Wendy Heller (Princeton University), Chair
Privileged Dependency: The Legal and Social Position of Black Court Trumpeters in Seventeenth-Century Germany
Arne Spohr (Bowling Green State University)
Activities of black musicians in early modern Europe have so far received little scholarly attention, even though there is ample evidence of musical practices in the sizeable African diaspora of Portugal and Spain, countries heavily invested in the Atlantic slave trade. Perhaps surprisingly, black musicians were also present much further north, in German-speaking lands. Hofmohren (black court servants) appeared at German courts as early as the 1570s, and many of them were trained in a musical profession, especially as trumpeters and drummers. By the end of the seventeenth century, many large and medium-sized courts in the Empire, such as Brandenburg, Württemberg, Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel, and Holstein-Gottorf, employed black trumpeters and drummers, using them for both ceremonial and military purposes.
Particularly their legal and social position within the court hierarchy and German society as a whole has been debated among historians. According to a frequently held view, black musicians, who had been bought on the international slave market and who had been sent as “gifts” to princely patrons, were considered free citizens and were fully integrated in German society, once they had officially entered court service. In the case of black trumpeters, their membership in the Imperial Trumpeters’ Guild (requiring proof of free birth) is usually cited as an argument for their free legal status.
In my paper I am going to complicate this view from the perspective of music sociology, by building on Lars E. Laubhold’s recent critical research on this guild, calling into question its legally binding character, and, particularly, by closely examining the lives of two black trumpeters, Christian Real (born ca. 1640, active at the Württemberg court) and Christian Gottlieb (died 1690, active in Schleswig-Holstein) as case studies. As my study of these little‐known, yet well‐documented careers seeks to demonstrate, the legal and social status of black musicians was far more fragile than that of their white colleagues. I will illustrate how this fragility becomes particularly apparent whenever they moved out of the courtly sphere, in which they were privileged and protected.
Minato’s Greeks: Variations on Eastern Themes in Mid-Century Venice
Robert C. Ketterer (University of Iowa)
In the years when Venetian opera was first establishing its form and public function, its audience was acutely aware of the immediate threat from the Ottoman Empire. Tensions between Venice and Istanbul resulted in the 1644–1669 war over control of Crete, which Venice lost. Scholarship generally argues that the ancient stories in opera were meant as analogues to Venetian geopolitical self-image; it is therefore reasonable to suggest that hostilities with Istanbul were expressed in that first generation of Venetian opera. There were not yet operas titled Tamerlano or Scanderbeg, based on comparatively recent events in the Ottoman east. But operas based on ancient history like Minato’s Xerse, or from Greek epic like Faustini’s Elena or Cicognini’s Giasone, meditate on the ancient clash of west and east.
The Greeks themselves were caught in the middle of the geographical and cultural divide between the Christian west and the Ottoman east. In the Roman tradition Greeks legendarily invented western literature and culture. At the same time they were sneaky and unreliable. Virgil’s famous fear of gift-bearing Greeks (Aen. 2.49) is the locus classicus, expressed even as its author was consciously imitating Greek epic poetry. Early-modern Greeks were the cultural heirs of the ancients, and historically Christian. But as converts to Islam under the Ottomans they also provided that empire with its soldiers, grand viziers, and royal wives.
This paper examines aspects of three libretti by Nicolò Minato for Cavalli and Legrenzi that appear to exploit the ambiguous position the Greeks held in western eyes. Artemisia (1656), Antioco (1658) and Seleuco (1666/68) are all based on narratives from the Hellenistic period when Macedonian Greeks ruled the east following Alexander’s conquests, a period when romantic stories of a kind suited to Baroque dramas had become a regular part of Greek historiography. Minato blended western dramatic and musical conventions that had ultimately been inherited from the Greeks with ancient and early-modern stereotypes of eastern tyranny, female power and aberrant sexual behavior. The resulting dramas were carnival entertainments that were scandalous in their action, but also morally distanced from European practice by their setting in a Hellenistic Greece that resembled the Ottoman east.
Ahi ghidy, Ahi Chavo: Sounding Turkish on the Italian Stage
Emily Wilbourne (Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY)
Turks were a well-worn plot device of the early modern Italian stage, though their presence registered more frequently as explanatory force than in directly represented characters. The capture and enslavement of good, Christian citizens provided an ideal justification for any long disappearance—at once outlandish, thrillingly exotic, and yet vaguely plausible. After all, it did sometimes happen: the capocomico Francesco Andreini reputedly spent eight years enslaved to the Turks before escaping and turning to the stage. Less frequently, Turks themselves were represented in the drama, and when they were, their characterization plays with concepts of belonging and cultural otherness.
In this paper I examine the nominally Turkish characters and the Moorish slaves in Giovan Battista Andreini’s 1622 commedia dell’arte text, La Sultana. In at least two separate instances, these foreign characters spoke in song, and while no incidental music survives, the stage directions provide explicit instructions for how the musical elements were to work. In addition, the dialogue given to the various “Turkish” characters differed audibly from that of the “Italian” characters with whom they shared the stage. The sounds and the music made by these figures draw lines between intelligible noise and pure sound, reflecting the cultural limits of full humanity and the aurality of racialized difference. Linking the sound of their music to the sounds of their speech illustrates the broad cultural parameters by which difference was represented and helps thicken our understanding of contemporary performance, representation, and reception.
“Afriquains” and the Staging of Colonial Power in Quinault and Lully’s Cadmus et Hermione (1673)
Alexis VanZalen (Eastman School of Music)
In The Triumph of Pleasure, Georgia Cowart argues that in their tragédies en musique, Philippe Quinault and Jean-Baptiste Lully balanced praise of Louis XIV with audience-pleasing entertainment as they negotiated the tastes of dual royal and public audiences. In this paper, I expand on Cowart’s study by investigating one important—but often neglected—means of staging both power and pleasure in French baroque opera: the incorporation of African characters. To do so, I will focus on Cadmus et Hermione (1673), arguing that Quinault intentionally added African characters, slaves of Cadmus, and that he used them to help infuse the myth with comedy, dance, eroticism, and other audience-pleasing elements while simultaneously celebrating Louis XIV’s colonial achievements.
Cadmus et Hermione features the hero’s “Afriquains” most prominently in the divertissement of Act I. Upon the hero’s orders, they sing and dance a chaconne with a decidedly erotic text and corresponding musical setting. The leading African is Arbas, Cadmus’s buffoonish right-hand man. Though he feigns bravery and capability, his cowardice and impotence shine through in his words, actions, and music, providing a continuous source of comedy.
Significantly, the African characters also serve a political purpose. Audiences would have understood Cadmus to represent Louis XIV, and thus Cadmus’s heroism, reinforced through contrast with Arbas, staged the Sun King’s superiority over members of lower ranks, and over Africans specifically. Similarly, Cadmus’s control over the Africans in the Act I divertissement suggested Louis XIV’s colonial power as it depicted slave labor, in the form of prescribed dance. Moreover, in the first printed edition of the score in 1719, J.B. Christophe Ballard added a group of “Ameriquains”—that is, Native Americans—to the troupe of African chaconne dancers, symbolizing royal power over the entirety of France’s expanding colonial empire. The African characters Quinault incorporated into the story of Cadmus et Hermione thus effectively articulated Louis XIV’s colonial power while simultaneously providing entertaining through erotic dance and comedy. Consequently, they must be considered a significant, if previously overlooked, component of Quinault and Lully’s successful balance of praising the king and pleasing the audience.
Lois Rosow (The Ohio State University), Chair
Seventeenth-Century Opera Parody at the Comédie-Française: Evidence for the Appropriation of a Street Practice
John Romey (Case Western Reserve University)
In the early eighteenth century the théâtres de la foire and later the Opéra-Comique relied almost entirely on two related musical practices that contemporary commentators agreed originated as popular street practices associated with the Pont-Neuf in Paris. Street singers had performed both vaudevilles and parodies (both of these genres set new texts to existing melodies) of excerpts of contemporary operas, ballets, and airs de cour on the Pont Neuf since its inauguration in 1607, as documented by popular prints, themselves sold from bookstalls on the Pont Neuf, and manuscript chansonniers. Before vaudevilles and parodies served as the two musical pillars for the Opéra-Comique, both the Comédie-Française and the Comédie-Italienne experimented with incorporating spectacles for their spoken plays that relied on these popular musical practices as a means to appeal to a public audience. In this presentation I will examine four plays that parody airs from Lully’s operas between 1680 (the year of the founding of the Comédie-Française) and 1689: Les Fous divertissants (1680) by Raymond Poisson, Angélique et Médor (1685) and Renaud et Armide (1686) by Florent Carton Dancourt, and Le Concert Ridicule (1689) by Jean Palaprat. Although all of these plays have been cited as examples of opera parody, no one has investigated their parody techniques through the lens of street practice. The playwrights at the Comédie-Française made a conscious effort to link characters in the plays, often the servants or other characters from similar social ranks, with street practices of setting new texts to well known operatic airs. I will reveal how musical parodies functioned at the Comédie-Française, demonstrate that the musical practice was adopted from parodies circulating in street culture, and present evidence from within the plays themselves that the playwrights consciously appropriated a popular musical practice that already deeply penetrated the Parisian quotidian soundscape.
Cross-Casting Cupid: Female Singers and the God of Love in French Opera
Anita Hardeman (Western Illinois University)
In Jean-Baptiste Lully’s 1673 tragédie en musique, Cadmus et Hermione, the god Cupid descends at the end of the second act to console his despairing sister Hermione with a divertissement and assure her of his favour. Indeed, he proclaims that “Tout s’anime à ma voix.” The Frères Parfaict, in their Dictionnaire des Théâtres, report that in 1678 this animating voice was provided by Seigneur Antonio, and in 1690 by Sieur Bourgeois but when the score was copied in the early 1700s by the king’s librarian, the part of Cupid was notated in the treble clef and subsequent performers were female. Thus, Cadmus provides witness to a rare occurrence on the French Baroque opera stage: female-to-male cross-casting.
Although he was originally utilized primarily as deus ex machina, the character of Cupid became increasingly popular in the early eighteenth century, expanding from infrequent incidental roles in the divertissement to a central character in prologues, portrayed increasingly frequently by virtuoso female singers. In this paper, I examine the music written for Cupid, exposing both the effects of cross-casting within these works, as well as what these choices can tell us about the performers, the audience, and the state of opera during this period.
Cross-gender casting in Baroque opera has attracted previous scholarly attention, but these studies have principally focused on men playing female roles. Cupid represents a hitherto unexamined and exceptional circumstance as a male role embodied primarily by women, and over time, that woman was more likely to be a virtuosic singer – such as Marie Fel, who played Cadmus‘s Cupid in 1737. While the choice of a high-voiced singer for this role reflected conventional views of the god of love as a pre-pubescent male, selecting a female singer presented a challenge to gender norms: as the god of love, Cupid must embody the attributes of male erotic love. Consequently I assess this cross-casting in terms of eroticism and its location in the body of the singer, exploring the possibility that the erotic qualities of feminine vocal display did indeed animate the audience through Cupid’s voice.
Christine Jeanneret (The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Columbia University), Chair
New Insights into the History of Francesco Cavalli’s Xerse in France
Michael Klaper (Institut für Musikwissenschaft Weimar-Jena)
In 1660 Francesco Cavalli’s Xerse (premiered in Venice, 1655) was performed in Paris, on the occasion of King Louis XIV’s marriage to the Spanish Infanta Maria Teresa. This is an exceptional case in as far as the performance is documented not only by a scenario and contemporaneous references to it, but also by a score that, via a comparison with the Italian transmission of the opera, allows us to reconstruct typical French traits of the revision made for Paris.
Though well known in its general outlines, there are many other aspects of the Parisian Xerse that have to be explored in depth. As I will show in my paper, recently discovered archival materials not only point to a longer prehistory of Xerse in France, but also to a multi-layered performance history and a more complex source situation than assumed until now. At the same time, a closer study of the Parisian manuscript score offers new insights into the revision process as well as into the French transmission of Xerse. Herewith a broader picture of the reception of Cavalli’s oeuvre in France between the middle of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth century will emerge.
French Music in Milan via the Collected Papers of the Prince de Vaudémont
Don Fader (University of Alabama)
The papers of Charles-Henri de Lorraine, Prince de Vaudémont (1649–1723), in the manuscript department of the Bibliothèque nationale de France offer a new picture of French music in Italy and the Italian experience of French musicians, contributing to the biographies of Michel Pignolet de Montéclair and Jean-Féry Rebel. The documents include correspondence and household accounts focusing on the years the prince served as governor of Milan (1698–1706), but they also cover other parts of his life, particularly his subsequent travels between Paris and Commercy.
These documents reveal the prince’s attempts to introduce French elements into the musical life of his new home, both at his court and at the opera. While Vaudémont brought from Lorraine an English dancing master and an oboe trio, he hired a number of native Milanese musicians, including violinists Antonio Compostano and Carlo Federico Scaccia, as well as the singer Pietro Ramponi. He also went to great financial lengths to hire a band of five violinists from Paris, which was headed by Montéclair, and included Rebel, a “Le Pety,” “La Doublée,” and “La Chapelle” (probably Jacques Qualité). Correspondence reveals that agents in Paris auditioned musicians, and the prince paid for their transport, instrument cases, and housing. The band was active from February 1699 to December 1700, and it performed in combination with the oboes and a Milanese violin band directed by Giuseppe Vergano, probably to train its members in French style. The prince’s musicians took part in a flurry of performances prior to the outbreak of the War of Spanish Succession in 1701, including balls, musical fêtes, and at least one oratorio. Vaudémont brought his French sensibilities to the Milan opera, paying for costumes for his dancing master and others to perform French dance, and had the scores copied to send to his connections throughout Europe. The Italian experience of Montéclair and Rebel clearly influenced their lives as composers, as both went on to write vocal and instrumental music in Italian and Italo-French style.
Gregory Barnett (Rice University), Chair
“…drawn from the bosom of nature herself”: Marin Mersenne, His Followers, and the Discovery of the Harmonic Series
Stewart Carter (Wake Forest University)
Many of the leaders of the Scientific Revolution were keenly interested in the physical foundations of musical sound. Marin Mersenne was the first scholar to investigate overtones in a serious way, initially addressing this issue in correspondence with Jean Titelouze, who described the natural tones of the trumpet as a series “drawn from the bosom of nature herself.” Because they rely on what we now call the harmonic series for all their natural tones, the trumpet and the trumpet marine were often invoked as test cases in early attempts to explain this phenomenon. In his Harmonie universelle (1636) Mersenne mentioned hearing overtones as high as the sixth harmonic. He understood the similarity between “trumpet notes” and the tones produced by the trumpet marine, but he did not recognize the relationship between these notes and overtones.
My paper demonstrates how later authors expanded on Mersenne’s work and how the trumpet and trumpet marine continued to inform their research. In England Narcissus Marsh’s demonstration of nodes in vibrating strings (1677) influenced Francis Robartes’ “Discourse on the Musical Notes of the Trumpet and the Trumpet Marine” (Philosophical Transactions, 1692). Robartes did not set out to elucidate the harmonic series; his more modest objective was to explain why the seventh, eleventh, thirteenth, and fourteenth notes of the trumpet are out of tune. But he characterized the series of trumpet notes as “infinite” and equated the notes of that instrument with those of the trumpet marine, demonstrating mathematically why the four out-of-tune notes cannot be accommodated to just intonation.
Like his forbears, Joseph Sauveur relied heavily on the natural notes of the trumpet and trumpet marine in his investigations. In 1701 he published an explanation of the overtone series that is close to our modern understanding, referring to overtones as sons harmoniques and extending the series as far as the sixteenth harmonic.
Towards a New Theory of Instrumental Pedagogy in the Early
Seicento Lynette Bowring (Rutgers University)
Addressing a new readership of professional instrumentalists in the 1620s, Dario Castello offered his readers the advice that if, at first, his music seemed very difficult, with repeated practice (“sonarle più d’una volta“) it would become easier and more enjoyable. Castello was one among a number of composers to include in their publications advice on learning—especially the acquisition of physical knowledge about their instrument. Francesco Rognoni Taeggio, when discussing the characteristics of different instruments, recognized the need for focused knowledge, writing that “students are advised to take ornamented works from others, but [only] from those who know the instrument they wish to make their profession. For each has his own craft, and this suffices [for it].” Given the swift advancement in technical demands in the early Seicento, professional musicians of this period must have been keenly aware of their training and ability. Yet today, many details of their educations remain oblique. Scholars have long focused on aspects of pedagogy which cross into music theory—that is, the study of composition—or the education of amateur elites. Due to the oral nature of most teaching and the obscure early biographies of even prominent instrumentalists, no comprehensive understanding of pedagogy for professional players has emerged from existing studies.
In this paper I propose a new methodology for the study of early-modern instrumental pedagogy, with particular reference to the training of professional musicians. Viewing the instrumental performer as an artisan, I explore the place of the learner in the musical establishments of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and the pedagogical relationships that they constructed with senior musicians and older repertoires. Avoiding elite circles such as the Florentine Camerata, I instead argue for the importance of church educations and private learning within close family relationships. I consider the pedagogical values contained in ornamental church repertoires, in particular the application of diminutions from tutors of the 1580s to 1620s. My readings of these sources bear wide-ranging implications for the cultivation of instrumental music during a pivotal moment in its development.
Robert Shay (University of Colorado Boulder), Chair
Tom of Bedlam, John Playford, and the Rhetoric of Mid-Century Madness
Stacey Jocoy (Texas Tech School of Music)
The piece “Tom a Bedlam” beginning “Forth from my dark and dismal cell,” appears to have been written by William Basse and set by John Coperario for the occasion of a maske at Gray’s Inn, circa 1632. This might have been the end of this minor tune were it not for the efforts of the stationer, John Playford. Playford included the music without the words in his English Dancing Master (1651) as “Grayes Inne Mask or Mad Tom.” After this point, the already seething imagery of a world gone mad, or upside down as many contemporary writers called it, latched on to the figure of poor Tom. The tune was used multiple times throughout the Interregnum for ballads, with specific reference to Parliamentary figures, as clear markers of the perceived insanity of their actions, or to imply that madness would surely beset them as a consequence of their grasping folly. By the time of the Restoration, any reference to Mad Tom, Tom of Bedlam, or even arguably madness in general, was likely understood by “knowing Gentlemen” as a reference to the horrors of the rebellion and its troubling aftermath.
Interestingly, Playford revived “Tom of Bedlam” in the later 1670s and 1680s, long after its initial relevance, commenting in a highly uncharacteristic manner—directly beneath the work itself—that the piece was “much in demand of late.” Clearly, he intended to draw attention to the now fifty-year-old work. This study builds on considerations of period madness by literary historians Carol Neely and William Carroll, along with ballad scholarship to argue that Playford’s continued use of the Mad Tom trope throughout the Restoration period was meant as a thinly-veiled attack against the more radical Whig elements of Parliament, a specter of Rebellion intent on reminding all readers of the turmoil of the Civil War and Interregnum so that it might stay tightly locked away with the rest of the madness in the newly-enlarged Bedlam Hospital.
Compiling Occasional Texts for Purcell’s Anthems
Bryan White (University of Leeds)
A significant minority of Purcell’s anthems are known to have been composed for specific occasions. Such occasions required texts fitted closely to their circumstances, texts that show signs of careful and selective choices of appropriate Biblical verses. The most obvious such texts are those constructed for coronations; both “My heart is inditing” and “Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem” (for James II’s and William and Mary’s coronations respectively) knit together verses from multiple Psalms and from the book of Isaiah. Another prominent feature of occasional texts is the use of discontinuous verses from a single Psalm. The compiler identified verses that could be used to convey a set of images or a mood that reflected on the occasion, rejecting those that did not. In the case of “The way of God is an undefiled way,” which marked William III’s return from his European campaign of 1694, the compiler selected verses from Psalm 18 in which the psalmist presents himself triumphing over his foes with God’s aid. The resulting text shares characteristics with the court ode: topicality and royal flattery. The construction of occasional texts has been little explored, and no consideration has been given to those verses rejected by the compiler. In the case of “The way of God,” the omission of verses suggests a concern to avoid depicting William as a foreign, oppressive king. An understanding of the approach of the compiler in what is certainly an occasional anthem offers a template for assessing anthems with discontinuous texts for which the occasion is uncertain. Purcell’s “My song shall be always” has, on the strength of a date on a contemporary manuscript, been associated with William III’s return to England after the Siege of Limerick in 1690. A careful consideration of the compilation of the text tends to confirm this identification. Attentive consideration of the construction of discontinuous anthem texts offers a tool for investigating other Purcell anthems for which a particular occasion is suspected, but unknown, and indeed for developing a more nuanced understanding of the anthem as a tool of royal propaganda in the Restoration period.
Frederick Gable (University of California, Riverside), Chair
Emblematic Scordatura: Heinrich Biber’s Hic est panis and Eucharistic Devotion
Kimberly Beck Hieb (University of British Columbia)
While Heinrich Biber’s sophisticated violin sonatas and virtuosic use of scordatura are well known, few are familiar with his sacred works for voices and instruments. A collection of three vocal pieces with instrumental accompaniments, all unica, by Heinrich Biber was recently unearthed in the archive of the Berlin Singakademie and includes Hic est panis, Biber’s sole surviving work for a solo voice accompanied by a virtuosic scordatura violin. The Eucharistic text of the piece comes from the sixth chapter of John: “This is the bread that came down from heaven (John 6:59). He who eats of this bread, will live eternally (John 6:52).”
At first glance Biber’s use of scordatura in Hic est panis seems to simply add a virtuosic flare. However, further consideration of contemporary devotional practices suggests that this accompaniment infuses the piece with devotional and confessional meaning. In fact, Daniel Edgar has argued that scordatura was a fundamental part of Biber’s compositional language that often functioned as an emblematic musical device. Likewise, Lindsay Strand-Polyak has drawn a connection between performing scordatura sonatas and the act of meditation, describing Biber’s Rosary Sonatas as “spiritual exercises in music.” In this paper, I argue that Biber uses an idiomatic instrumental accompaniment in his setting of Hic est panis to craft a musical emblem designed for meditation on the Catholic doctrine of the transubstantiation of the Eucharist.
Eucharistic devotion was a pillar of post-Tridentine absolutism, a brand of piety that fostered the belief that God would grant prosperity to the jurisdiction of a faithful Catholic ruler. Therefore, absolutist rulers, such as Biber’s patron the Prince Archbishop of Salzburg, valued works of art, musical or otherwise, that could serve as displays of piety while promoting Catholic-specific doctrines. Biber accomplishes this in Hic est panis by crafting a musical emblem that points specifically to the Catholic understanding of the sacrament of the Eucharist, a reminder of the covenant between Christ and his followers and, in absolutist terms, a poignant symbol of the exceptional relationship between a faithful leader and God.
Musical Activities, Social Status and Convent Spaces in Seventeenth-Century Palermo: Santa Maria di Tutte le Grazie and Other Case Studies
Ilaria Grippaudo (University of Palermo)
It is well known that the relationships between convents, musical patronage and the urban context have been long recognised and widely studied. Despite this, scant attention has been addressed to the Sicilian situation, particularly to the city of Palermo. In accordance to what happened in other parts of Italy, Palermo’s convents appeared as permeable buildings, which operated within a complex network of various relations. Therefore, far from being enclosed systems, cloisters marked the urban space not only physically, through the visual element, but also symbolically, through music. While heterogeneous architectural elements (grills, bars, locks) separated the convent spaces from the outside, on the other hand music acted as a device of communication between the internal and external dimensions, as well as a means for asserting a social status which nuns and novices didn’t want to give up. In this respect, documentary sources have proved to be helpful in deepening the contribution of the female religious communities to the diffusion of musical activities in Palermo. Through the promotion of music, nuns were no longer invisible “veiled figures,” but became concrete presences in the urban environment, while consolidating the institutional image of public communities and families to which they belonged. However, there were also institutions that stood out for the strict reclusion and virtue of the nuns that they housed, as the Franciscan convent of Santa Maria di Tutte le Grazie seems to prove. In this case the «beloved brides» were apparently far from worldly distractions, but renowned for their musical skills and singing ability. Among them the name of Sister Angela Croce della Santissima Trinità (alias Angela Sanchez) stands out: the author of Sicilian and Italian canzonette, the virtuosa nun had the chance to refine her singing skills before her monastic career, thanks to a specific education in the field of music. Santa Maria di Tutte le Grazie will serve as a starting point for understanding the musical customs of other convents of the territory, such as Santa Caterina, Santa Maria delle Vergini and the Immaculate Conception, which boasted several collaborations with important local musicians of the contemporary musical scene.
Feeling the Thirty Years’ War: A History of Emotions in Melchior Franck’s Paradisus Musicus (1636)
Tom Marks (Graduate Center, CUNY)
The Thirty Years’ War ravaged German lands in the first half of the seventeenth century; as the war developed, daily life became clouded with anxiety, insecurity, and fear. The 1630s were particularly difficult years during which myriad cities endured military sieges, plague, and famine. Coburg composer Melchior Franck directly experienced these wartime tribulations, particularly evidenced in his personal letters and his final published musical work—parts one and two of Paradisus Musicus (1636). The paratexts of this work for two to four voices, basso continuo, and occasional string instruments frequently mention the emotional dispositions of Franck’s war-weary contemporaries. What do these statements signify? How are the societal values that governed the expression of emotions during the war reflected in and shaped by these musical settings of select verses from each chapter of Isaiah? What can this work tell us about the ways in which German Lutherans felt the war?
In this paper, I analyze and contextualize the texts and music of Paradisus Musicus using theories and methodologies from the history of emotions. With Barbara Rosenwein’s concept of “emotional communities” and Arlie Hochschild’s notion of “feeling rules,” I argue that Paradisus Musicus provides a carefully choreographed labor of emotions that attempted to reorient listeners’ emotional dispositions away from “inappropriate” spiritual sadness and melancholy toward “appropriate” heavenly comfort—an aspect made most apparent through contemporary notions of Anfechtung (spiritual suffering) and Trost (comfort). The emotional aspects present in Franck’s work, I argue, facilitate a way of hearing the composer’s musical rhetorical choices in a specific wartime context where the reality of emotional suffering on earth and the inevitable heavenly joy to follow death meet in contemporary lived experience. More broadly, this research contributes to new developments in Thirty Years’ War scholarship that explores notions of personal experience (Erfahrung) through first-hand accounts. It fosters interdisciplinary conversation between musicology and the history of emotions by exploring the fruitful ways in which these fields intersect; consequently, this paper moves considerations of emotional experience in seventeenth-century German music beyond traditional discussions of music rhetoric.
Prayer, Meditation, and Temptation: A Creative Framework for Matthias Weckmann’s Sacred Concertos
Christina Hutten (University of British Columbia)
In 1663, a plague outbreak ravaged Hamburg. Public life ground to a halt as death tolls rose and other jurisdictions imposed trade and travel restrictions. Hamburg organist Matthias Weckmann wrote his own funeral motet, since “during that time he thought about his blessed end”. His student Johann Kortkamp’s remark invokes the mindful preparation for a peaceful departure that characterized the ars moriendi, a foremost concern of Lutheran pastoral care and piety. Although Weckmann’s motet does not survive, the Lüneburg Ratsbücherei preserves his 1663 autograph manuscript of four concertos setting funerary texts. My paper will contribute to a growing body of research addressing intersections between music, piety, and death in the early modern era by examining the relationship between sacred meditation practices and Weckmann’s concertos.
Meditation was central to Lutheran theology and life. The Reformation doctrine of justification by faith alone emphasized the responsibility of each believer to cultivate personal faith until the moment of death, when his or her eternal destiny would be sealed. Individuals strengthened one another by singing hymns, praying together, and writing scriptural glosses and poetry. As a church musician and the son of a pastor and poet laureate, Matthias Weckmann was intimately familiar with Lutheran devotional culture. Music played a vital role in Lutheran piety because of its ability to foster emotional engagement with the word of God. In Hamburg, devotional music was cultivated especially actively under the influence of the Johann Rist, who published nearly all of his extensive pastoral writings as songs.
Luther derived his influential framework for meditation from Psalm 119: oratio, prayer for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, meditatio, examining and re-examining a scripture passage, and tentatio, the endless struggle between the two poles of sin and salvation. I will argue that Luther’s framework is key to understanding the manuscript presentation, text organization, and musical form of Weckmann’s sacred concertos. My research will illuminate Weckmann’s compositional procedure, the expressive impact his music was designed to have upon contemporary listeners, and the significance of its repeated rehearsal and performance for the musicians of the Hamburg collegium musicum, thereby enabling modern performers and listeners to better tell and understand the story of these pieces.
Margaret Murata (University of California, Irvine), Chair
Defining a festa: Celebration Music in Rome’s National Churches
Michela Berti (Université de Liège)
The festa is a distinguishing occasion that characterizes the baroque period in Rome; it was one of the most important manifestations of social status, a medium by which a person or an institution could display magnificence and power, in both political or religious terms. Celebrations of the several national churches in Rome (e.g., Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, etc.) comprise a privileged field of observation; for all these institutions, feste were instruments to express a foreign power as well as a means of self-representation in the system of prestige politics.
In past studies of feste in Rome, music is hardly ever evoked as a structural element of the celebration. Maurizio Fagiolo dell’Arco, scholar of the Roman baroque event, considered music only in relation to what is visible and not as a characteristic or singular element of the events themselves. For the most part he did not register the main events of the national churches—the feasts of their patron saints—as feste, even though in the majority of cases their extraordinary music rendered those occasions more special than others. The data collected by musicologists and the data collected by historians of the feste show a clear discrepancy. Events like these feste have not yet been evaluated for their musical worth, as if this element, on its own, were not sufficient to render an event a festa.
By considering the role of music, this paper redefines the notion of what is a festa. Are “ordinary celebrations” always accompanied by “ordinary music” and “extraordinary celebrations” by “extraordinary music,” or is the relationship between these elements more complex? Including payment records and archival documents on music, instead of relying only on iconographic or literary sources, amplifies the definition of feste given by the national churches in Rome and increases the number of events not heretofore classified as such. Taking music into account highlights the necessity to establish another, more complete, catalogue of feste.
Towards a Better Understanding of Martyr Tragedies in Seventeenth-Century Rome
Virginia Christy Lamothe (Belmont University)
Beginning in the mid-sixteenth century, Jesuit colleges throughout Europe began to perform dramas as a part of a yearly school exercise. The Ratio Studiorum, a system for all Jesuit institutions, became the mechanism that promoted the study of Latin history, oratory, drama, and poetry, for the purpose of eloquent expression. Jesuit theoreticians of this time began to codify values which they felt best reflected traditional classical sources for drama by examining the works of Horace, Cicero, Seneca, and most of all, Aristotle’s Poetics. The writings of these sixteenth-century theoreticians profoundly impacted the creation of drama for decades to come.
Whereas most of these Jesuit theoreticians who wrote about drama upheld the ideas of Aristotle’s Poetics (including ideal types of protagonists and unities of action, time, and place), two Roman Jesuit authors claimed that in some ways, Aristotle had it wrong. Throughout the seventeenth century, Jesuit schools performed plays such as Crispus (1597) and La Flavia (1600) by Bernardo Stefonio (1560-1620), whose saintly protagonists differ from Aristotle’s models. Alessandro Donati’s Ars Poetica (1631), and Tarquinio Galluzzi’s Rinovazione dell’antica tragedia (1633) present arguments that deviate on significant points from Aristotle’s views, most importantly, that dramas with saintly protagonists can indeed fulfill the purposes of tragedy.
This paper examines these two newly translated treatises for their views which deviate from Aristotle’s, and it also demonstrates their connection to the court of Francesco Barberini, Cardinal nipote to Pope Urban VIII. The field of musicology has long struggled with the problems of “sacred” operas such as Sant’Alessio (1632, 1634), San Bonifatio (1638), and Sant’Eustachio (1643), commissioned by the Barberini family. But, there are personal ties which have not yet been explored between members of the Barberini family and these theoreticians who aided in the creation of the Barberini saint operas. More importantly, these saint operas employ the ideas put forth in Donati’s and Galluzzi’s treatises, explaining their anomalous features.
Drew Davies (Northwestern University), Chair
Intertextuality in Late-Seventeenth Century Latin Villancicos for Mexico City Cathedral
Dianne L. Goldman (University of Maryland)
During the last two decades of the seventeenth century, villancico authors working in Mexico City employed a number of languages in addition to Spanish in their texts including Portuguese, Nahuatl, and Latin. Although dialect villancicos such as the jácara have been examined in recent studies, scholars have mostly overlooked the examples with Latin. Those who mention these texts often simplistically interpret them as hymn-like. Based on texts gathered from sources at the Biblioteca Palafoxiana (Puebla, Mexico) and the John Carter Brown Library (Providence, Rhode Island), this paper examines villancicos with portions in Latin and examples entirely in Latin for the feasts of St. Peter, the Assumption of Mary, and Christmas. I then trace the sources of the Latin texts – borrowed or paraphrased lines from liturgical texts, especially responsories. While I agree with scholars that the presence of Latin interpolations elevates the texts’ tone, I believe the inclusion of these specific liturgical phrases indicates the texts were tailored to a highly-educated audience of church officials. The allusions invited listeners to draw comparisons between and mediate upon liturgical texts thereby deepening the villancico’s meaning. The authors of these villancicos were excellent theologians with a ready body of literature and liturgy at their fingertips, while their audience and patrons were literate listeners who would have benefited from hearing an interpolated text.
Negotiating with the Demon: Mission Soundscapes in Seventeenth-Century
Paracuaria Jutta Toelle (Max Planck Institute of Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt)
As in early modern societies in Europe, religious, social and political authorities in the Jesuit mission areas in Latin America were negotiated through music and sounds. Subsequently, in chronicles like the Conquista Espiritual by the Jesuit Antonio Ruiz de Montoya from 1639, all sounds, even everyday ones like animal calls and European church songs, are described as being heavily contested, as points of contention between the Christian and the non-Christian world. Montoya’s book presents a striking number of anecdotes that refer directly to hearing and listening, and to European church music, instrumental music, bells, voices and all sorts of other sounds.
My presentation draws on various accounts of musical and sonic experiences of Jesuit missionaries in the reducciones and focuses on Antonio Ruiz de Montoya’s Conquista Espiritual. While challenging the well-known narrative of “missionizing through music,” I will show the various purposes that the missionaries attributed to European church music and other sounds, and how these purposes were transformed by indigenous actors and alleged demonic forces.
The contested soundscape in mission communities, above all in the reducciones of Paracuaria, can be illustrated perfectly by the example of church bells, which have been missing from most versions of the “missionizing through music”-narrative. Montoya mentions bells in many different ways: as apotropaic objects of indigenous veneration, as symbols in controversies with the devil, as imported material culture, and as the last object touched by a famous Jesuit martyr. Roque González de Santa Cruz is murdered while connecting the clapper to a bell, his death is thus directly connected to his attempt to ring the bell for the first time in “barbarous countries.” Bells made it possible not only to superimpose hostile soundscapes with more familiar ones, but they ultimately allowed missionaries to create a new, Christian – or even specifically Jesuit – sound world in a formerly pagan area.
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