Eroticism in Early Modern Music contributes to a small but significant literature on music, sexuality, and sex in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe. Its chapters have grown from a long dialogue between a group of scholars, who employ a variety of different approaches to the repertoire: musical and visual analysis; archival and cultural history; gender studies; philology; and performance. By confronting musical, literary, and visual sources with historically situated analyses, the book shows how erotic life and sensibilities were encoded in musical works. Eroticism in Early Modern Music will be of value to scholars and students of early modern European history and culture, and more widely to a readership interested in the history of eroticism and sexuality.
Contents: Preface; Introduction: encoding the musical erotic, Laurie Stras; The lascivious career of B-flat, Bonnie J. Blackburn; Fa mi la mi so la: the erotic implications of solmization syllables, Leofranc Holford-Strevens; Unmasking salacious subtexts in Lasso’s Neapolitan songs, Donna G. Cardamone; Imitating the rustic and revealing the noble: masculine power and music at the court of Ferrara, Melanie L. Marshall; ‘The Ways’ (I Modi) of black-note erotica, Vanessa Blais-Tremblay; ‘Non è sì denso velo’: hidden and forbidden practice in Wert’s Ottavo libro de madrigali a cinque voci (Venice: Gardano, 1586), Laurie Stras; ‘Lo Here I Burn’: musical figurations and fantasies of male desire in early modern England, Linda Phyllis Austern; Ovid’s ironic gaze: voyeurism, rape, and male desire in Cavalli’s La Calisto, Wendy Heller; ‘Precious’ eroticism and hidden morality: salon culture and the mid-17th-century French air, Catherine Gordon-Seifert; Eroticized mourning in Henry Purcell’s Elegy for Mary II, O dive custos, Alan Howard; Index.
Winner of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women (SSEWM) award for the best collaborative project on women and gender, 2015.
'This eye-opening collection, long and eagerly awaited, helps clarify why musicians enjoyed such a bad reputation for so long (and in some cases deserved it). Its diverse and impressive scholarship, often amusing and arcane, prompts readers to rehear and rethink a broad range of "early music", both familiar and unfamiliar, and tempts them perhaps even to perform some of it (in the privacy of their own homes).' - Craig Monson, Washington University in St Louis, USA
“This book should be recognized as a trailblazing contribution to a fascinating field of research.” - Tim Shephard, University of Sheffield, Renaissance Quarterly
“In sum, Eroticism in Early Modern Music significantly enriches our understanding of musical eroticism during the early modern era” - Amanda Eubankswinkler, Syracuse University, Music and Letters