RARE AIRS

VII. livre d’airs de differents autheurs à deux parties.

Paris, Robert Ballard, 1664.

Small 8vo, ff. 35, [1], title within elaborate woodcut border, type-set music throughout, woodcut initials; second half of volume rather damp-stained at gutter (affecting text, but paper still strong), ownership inscription cut away from head of title; modern vellum.

£800

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First edition; very rare. This is the seventh instalment in the remarkable series Livres d’airs de differents autheurs à deux parties which had been initiated by the music publisher Robert Ballard (III) in 1658 and which was to end, thirty-seven volumes later, in 1694.

The composers of the thirty-four airs for two voices contained in the present work are not named, but songs can be attributed with some certainty to Bénigne de Bacilly (one), Michel Lambert (one), Sébastien Le Camus (one) and Jean-Baptiste Lully (three). Possible composers of other songs are Jacques Champion de Chambonnières, Chevalier, Honoré d’Ambruis, Lambert, Le Camus, Lully, Louis de Mollier, Etienne Moulinié, and Perdigal (see Anne-Madeleine Goulet, Paroles de musique (1658–1694). Catalogue des ‘Livres d’airs de différents auteurs’ publiés chez Ballard, 2007, pp. 116–7). Two of the pieces here are prefaced by a brief lute introduction; no doubt it was intended that the lute should continue to accompany for the duration of the song.

Guillo, Ballard 1664-A; RISM Recueils p. 545, recording only three copies outside France (Bologna, Library of Congress and Newberry Library).

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