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Kate van Orden, ed. Music and the Cultures of Print; Tim Carter. Music, Patronage and Printing in Late Renaissance Florence; & Richard J. Agee. The Gardano Music Printing Firms, 1569-1611.

Kate van Orden, ed. Music and the Cultures of Print. (Critical and Cultural Musicology, 1.) New York and London: Garland Publishing, 2000. xxi + 354 pp. $70. index. ISBN: 0-8153-2574-6.

Tim Carter. Music, Patronage and Printing in Late Renaissance Florence. (Variorum Collected Studies Series.) Aldershot, UK and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2000. x + 117 pp. index. $99.95. ISBN: 0-86078-817-2.

Richard J. Agee. The Gardano Music Printing Firms, 1569-1611. Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 1998. xv + 502 pp. illus, bibl. index. $95. ISBN: 1-58046-020-8.

The history of printing and its effect on musical culture has long been of concern to musicologists. Until recently, that concern has centered on the Renaissance and on the preparation of catalogues and bibliographies. But as scholars have learned more about the working habits and attitudes of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century composers, emphasis has shifted from the text-critical application of print studies to the cultural implications of the medium. At the same time, scholars of more recent music have seen the value of print studies for our understanding of music of the seventeenth century and later. These trends are reflected in the three volumes under consideration here. M1 deal with the interactions of printing and musical culture.

Two of the books under consideration here are collections of essays, the other a study of a single printing family. Music and the Cultures of Print opens with a foreword by Martha Feldman and an introduction by Kate van Orden, contains articles by Tim Carter, Katherine Bergeron, Thomas Christensen, Robert Holzer, James Haar, Martha Feldman, Thomas Bauman, Lisa Perella, and Kate van Orden, and closes with an afterword by Roger Chartier. Its topics are not confined to any one historical period, but touch on problems in music printing from its beginnings to the present day. While all are of importance, I shall confine myself here to those concerned with early modern topics or with topics that have implications for the study of early modern music.

In her foreword, "Critical and Cultural Musicology," series editor Martha Feldman describes the expansion of present-day musicology from its concentration on the great composers to an investigation of music of all sorts and to methodologies not previously common in the field, including deconstruction, narrativity, and postcolonial analysis. In keeping with that shift, Feldman describes the purpose of this new series as a project to offer "essay collections that give thematic focus to new critical and cultural perspectives in musicology."

In the spirit of the series, Kate van Orden in her introduction outlines the emergence of print studies within musicology and their widening from paleography and bibliographical description to the study of "printed books as part of a social system" (x). She also emphasizes the singular connection between musical texts and musical performance that results in a "dual life" for printed music, existing as both text and performance. In viewing the collection of essays as a whole, she points out that they all must deal in some way with printing, authorship, and reception, even though primary emphasis may be on one or the other in a particular essay. She then goes on to deal with each essay as it fits into the larger picture she has presented. Her introduction is rich in concepts that deserve careful attention and discussion beyond the scope of this review.

In "Printing the New Music," Tim Carter investigates problems surrounding the printing of monodies in the early seventeenth century. These problems involved both the technical challenges encountered in the representation of the performance practice of these works and the commercial ramifications of preparing a virtuoso repertory for public consumption. Katherine Bergeron's "Elite Books, Popular Readers, and the Curious Hundred-Year History of the Liber Usualis" deals with a nineteenth-century topic--the development of a typeface for the printing of chant melodies in the Liber Usualis--but she shows how the design of that font had far-reaching consequences for our attitudes toward early music. Her study is both revealing and intriguing. In "Orlando di Lasso, Composer and Print Entrepreneur," James Haar continues his investigations into di Lasso's life and works, this time exploring the composer's connections with printers of his music in the Low Countries, Italy, France, and Germany. He shows how Lasso sought to control and protect his music, as well as to promote it through publication on an international scale.

Martha Feldman turns to Michel Foucault's philosophy of the author in "Authors and Anonyms: Recovering the Anonymous Subject in Cinquecento Vernacular Objects." In particular, she investigates the role of anonymous works in printed anthologies of Italian secular music in the sixteenth century. She makes a valuable contribution through her thesis that many of those anonymous works were supplied by composers connected to the printing houses who provided works in a particular genre to fill out anthologies. These "hack composers ... able and willing to produce fast work for cheap fees" stood apart from the composers whose names attracted buyers, and were considered to be authors whose works were "unsuitable in kind for attribution" (169). She goes on to point out the power wielded by publishers who chose the music for anthologies and thus served as meta-authors. Her article is filled with valuable insights, and should be required reading for anyone interested in music and music publishing of sixteenth-century Italy.

Kate van Orden produces a rewarding addition to the literature on French music printing as she turns from the courts and salons to public venues in "Cheap Print and Street Song following the Saint Bartholomew's Massacres of 1572." Using the production of the Lyon printer Benoist Rigaud as a focal point, she investigates the role played by chanson anthologies, pamphlets, canards, and placards in the expression of public sentiment during the French religious wars. She makes an impressive case for the link between these street songs and the oral traditions of public statements of information by town criers. Indeed, she pins their effectiveness on that link, stating that "within the third estate, political and religious songs were only truly effective when singing sent them from print back into the oral sphere where they could produce or reinforce public opinion" (312). Her essay is filled with information on the interchange between street songs and the historical and social situations that produced them and is a model for the study of printing in cultural context.

Roger Chartier, whose work has clearly had an influence on a number of the authors in this collection, closes the book with an afterword. Chartier sets out to show how these studies take a step towards filling in a conspicuous gap in the history of the book, especially that aspect of the field that deals with the "study of texts ... the description of the forms ... that transmit these texts ... and the analysis of their uses and interpretations" (325). Chattier then goes on to discuss the forms of music publications, the transformations of music publishing in the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries (especially the northward shift of activities), and the uses of printed music. Within these categories, Chartier concentrates particularly on publishing in France and England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Such a focus is welcome since scholars have heretofore concentrated heavily on Italy and on the sixteenth century in general. He also touches on the importance of linking modes of publication with modes of performance. Chartier's essay demonstrates his usual erudition. My only quarrel lies with his blurring, at times, of the distinction between printing and publishing. Indeed, one would welcome a statement by him of the differences as he sees them, since, especially in the era of printing from movable type, the separation of the two is often difficult but also essential. For instance, did Lasso's reception of royal privileges really signify that he was the publisher of his music (331)?

In sum, Music and the Cultures of Print is a seminal book which expands our view of the study of printed music and will serve as an influential resource for future scholars.

Tim Carter's Music, Patronage and Printing in Late Renaissance Florence is part of Ashgate's Variorum Collected Studies Series and as such consists of reprints of articles published elsewhere between 1978 and 1996. We welcome these volumes as handy repositories of thinking by experts in a particular area, especially when they make more readily available studies that appeared in Festschriften and non-musicological journals. Moreover, by bringing such articles together, the publisher allows us to see an author's separate works as an interrelated whole. Carter has long been interested in the topics presented in his title, and these essays ring the changes on them. All the writings here explore music, printing, and patronage in late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Florence and its environs.

The first three essays are devoted to the pioneering opera composer Jacopo Peri, while his contemporary, Giulio Caccini, is treated in a later chapter. Carter takes a detailed look at two particular (and spectacular) examples of Medici patronage in "A Florentine Wedding of 1608," and "Non Occorre Nominare Tanti Musici: Private Patronage and Public Ceremony in Late Sixteenth-Century Florence." He investigates a little-known madrigal print and its possible reflections of Florentine musical evenings in "Serate Musicali in Early Seventeenth-Century Florence: Girolamo Montesardo's L'Allegre Notti di Fiorenza (1608) and looks beyond the Medici for other sources of musical patronage in "Music and Patronage in Late Sixteenth-Century Florence: The Case of Jacopo Corsi (1561-1602)." Carter then presents us with extensive archival findings in "Giulio Caccini (1551-1618): New Facts, New Music."

The next four essays deal more directly with music printing. First he gives a brief account of a new document concerned with the reprinting of the Decameron in the Counter Reformation atmosphere of the second half of the sixteenth century. This article is followed by three of the most important in the book--"The Music Trade in Late Sixteenth-Century Florence: Music-Printing in Late Sixteenth- and Early Seventeenth-Century Florence," "Giorgio Marescotti, Cristofano Marescotti, and Zanobi Pignoni," and "Music-Selling in Late Sixteenth-Century Florence: the Bookshop of Hero di Giuliano Morosi." Until Carter's work, we had only a vague idea of what the music printing business was like in Renaissance Florence and why there was so little music printing there. Indeed, his study, which concentrates particularly on the commercial side of the enterprise, not only provides revelatory information about printing and bookselling in Florence, but illuminates the history of music printing elsewhere as well. He reveals, for instance, records from a book dealer showing who bought music, what they bought, and what they paid for it, and then does an admirable job of interpreting that information.

Finally, Carter turns to the Florentine "provinces," encouraging us to widen our gaze from a preoccupation with Florence to an understanding of the other cities in Tuscany--in this case Pistoia. In doing this, he is participating in a growing trend among a number of musicologists, a trend sometimes referred to as "urban musicology," in which scholars look at the entire cultural matrix of a city or region, not just at its court or principal center. Such studies, most especially recent archival work, have begun to unearth hitherto unsuspected hoards of information on music in provincial courts and cathedrals, city churches, guilds, and confraternities, expanding the populations of composers, performers, and listeners who inhabit our music histories.

Tim Carter has produced here a distinctive body of work that effectively combines his research on seventeenth-century opera and Florence with his studies on music printing and urban musicology. It is an exemplary combination that illustrates the importance of combining research on genres, performance, cultural context, and modes of transmission in order to construct that "web of culture" for which so many of us strive.

Finally, we turn to Richard Agee's book on the sons of the Venetian printer Antonio Gardano. In it, he takes on the monumental task of continuing the history of the Gardano firm begun by the present reviewer (Antonio Gardano, Venetian Music Printer 1538-69. 2 vols. [New York: Garland, 1988, 1997]). In doing so, he was faced with the daunting task of tracking down almost 1000 editions printed by Antonio's sons and published over a period of forty-two years. Clearly, a full descriptive catalogue would have been impossible for one person to compile, and Agee has wisely confined himself to a checklist of editions and a history of the firm from 1569 to 1611.

Agee's book is filled with useful information. He first places the later history of the Gardano firm within the culture of Venice during the years of the firm's activities. He then provides important information on the history of the family business after the death of Antonio, tracing the activities of the sons, Angelo and Alessandro, as they carried on the business in Venice and in Rome. An experienced and skillful archivist, Agee supplies numerous original documents that help give us the most complete picture to date of the activities of the Gardano sons.

He then tackles the enormous task of sorting out the actual production of the firm, including general studies of the physical features of the books, including typography and format. The checklist includes titles (sometimes abbreviated), RISM (Repertoire international des sources musicales. Munich-Duisburg: G. Henle Verlag, 1960-) number, locations, bibliographical references, and indications of earlier or similar editions.

Throughout his book, Agee concentrates on the technical, social, and economic matters surrounding the printing of the hundreds of books issuing from the Gardano firm but does not include any substantial discussions of the repertory they contained. However, the provision of a checklist of those publications would surely ease the task of anyone wishing to discuss that repertory.

In addition to the checklist, Agee provides an extremely valuable annotated edition of the booklist published by the firm in 1591. He has sought to identify the rather sketchy titles given in the original list with publications known today, supplying dates and RISM numbers wherever he can. His edition is supplemented by a chronological ordering of the list, a contribution that allows us to see, among other things, just what was still on the firm's shelves in 1591. The publication dates of the titles in stock (some going back fifty years) allow us to form a picture of public taste over the decades.

Agee's volume is a welcome and useful addition to the literature on music printing in the sixteenth century. It fills in a substantial gap in our knowledge, and he is to be congratulated for taking on such a heroic task.

Taken together, these three books provide us with a broad picture of today's scholarship on the impact of printing on music and musical culture. They also place music printing within the social, artistic, and political tensions of the general culture. They are thought-provoking and informative, and open up more avenues of research for those of us exploring the subject.


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Author:Lewis, Mary S.
Publication:Renaissance Quarterly
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 2003
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