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The Borel Manuscript
Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library
This collection, named after its first owner, includes French harpsichord music that was unknown before its acquisition by Berkeley. These new pieces from the age of King Louis XIV include two movements by Jean Henry D’Anglebert (1629-1691), one of the great masters of the school, and curiosities such as an allemande by Jacques Thomelin, the teacher of François Couperin and a courante apparently by a woman composer, the Comtesse de Bieule. The collection was probably copied around 1655-1670. The age of Louis XIV saw an extraordinary flowering of harpsichord music in France, and most of the pieces in the Borel manuscript are not known from other sources.
The rediscovery of the Borel manuscript is exciting because it provides us with nearly one hundred new pieces of French keyboard music from the early years of Louis XIV's reign. It also expands Berkeley's world-class holdings of this kind of source. We already had over a dozen such unique manuscripts, and since the acquisition of the Borel manuscript, the Hargrove Music Library has even been able to acquire two further important harpsichord manuscripts. Our holdings are now the finest of any library in the world, except the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. These manuscripts fit perfectly into my own scholarly research and my performing projects. I will also soon be making a CD recording of the finest pieces in the Borel manuscript.