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Ernest Bloch Lectures #16: The Castrato: Reflections on Natures and Kinds

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Ernest Bloch Lectures #16: The Castrato: Reflections on Natures and Kinds Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"An extremely impressive achievement. . . . The book is overwhelming in its attention to both detail and the larger picture. It should have a tremendous impact on the field."—Susan McClary, author of Feminine Endings

"All future discussion of the Italian madrigal . . . will be profoundly indebted to Feldman's musical sensitivities and perceptiveness, to her wide reading in literary theory of the period, and to her extraordinary skill in making musical events palpable."—H. Colin Slim, editor of A Gift of Madrigals and Motets

"With this book Professor Feldman establishes herself as the leading authority on the subjects of the Venetian madrigal and of humanistic musical culture in 16th-century Venice. There is nothing of this scope and quality to be found in previous scholarly literature."—James Haar, author of Essays on Italian Poetry and Music in the Renaissance, 1350-1600

"This marvelously interdisciplinary book illuminates the social and intellectual mobility of sixteenth-century Venetian culture, its intricate weave of private and public civic identities, and the paradoxes and tensions of its quest for diversity and unprecedented fusion of rhetorical principles and expressive idioms in music, poetry, and the other arts. It offers an astounding wealth of information and insight for historians of ideas, literary specialists, and music historians."—William J. Kennedy, author of Authorizing Petrarch

Synopsis:

Martha Feldman's exploration of sixteenth-century Venetian madrigals centers on the importance to the Venetians of Ciceronian rhetorical norms, which emphasized decorum through adherence to distinct stylistic levels. She shows that Venice easily adapted these norms to its long-standing mythologies of equilibrium, justice, peace, and good judgment. Feldman explains how Venetian literary theorists conceived variety as a device for tempering linguistic extremes and thereby maintaining moderation. She further shows how the complexity of sacred polyphony was adapted by Venetian music theorists and composers to achieve similar ends.

At the same time, Feldman unsettles the kinds of simplistic alignments between the collectivity of the state and its artistic production that have marked many historical studies of the arts. Her rich social history enables a more intricate dialectics among sociopolitical formations; the roles of individual printers, academists, merchants, and others; and the works of composers and poets. City Culture offers a new model for situating aesthetic products in a specific time and place, one that sees expressive objects not simply against a cultural backdrop but within an integrated complex of cultural forms and discursive practices.

Synopsis:

The Castrato is a nuanced exploration of why innumerable boys were castrated for singing between the mid-sixteenth and late-nineteenth centuries. It shows that the entire foundation of Western classical singing, culminating in bel canto, was birthed from an unlikely and historically unique set of desires, public and private, aesthetic, economic, and political. In Italy, castration for singing was understood through the lens of Catholic blood sacrifice as expressed in idioms of offering and renunciation and, paradoxically, in satire, verbal abuse, and even the symbolism of the castratoand#8217;s comic cousin Pulcinella. Sacrifice in turn was inseparable from the system of patriarchyand#151;involving teachers, patrons, colleagues, and relativesand#151;whereby castrated males were produced not as nonmen, as often thought nowadays, but as idealized males. Yet what captivated audiences and composersand#151;from Cavalli and Pergolesi to Handel, Mozart, and Rossiniand#151;were the extraordinary capacities of castrato voices, a phenomenon ultimately unsettled by Enlightenment morality. Although the castrati failed to survive, their musicality and vocality have persisted long past their literal demise.

About the Author

Martha Feldman is Mabel Green Myers Professor of Music, Romance Languages. and Literatures and the Humanities at the University of Chicago. She is the author of City Culture and the Madrigal at Venice and Opera and Sovereignty: Transforming Myths in Eighteenth-Century Italy and coeditor of The Courtesanand#8217;s Arts.

Table of Contents

Preface

Note on Textual Transcription, Translations, Lexicon, and Musical Nomenclature

PART ONE. Reproduction

1. Of Strange Births and Comic Kin

Appendix to Chapter 1

2. The Man Who Pretended to Be Who He Was

PART TWO. Voice

3. Red Hot Voice

4. Castrato De Luxe

PART THREE. Half-light

5. Cold Man, Money Man, Big Man Too

6. Shadow Voices, Castrato and Non

Acknowledgments

Abbreviations

Notes

Bibliography

List of Illustrations

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520279490
Author:
Feldman, Martha
Publisher:
University of California Press
Subject:
Classical
Subject:
Music - Classical
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Cloth
Series:
Ernest Bloch Lectures
Series Volume:
16
Publication Date:
20150231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
45 musical examples, 75 b/w photos
Pages:
496
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Classical
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Opera
History and Social Science » World History » European History General

Ernest Bloch Lectures #16: The Castrato: Reflections on Natures and Kinds New Hardcover
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$70.75 In Stock
Product details 496 pages University of California Press - English 9780520279490 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Martha Feldman's exploration of sixteenth-century Venetian madrigals centers on the importance to the Venetians of Ciceronian rhetorical norms, which emphasized decorum through adherence to distinct stylistic levels. She shows that Venice easily adapted these norms to its long-standing mythologies of equilibrium, justice, peace, and good judgment. Feldman explains how Venetian literary theorists conceived variety as a device for tempering linguistic extremes and thereby maintaining moderation. She further shows how the complexity of sacred polyphony was adapted by Venetian music theorists and composers to achieve similar ends.

At the same time, Feldman unsettles the kinds of simplistic alignments between the collectivity of the state and its artistic production that have marked many historical studies of the arts. Her rich social history enables a more intricate dialectics among sociopolitical formations; the roles of individual printers, academists, merchants, and others; and the works of composers and poets. City Culture offers a new model for situating aesthetic products in a specific time and place, one that sees expressive objects not simply against a cultural backdrop but within an integrated complex of cultural forms and discursive practices.

"Synopsis" by ,
The Castrato is a nuanced exploration of why innumerable boys were castrated for singing between the mid-sixteenth and late-nineteenth centuries. It shows that the entire foundation of Western classical singing, culminating in bel canto, was birthed from an unlikely and historically unique set of desires, public and private, aesthetic, economic, and political. In Italy, castration for singing was understood through the lens of Catholic blood sacrifice as expressed in idioms of offering and renunciation and, paradoxically, in satire, verbal abuse, and even the symbolism of the castratoand#8217;s comic cousin Pulcinella. Sacrifice in turn was inseparable from the system of patriarchyand#151;involving teachers, patrons, colleagues, and relativesand#151;whereby castrated males were produced not as nonmen, as often thought nowadays, but as idealized males. Yet what captivated audiences and composersand#151;from Cavalli and Pergolesi to Handel, Mozart, and Rossiniand#151;were the extraordinary capacities of castrato voices, a phenomenon ultimately unsettled by Enlightenment morality. Although the castrati failed to survive, their musicality and vocality have persisted long past their literal demise.
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