Language, Rhetoric, and Culture: The foundations of French Baroque string playing

Wednesday 19 May 2010, 4.00PM

Speaker(s): Sam Stadlen (University of York)

As with almost every element of life, art, and science during the grand siécle, a vast and complex web of interrelated ideas, aesthetics, and methods came together in the production and consumption of the period's music. These connections can be teased apart in order that the modern musician can begin to glimpse the complexity of the composer's original intentions. This seminar will address three areas, some of which may at first seem unconnected with the music that lies at its heart but whose relevance will, I hope, become apparent. The first area will be a brief introduction to the culture and people of the courts and salons of the mid-seventeenth through to the early-eighteenth century. The secondwill be an examination of attitudes towards classical rhetoric in France: a well trodden area when it comes to the music of much of Europe but onewhich is only just beginning to come under closer scrutiny in its French context. The third will be an examination of the importance of language in France, with an emphasis upon versification. These areas will then be brought together in a study of a group of piéces de viole by Joseph Bodin de Boismortier (1689-1755) with the hope that the preceding material willshed new light on their construction and performance.

Location: 107