The Ranums' Panat Times
A new date for cahier "II" (La Descente d'Orphée aux enfers)
This Musing refers to
Laurent Guillo's "Les papiers imprimés
Cahier "II" can now be dated more precisely. La Descente d'Orphée aux enfers (H.488), performed by the Great Guise Music and the Pièche brothers, musicians to the Dauphin, probably was composed early in 1687.
In my Vers un chronologie (1994) I observed that cahier "II" is on paper L, and that it therefore seems to be contemporary with cahiers 46, 47, XLIX, L, and LI.
Basing my reasoning solely on the watermarks of the paper, I proposed that La Descente d'Orphée (H.488) was written between the fall of 1685 and the summer of 1687. Since Charpentier wrote a role for himself, I eventually proposed that La Descente was written prior to December 1685, just when (or so it then seemed) the composer stopped singing with Mlle de Guise's musicians. For the same reason, I proposed that cahier "II" might be the missing cahier 48, which came immediately after cahier 47 (which fits the time slot for early 1686 and which contains H.415, the last work in the French cahiers for which Charpentier wrote a part for himself).
Laurent Guillo's research has made me revise these hypotheses!
Since 1994 we have known that the paper in cahiers 46, 47, and XLIX was made by the same paper mill as the paper in cahier "II." That is to say, these three cahiers are all made of paper L, with its L-coeur-B and grand-raisin watermarks. But now, thanks to Guillo's meticulous research, we know that the staves of cahier "II" were manuscript, but that the staves in cahiers 46, 47, and XLIX were printed by the form that Guillo calls "PAP-86."
Using a code I have invented for lack of a better way to combine both watermark and PAP, we can now draw a distinction between the printed paper with watermark L (I call that paper "L/86") and the hand-ruled paper in cahier "II" (I call it paper "L/ms").
In short, although all paper L was made in the same paper mill, a print shop (presumably in Paris) obtained some of that paper and printed staves on it; and Marc-Antoine Charpentier used that printed paper in 1685. It appears, however, that another ream of that same paper was ruled by hand, and that this hand-ruled paper was on Charpentier's writing table when he copied the Descente d'Orphée into cahier "II."
But when did he copy cahier "II"?
Cahiers L and LI provide an answer. They too are made of paper L, and the staves are hand-drawn. In other words, cahiers L, LI, and cahier "II" all contain the very same paper: paper L/ms. (At any rate, distant from the originals as I am, I am assuming that the hand-drawn staves in all three cahiers have the same layout and dimensions. Should that not be the case, what follows becomes less certain!)
Cahiers L, LI, and "II" are almost certainly contemporary with one another. We are fortunate that cahiers L and LI can be dated with considerable precision: they span the period from December 1686 (a "Noël" for the Great Guise Music) to July 1687 (the Mass for Port-Royal). In short, La Descente d'Orphée (cahier "II") presumably was written for an event scheduled for the winter or spring of 1687.
This means that Charpentier did not definitively stop singing with the Great Guise Music in December 1685 (cahiers XLVIII-XLIX, H.483a), as was previously thought. No indeed! Just over a year later, we find him singing with the Guise ensemble, to the accompaniment of two of the Dauphin's musicians. In other words, although a younger vocalist took Charpentier's place in the Guise ensemble early in 1686, the composer ― who had recently turned forty ― was still in voice in 1687 and was performing for the heir to the French throne.
Jane Gosine was correct when she observed that cahier "II" can scarcely be the missing cahier 48:
... it seems more likely that Cahier "II" is either Cahier LII or LIII, both of which are missing. ... Cahier "II" has the same watermark as Cahier LI, and the ink used for these cahiers is noticeably fainter than that found elsewhere in the Meslanges, thus linking them chronologically. The handwriting in Cahier "II" strongly suggests that it is the missing Cahier LII, rather than Cahier 48. If Cahier "II" were Cahier 48, one would expect to find the opening sections of H.430 the musical fragment that opens Cahier  ― and yet no such music exists in Cahier "II." (paragraph 5.3.1 of her online article, "Questions of Chronology...," http://www.sscm-jscm.org/jscm/v12/no1/gosine.html)