The Cultural Life of the Early Polyphonic Mass: Medieval Context to Modern Revival

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 22, 2010 - History - 383 pages
The 'cyclic' polyphonic Mass has long been seen as the pre-eminent musical genre of the late Middle Ages, spawning some of the most impressive and engrossing musical edifices of the period. Modern study of these compositions has greatly enhanced our appreciation of their construction and aesthetic appeal. Yet close consideration of their meaning - cultural, social, spiritual, personal - for their composers and original users has begun only much more recently. This book considers the genre both as an expression of the needs of the society in which it arose and as a fulfilment of aesthetic priorities that arose in the wake of the Enlightenment. From this dual perspective, it aims to enhance both our appreciation of the genre for today's world, and our awareness of what it is that makes any cultural artefact endure: its susceptibility to fulfil the different evaluative criteria, and social needs, of different times.

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2 Contemporary witnesses
Part II The ritual world of the early polyphonic Mass
Christological imagery and the Caput Masses
the sacred meaning of Lhomme armé
outside texts and music in the Mass
Part III The cradle of the early polyphonic Mass
8 Counterpoint of images counterpoint of sounds
Last things
Texts relating to Lhomme armé
Texts concerning secular music in church
Madrigals listed in LHistoire de la MappeMonde papistique

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About the author (2010)

Andrew Kirkman is Associate Professor of Music at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, New Jersey, where he teaches on a board range of historical topics. His research centers on sacred music of the fifteenth century, and he has published and lectured widely on English and Continental music of the period, including the music of Du Fay, Ockeghem, Walter Frye, and John Bedyngham. He is also very active as a violinist and conductor of vocal and instrumental ensembles, including the award-winning Binchois Consort, with which he has recorded eight CDs on the Hyperion label.

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