In this book, Susan McClary examines the mechanisms through which seventeenth-century musicians simulated extreme affective states--desire, divine rapture, and ecstatic pleasure. She demonstrates how every major genre of the period, from opera to religious music to instrumental pieces based on dances, was part of this striving for heightened passions by performers and listeners. While she analyzes the social and historical reasons for the high value placed on expressive intensity in both secular and sacred music, and she also links desire and pleasure to the many technical innovations of the period. McClary shows how musicians--whether working within the contexts of the Reformation or Counter-Reformation, Absolutists courts or commercial enterprises in Venice--were able to manipulate known procedures to produce radically new ways of experiencing time and the Self.
Recognized as one of the most innovative and influential directors of our time, Peter Sellars has produced acclaimed—and often controversial—versions of many beloved operas and oratorios. He has also collaborated with several composers, including John C. Adams and Kaija Saariaho, to create challenging new operas. The Passions of Peter Sellars follows the development of his style, beginning with his interpretations of the Mozart-Da Ponte operas, proceeding to works for which he assembled the libretti and even the music, and concluding with his celebrated stagings of Bach’s passions with the Berlin Philharmonic.
Between the waning of the Renaissance and the beginning of the Enlightenment, many fundamental aspects of human behaviour - from expressions of gender to the experience of time - underwent radical changes. While some of these transformations were recorded in words, others have survived in non-verbal cultural media, notably the visual arts, poetry, theatre, music, and dance. Structures of Feeling in Seventeenth-Century Cultural Expression explores how artists made use of these various cultural forms to grapple with human values in the increasingly heterodox world of the 1600s. Essays from prominent historians, musicologists, and art critics examine methods of non-verbal cultural expression through the broad themes of time, motion, the body, and global relations. Together, they show that seventeenth-century cultural expression was more than just an embryonic stage within Western artistic development. Instead, the contributors argue that this period marks some of the most profound changes in European subjectivities.