“Ritual Revelations: Liturgy as Compositional Agent in Renaissance Music for the Mass”
Room 266, Everson Hall
In this lecture I will approach the most ambitious and weighty musical genre of the Renaissance – the polyphonic Mass Ordinary setting – from a new interpretive and analytic angle: through the lens of the liturgy it was created to adorn. Drawing on a range of examples from the Josquin generation, I will discuss ways in which otherwise inexplicable compositional decisions directly reflect the composer’s lived experience of the liturgy and plainsong, with a particular focus on the Sanctus setting as the musical frame for the most powerful event of the ritual, the Elevation of the Host.
M. Jennifer Bloxam is Herbert H. Lehman Professor of Music at Williams College, where she has taught since 1986. She earned her bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Illinois (1979) and her PhD from Yale University (1987). Her scholarship focuses on plainsong and polyphony in the decades around 1500, with particular on its ritual and cultural framework. In addition to her publications, she maintains an ongoing collaboration with the Dutch vocal ensemble Cappella Pratensis to create film, recording, website, and concert projects devoted to the contextualization of this music. Recent fellowship awards include the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music Fellowship in Sacred Music, Worship, and the Arts.
Free, a Valente Lecture