MAKING MUSICAL WORKS IN EARLY MODERN EUROPE, 1500–1700: COMPOSITION, IMPROVISATION, NOTATION & PERFORMANCE

27th June, 2019

Senate House, London

Convenors: 

In collaboration with RDI Project: The Renaissance Musical Work: Foundations, Repertoires and Practices funded by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Universities of Spain [HAR2015-70181-P].

Timetable

09:30 Registration

10:00 Welcome

10:10 Round-table 1: Composition and Authorship

Lead speaker: John Griffiths (Monash University) 

Other participants: Jan Philipp Sprick & Roberta Vidic (Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Hamburg), Robert Rawson (Canterbury Christ Church), David Lee (University of Glasgow)

Respondent: Stephen Rose (Royal Holloway)

11:30 Soterraña Aguirre (University of Valladolid): RDI Project: The Renaissance Musical Work

11:45 Keynote lecture: Kate van Orden (Harvard University)

12:30 Lunch (provided)

13:30 Round-table 2: Improvisation, Notation and Performance

Lead speaker: Alvaro Torrente (Complutense University, Madrid) Other participants: Lynette Bowring (Rutgers University),
Eric Thomas (Huddersfield University), Tim Braithwaite (Royal Conservatory, Den Haag)

Respondent: Martin Ham (University of Surrey)

15:00 Tea/coffee

15:30 Round-table 3: Metahistorical Perspectives: Beyond the Work Concept

Participants: Dorian Bandy (University of Glasgow), Massimo Privitera (University of Palermo), Manuel del Sol (University of Valladolid) Respondent: Lydia Goehr (Columbia University)

17:00 Close

Abstracts

Prof. John Griffiths (Monash University, Australia)
Unspoken and uncharted: Renaissance musical architecture, rhetoric and narrative

Different versions of Renaissance musical works are regarded as the same work. This makes the Urtext model of the musical work inapplicable. New models need to be developed that need to consider context as well as the musical text. Renaissance theorists tell us little about how to make works.This paper proposes a model based on the architecture of Renaissance musical structures in combination with the narrative and/or rhetorical processes that allow the architecture to be projected through the temporal dimension.

Prof. Jan Philipp Sprick and Roberta Vidic (HfMT, Hamburg, Germany) Authorship in mono-/polychoral (re-)composition around 1600: Palestrina’s, Anerio’s and Soriano’s Missae Papae Marcelli

This joint presentation explores definitions of the terms recomposition,rewriting and reworking. It opens with a general discussion of our example— the Missa Papae Marcelli — against the theoretical background of the work concept in Goehr (1992) and Owens (1997/1998). Building on short analytical examples of the Missa Papae Marcelli by Palestrina, Soriano and Anerio, we pose two main questions for discussion:
1. Do Soriano’s and Anerio’s procedures alter or confirm Palestrina’s compositional idea?
2. Who mainly rewrote the Missa? The author or his environment?

Prof. Robert G. Rawson (Canterbury Christ Church University, England) Gottfried Finger and questions of authorship of the arranger

This paper argues for a fluid understanding of ‘ownership’ as apposed to ‘authorship’ of musical works. The Moravian composer Gottfried Finger (c. 1655–1730) offers an insightful case study and his career covered all bases between composer, arranger (of his own works and of other composers) and plagiarist. At what point does an arrangement because a new work? This becomes more complicated in cases where the original material was not Finger’s. This question, and others, also have important implications for the roles of performers. In fact, it may be in his initial training as a performer that absorbing and re-casting the music of others became one of his ways of composing, or perhaps ‘creating’, new approaches and hence, new ‘works’.There is also some scope to discuss that some genres are more prone to borrowing and arranging than others.

David Lee (University of Glasgow, Scotland)
Work(s) in Progress: Early Modern Lutheranism, Labour and the Act of Musical Composition

Even now, some twenty-five years after the publication of Lydia Goehr’s The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works (1992), many musicologists still have issues talking about composers’ activities in terms of ‘works’. Central to Goehr’s thesis was the assertion that J.S. Bach ‘did not compose works.’ However, a large body of historical writings by seventeenth- and eighteenth- century Lutheran German authors explicitly depict composition as an act of working. Taking into account the cultural and theological foundations of Lutheranism, my presentation briefly examines why this emphasis on working was so pervasive early modern German music. Ultimately, I seek to better understand how the act of composition as a process aligns with our understanding of the work as a product, and what this might tell us about our contemporary cultural values.

Prof. Soterraña Aguirre (University of Valladolid, Spain): Overview of RDI Project: The Renaissance Musical Work

RDI Project “The Renaissance Musical Work: Foundations, repertories and practices” funded by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Universities of Spain [HAR2015-70181-P], based at the University of Valladolid, aims to study the Renaissance musical work as a sonorous act.The principal objectives are: revision of the concept of a musical work, the philological study and publication of a group of representative works, the historical-acoustic analysis of selected Renaissance spaces, the performance and recording of the representative works in the selected spaces, and to carry out an initial evaluation of the how they would have been perceived in their own time.

Prof. Kate van Orden (Harvard University, USA) Pop Songs in Print (Keynote Lecture)

This paper tackles a problem that has hindered aesthetic and cultural understanding of the sixteenth-century French chanson: definitions of ‘popular culture’ in early modern Europe as non-elite and associated with marginal literacy. Musicologists have long resisted the high/low, written/oral polarities implicit in such negative framings, seeking to defy their exclusions with performance-centered histories of unwritten traditions, contrapunto alla mente, monody, alfabeto, instrumental divisions, musical theater, and partimento. But it may nonetheless be time to rethink the value of 'popular' from our discipline’s own points of orientation. I suggest that for my repertory, 'pop' is more revealing of the production, markets, ideology, and aesthetics of the songs issued by Pierre Attaingnant, Antoine Gardane, Jacques Moderne, and others in the first decades of commercial music printing.

Prof. Álvaro Torrente (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain)The sarabande avant la letter

Zarabandacanario or chacona are three names within the myriad of dance songs cultivated in Spain in the Early Modern era, of which some later disseminated through Europe in the form of courtly dances in written notation. The identification of their primarily features is a difficult task owing to their popular origin from the oral tradition with no author or defined shape, that were rarely written down in music notation. More than musical works, they were schemes and processes open to transformation and manipulation in each performance. This paper will discuss the challenges to define accurately the primitive chacona or zarabanda, suggesting an alternative strategy to reproduce the performance process. Instead of explaining what a zarabanda is, several sound reconstructions will be presented to illustrate its diversity within certain parameters.

Dr Lynette Bowring (Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, USA) Musical works and the materiality of notation

Musicians in the sixteenth century saw a vast growth in the availability and use of notation: music printing prompted the reconceiving of music as a mass-produced, material object, and the growing affordability and practicality of writing brought considerable numbers of musicians from predominantly oral traditions into literate practices of notated composition. I discuss the roles of literacy, notation, and music printing in the conceptualisation of passamezzi as musical works, assessing the contributions of instrumentalists who embraced both the use of notation and, therefore, the increasingly fixed and idiosyncratic passamezzi that could be found and preserved in written sources.

Eric Thomas (University of Huddersfield, England)The recercares of Spinacino and non-notated traditions

The recercares of Francesco Spinacino have been seen in contemporary literature as written-down improvisations of a declining non-notated idiomatic lute tradition. However, the recercares of Spinacino are rooted in the combination and the translation of textures from two non-notated performance traditions, contrappunto alla mente and the plectrum lute tradition, onto the lute and into lute tablature. An understanding of the translation of these practices, and how the arrangement of textures are used to create larger structures, shows the recercares to transcend written-out improvisations into composed instrumental works.

Tim Braithwaite (Royal Conservatory, Den Haag, The Netherlands) Zenobi, securezza and historically informed performance practice

At the beginning of Luigi Zenobi’s famous letter describing the perfect musician, he lists seven requirements necessary to perform with securezza, the first being that the musician must be an expert in counterpoint. That extemporised polyphonic models and ‘descant’ were a fundamental aspect of vocal pedagogy in Early Modern Europe is widely reported, but to what extent did this training impact notions of authorship in choral institutions and, perhaps more relevantly, how can the incorporation of these techniques into our own practice help us reflect upon the same issues in the modern world of historically informed performance?

Dorian Bandy (University of Glasgow, Scotland)The Challenges of Ontology

I’ll be speaking about the challenges — perhaps insurmountable — in pinning down an ontology of the musical work. I’ll argue that we need a more multivalent understanding of musical works, both when dealing with historical issues and, more broadly, in contemporary aesthetics.

Prof. Massimo Privitera (University of Palermo, Italy) Opus number: the birth and meaning of a musical category

Between the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth centuries, numerous musical prints began to include an opus number on their title page. This phenomenon only concerns the field of musical composition: no other art adopted the same expedient. Many fascinating questions arise from this, to which I will propose some answers:

• How was the opus number born?
• How did it develop?
• How widespread was it geographically?
• Who were the originators?
• What were the commercial and aesthetic implications?

Dr Manuel del Sol (University of Valladolid, Spain)
The Urtext’s Death in Early Modern Spain (and Johannes Wreede’s Pange lingua)

The emblematic Pange lingua 'more hispano' of Johannes Wreede is by far one of the most important compositions in the history of sacred music in early modern Spain and Hispano-America. The critical study of its more than 50 polyphonic testimonies from the 16th to the 19th centuries raises very significant questions with regard to the traditional model of an original and authentic Urtext, which must not be applied to early music. The performance practice of the Pange lingua through different centuries shows that Wreede's music was used as a 'script' rather than a 'text' (as representations of historical performances), without modifying the identity of this renaissance musical work.