Music and the Language of Love: Seventeenth-Century French Airs (Music and the Early Modern Imagination)

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9780253354617: Music and the Language of Love: Seventeenth-Century French Airs (Music and the Early Modern Imagination)

Simple songs or airs, in which a male poetic voice either seduces or excoriates a female object, were an influential vocal genre of the French Baroque era. In this comprehensive and interdisciplinary study, Catherine Gordon-Seifert analyzes the style of airs, which was based on rhetorical devices of lyric poetry, and explores the function and meaning of airs in French society, particularly the salons. She shows how airs deployed in both text and music an encoded language that was in sensuous contrast to polite society’s cultivation of chaste love, strict gender roles, and restrained discourse.

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About the Author:

Catherine Gordon-Seifert is Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department at Providence College.

Review:

"A hard but rewarding read, and a must for would-be performers of 'airs.'... Highly recommended." ―Choice



"[T]his book is a major contribution to our understanding of the rhetorical elements of the song texts and the way in which composers expressed them in their musical settings." ―Rhetorica



In this exceptionally fine, pioneering book, Gordon-Seiffert (Providence College) examines 'serious airs' (love songs) by Lambert, Bacilly, La Barre, and Le Camus written in the two decades before Jean-Baptiste Lully's first opera (1673), which marked the beginning of a paradigm shift in French baroque song. Serious interest in studying/performing this repertoire has prospered only since the 1990s, thanks in part to Gordon-Seiffert. Salon airs were considered weak musically, set to 'banal' poetry, unrewarding to sing. Their apparent artificiality and simplicity, which this book reveals to be the result of complex relationships between French literary and rhetorical theory and musical devices matched to those exemplars, made it easy for musicians to ignore them. The author argues that detailed study of these relationships, of the erotic code meanings of the 'banal' texts, of continuo matters, of the rhetorical significance of ornaments and the style of declaiming the words ('forcefully, but not too forcefully'), of the meaning 'behind' the simple notation can open a rich aesthetic world for modern singers. A hard but rewarding read, and a must for would-be performers of 'airs.' Stephan Van Dyck and Stephen Stubbs' CD of La Barre (Airs deux parties, 2000) will prove a valuable companion resource. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students,
faculty, professionals. --ChoiceW. Metcalfe, emeritus, University of Vermont, December 2011



"[Gordon-Seifert] has provided an insightful and long overdue study of an important repertory that for many years has suffered from relative neglect." ―Early Music



"Catherine Gordon-Seifert does a masterful job at conveying how rhetoric, text, and music interplay in French serious airs from the 1640s–1660s. Her analyses of text and music dig deep into the fabric of the repertoire.... By and large, Music and the Language of Love is a worthy contribution to the field that should find its way to any academic library with a serious music collection." ―Music Reference Services Quarterly



"[Gordon-Seifert] has presented readers with an elegant, insightful study on a critical turning point in French baroque composition just before the premiere of Lully’s groundbreaking Cadmus et Hermione in 1673. Scholars of seventeenth-century music, as well as singers interested in integrating these airs into their repertory, will find in it an approachable, valuable resource, as well as an engaging account of the social and cultural mores of the time." ―Notes



"This book should, I feel, be on the shelves of everyone with a serious interest in the music of the French baroque. It is an extremely well-researched and thorough study of that most seminal of 17th-century French musical genres, the air sérieux." ―The Consort



"This book will be a model for how to tease the expressive implications out of every contour, rhythm, and ornament.... Gordon-Seifert's approach to musical expressive meaning will prove very valuable for students of other Baroque repertories." ―Robert Hatten, Indiana University

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Descrizione libro Indiana University Press, United States, 2011. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Simple songs or airs, in which a male poetic voice either seduces or excoriates a female object, were an influential vocal genre of the French Baroque era. In this comprehensive and interdisciplinary study, Catherine Gordon-Seifert analyzes the style of airs, which was based on rhetorical devices of lyric poetry, and explores the function and meaning of airs in French society, particularly the salons. She shows how airs deployed in both text and music an encoded language that was in sensuous contrast to polite society s cultivation of chaste love, strict gender roles, and restrained discourse. Codice libro della libreria AAJ9780253354617

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Descrizione libro Indiana University Press, United States, 2011. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Simple songs or airs, in which a male poetic voice either seduces or excoriates a female object, were an influential vocal genre of the French Baroque era. In this comprehensive and interdisciplinary study, Catherine Gordon-Seifert analyzes the style of airs, which was based on rhetorical devices of lyric poetry, and explores the function and meaning of airs in French society, particularly the salons. She shows how airs deployed in both text and music an encoded language that was in sensuous contrast to polite society s cultivation of chaste love, strict gender roles, and restrained discourse. Codice libro della libreria AAJ9780253354617

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