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The Unexplored Giant: Use Histories of Italian Oratorio around 1700

Dates:
  • Wed 05 Sep 2012 11.00 - 13.00
  Add to Calendar 2012-09-05 11:00 2012-09-05 13:00 Europe/Paris The Unexplored Giant: Use Histories of Italian Oratorio around 1700

The musical genre of Italian oratorio—unacted, sung drama in two parts on a hagiographic, biblical, or moral plot—witnessed a great boom of interest in the priod around years around 1900 and the decades around 1700. During the first of these two periods the roots of its modern historiography were laid. One of the characteristics that emerge from both the historiography and performance tradition of Italian oratorio is its ambiguous position between the sacred and the secular spheres. The thesis argues that this was a defining characteristic of the genre as such, and that it was among the things that contributed to the popularity of the genre in the decades around in 1700. Its perceived ambiguities as a genre allowed it to be employed in and adapted to widely different performance contexts. It is further argued that the signification, function, and adaptability of the genre best emerge from studying how one and the same work was used in various differences places and circumstances. The thesis takes therefore as its basis the study of the use histories of a corpus of six librettos. By tracing how these six texts and the musical settings they engendered functioned in different contexts, a more precise picture emerges of these works’ (and the genre’s) versatility. Simultaneously, the use histories of these works highlight the relative importance of the ‘musical work’ compared to the specifics of performances, as well as add an element to a broader history of the circulation of objects in early modern Europe.

Sala Triaria, Villa Schifanoia - SCHIFANOIA DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala Triaria, Villa Schifanoia - SCHIFANOIA

The musical genre of Italian oratorio—unacted, sung drama in two parts on a hagiographic, biblical, or moral plot—witnessed a great boom of interest in the priod around years around 1900 and the decades around 1700. During the first of these two periods the roots of its modern historiography were laid. One of the characteristics that emerge from both the historiography and performance tradition of Italian oratorio is its ambiguous position between the sacred and the secular spheres. The thesis argues that this was a defining characteristic of the genre as such, and that it was among the things that contributed to the popularity of the genre in the decades around in 1700. Its perceived ambiguities as a genre allowed it to be employed in and adapted to widely different performance contexts. It is further argued that the signification, function, and adaptability of the genre best emerge from studying how one and the same work was used in various differences places and circumstances. The thesis takes therefore as its basis the study of the use histories of a corpus of six librettos. By tracing how these six texts and the musical settings they engendered functioned in different contexts, a more precise picture emerges of these works’ (and the genre’s) versatility. Simultaneously, the use histories of these works highlight the relative importance of the ‘musical work’ compared to the specifics of performances, as well as add an element to a broader history of the circulation of objects in early modern Europe.


Location:
Sala Triaria, Villa Schifanoia - SCHIFANOIA

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Thesis defence

Examiner:
Martin van Gelderen (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
Prof. Renata Ago (Università La Sapienza, Roma)
Prof. Robert L. Kendrick (The University of Chicago)

Supervisor:
Antonella Romano (EHESS, Paris)

Contact:
Monica Palao Calvo - Send a mail

Defendant:
Huub Van Der Linden (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
 

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