Music and the Exotic from the Renaissance to Mozart
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- Author: Ralph P. Locke, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester
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During the years 1500–1800, European performing arts reveled in a kaleidoscope of Otherness: Middle-Eastern harem women, fortune-telling Spanish 'Gypsies', Incan priests, Barbary pirates, moresca dancers, and more. In this prequel to his 2009 book Musical Exoticism, Ralph P. Locke explores how exotic locales and their inhabitants were characterized in musical genres ranging from instrumental pieces and popular songs to oratorios, ballets, and operas. Locke's study offers new insights into much-loved masterworks by composers such as Cavalli, Lully, Purcell, Rameau, Handel, Vivaldi, Gluck, and Mozart. In these works, evocations of ethnic and cultural Otherness often mingle attraction with envy or fear, and some pieces were understood at the time as commenting on conditions in Europe itself. Locke's accessible study, which includes numerous musical examples and rare illustrations, will be of interest to anyone who is intrigued by the relationship between music and cultural history, and by the challenges of cross-cultural (mis)understanding.Read more
- An engaging and accessible exploration of how Westerners across the centuries have viewed distant places and peoples
- Focuses on a crucial 300-year period (1500–1800), when Europe was founding colonial empires overseas and combating the Ottoman Empire
- Illustrates how music, far from being an isolated aesthetic activity, participated in conveying stereotypical images of peoples living 'elsewhere' and minority peoples at home
- Includes rare illustrations, music examples that can be played or sung, and a list of recommended recordings and DVDs
- Honourable Mention, 2016 PROSE Award for Music and the Performing Arts
Reviews & endorsements
"European encounters with Asia and the Americas found echoes in the theater, church, and chamber, as music itself found new ways to convey meaning and provoke a wide range of feelings. Ralph P. Locke's magisterial tour of the exotic takes us not only to lands both far and near, but also through changing musical worlds laced with danger and excitement."
Tim Carter, University of North Carolina, Chapel HillSee more reviews
"In this immensely learned and amazingly wide-ranging companion to Musical Exoticism … Locke moves back in time to consider the musical portrayal of Otherness in European music from 1500 to 1800. [He] is a cultural historian of the highest order: he draws together a broad range of literary, historical, visual, and musical materials to demonstrate how the performing arts participated in the delineation of center and periphery, Us and Them. Particularly impressive is [his] attention to the semiotic fluidity of works in performance and his elucidation of the exotic as 'relational' rather than essential, even as he argues for a historically grounded interpretation of the musical depiction of the Other. [This book] should be required reading for anyone interested in this period, and I expect it will have a profound effect on our understanding of how the imagined Elsewhere shaped European culture."
Amanda Eubanks Winkler, Syracuse University
"With a rich and diverse set of compelling case studies, and many beautiful images, Music and the Exotic from the Renaissance to Mozart offers a gold standard for the scholarly interpretation of cross-cultural representation through music in the early modern period. Ralph P. Locke shows how Europeans used musical works to engage with the wider world, not merely as a passive reflection or commentary, but as a symbolic means of representing to themselves 'exotic' cultural identities for specific political purposes."
David R. M. Irving, Australian National University
"Fascinating, entrancing and thoroughly enjoyable. Locke's survey and (re)evaluation of works from L'homme armé masses of the fifteenth century to Mozart's portrayal of Osmin's rage in Die Entführung aus dem Serail is truly inspiring … Ambitious but nuanced explorations characteristic of post-Edward Said scholarship. Exoticism as explored by Locke … ranges across a dazzling swathe of historical material from the appropriated dance styles of folk culture to the choruses of Handel's Old Testament oratorios … This is Locke's great strength as a writer and historian: what sounds so abstruse in theory is explored with such enjoyable relish in musical examples."
Edward Breen, Gramophone
"Locke's consideration of Venetian opera, French Baroque opera and eighteenth-century [operatic] comedy is detailed and insightful."
George Hall, Opera
"This is a fascinating study which argues compellingly that exoticism - a troublesome term! - resides in relationships, which are formed within and between cultural contexts and practices. Locke identifies and evaluates the fruits of such cultural transferences during the years 1500–1800, which were based variously upon ignorance, assumption, knowledge, caricature, indifference, curiosity and admiration - and often a mix of many such perspectives. And, as he has previously shown in his companion work, Musical Exoticism, images of Otherness have been continually revived and developed in the years since - images of 'Them' which can help us to understand 'Us'."
Claire Seymour, OperaToday.com
'The only book-length study that provides a theoretically-framed, encyclopedic exposition of the pervasive phenomenon of musical exoticism during the … first long period of European exploration, conquest, and colonialism. Of particular interest is Locke’s willingness to allow degrees of exoticism: there is the exoticism of peripheral regions and social groups, and that of truly remote and alien peoples and locales; exotic representation that denigrates, equivocates, or extols; and sometimes there are works here [in which] two groups are exotic but one more so than another. Locke provides a fascinating insight into [the alla turca style's] selective, generic use in opera. Locke manages to discern some ambivalence and complexity even in the extremely stereotypical role of Osmin in [Mozart's] Die Entführung as well as the unusual exotic masquerade of Così [fan tutte]. Riveting revelations are found throughout the book [and] provocative observations that continuously invite further development, discussion, and debate. Should refresh learning … at every academic level.' Shay Loya, Music Library Association Notes
'… Music and the Exotic from the Renaissance to Mozart is a major contribution to musicological scholarship, offering a fully comprehensive and imaginative exploration of musical exoticism during the years 1500–1800. Its accessible style makes it suitable as a core textbook for an undergraduate module, and for scholars working in related fields such as theatre studies, cultural history, literary criticism, and social anthropology. This ambitious study will no doubt encourage scholarship in the field by broadening the repertory under discussion and offering alternative Interpretations.' Angela Kang, Music and Letters
‘When it comes to the challenge of describing and understanding the ways in which this fascination [with foreign lands and peoples] left its mark on the Western musical imagination, certainly no one has been more committed or resourceful than Professor Locke himself. … Encyclopedic in scope, [Music and the Exotic from the Renaissance to Mozart] offers thoughtful, insightful reflections on one of the most important cultural developments in the history of Western music. At the same time it manages to be admirably clearly and engagingly written. Quite an achievement!’ Robert L. Marshall, Min-Ad Israel Studies in Musicology Online
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- Date Published: May 2015
- format: Adobe eBook Reader
- isbn: 9781316308349
- contains: 53 b/w illus. 25 music examples
- availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
Table of Contents
Part I. Introduction: A Rich and Complex Heritage:
1. Images and principles
2. Exotic in style?: paradigms and interpretations
Part II. The West and its Others:
3. The early cultural background
Part III. Songs and Dance-Types:
5. Popular songs
6. Dances and instrumental styles from (or 'from') elsewhere
Part IV. Exotic Portrayals on Stage, in Concert, in Church:
7. Courtly ballets
8. Distinctive developments in Venice and other Italian cities and courts
9. Oratorio and other religious genres
10. Early opera and partly sung stage-works
11. French and Italian serious opera, especially Lully and Handel
12. Eighteenth-century comic operas and short danced works
13. Obsession with the Middle East: from the Parisian fairs to Mozart
Afterword: a helpfully troubling term.
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