Book Review: Exploring a Missing Link in Medieval English Motets

Two damaged fragments of parchment, circa 1300, have an amazing story to tell. The Dorset rotulus, a scroll of music, helps flesh out a 400-year gap in our knowledge, adding new insights into the development of the medieval English motet. And for anyone looking for new early English material available for performance, the book will be an excellent resource.

Book Review: New Perspectives on Music and Jewish Culture in Italy

This insightful and well-researched collection of 10 essays shed light on Jewish musical activity in the Italian peninsula from the 14th to the 17th centuries. Unique to this time and place was an efflorescence of musical activity—in the sense of European “high culture”—and the authors point to the many instances of cultural, economic and social connections. There’s a focus on two phenomena: the participation by Jews in European musical culture, and the creation of new Jewish musical artifacts that resulted from a fusion of the two cultures.

Book Review: We’ve thought a lot about Bach. Time for ‘Rethinking Bach.’

This fascinating book—rich in historical and analytical detail—offers many surprising reevaluations of long-held beliefs. With essays ranging from consumer culture in Bach’s Leipzig and Bach’s humor to an outright dismissal of ‘Affektenlehre’ and heated questions of antisemitism, the book is always provocative, often controversial, and smartly argued.

Book Review: Finding ‘Voice’ in Medieval French Culture

The collected essays take “voice”—with its multiple meanings—as the starting point for lively discussions on the construction of gender in medieval culture. The essays extend from 12th century Arthurian romance to Anne de Graville’s writings in the 16th century. The bulk of the book is dedicated to music of the 12th and 13th centuries, considering the troubadour and trouvère song and the polyphonic and polytextual ars antiqua motet. It draws a connection between literature and song and provides a wonderful example of how new perspectives can be found on medieval material via the application of contemporary critical tools.

Book Review: Setting the Table for a Musical Feast

“Music and Instruments of the Elizabethan Age: The Eglantine Table” places a focus on the musical items portrayed on the tabletop, for at least 15 musical instruments appear alongside music as it would have been notated at the time.

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