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of 1782 , and also relates the use of gesture and expressive dance back to the writings of John Weaver in England over half a century earlier. Thus the book takes on a wider European profile, its contents linked by the theme of ‘gro- tesque’ and pantomimic dance: it examines the skills, techniques and training involved, as well as the place of such dance in opera and ballet-pantomime, and draws valuable parallels between what was happening on stage in several countries over several decades. Such a study is invaluable in its own right, but it also puts into clearer perspective the quite different approach towards dramatic narrative in ballet-pantomime as urged by Jean-Georges Noverre (who neither understood nor liked the Italian grotteschi ), and indeed the very nature of pantomimic dance in the 18 th century. The essays open with a contextual survey of Italian bal- let, before focusing on Magri’s own career. Then follows an essay on international elements of dance training in the late 18 th century, placing Magri’s treatise within a continuum of dance training traditions that reach both backwards and forwards in time from his day. Another essay examines the characteristics of the grotteschi as revealed in Magri’s Trattato, emphasizing the variety and dynamic vibrancy of their complex steps, and the application of that vigour to characterization through choreographed movement. The ‘French connection’ is discussed in two chapters on the Italian dancers working in the Paris theatres during the 18th century, and on the ballets recorded in Auguste Ferre`re’s manuscript, while a further chapter adds an English dimension by discussing expressive dancing in the works of Magri, Ferre`re and Weaver. The volume also contains appendices and tables that provide a list of grotteschi in Italy, 17501800; scenarios of ballets performed in North Italy, Vienna, Naples and Paris; and a table of contents and glossary/concordance of dance terms and people in Magri’s Trattato (thus providing a welcome entry-point to the original treatise and Skeaping’s translation). There is also a tabulated chronology of Magri’s career which shows at a glance how productive he was as a performer and choreographer, how widely he travelled and, by inference, how extensive the grottesco influence was. Other tables supply data on the structure of the Vienna ballet company while Magri worked there, outline the contents of the Ferre`re manuscript and the musical and choreographic structures of some of its dances, and provide a list of primary sources in the form of dance manuals and treatises 17001859 (p.113 , although one wishes that full citations

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could have been included here). The pictorial illustra- tions are thoughtfully chosen and highly relevant; and there are also several musical examples from Gluck’s Les Corsaires, in which Magri danced while in Vienna in 1759 , and from ballets in the Ferre`re manuscript. It is unfortunate, however, that the list of musical examples (on p.x) does not identify the Ferre`re ballets except by their titles, thereby making it impossible to find these works quickly in the index where they are listed only under Ferre`re senior or junior. Nevertheless, in general the volume shows close attention to detail and, despite the absence of a self-contained bibliography, provides excellent guidance to primary as well as secondary sources. All the essays and supporting tables and appendices in the volume are by scholars well respected in the fields of early dance and its music, and their findings represent years of careful research and discussion by a yet wider group of scholars and practitioners. It is much to the credit of the Society of Dance History Scholars, who first aired the whole subject of Magri’s work at their confer- ence in 1996 , and also to the inspiration of the work of the late Ingrid Brainard (to whose memory this volume is dedicated), that such research has been encouraged and thereby made this book possible. Certainly this is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of theatrical dance.


Margaret Yelloly

Disclosing women’s voices

Musical voices of early modern women: many-headed melodies , ed. Thomasin LaMay (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005 ), £ 50

Recent decades have seen a veritable explosion of gender studies in most fields of academic enquiry, be it history, literature, art or social sciences. This collection of essays examines historical sources from the starting- point of women’s lives and musical practices (as compo- sers, performers, patrons, educators or as muse) and situates them in the wider musical culture. From this stance the world can look different, and new interpreta- tions of the lives and work of women musicians become possible.

Already there has been much research into the lives of talented female performers and composers, and this work has enriched the present-day performing repertory with previously unknown or unvalued music. Works by


Francesca Caccini, Chiara Cuzzolani, E lizabeth Jacquet de La Guerre and Barbara Strozzi, for instance, regularly feature in concert programmes. This volume adds signifi- cantly to the current body of scholarship relating to women musicians in courts, opera and the private world of the convent. A distinctive feature of the volume is its breadth; it looks at women’s participation in musical cul- ture in Spain, France, Italy, England and Russia between the 16th and the 18 th centuries, and in so doing it high- lights considerable national differences. England, for example, produced no major women composers in the early modern period, unlike France and Italy. The essays seek to examine women as active agents in the musical world and to probe their activities as composers and per- formers, in particular how they used music as a means of expression and of achieving status, intellectual power or financial gain. The book is arranged in thematic sections, dealing with the voice, the theatre, convent music, and collections and publishing. A substantial introductory essay by Linda Phyllis Austern, ‘Portrait of the artist as (female) musi- cian’, explores the self-images of women artists who painted themselves as musicians. Despite the restrictions imposed on them in terms of education, intellectual and artistic endeavour, Austern maintains that early modern women flourished and excelled in far more occupations than might have been expected. Not only did they have intellectual and cultural roles as composers, writers and painters; they were also active economically, in business, weaving and agricultural husbandry. Women musicians are widely and variously represented both in text and image. Using visual sources, Austern seeks to understand the meaning of such musical imagery, to elucidate how women musicians saw themselves, represented them- selves, and wished to be perceived by their contempor- aries. The portraits she examines in detail demonstrate how determined women succeeded in a variety of male-dominated arenas in the 16 th and 17th centuries. The portraits themselves are framed within a discussion of the meaning of imagery and other forms of discourse that encode ideologies of power, sexuality and gender. Visual representations have been treated extensively by Richard Leppert, H. Colin Slim and Daniel Heartz among others, but Austern’s focus is on the manipulation of musical images by women to achieve a particular end.

She finds in the paintings a valuable source of evidence as to how gifted women established their identity and status in an essentially male professional world. This

kind of analysis is a far cry from the early feminist focus

on women as powerless victims; rather it tries to discover their part in actively shaping and creating the social worlds in which they lived. Austern’s work is stimulating, thoroughly documented, and related to thinking of the period. Several essays examine how women were portrayed in different musical genres. Catherine Gordon-Seifert (‘Strong men—weak women: gender representation and the influence of Lully’s ‘‘operatic style’’ on French airs se´rieux (1650 1700 )’) has carefully researched a change in gender representation. In the majority of mid-17 th- century airs she finds that men are portrayed as effemi- nate, women as assertive and in control of the game of love. A marked change took place in the airs with the introduction of the operatic style and with musical features taken from Lully. Such musical devices include representations of war with characteristic harmonies and rhythms, and emphatic recitatives; these evoke bold- ness, courage and heroic deeds, underscoring the associa- tion of masculinity and strength. Women, by contrast, are portrayed as submissive, weak and suffering. The meaning is primarily conveyed by musical features and a gender-linked musical tone, not by text. Gordon- Seifert explains this reversal of gender images by reference to the increasing ‘masculinization’ of the public sphere under Louis XIV and the need to redefine mascu- linity in an acceptable way. Gender representations are also the subject of an impressive chapter by Jeanice Brooks (‘Chivalric romance, courtly love and courtly song: female vocality and feminine desire in the world of Amadis de Gaule’). This leads into a well-documented but controversial area in Renaissance studies. Should romance be seen only as a form of repressive control, or did it have positive functions for both women and men? The author helps to answer the question by investi- gating the actual uses of romantic fiction in women’s lives. This is not easy to research, but she makes extensive use of printed music from the 16 th century in the light of her thesis that romantic songs and fiction are used by women in culturally specific ways for the imaginative articulation of desire. Musical performance, with its opportunities for improvisation, offered openings for affective vocal expression that circumvented, in limited ways, the constraints imposed by the twin obligations of honour and silence. Paradoxically, the

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songs underlined the rhetoric of silence in relation to female sexuality, while permitting its licensed vocal representation.

An unusual contribution is that of Inna Naroditskaya

on ‘Serf actresses in the tsarinas’ Russia: social class cross-dressing in Russian serf theatres of the 18th century’, an institution which so far as I am aware has no parallel elsewhere. The serf theatre occupied a social space

in which norms and hierarchical systems were at once challenged and reinforced. Actresses were wholly con- trolled by their aristocratic owners, but in the make- believe world of the theatre they could cross social and sexual boundaries, playing countesses or males. In the case of Count Sheremetiev fantasy and reality became intertwined, since he secretly married the actress Zhemhugova. Opera comique , which influenced Shereme- tiev’s theatrical enterprises, depends for its impact on just this kind of boundary-testing, confounding accepted social rules, while at the same time reinforcing them. In the denouement , girls pretending to be boys are revealed as fully ‘feminine’ after all, or the servant with whom the master falls in love turns out to be of noble lineage, thus clearing the obstacles to a suitable marriage. The author speculates that the theatrical interests of powerful tsarinas such as Catherine the Great encouraged experimentation that might be related to their political reforms.

A provocative contribution is Jennifer Thomas’s

‘Patronage and personal narrative in a music manuscript’, an account of the somewhat mysterious British Library Ms. Royal 8 G.vii. This codex, from the archives of the Tudor court of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, was created by the Netherlands court in the years of Marguerite of Austria’s regency. It is not known whose gift it was, nor to whom it was presented, and there are a number of puzzling features, not least the inclusion of no fewer than five versions of Dulces exuviae . Thomas argues that the book was in fact a gift to Catherine from her sister-in-law Marguerite, and was intended to convey Marguerite’s awareness of Catharine’s circumstances in a very personal way, prompted by her consciousness of the losses both women had suffered. This argument is persuasively presented, although there is no external evidence to prove it. Particularly enjoyable are the biographical chapters, in which composers or performers come alive as individuals. For example, LaMay gives a detailed account of Maddelena Casulana’s Primo libro de madrigale of 1568 . Casulana was an exceptional singer and the first known

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professional female composer to publish her works. A prevailing theme in this essay is the tension between musi- cal performance as an embodied and erotic art, and as a window to the harmony of the universe—the ancient con- tradiction between sensory experience and spiritual aspiration re-articulated in Neoplatonist thinking. For singers such as Casulana (who was apparently not a cour- tesan) the balance between enchanting the audience and maintaining chastity was a delicate one. LaMay believes the composer in the Primo libro denied neither the com- mon contemporary sexual metaphors nor her virtuosity of technique, but carefully controlled when to expose the so-called erotic uvulating throat. This was in order to defend the reputation of the dedicatee and likely per- former, Isabella de Medici Orsina (whose chastity had been questioned by her husband) and to emphasize her virtue and obedience. Beth Glixon’s study of the 17th- century prima donna Caterina Porri reveals painstaking archival research, and is valuable for its insights into the musical activities and social status of a highly successful singer. In Caterina’s case the advantages might have been on the side of her husband, despite the hazards of marrying an opera singer of possibly dubious reputation. Bortolo Caserana, on his marriage to Caterina, entered a new social milieu which probably furthered his career as an accountant. A glimpse of the vulnerability of the pro- fessional singer and the difficulty of negotiating both a career and social position is provided by an anonymous denunciation of the lawyer Ordano, who was accused of having an affair with Porri and of murdering Bortolo in order to gain her fortune. But after Bortolo’s death, Cater- ina reclaimed her large dowry and became a widow of considerable means, who remained in control of her own business affairs until her second marriage many years later. The book focuses upon e´lite women and their music, largely because these traditions are best documented. The place of music in the everyday lives of working women (the millers, weavers and agrarian workers mentioned by Austern) is far harder to document and still remains lar- gely hidden. I have to admit to a certain frustration with the lack of a consolidated bibliography to aid identifica- tion of specific references in the text. But that is a quibble; the book incorporates much new research, together with fresh and stimulating analyses of familiar themes that enhance our knowledge of the part played by women in musical history.