary of Music and Musicians," edited by Sir George Grove. This volume, published in 1879, is an encyclopedic work that contains the biographies of well-known composers as well as articles contributed by various authors on music topics, concepts and definitions starting alphabetically from: "A" (i.e., the sixth note in the scale of C major) to "I" (impromptu). The names of contributing authors appear in a list on pp.[vii]-viii), signed "Bedford Street, Covent Garden, April 1, 1879." The titles of volumes I and II, indicate that the dictionary was issued in three volumes. However, the titles of the third and fourth volumes changed that statement to indicate that the publication of the dictionary was in four volumes.
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Storia della musica

Storia della musica

Date: 1757
Creator: Martini, Giovanni Battista, 1706-1784.
Description: This is a copy of the first of three volumes of "Storia della musica" (Music History) by Giovanni Batista Martini. Each volume bears a different dedicatee: v.1: alla Sacra reale cattolica Maestà Maria Barbara; v.2: All'Altezza serenissima elettorale di Carlo Teodoro; v.3: a sua Altezza reale Don Ferdinando di Borbone. The t.p. of this volume is printed in red and black ink and decorated with a border that depicts various musical instruments and includes a pastoral scene depicting Euterpe, the muse of music, holding a lyre and a horn as allegory of a scepter, and accompanied by various putti singing or playing musical instruments. Each page of the book is decorated with an ornamented border. The volume is divided in eleven chapters and three dissertations. The start of each chapter and each dissertation features, within an ornamented oval-shaped frame, the notated music of a canon in a five-line staff with underlaid text taken from passages in the book of Psalms and other books of the Old Testament. This volume includes an engraved portrait of Martini by an unknown engraver and one illustration by Nicolaus Valleta depicting Queen Maria Barbara of Portugal in the company of several mythology figures, such as ...
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Forza del sangue, e della pietà; drama per musica

Forza del sangue, e della pietà; drama per musica

Date: 1686
Creator: Fabrini, Giuseppe & Gigli, Girolamo, 1660-1722
Description: 1686 libretto for Giuseppe Fabrini's opera La forza del sangue, e della pietà. The music for all of Giuseppe Fabrini’s operas, including La forza del sangue e della pietà, is lost. However, the libretti by Gerolamo Gigli, have been preserved for these dramas that were performed at the Collegio Tolomei in Siena. La forza del sangue e della pietà translates as “The Force of Blood and Pity.”
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Omphale, tragedie en musique

Omphale, tragedie en musique

Date: 1701
Creator: Destouches, M. (André Cardinal), 1672-1749
Description: Omphale (1701) is one of Destouches’s contributions to the Lullian genre of the five-act tragédie en musique. Half a century after the premiere, Friedrich Melchior Grimm targeted the opera in his pamphlet “Lettre sur Omphale” (1752), which continued the earlier debate between advocates of Lully and Rameau. This written attack also precipitated the famous guerre des bouffons, which was sparked by a performance of Pergolesi’s La serva padrona (1733) in 1752.
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Songs in the new opera call'd Arsinoe, queen of Cyprus

Songs in the new opera call'd Arsinoe, queen of Cyprus

Date: 1705
Creator: Clayton, Thomas, 1673-1725
Description: Thomas Clayton’s first opera, Arsinoe, Queen of Cyprus, premiered at Drury Lane in London on 16 January 1705. The opera initially enjoyed success, but two years later, Clayton’s second opera was not well-received. Part of Arsinoe’s popularity may have been due to Catherine Tofts' portrayal of the title character; Toft would later become a star of the English stage.
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Épreuve villageoise : opéra bouffon en deux actes en vers

Épreuve villageoise : opéra bouffon en deux actes en vers

Date: 1784
Creator: Grétry, André Ernest Modeste, 1741-1813 & Desforges, M. (Pierre-Jean-Baptiste), 1746-1806
Description: L’épreuve villageoise started out as Théodore et Paulin before Grétry convinced Desforges to rewrite the libretto. The original three-act opera was reduced to two acts, and the improbabilities of the original plot were reworked. Théodore et Paulin received one performance at Versailles on 5 March 1784, but it was never published. L’épreuve villageoise appeared at the Comédie-Italienne on 24 June 1784. This revision remained one of the most popular of Grétry’s opéra-comiques, receiving performances throughout the nineteenth century.
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La fede ne' tradimenti

La fede ne' tradimenti

Date: 1689
Creator: Gigli, Girolamo, 1660-1722.
Description: This is a 1689 copy of Girolamo Gigli's three-act libretto for the opera "La Fede ne' tradimenti," set to music by Giuseppe Fabbrini for the 1689 Carnival season at the Collegio Tolomei in Siena, Italy.
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Nouvelles parodies bachiques, mélées de vaudevilles ou ronde de table

Nouvelles parodies bachiques, mélées de vaudevilles ou ronde de table

Date: 1700
Creator: Ballard, Christophe, 1641-1715.
Description: This a copy of vol. 2 of an anthology of French songs compiled by Christophe Ballad, music publisher of King Louis XIV. The work consists mainly of unaccompanied melodies with underlaid text for selected acts of the following tragedies: Proserpine (pp. 1-19); Le triomphe de l'amour (pp. 20-60); Persée (pp. 61-81); Phaeton (pp. 62-94); Amadis (pp. 95-125); Roland (pp. 126-155); Armide (pp. 169-176); Acis et Galatée (pp. 177-192). It contains also melodies for "Ballet du temple de la Paix" (pp. 156-168), and Vaudevilles on rondes de table (pp. 193-264). Two previous editions, compiled by Monsieur Ribon, published under title: Parodies bachiques. Cf. RISM, v. B I, 1 1695(4) and 1696(1), present ed. listed as 1700(3).
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Le istitutioni harmoniche

Le istitutioni harmoniche

Date: 1562
Creator: Zarlino, Gioseffo, 1517-1590.
Description: This is a 1562 copy of "Le istitutioni harmoniche," one of the most influential music theory treatises written by Gioseffo Zarlino. The first edition appeared in Venice in 1558. The treatise, divided in four parts, includes theoretical and practical elements of music. The first two parts discuss philosophical, cosmological and mathematical aspects of music, Greek tonal system and tuning. The third and fourth parts cover the rules of counterpoint and modes, respectively. This copy bears a dedication to Vicenzo Diedo. It contains a table of contents per chapter and list of corrections. Several handwritten annotations appear on the t.p. ink: "coll: cochi nuoi soc: Jesù;" "exdono Joannis Jerary;" and "Inscriptet catalog."
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Orfeo ed Euridice

Orfeo ed Euridice

Date: 1822
Creator: Calzabigi, Ranieri de, 1714-1795.
Description: This is the libretto of "Orfeo ed Euridice" by Ranieri de Calzabigi, published in vol 2 of "Raccolta di melodrammi serj scritti nel secolo XVIII." The original volume contains works by Apostolo Zeno, Giuseppe Parini, Marco Coltellini, Castone Rezzonico della Torre, Ranieri de Calsabigi, and F. Saverio de Rogati. On the back of the t.p. appears a quote in Virgil's "Georg.," iv, 465: "Te dulcis conjux, te solo in littore mecum, te veniente die, te discedente canebam." The libretto includes a prologue and list of characters.
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Love in a Village: a Comic Opera As it is Performed at the Theatre Royal in Covent-Garden.  For the Harpsicord, Voice, German Flute, or Violin.

Love in a Village: a Comic Opera As it is Performed at the Theatre Royal in Covent-Garden. For the Harpsicord, Voice, German Flute, or Violin.

Date: 1763
Creator: Arne, Thomas Augustine, 1710-1778 & Bickerstaff, Isaac, 1735-1812
Description: Vocal score for Love in a Village is broken into four labeled sections ('books'), each of which has a separate title page, and includes the music from the comic opera which has figured bass. Some of the music includes underlaid lyrics and the names of the persons who performed the pieces. Table of contents for the entire work is on page [1]. According to Grove Music Online, the opera is the story of a heroine (Rosetta) who runs away from an unhappy marriage.
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Amour au village : opera-comique, en un acte, et en vaudeviles

Amour au village : opera-comique, en un acte, et en vaudeviles

Date: 1754
Creator: Favart, M. (Charles-Simon), 1710-1792
Description: Libretto for Charles-Simon Favart's 1754 opera L'amour au village. Charles-Simon Favart gained prominence for his parodies of extant operas during the middle of the eighteenth century. His L’amour au village (1754), a typical example of the genre, was based on Carolet’s L’amour paysan (1737). The parody technique consisted of setting new texts to existing melodies and writing new dialogue based on a familiar plot. L’amour au village includes a typical vaudeville finale. In the Virtual Rare Book Room’s volume, the melody is included along with the first verse’s text. Because vaudeville finales are strophic (with one repeated melody), the subsequent verses are numbered to indicate each time the melody should begin again.
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Armide:  Drame héroique, mis en musique

Armide: Drame héroique, mis en musique

Date: 1783
Creator: Gluck, Christoph Willibald, Ritter von, 1714-1787
Description: Armide was premiered at the Paris Opéra on September 23, 1777, recalling the earlier success of Lully’s opera of the same name, which premiered nearly a century earlier on February 15, 1686. After collaborating on several reform operas with Calzabigi, Gluck revived the older dramatic tradition of Quinault (Lully's librettist) by setting the older text in the modern musical style. The seventeenth-century five act model requires more continuous music, with few distinct arias, as well as divertissements and spectacular effects. Gluck also respects the tragic conclusion endemic to the model, avoiding the modern practice of the lieto fine ("happy ending") in which misfortunes are reversed at the last possible moment.
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Don Juan, oder, Der Steinerne Gast : komische Oper in zwey Aufzügen, volume 2

Don Juan, oder, Der Steinerne Gast : komische Oper in zwey Aufzügen, volume 2

Date: 1801
Creator: Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791. & Da Ponte, Lorenzo, 1749-1838
Description: By the time of Mozart and Da Ponte’s collaboration on Don Giovanni, the Don Juan legend had been represented in musical entertainments and on the popular stage a number of times. Although it was an unusual topic for Viennese court opera, the retelling of the Don Juan story was immensely appealing for the Italian troupe in Prague. Don Giovanni did eventually make its way to Vienna, but the opera did not meet the same success it had received in Prague.
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Richard Cœur de Lion : opéra comique en trois actes

Richard Cœur de Lion : opéra comique en trois actes

Date: 1838
Creator: Grétry, André Ernest Modeste, 1741-1813
Description: None
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Platée : comédie-ballet

Platée : comédie-ballet

Date: 1749
Creator: Rameau, Jean Philippe, 1683-1764 & Le Valois d'Orville, Adrien-Joseph
Description: Jacques Autreau’s play Platée, ou Junon jalouse was based on a story by a second-century Greek author named Pausanias who chronicled his travels (including rituals and traditions) in ten books that represent the different regions of Greece. At the time Le Valois d’Orville appropriated Autreau’s drama for a libretto, it was uncommon for French court operas to include comic features, and even Autreau’s spoken play lacked the comic tone of the opera. Yet, the humor extends beyond the plot; for instance, the sounds of frogs and birds are represented instrumentally. Platée was first performed at Versailles for the wedding of the dauphin and Princess Maria Theresa of Spain in 1745.
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Bellérophon; tragedie mise en musique

Bellérophon; tragedie mise en musique

Date: 1679
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687; Corneille, Pierre, 1606-1684; Fontenelle, M. de (Bernard Le Bovier), 1657-1757 & Boileau Despréaux, Nicolas, 1636-1711
Description: Although not the first of the Jean-Baptiste Lully's tragédies lyriques, Bellérophon was the first of Lully's opera scores to appear in print. The Ballard first edition was printed in 1679 to accompany the premiere, on January 31 of that year, at the Palais Royale. Bellérophon was the second of two operas (the first was Psyché) created by Lully without librettist Philippe Quinault after the scandal associated with Isis that led to Quinault's temporary dismissal as royal librettist. After an extended illness during which he did not compose, Lully collaborated with Thomas Corneille and Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle for the second time to create one of his most unqualified successes. Following the first performance in January 1679, Bellérophon played for nine months at the Palais Royale.
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