Sheet music

John Eccles: Europe’s Revels for the Peace of Ryswick

Edited by Michael Burden
Recent Researches in the Music of the Baroque Era, 209
xxvii, [6 plates] + 97pp.
A-R Editions, Inc. ISBN 978-1-9872-0306-6 $180

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For those whose historical knowledge of the late 17th century is a little sketchy, the Treaty of Ryswick was signed at the conclusion of the Nine Years War, fought between France under Louis XIV and a Grand (and somewhat unusual) Alliance between Protestant England and Holland on the one hand and Catholic Spain and the Holy Roman Empire on the other.

Kathryn Lowerre (one of the General Editors of this “complete works of Eccles” sub series from A-R Editions) has written extensively about the piece and both its background and contents. Michael Burden’s fine edition supplements that with illustrations, a fully annotated (and, when necessary, translated) libretto (with those sections of Motteux that were omitted from performance in one of three appendices) and a thorough but remarkably short Critical Report.

As usual, my only reservation about the edition is the sometimes impractical layout; numbers 8 and 9, for example, cover two pages but they both have page turns – in the case of number 9, that means turning to play five bars and then turning back. Someone should think about the possibility that these volumes may not be destined to languish on scholars’ shelves and that musicians might be inspired by Anthony Rooley’s foreword to the edition and actually stage a performance; then all the hard work would finally be shown to have been worthwhile.

Brian Clark

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