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Notes 62.4 (2006) 959-961

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Políticas y prácticas musicales en el mundo de Felipe II: Estudios sobre la música en España, sus instituciones y sus territorios en la segunda mitad del siglo XVI. (Colección Música Hispana. Textos. Estudios 8.) Edited by John Griffiths and Javier Suárez-Pajares. Madrid: Ediciones del ICCMU, 2004. [572 pp. ISBN: 84F-89457-33-6. $56.11.] Illustrations, index, bibliography.

Philip II was born in 1526 and ruled Spain from 1556 until his death in 1598; this book, then, is the largest and most comprehensive study of music in late-sixteenth-century Spain and its satellites to have come out in a very long time, and it deserves to be well known and frequently consulted outside the Spanish-speaking world. So perhaps the first useful service I can render is simply to translate its table of contents into English:

  1. About Philip II and Music
    1. Music at the court of Philip II (Luis Robledo)
    2. Philip II and music at El Escorial (Michael Noone)
    3. The music books of Philip II: the formation of a royal collection (Tess Knighton)
    4. The "tempered vice" of Philip the Pious: Music and education for Philip III (María Sanhuesa Fonseca)
    5. Notes on naval and nautical music (Pepe Rey)
  2. Cathedrals and Cloisters
    1. Money and honor: aspects of the chapelmastership in the Spain of Francisco Guerrero (Javier Suárez-Pajares)
    2. Minstrels and extravagantes in religious celebration (Juan Ruiz Jiménez)
    3. Toledan music and musicians: groups and individuals outside the cathedral (François Reynaud)
    4. Plainchant in the Spain of the sixteenth century: losses and agents (Juan Carlos Asensio Palacios)
    5. Sound in silence: nuns and women musicians in the Spain of 1550 to 1650 (Soterraña Aguirre Rincón)
  3. For Keyboard and Vihuela
    1. Organs in the Spain of Philip II: Elements of foreign origin in native organ-building (Andrés Cea Galán)
    2. Compositional procedures and musical structure: Theory and practice in Antonio de Cabezón and Tomás de Santa María (Miguel A. Roig-Francolí) [End Page 959]
    3. The vihuela in the age of Philip II (John Griffiths)
  4. International Projection
    1. Relationships between Spain and Portugal (Owen Rees)
    2. Music in Naples in the time of Philip II (Dinko Fabris)
    3. Spanish America: Projection and resistance (Leonardo J. Waisman)

There are a lot of names here (including, I note with pleasure, many from the young, post-Franco generation of Spanish musicologists) and a lot of subjects, and with them perhaps a momentary temptation to see this as another semi-coherent collection of essays in the familiar Festschrift or conference-proceedings form. And yes, there was a conference involved in its inception, but no, the book as it has turned out registers more as a tightly edited and purposeful set of chapters, each subject taken on by the right person and the whole very firmly controlled by John Griffiths and Javier Suárez-Pajares to tell a clear but multifaceted story of the musical situation in the Spanish dominions during Philip's time. It is a good read—at more than 500 pages not a quick one, but without a wasted word and with something to think about on every page.

The chapter that will attract the most attention, I imagine, is Pepe Rey's fascinating account of music aboard Spanish ships. This is something that, urged on repeatedly by a member of my dissertation committee, I once tried hard to turn my own hand to, with no result whatever; and to see how much information Rey can muster, from such wide-ranging official, literary, and musical sources, is gratifying indeed. He even suggests that two famous songs from the Cancionero de Palacio, La tricotea and Jançu Janto, may have originated as sea chanteys: it will be a hard case to prove or disprove, but either way it is a vivid and welcome reminder of how much music there was back then even in the most unrefined places, and how little of...


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