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Musical Culture in the Wars of Religion, 1550-1650

17th and 18th March 2018

musical culture

Conference outline

Music was a crucial battleground during the age of the Wars of Religion. In spite of this, historians and musicologists have rarely combined their approaches to try and understand the full significance that music had in the civil wars. Historians, for example, have primarily studied how music shaped confessional identities, such as when Protestants sang the Psalms together in worship or on the battlefield to express their solidarity and take comfort in their faith despite the threat of persecution. Musicologists, on the other hand, have tended to concentrate on the most important composers from this time (such as Eustache Du Caurroy or Pierre Guédron), the genres in which they wrote (like ballets or airs de cour), or certain issues arising from the performance of this repertoire.

This conference brings together historians and musicologists with the aim of
overcoming the boundaries that still remain between these scholarly disciplines. It focuses on the various contexts within which music was used and considers its impact in the Wars of Religion. Who sang music and for what aims? What was the relationship (if any) between the performance of music in elite circles versus the use of this art form among the wider public? Did music solidify or traverse confessional divisions? Lastly, how far can modern performers recreate the soundscapes of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries?

Treating the age of the Wars of Religion across a whole century and using France as a focal point for making wider comparisons, the papers in this conference will explore the role of music from all sectors of society, from the royal courts to the city streets, and from both Protestant and Catholic perspectives.

This conference is generously supported by Music and Letters, the Society for
Renaissance Studies, the Society for the Study of French History, the University of Cambridge History Faculty Trevelyan Fund, and the University of Cambridge Music Faculty.

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Papers by:
Peter Bennett (Case Western Reserve)
Tom Hamilton (Cambridge)
Kat Hill (Birkbeck)
Melinda Latour (Tufts)
David van der Linden (Groningen)
Margaret McGowan (Sussex)
Emilie Murphy (York)
David Potter (Kent)
Alex Robinson (Cambridge)
Daniel Trocmé Latter (Cambridge)

Featuring a lecture-recital by Edward Wickham and the Choir of
St Catharine's College, Cambridge of Claude Le Jeune’s Dodecacorde (1598)


Draft Programme

Saturday 17 March

10.15-45am Registration
10.45-11am Welcome and introduction

11am-12.30pm Panel 1: War
Margaret McGowan (Sussex), ‘Music and Propaganda in Festival at a Time of War’
David Potter (Kent), ‘War in the Musical Culture of Renaissance France’

12.30-1.30pm Lunch

1.30-3pm Panel 2: Memory
Emilie Murphy (York), ‘Persecution and Performance: English Catholic Musical
Miscellanies and Remembering the Reformation’
David van der Linden (Groningen), ‘The Sound of Memory: Musical Culture and the Legacy of the Wars of Religion in Early Modern France’

3-3.30pm Tea

3.30-5pm Panel 3: Conflict resolution
Melinda Latour (Tufts), ‘Performing Repair: Moral Song after the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre’
Tom Hamilton (Cambridge), ‘Censoring Seditious Songs in the Wars of Religion’

6pm Drinks reception

6.15-7pm Lecture-recital by Edward Wickham (Cambridge) and the choir of St
Catharine’s College ‘”Du Roi veux dire chanson”: The Politics and Polyphony of Le Jeune's Dodecacorde’

Sunday 18 March

9-10.30am Panel 4: Ceremony
Alex Robinson (Cambridge),’”Viva viva Aqua-viva!”: Music, Politics and Religion in the Entry of Cardinal Ottavio Acquaviva d’Aragona into Avignon, 1 March 1594’
Peter Bennett (Case Western), ‘”Pour le Roy & tout son armée lorsqu’il alloit à la guerre”: the Te Deum and entrée Ceremonies during the Reign of Louis XIII’

10.30-11am Tea

11am-12.30pm Panel 5: Protestant Identities
Daniel Trocmé-Latter (Cambridge), ‘”Artification” in Action? Early Polyphonic
Settings of the Huguenot Psalms’
Kat Hill (Birkbeck), ‘Singing Across Spaces: Hymns, Violence and Emotions in
Anabaptist Diasporas’

12.30pm Lunch