Manchester, 14th-18th July 2004


Peter Leech (Anglia Polytechnic University, UK)

A new source of vocal and instrumental music from the Stuart Court-in-exile at Saint Germain-en-laye

In December 1688 the brief reign of England’s last Catholic monarch, James II, came to an abrupt end.  Challenged by the army of William of Orange and the majority of members of the government, James and his Catholic court were forced to seek refuge in France.  King Louis XIV gave them the palace at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, situated on the outskirts of Paris, where James proceeded to establish a court along similar lines to the one he had presided over in England.  As well as loyal Jacobite courtiers, James took with him his Italian Master of Chapel Music, Innocenzo Fede, who provided music for the exiled Stuart court for the next thirty years.  Most of the records of the exiled court have been destroyed, but those which have survived give a tantalising account of daily life there.  Until recently only two major sources of manuscript  music associated with Saint-Germain had been identified, these being the seven-volume collection Rés.H.659 in the Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris and MS Mus.161 in the Bibliothèque Municipale de Versailles.  However, a third major source has been uncovered in the library of the University of California at Los Angeles: US-BE MS 118.  This paper will examine the contents of MS 118, showing how they are related to Saint-Germain and why they are important.  In particular, previously unknown compositions by Innocenzo Fede will be discussed, shedding considerable light upon knowledge of music at Saint-Germain but also upon the contents of Rés.H.659 which have, until recently, not been fully evaluated.

Last updated on 04 June 2004