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  • Musicians' Mobilities and Music Migrations in Early Modern Europe: Biographical Patterns and Cultural Exchanges ed. by Gesa zur Nieden and Berthold Over
  • Samantha Owens
Musicians' Mobilities and Music Migrations in Early Modern Europe: Biographical Patterns and Cultural Exchanges. Ed. by Gesa zur Nieden and Berthold Over. Pp. 428. Mainz Historical Cultural Sciences, 33 (Transcript Verlag, Bielefeld, 2016. €34.99. ISBN 978-3-8376-3504.)

At a time when the future mobility of Europe-based professional musicians—including those working in the classical music industry—is increasingly uncertain (or, at the very least, potentially threatened by untenable bureaucratic hurdles) in the wake of the Brexit decision, it seems worth dwelling on the opening thoughts of this edited collection's preface. There, the volume's editors, Gesa zur Nieden and Berthold Over, note that the 'musical migrations' of the early modern era not only made a significant contribution to the 'dynamics and synergy of the European cultural scene', but also played an important role in developing 'cohesion within a common European cultural identity' (p. 9).

The book's focus arises from a recent European Union-funded research project, 'Music Migrations in the Early Modern Age: The Meeting of the European East, West, and South' (also known as MusMig), which ran from September 2013 until August 2016, uniting researchers from Croatia, Germany, Poland, and Slovenia under the direction of the Zagreb-based musicologist Vjera Katalinić. The selection of twenty essays contained in the volume was drawn from a workshop held under the project's auspices in Mainz in 2014—an event that expanded beyond members of MusMig to include scholars from elsewhere in Europe as well.

Unsurprisingly then, not only given the topic at hand, but also the remarkably diverse provenance of the researchers involved, the subject material covered in Musicians' Mobilities and Music Migrations is extremely wide-ranging in a geographical sense. The majority of the chapters take the form of specific musical case studies, whose authors lead us on a journey from the commercial marketplaces of eighteenth-century England (Michael Talbot) and Holland (Rudolf Rasch) to the courts of the Holy Roman Empire, Poland, and Russia (Colin Timms, Joachim Kremer, Britta Kägler, Berthold Over, Rashid-S. Pegah; Barbara Przybszewska-Jarmińska, Alina Z_órawska-Witkowska; Jan Kusber and Matthias Schnettger); from the largely imported musical cultures of Vienna's Kärntnertortheater in the 1730s (Jana Perutková) and the Republic of Dubrovnik later in the century (Vjera Katalinić); and from opera seria performances in Rome (Aneta Markuszewska), Graz (Metoda Kokole), and various locations in Moravia (Jana Spác› ilová) to consideration of the writings of Croatian music theorists based in Italy and Russia (Stanislav Tuksar, Lucija Konfic).

Three chapters in the book are rather broader in their scope. In the second of these, an essay entitled 'MUSICI and MusMig: Continuities and Discontinuities', Berthold Over and Torsten Roeder explain the imperatives behind the MusMig project and its intended outcomes, among them the development of a so-called Person Data Repository, containing detailed information regarding individuals, performances, and locations that can be mined digitally to produce 'visualizations' (charts, maps, and other types of illustrations) capable of supporting 'the specific approaches of the individual projects' (p. 200).

As Over and Roeder point out, the definition of migration adopted for the study is expansive, embracing 'every movement in a territorial space', from Grand Tours to travelling opera companies, and the journeys of individuals made for the purposes of training, employment, as well as family, legal, or health-related reasons, among countless other possible motivations (p. 186). It is also worth noting here that within the framework of the MusMig project the term 'musician' is interpreted in a broad sense, encompassing instrumentalists, singers, composers, librettists, instrument makers, and music theorists. (Music publishers might also be added to this list, since at least two chapters in the present volume deal with this profession, in varying degrees: Rudolf Rasch's thoughtful investigation of the truly European breadth of Estienne Roger's music-publishing enterprise, and Michael Talbot's rigorous examination of an English publication that featured compositions by Francesco Scarlatti.)

In the chapter that follows, Norbert Dubowy deftly summarizes a selection of the different types of...


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