Since the days in the early twentieth century when the study of pre-Reformation English music first became a serious endeavour, a conceptual gap has separated the scholarship on English and continental music of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The teaching which has informed generations of students in influential textbooks and articles characterizes the musical life of England at this period through a language of separation and conservatism, asserting that English musicians were largely unaware of, and unaffected by, foreign practices after the mid-fifteenth century. The available historical evidence, nevertheless, contradicts a facile isolationist exposition of musical practice in early Tudor England. The increasing appearance of typically continental stylistic traits in mid-sixteenth-century English music represents not an arbitrary and unexpected shift of compositional approach, but rather a development prefaced by decades of documentable historical interactions. Theodor Dumitrescu treats the matter of musical relations between England and continental Europe during the first decades of the Tudor reign (c.1485-1530), by exploring a variety of historical, social, biographical, repertorial and intellectual links. In the first major study devoted to this topic, a wealth of documentary references scattered in primary and secondary sources receives a long-awaited collation and investigation, revealing the central role of the first Tudor monarchs in internationalizing the royal musical establishment and setting an example of considerable import for more widespread English artistic developments. By bringing together the evidence concerning Anglo-continental musical relations for the first time, along with new documents and interpretations concerning musicians, music manuscripts and theory sources, the investigation paves the way for a new evaluation of English musical styles in the first half of the sixteenth century.
Shortlisted for the AMS Lewis Lockwood Award 2008. ’…Dumitrescu brings new documents, music manuscripts, and various other sources to bear, showing that the first Tudor monarchs played a major role in the importation of continental musical trends and the internationalization of English royal music. A chapter on English music theory is especially enlightening. A number of appendixes, music examples, and an extensive bibliography and index round out this valuable volume. Recommended.’ Choice ’This is a wide-ranging study, correcting the isolationist view of English culture of the period and relating music to the international court culture.’ Early Music Review ’… richly documented account… will serve as an excellent resource for anyone who wants to write more broadly-based study.’ NABMSA Newsletter ’… the most thorough book-length study of early Tudor court music in nearly half a century… Although the entire work is beautifully written and scrupulously researched, the chapters about foreign musical personnel at the early Tudor court and Anglo-Continental relations in music manuscripts are the most painstaking, original, and intriguing, giving extraordinary new insight into English music and musical practices at home and abroad in the years around 1500.’ Renaissance Quarterly ’This is an impressive work, epistemologically surefooted, drawing upon a commanding breadth of approaches and source materials.’ Early Music ’… a text all cultural historians will find provocative and of interest… a thorough, engaging book that offers a starting point for careful reconsideraton of many of the central themes of Renaissance musicology.’ Sixteenth Century Journal
Contents: Preface; Introduction; Foreign cultural models at the English royal court; International events and musical exchanges; Building a foreign musical establishment at the early Tudor court; Anglo-Continental relations in music manuscripts; English music theory and the international traditions; Conclusion; Appendices; References; Index.