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728book reviews reer in scholarship. To find a book like The Burdens ofSister Margaret, giving the literate reader a Uvely and criticaUy sound sense of what it meant to live in the reUgious world of the seventeenth century, is an occasion for rejoicing. James D.Tracy University ofMinnesota Music & Spectacle in Baroque Rome:Barberini Patronage under Urban VHI. By Frederick Hammond. (New Haven:Yale University Press. 1994. Pp. xxiv, 309. $40.00.) Attention given by historians to the opening of die first pubUc opera house inVenice Ui 1637 and the subsequent hegemony of Venetian opera has tended to relegate Roman opera of the period to the status of an "interlude" between that ofVenice and the early monodic settings of pastoral plays by the Florentines who (sincerely but erroneously) thought they were imitating ancient Greek tragedy. To the reader seeking a thorough-going treatment ofRome's contributions to this complex genre Frederick Hammond's book is a welcome and erudite addition. But the work is much more than a treatment of opera in Rome, as the title clearly indicates. Hammond has mined the extensive resources not only of the Vatican but also of various state archives and has fashioned a narrative that is at once dense with meticulously documented factual information yet manages to be stylishly written. Early on, Hammond raises the question as to "why . . . seventeenth-century ItaUan writings on music seem so uninformative." Despite the fact that the Pope himself, UrbanVIII (Maffei Barberini), and other powerful members of the famUy together employed every major composer of Rome at this time, there is an incredible poverty of description regarding the most ephemeral aspect of theatrical entertainment—the music—much of which has not survived. Conversely , the libretti are weU preserved, and detaUed descriptions ofvariousfeste and theatrical entertainment emphasize the visual spectacle—the amazing machines and elaborate Ughting devices at which the ItaUans exceUed. The work is rich Ui exuberant eyewitness descriptions documented with detaüs gleaned from household roUs of the various Barberini brothers and nephews, the inventories of the guardaroba, and financial records. The book is not just about spectacles, however. Among its many merits is the attention given to the sacred and Uturgical works of such composers as Mazzochi , Marazzoli, and Landi, who are generaUy identified as composers ofopera. Even more Importantly, the work clarifies the often compUcated lines of demarcation between papal household, state functions, secular entertainment, and the role of the papacy as cultural patron. book reviews729 Within a weU-conceived conceptual framework Hammond creates a vivid representation of the cultural life of Baroque Rome, and provides essential information regarding the source and administration ofthe Barberini famUy's revenues . Members ofthe dynasty are nicely differentiated Ui the short biographies of each, and a good genealogical chart aUows the reader to disentangle the confusion resulting from the frequently repeated Christian names of the clan, aU of which is necessary to understand the later rivatfies among the papal nephews. The chapters dealing specificaUy with opera offer a comprehensive and clearly articulated discussion of practical aspects of theatrical production: the responsibUities of the corago, definition of rehearsal time, description of performance spaces,and the binding tradition ofoperatic conventions ofdie period. This is a volume that can be read from cover to cover or easüy consulted like a reference work. The abundant footnotes, extensive bibliography, and comprehensive appendix alone are weU worth the price of the book and offer much grist for future research. The organization suffers somewhat from the occasional repetition of materials in dtfferent parts of the book, and one might wish that it were as rich in musical examples as it is in photographs. Perhaps that very imbalance between the visual and the musical only underscores the author 's early contention that the spectacle received the Uon's share of attention. But these are smaU criticisms far outweighed by Hammond's masterful handling ofan impressive amount ofinformation. Music and Spectacle in Baroque Rome is a fine achievement, a significant and authoritative contribution to the history of music. CyrillaBarr The Catholic University ofAmerica Late Modern European "A Nation ofBeggars"? Priests, People, and Politics in Famine Ireland, 18461852 . By Donal A. Kerr. (New York: Clarendon Press, Oxford University...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 728-729
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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