Thursday 6 June 2019. 9-11am, Room 339.
Chair: Alexander Fisher, University of British Columbia
The Concept of Music According to J. Burmeister’s Musica Poetica
Cassiano Barros, University of São Paulo
This paper proposes a historical approach to the concept of music according to J. Burmeister´s Musica Poetica, based on the understanding of the Aristotelian metaphysical causes as a method of achieving a valid knowledge from the perspective of Seventeenth-Century culture. Whereas the rhetorical basis of Burmeister´s compositional prescriptions and its influence on the repertoire are unveiled, the horizon of meaning of his proposals may be recovered by this study, complementing related works of Rivera (1993), Bartel (1997), McCreless (2006) and others.
This paper offers a cultural reading of Envy is the Poison of Love (1711), a little-known zarzuela on the subject of witchcraft written by two leading figures of Spanish theatrical music of the period: Sebastián Durón and Antonio de Zamora. It considers this zarzuela within the context of Zamora’s literary output, particularly the playwright’s works on magic. I introduce Zamora’s The Forcibly Bewitched (1696)—a work written for a “bewitched” Spanish monarch (Carlos II) that would eventually inspire Francisco de Goya’s painting El hechizado por fuerza (ca. 1798). I then examine Zamora’s participation in the development of the comedia de magia, a new theatrical genre featuring stunning visual effects and plots revolving around demons and magic. As I will show, Envy is the Poison of Love was created during the incipient years of the comedia de magia, and it responded to the people’s fascination with the supernatural. An examination of this zarzuela sheds light on a wider context of cultural superstition manifested in Spain’s literature, visual arts, and music.
The first movements of Joseph Haydn’s Farewell Symphony (1772) and Muzio Clementi’s Sonata in F-sharp minor, Opus 25, no. 5 (1790) share an unusual key and an idiosyncratic tonal plan. This paper will compare the Clementi and Haydn movements, showing that Clementi was not strictly modelling on the earlier work; rather, he used its tonal plan as a jumping-off point, filling the large-scale structure in his own distinctive style. Further, as H. C. R. Landon asserted that the London Pianoforte School of Clementi and his followers influenced Haydn’s London-era keyboard works, I’ll explore similarities of theme, figuration, and tonal plan between Clementi’s Opus 25, no. 5, and Haydn’s F-sharp minor piano trio, Hob. XV: 26 (1795). This kinship illustrates how Haydn’s indebtedness to Clementi’s sonata brought the musical material full circle, recalling the Farewell Symphony as its ur-source.
Since Alfred Einstein’s 1945 Mozart biography, the lesser-known Fantasy and Fugue in C Major, K. 394 has largely been viewed as Mozart’s failed attempt to emulate the fugal style of J. S. Bach, and as a frivolous piece during the composer’s antiquarian phase. The dismissal of the work stemmed from conflating style and technique, thereby failing to account for the shifting aesthetic status and cultural significance of learned counterpoint in the second half of the eighteenth century. I focus my analysis of K. 394 instead on its being a clandestinely circulated piece between Mozart and his sister Nannerl and on its performative and didactic nature, in order to think it as a mechanical, aleatoric, and computational blueprint for keyboard improvisation, situating the work within the eighteenth-century material culture that saw the proliferation of automata and contemporaneous philosophical preoccupation with the materialist-vitalist debate. By bringing Mozart’s music into play with a pan-European Enlightenment discursive network through the theories of gender and embodiment, I offer a revisionist attempt to articulate an aesthetic of the mechanical through the Fantasy and Fugue viewed within its immediate cultural-historical context.