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Josquin's Rome: Hearing and Composing in the Sistine Chapel [Hardcover]

Jesse Rodin

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Book Description

Dec 19 2012 AMS Studies in Music
In the late 15th century the newly built Sistine Chapel was home to a vigorous culture of musical composition and performance. Josquin des Prez stood at its center, singing and composing for the pope's private choir. Josquin's Rome offers a new reading of the composer's work in light of the repertory he and his fellow papal singers performed from the chapel's singers' box. Comprising the single largest surviving corpus of late 15th-century sacred music, these pieces served as a backdrop for elaborately choreographed liturgical ceremonies--a sonic analogue to the frescoes by Botticelli, Perugino, and their contemporaries that adorn the chapel's walls. Author Jesse Rodin uses a comparative approach to uncover this aesthetically and intellectually rich musical tradition. Confronting longstanding problems concerning the authenticity and chronology of Josquin's music while also offering nuanced readings of understudied works by his contemporaries, the book contextualizes Josquin by locating intersections between his music and the wider soundscape of the Cappella Sistina. Central to Rodin's argument is the idea that these pieces lived in performance, and the author demonstrates the interpretations of the music prevalent at the time in which it was composed through a series of exquisitely produced recordings on the companion website. Josquin's Rome is an essential resource for musicologists, scholars of the Italian Renaissance, and enthusiasts of early music in general.

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"[Rodin] sets out to demonstrate via analytical means the inventiveness, versatility and ultimately the genius of Josquin's compositional activity during his Roman years. Regardless of whether one shares Rodin's aesthetic judgements, this is where the importance and indeed greatness of this book lies. The analysis of music around 1500 is not a terribly well-tilled field, and the depth as well as breadth of the author's insights into how this music works melodically, contrapuntally, mensurally and structurally is nothing short of breath-taking." --Early Music


"A masterful and musically insightful exposition of the music of Josquin's early maturity and that of a generation of composers that changed the course of European music. Rodin's writing invites comparison with that of the best music writers of the last century, Cone, Pirrotta, or Tovey." --Alejandro Enrique Planchart, Emeritus Professor of Music, University of California, Santa Barbara


"Josquin's Rome vividly recreates the artistic world of a great composer at a key point in his career, shedding new light on both the title figure and some notable colleagues. No one interested in Renaissance music should miss this book."-Joshua Rifkin, Director, The Bach Ensemble; Professor of Music and Fellow of the University Professors, Boston University


"A book that lovers of Josquin should not miss. Given the momentousness of Josquin's work and ways in which it changed the direction of Western music, it'll be useful and welcome for music lovers more generally. For a comparative approach which successfully encapsulates one crucial essence of the Renaissance, it has wider appeal still." --Classical.net


"Rodin's approach has considerable merit and allows us to see, and to hear, Josquin in a refreshingly new light. He does so with a readable writing style, a generous helping of tables...and almost 90 musical examples. A feature that adds immeasurably to the value and
usefulness of the book is that companion recordings of many of the works discussed in the text can be accessed on a dedicated companion website (username and password
provided in the book)." --Early Music America


About the Author

Jesse Rodin is Assistant Professor of Music at Stanford University. He is co-editor of the Cambridge History of Fifteenth Century Music, and author of several articles in such journals as The Journal of the American Musicological Society and Music and Letters.

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