Madrigals -- Italy -- Venice -- 16th century -- History and criticism.
In 1555 Antonio Gardano's Venetian printing firm issued Orlande de Lassus's Primo Libro di Madrigali a cinque voci. The lack of the customary dedication, however, has led some scholars to wonder whether there was an earlier edition that is no longer extant, and to suggest that this collection, like all the other early Lassus madrigal books, was first printed in Rome. While appealing, this explanation fails to acknowledge that Lassus's Book I à 5 differs significantly from the other early books, not only in its known publication details, but also in terms of its textual and musical content, which appears to be self-consciously Venetian. Book I à 5 appears to be Lassus's conscious attempt to gather together madrigals that would help him gain recognition as a significant composer, capable of writing serious music. To this end, he might well want to emulate and imitate Venetian composers, which his collection does in a variety of ways. I offer a new interpretation of the existing evidence: Lassus himself began compiling this book sometime before his sudden departure from Italy in 1554, intending it to be printed by Gardano in Venice from the very start. That he hoped to draw the notice of his potential Venetian clientele can be seen in his borrowings from several madrigals by Willaert that would be published only in the older master's highly coveted Musica nova of 1559. Lassus's Book I à 5 reveals the work of an ambitious young composer trying to make a strong first impresson on the Italian musical community.
Handel, George Frideric, 1685-1759. Messiah [music]
Handel, George Frideric, 1685-1759 -- Manuscripts.
The manuscript score of Handel's Messiah copied by John Mathews, now in the collection of Archbishop Marsh's Library, Dublin, incorporates musical material derived from early sets of performing partbooks, but also includes references to a score (now lost) that was owned by James Harris of Salisbury, an amateur musician who was an acquaintance of the composer's. From these references it is possible to reconstruct many features of the musical content of Harris's score. Recently published correspondence between Harris and John Christopher Smith, Handel's principal music copyist, has revealed that Harris borrowed the composer's own performing materials for Messiah in 1743 and 1744, apparently with a view to performance in Salisbury. The 'Salisbury' partbooks to which Mathews refers as one of his sources may therefore have greater authority than has previously been supposed, as reflecting the music of Messiah as it stood after Handel's first London performances.
Milhaud, Darius, 1892-1974 -- Criticism and interpretation.
The concept of polytonality occupies a prominent place in two 1923 articles by Darius Milhaud. Considerable attention has been devoted to his theory of polytonality in so far as it applies to his music (Rosteck 1992 and 1994, Cox 1993, Mawer 1997), but except for the work of Barbara Kelly (2003) the wider cultural context of its meaning has escaped close scrutiny. To grasp the significance of these two essays more clearly, we must determine how they relate to an important press debate on polytonality and atonality between 1920 and 1923.
Fuelled by Henri Collet's tagging of the Groupe des Six in 1920, as well as the recognition of Schoenberg's music and legitimization of his atonal writing in France, the controversy raises the subjects of polytonality, atonality, nationalism (sometimes degenerating into racism), and the aesthetic clash of the impressionists, or established composers, with the young avant-garde, or Les Six. As a term, polytonality suffered from gross distortion. Best viewed as a technique, usually employed only locally and by a minority of composers, in the debate it became an idiom, such as tonality or atonality, rich enough to inspire a 'school', in this case Les Six, or even the entire French style.
As a Jewish composer vulnerable to racist attacks, and as the main exponent of polytonality, Milhaud skilfully turned the issues of the debate to his advantage. He portrays Viennese atonality as the natural outcome of Wagnerian chromaticism, and polytonality as the extension of French diatonic modality. His construct appeals to both nationalist pride and ethnic tolerance, and his evolutionary principle positions polytonality as inevitable for nothing less than the whole French musical avant-garde.
Britten, Benjamin, 1913-1976. Death in Venice [music]
Mann, Thomas, 1875-1955. Tod in Venedig.
In Thomas Mann's novella Death in Venice, we are told that the protagonist, Aschenbach, first interprets the sounds of Tadzio's name as two 'musical syllables'. By setting the syllables and related words in a network of leitmotifs, Britten's operatic version of Mann's tale creates a large-scale rhyme scheme that enriches the narrative with a wealth of sonorous signification. Bits of libretto text become linked with Tadzio's name, and their musical and phonemic development is traced from 'addio' to 'Adgio' to 'ah no' and beyond, illustrating how notions of departure, desire, and dissolution resonate within Tadzio's acoustical persona. Observations gleaned from studying Britten's sketches and libretto drafts support this interpretation, as do recent perspectives from phonology and cognitive poetics. The discussion ultimately demonstrates how transformations of the Tadzio syllables enact not only the repressive process that underlies Aschenbach's artistic struggle, but also the restoration that comes even at the moment of his death.
Rumph, Stephen C. Beethoven after Napoleon: political romanticism in the late works.
Beethoven, Ludwig van, 1770-1827 -- Criticism and interpretation.
Giger, Andreas, 1951-
L'Opéra en France et en Italie (1791-1925): Une Scène privilégiée d'échanges littéraires et musicaux. Actes du colloque franco-italien tenu à l'Académie musicale de Villecroze (16-18 octobre 1997) (review) [Access article in HTML][Access article in PDF] Subject Headings:
Lacombe, Hervé, ed. Opéra en France et en Italie (1791-1925): une scène privilégiée d'échanges littéraires et musicaux: actes du colloque franco-italien tenu à l'Académie musicale de Villecroze (16-18 octobre 1997)
Opera -- France -- Italian influences -- Congresses.