20 Oct 12
The inaugural Music and the Seicento study day was held at the University of York on 20 October 2012. A collaborative project between the universities of Huddersfield and York, the event was devised and organized by Andrew Cheetham (Huddersfield) and Joseph Knowles (York) with assistance from Jonathan Wainwright (York), and was supported financially by the RMA and the Huddersfield and York music departments.
In total, 12 student papers were presented, divided thematically into two parallel sessions. These encompassed a wide range of topics from the seicento. The papers, presented by postgraduate research students from the UK, Europe and North America, were of a consistently high standard. Following the success of the day, it was decided to form a student study group.
The first morning parallel session included papers that considered the performance of seventeenth-century Italian music, examining issues pertaining to notation, tactus and the authenticity of manuscripts. The concurrent session explored the dissemination of Italian vocal and instrumental music, and the presence of Italian musicians in England.
A lunchtime recital entitled Orpheus Britannicus was given by Four’s Company (Graham Cummings, John Bryan, David Milsom and Duncan Druce). The focus of the concert was Henry Purcell and his English and Italian forebears and contemporaries, highlighting Purcell’s synthesis of Italian compositional styles. Purcell’s Sonata VII in E minor was preceded by sonatas by Vitali and Bononcini, and then, similarly, his Sonata VI in C followed works by William Lawes and Jenkins.
After lunch, Robert Hollingworth gave an entertaining keynote address in which he spoke about his latest CD, 1612 Italian Vespers. His talk was highly illuminating on the process of taking an idea - in this case reconstructing Gabrieli’s incomplete Magnificat à 20 / à 28 - and producing a highly acclaimed recording, and provoked a lively discussion.
Equally engaging were the afternoon sessions. Compositional process and analysis was the theme for the first session, which featured papers on chromaticism, counterpoint, and literature considered from a compositional perspective. The second session explored the transitional composer Francesco Foggia, chant revision in seicento sources, and continuo realization in the motets of Alessandro Grandi.
Andrew Cheetham is a Ph.D. candidate in musicology at the University of Huddersfield and his research focuses on italianate sacred music in England during the first half of the seventeenth century.
Joseph Knowles is a Ph.D. candidate in musicology at the University of York and he is researching chromaticism in the music of Don Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa, supported by the Sir Jack Lyons scholarship.