Bernier, Nicolas. (1665-1734)
Cantates de Bernier - Copyist Manuscript
A handsomely bound volume of copyist manuscripts of secular cantatas by the French Baroque composer known as one of the creators of the French cantata genre. The volume contains four solo and duo cantatas, some with violin. The first of the four cantatas does not appear in literature on Bernier and may be the work of a Regnauld or Rignauld. Contents as follows: La Vengeance (for solo alto and violin on a text by Jean-Baptiste Rousseau titled "Les Filets de Vulcain", 31 pp.); Bacchus (for solo bass and violin, published in Bernier's fourth volume of cantatas in 1703, 33 pp.); Iris et Daphné (for two sopranos, published as Les Nimphes de Diane in 1703, 37 pp.); and Jupiter et Europe (for soprano and bass with two violins, also published in Bernier's fourth volume of cantatas, 51 pp.) All cantatas are written in a bold, clear hand throughout, with some evidence of more than one copyist's hand. Full brown leather with gilt decoration to the spine and edges of the boards, partially worn off; spine label reads "Canta de Berni." Marbled endpapers. Slight splitting at the rear gutter, but overall sound and in fine condition. 10 x 15 inches (25.5 x 38.3 cm).
The French composer, harpsichordist, and theorist Nicolas Bernier succeeded Marc-Antoine Charpentier as maître de musique of the Sainte-Chapelle, and later took a post as sous-maître de musique at the Chapelle Royale alongside André Campra and Charles-Hubert Gervais, succeeding Michel-Richard de Lalande. Highly influenced by Italian music, he balanced the French and Italian tastes in his cantatas, motets, and other choral works. Together with Jean-Baptiste Morin, he is seen as one of the creators of the French cantata genre, preceding composers such as Montéclair, Gervais, Jacquet de la Guerre, Boismortier and Mouret.
"Bernier, with 39 works, was one of the most prolific of French cantata composers. As well as using all the procedures found in Morin's cantatas, he included in his airs some of the earliest examples in French music of the new ritornello structure. His cantatas, often light and witty, are particularly attractive and include some of the finest early examples of the form." (David Tunley, New Grove Online.)