Web Projects by John S. Powell

  • Hésione
    • André Campra's nearly-forgotten masterwork, and his first tragédie en musique, was a big hit when it premièred at the Paris Opéra on 21 December 1701.  Now it is available for the first time in a performing edition with English translation.  The plot is familiar:  boy loves girl, who loves another boy, and who is beloved by Venus, who conjures up a vision showing boy 1 and girl together...thereby making boy 2 jealous.  Meanwhile, Neptune is pissed off and sends a Sea Monster to destroy Troy, and the King promises girl to whomever defeats the Sea Monster and, for further incentive, has girl chained naked to a rock to be gobbled up.  Venus fixes it so that boy 1 kills Sea Monster, while she flys away with boy 2 (who, being a bad sport, curses them all).

  • Psyché
  • Charpentier's Grand Office des Morts
    • Charpentier's Grand Office des Morts, a performing edition of Charpentier's early, double choir Mass for the dead (Messe pour les Trépassés), together with a related psalm setting of the De Profundis, the Dies Irae, and a Motet pour les Trépassés (with text taken from the Office of the Dead); this edition is being used by Les Arts Florissants for performance and recording in 2004.
  • Canticum canticorum
    • petits motets by Bouzignac, Charpentier, Carissimi, Nivers, Dumont,  Henry, and Campra based on texts from the Song of Songs
  • Concert pour Quatre Parties de Violes
  • Beatus vir
    • a setting by Charpentier of Psalm 1, which would go nicely on a double bill with Monteverdi's setting of the same psalm
  • Trio de Monsieur Charpentier  
  • Airs de differents compositeurs (1678)
    • an unusual and unique collection of French, English, Italian, and Spanish airs composed by leading composers of the mid-17th Century, and now owned by the Westminster Abbey Chapter Library.  The composers include Michel Lambert, Honoré d'Ambruis, Michel Farinel, Sébastien Le Camus, Robert Cambert, Jean Sicard, Michel-Richard de Lalande, Jacques Paisible, Charles Hurel, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Luigi Rossi, and William Turner.  As the collection includes only vocal parts without accompaniment, I have sought out and transcribed concordant sources for many of the airs.  Among other curiosities, this anthology includes the earliest work by Lalande (a drinking song) and an early source for Io's lament from Lully’s opera Isis.
  • Copyists' Hands
    • another ongoing project that provides samples of the handwriting of various late 17th-century and early 18th-century French copyists; it isolates various characteristic features of these hands (clef formation, notes, flags, beams, and script) to aid in identifying the copyists of other French manuscript