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124Comparative Drama of Renaissance poets' conscious, ironic, highly competitive responses to each other's work (thus Shapiro and Cheney revise Harold Bloom's theory of "the anxiety of influence" and Thomas Greene's theory of literary imitation, and incorporate Linda Hutcheon's theory ofliterary"parody" [17]). Cheney gready extends our understandingofMarlowe's poetic rivalrybybroadeningthe analysis to include the entire Marlovian canon. Grace Tiffany Western Michigan University Peter Walls.Music in theEnglish CourtlyMasque, 1604—1640. Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1996. Pp. xix + 372 + 8p. of plates. $70.00. The masques prepared for the English court during the first decades ofthe seventeenth century were spectacular combinations of elevated allegorical poetry and descriptive prose performed with elaborate instrumental music, virtuosic songs and dances, fantastic sets, special effects, and rich costumes. Although such lavish productions were usually seen onlyon a single night, their significance to the Stuart kings, queens, and courtiers who were both participants and audience, and their importance to the artists ofall types who worked on them was far from ephemeral. Because oftheir many varied elements, court masques have been considered by scholars from a variety ofdisciplines: literature ; political, theatrical, and social history; art history, dance and music.While Walls's work is not the first book to address the music used in court masques, it is a welcome addition to existing studies and will doubtless become the standard reference on musical matters. Although the names of the inventors and designers such as Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones are better known than those of composer-performers like Nicholas Lanier, music in the court masques was provided by "the largest and most proficient group of professional musicians in England" (148). Unlike several earlier volumes which discuss music for the court masques, Walls's work addresses the "character and function of music in the masque" rather than cataloguing individual pieces and sources. The opening chapters contain sections on musical and textual evidence about the music performed in masques and the apportioning of musical responsibilities within them (includingwho was paid,how much,and why), the use ofvocal music in the masque (including a section on a perennial source of musicological debate, "The Origins of English Recitative," reproducing a useful earlier article ofWalls's on the subject), and the performance and meaning of the dance and instrumental Reviews125 music. References to the important poet-composer Thomas Campion are interwoven throughout. The chapters which follow are devoted to the masques of composerWilliam Lawes,thevisual representations ofmusical harmonysought by Inigo Jones, French influence on the Caroline masques of the 1630s, and masques presented inothervenuesthan thecourt (includingthe famous masque by Milton presented at Ludlow Casde). The work concludes with a chapter on masque realization, in which"the ideals ofthe texts are examined in thelight of actual performance" (304). A briefepilogue takes us from Charles I's departure from London in 1642 and the masques ofthe Interregnum to the performances of reconstructed masques in the 1990s. For the literary scholar, Milton's A Maske presented at Ludlow Castle (formerlybest known as Comus and referred to as such byWalls), described as"the greatest literary legacy ofthe masque tradition" (290) will doubdess be an area ofparticular interest.YetWalls amplydemonstrateswhya readingbased purely on the printed text cannot do justice to the collaboration between Milton and William Lawes or the possibilities present in its first performance. In this section Walls's discussion of the various textual and musical sources for the work develops into a convincing argument that Milton's masque both contains (though "buried") sections ofa musically and representationally conventional courtly masque in the old Jonsonian manner and "calls into question the assumptions on which the form depends" (299). Milton's work is also significantly different from contemporary collaborations between Lawes and other authors in the production and performance of masques at court. Here, as in many other places in his work, Walls does not simply add to our knowledge about masque music and its context, he provides a valuable re-evaluation of previous theories and findings. Walls's criticism ofearlier musical scholarship is particularly forthright in regard to the dances. He deplores the practice of doggedly ascribing scattered pieces of music to a specific masque, often on limited (and conflicting) evidence . Regarding the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 124-126
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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