The Roche Prize for 2010 has been awarded to David R. M. Irving, for his article 'Comparative Organography in Early Modern Empires', Music & Letters 90/3 (2009): 372–398.
This elegantly written article was judged very impressive in its range and command, strong and persuasive in its argument. Its substantial topic brings together many strands and raises important interdisciplinary questions. The multifarious interaction between Europeans and non-Europeans in relation to musical artefacts is considered (and richly exemplified) in the context of travel and exploration, religion, trade and culture in the early modern period, drawing out the implications for the development of comparative ethnology and organography.
For 2009, the Roche Prize has been awarded to Arman Schwartz for his article 'Rough Music: Tosca and Verismo Reconsidered' in 19th-Century Music, 31/3, pp.228-44.
The panel found that this article presented a well-expressed, well-structured argument which linked text and context with great aplomb, and included detailed and insightful discussion of the music as well as sophisticated discussion of the opera's ambivalent appeal and the links to wider twentieth-century issues. Altogether this is an enjoyably readable and accomplished piece.
The Jerome Roche Prize for 2008 has been awarded to Roger Moseley for his article ‘Reforming Johannes: Brahms, Kreisler, and the Piano Trio, op. 8’ Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 132/2 (2007), pp.252-305. The article examines Brahms's approach to the revision of his own music: the contextual detail is stylishly elaborated, and a fascinating network of references is constructed, skilfully focused to illuminate the music in detail and in depth, and raising many general as well as specific issues.
For 2007, the Jerome Roche Prize has has been awarded to James Quail Davies for the article 'Julia's Gift: The Social Life of Scores, ca. 1830,' Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 131/2 (2006), 287-309.
In "Julia's Gift," Davies concentrates on the musical annual, a genre neglected in previous scholarship. He takes as his starting point an exemplar of The Musical Bijou of 1829 given by Elizabeth Oakley to her 11-year-old daughter, Julia, in the year of its publication. In a deft and frequently beautiful piece of writing, Davies demonstrates an interdisciplinary command rare even in much other avowedly interdisciplinary musicological work. Using recent studies from literature, anthropology and history, he probes the intersection of gift and commodity in this period, arguing for a novel and important vision of early nineteenth-century musical and print culture.
In ‘‘Dormez donc, mes chers amours’: Hérold's *La somnambule* (1827) and dream phenomena on the Parisian lyric stage’, Cambridge Opera Journal 16 (2004), Sarah Hibberd explores music in a genre, the ballet-pantomime, that has been almost completely ignored. She situates Hérold's work not only in its generic context, but within wider cultural currents of Restoration France and 19th-century understandings of somnambulism, mesmerism, madness and the supernatural. Eloquently demonstrating the important distinction between somnabulism and madness on the French stage, Hibberd engages with and provides important correctives to some of the most influential writing on opera of recent decades. She draws upon a huge array of sources extending well beyond the usual domain of music scholarship, producing an article that is truly interdisciplinary in its scope and conclusions.
Gundula Kreuzer's article '"Oper im Kirchengewande"? Verdi's Requiem and the Anxieties of the Young German Empire' appeared in the Journal of the American Musicological Society in August 2005. Its principal concern is the reception of the Messa da Requiem in German-speaking lands during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a time during which Verdi's great choral work stirred many passions and created many anxieties in the new German nation. Although grounded in an impressive array of detail, mostly taken from newspapers and other documents of the period, the article is also notable for the theoretical sensitivity with which it approaches its topic. The picture that emerges is an excitingly new one with broad implications, revealing as it does that the Requiem was a key text in defining the new Germany musically, and acted as an important indicator against which to measure the nation's musical progress over the next half century and more. Professor Kreuzer's investigation is, in the eyes of the Roche Prize Committee, a model of its kind, offering an usually rich description of a famous work's reception, and presenting compelling models for future scholars.
The winner of the 2004 award is Benjamin Walton for his article ‘Looking for the Revolution in Rossini’s Guillaume Tell’, Cambridge Opera Journal, 15 (2003), 127–51.
Walton’s article questions the mythology of Guillaume Tell as a revolutionary opera. Carefully researched and soundly grounded contextually, it offers multiple ways of approaching the work and sustains an argument that is written in clear, elegant and refreshingly jargon-free prose. Walton’s purpose is not to deliver certainties but ‘to avoid a clear answer’, distinguishing facts from their interpretation in such a way that a dissembling of one by the other permits (or even invites) the formulation of a different or even contrary interpretation. The plan is carried off with panache, and is compelling in the way it takes a contrary and sophisticated position on musical historiography.
Emma Dillon won the award for her article 'The Art of Interpolation in the Roman de Fauvel', Journal of Musicology, 19 (2002), 223-63. Dillon's article offers an interesting and original approach to a much-worked-over musical source. It shows an impressive grasp of a wide range of evidence - literary, liturgical and codicological - which it evaluates in a careful, balanced way as it proceeds towards a radical conclusion that convincingly overturns currently accepted views. Dillon's conceptualization of the role of music within a narrative context is particularly striking, and raises provocative ideas about the act of reading. Beautifully written and imaginatively presented, the article is so clear that it engages the attention of a far wider audience than the purely specialist.
The award was made for Senizi's article ‘Verdi’s Falstaff at Italy’s Fin de Siecle’, Musical Quarterly, 85 (2001), 274-310. Senici’s article is an important and often revelatory attempt to contextualize a masterpiece. By relating key moments of the opera to broader historical issues he opens up new ways of looking at it and appreciating it. His means are a fine blend, on the one hand, of musical and poetic analysis, with cultural and reception history on the other. The result is a particularly rich piece, full of insight, whose arguments are presented with exceptional clarity and elegance
Rehding's challenging article ‘The Quest for the Origins of Music in Germany Circa 1900’, JAMS, 22/2 (Summer 2000) works in the boundaries between musical history, philosophy, anthropology, and the history of music theory. Its subject is fundamental to our understanding of the birth of musicology as an independent science, and its conclusions are likely to be influential in a number of related fields.