The musica secreta or concerto delle dame of Duke Alfonso II d'Este, an ensemble of virtuoso female musicians that performed behind closed doors at the castello in Ferrara, is well-known to music history. Their story is often told by focussing on the Duke's obsessive patronage and the exclusivity of their music. This book examines the music-making of four generations of princesses, noblewomen and nuns in Ferrara, as performers, creators, and patrons from a new perspective. It rethinks the relationships between polyphony and song, sacred and secular, performer and composer, patron and musician, court and convent. With new archival evidence and analysis of music, people, and events over the course of the century, from the role of the princess nun musician, Leonora d'Este, to the fate of the musica secreta's jealously guarded repertoire, this radical approach will appeal to musicians and scholars alike.Read more
- Presents a wealth of new archival evidence regarding sixteenth-century music
- Examines the music of sixteenth-century Ferrara from three different perspectives: culture; theory; practice
- Treats several generations of women's biographies alongside their musical activities, and brings their stories from the periphery to the centre of the historical narrative
- Winner, 2019 Otto Kinkeldey Award, American Musicological Society
Reviews & endorsements
'In Women and Music in Sixteenth-Century Ferrara, Laurie Stras has produced a highly accessible and important volume - thoroughly researched and elegantly written - that throws open the clouded window that has, until now, obscured our understanding of this chapter in music history … Stras offers a second life to the musical women of sixteenth-century Ferrara.' Rebecca Cypess, Music and Letters
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- Date Published: September 2018
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781107154070
- length: 412 pages
- dimensions: 254 x 180 x 24 mm
- weight: 0.98kg
- contains: 5 b/w illus. 2 tables 88 music examples
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Introduction: Musica secreta
1. Ferrarese convents and the Este in the first half of the sixteenth century
2. Courtly women and secular music in Ferrara in the first half of the sixteenth century
3. Princesses and politics: the Este women and music in the 1550s
4. Actresses and Ariosto: spectacle and song in the 1560s
5. 'Un modo di cantare molto diverso': Ferrara and the new singing of the 1570s
6. Margherita's arrival and the convents in the first half of the 1580s
7. Musical practices of the 1580s concerto
8. Ferrara's final chapter: court and convents in the 1590s
9. Afterlife in Mantua.
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