Palestrina and the German Romantic Imagination: Interpreting Historicism in Nineteenth-Century Music

Palestrina and the German Romantic Imagination: Interpreting Historicism in Nineteenth-Century Music

Palestrina and the German Romantic Imagination: Interpreting Historicism in Nineteenth-Century Music

Palestrina and the German Romantic Imagination: Interpreting Historicism in Nineteenth-Century Music

Synopsis

James Garratt explores the revival of sixteenth-century music in nineteenth-century Germany, focusing on the reception of Palestrina by critics, historians, performers and composers. He demonstrates that the Palestrina revival was just as significant for nineteenth-century culture as parallel movements in the other arts. This study is of relevance to scholars, students and devotees of nineteenth-century music, as well as those with interests in nineteenth-century culture, art, architecture, literature and aesthetics, the history of church music and the early music revival.

Excerpt

This study explores historicism in nineteenth-century German music, focusing on the reception of Renaissance church music, in particular the works of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525–94). It explains how and why the works of a sixteenth-century composer came to be viewed as the paradigm of church music, assessing and interpreting the relationship between the idealization of his style and contemporary composition. the approach taken is threefold in nature. First, it confronts and offers solutions to an aesthetic problem, establishing why nineteenth-century composers sought to relate their works to the music of Palestrina and how they were able to justify such relationships in the face of Romantic postulates of originality, authenticity and contemporaneity in the artwork. Second, it addresses a historical problem, examining the complex differing natures of the Protestant and Catholic Palestrina revivals, and comparing the compositional responses to Palestrina by north German Protestants and south German Catholics. Third, it addresses a theoretical problem, exploring how relationships to earlier musical styles and materials in nineteenth-century compositions can best be discussed and understood, proposing a new model for interpreting compositional historicism.

The Palestrina revival—a phrase used throughout the study to indicate both the reawakening of interest in Palestrina's music and its emulation by nineteenth-century composers—has not been entirely neglected by modern musicology. Even so, outside Germany and Austria this topic has had a marginal role within musical scholarship: it has often been treated as an esoteric oddity, merely an episode in the epic tale of the decline and fall of church music, of little or no relevance to the mainstream of nineteenth-century music or modern musicology (the sole contact that many anglophone readers will have had with the issues raised by the Palestrina revival is through occasional, gnomic remarks in the translated works of Carl Dahlhaus). in recent years, however, German . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.