Approaches to Monteverdi: Aesthetic, Psychological, Analytical and Historical Studies, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Approaches to Monteverdi

Aesthetic, Psychological, Analytical and Historical Studies, 1st Edition

By Jeffrey Kurtzman


308 pages

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Hardback: 9781409463337
pub: 2013-08-13

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This volume gathers together twelve essays on the composer’s music, reflecting the author's interests in aesthetic and psychological issues, the sacred works, methods of structural analysis, and the problems of making critical editions. The opera Orfeo and two madrigals from Monteverdi's Book Eight are the subject of aesthetic and psychological investigation, especially from the perspective of Michel Foucault's The Order of Things and the psychology of C.J. Jung, all supported by musical analysis. Two essays analyze in detail the structural principles of the psalms Laetatus sum from the 1610 Vespers and the first Dixit Dominus from the Sevla Morale e spirituale of 1641. Two others re-examine the story of Monteverdi's Mass of Thanksgiving and consider the question of what sacred music Monteverdi actually or likely wrote but is now lost. The final essay critiques and compares the methodology and problems of the Malipiero and Cremona editions of Monteverdi's Opera Omnia. All but one of these essays were originally published over a time span of twenty years in journals, conference reports, Festschriften, and as book chapters. The majority of them were not widely distributed or readily available until now. The essay on the Malipiero and Cremona editions appears here for the first time.


'… this is a well-presented series of previously published essays collated to make an interesting volume, containing many challenging ideas and much information concerning the historical background to Monteverdi’s music … this book will prove a valuable acquisition for the Monteverdi connoisseur, the musico-psychologist, and for music libraries.' The Consort Early Music Journal

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Bibliography; Part 1 Aesthetic and Psychological Studies: Monteverdi and early Baroque aesthetics: the view from Foucault; A taxonomic and affective analysis of Monteverdi’s Hor che'l ciel e la terra; A Jungian perspective on Monteverdi's late madrigals; Intimations of chaos in Monteverdi' L'Orfeo; The psychic disintegration of a demi-god: conscious and unconscious in Striggio and Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo. Part 2 Sacred Music Studies: What makes Claudio divine? Criteria for analysis of Monteverdi’s large-scale concertato style; The Mantuan sacred music; 'Laetatus sum' (1610); A Monteverdi Vespers in 1611 (with Licia Mari); Monteverdi’s Mass of Thanksgiving: da capo; Monteverdi’s missing sacred music: evidence and conjectures. Part 3 Critical Editions: Collected works of Claudio Monteverdi: the Malipiero and Cremona editions; Indexes.

About the Author

Jeffrey Kurtzman is Professor of Music at Washington University in St Louis, USA.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / History & Criticism