Music and the Exotic from the Renaissance to Mozart

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9781107012370: Music and the Exotic from the Renaissance to Mozart

During the years 1500-1800, European performing arts reveled in a kaleidoscope of Otherness: Middle-Eastern harem women, fortune-telling Spanish 'Gypsies', Incan priests, Barbary pirates, moresca dancers, and more. In this prequel to his 2009 book Musical Exoticism, Ralph P. Locke explores how exotic locales and their inhabitants were characterized in musical genres ranging from instrumental pieces and popular songs to oratorios, ballets, and operas. Locke's study offers new insights into much-loved masterworks by composers such as Cavalli, Lully, Purcell, Rameau, Handel, Vivaldi, Gluck, and Mozart. In these works, evocations of ethnic and cultural Otherness often mingle attraction with envy or fear, and some pieces were understood at the time as commenting on conditions in Europe itself. Locke's accessible study, which includes numerous musical examples and rare illustrations, will be of interest to anyone who is intrigued by the relationship between music and cultural history and by the challenges of cross-cultural (mis)understanding.

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Book Description:

During the years 1500-1800, Europeans became increasingly aware of ethnic Otherness. In this prequel to his 2009 book Musical Exoticism, Ralph P. Locke demonstrates Western culture's rich response to this burgeoning awareness. His insights into the period's major works and genres are supported by numerous music examples and rare illustrations.

About the Author:

Ralph P. Locke is Professor and former Chair of Musicology at the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music. His previous books are Music, Musicians, and the Saint-Simonians (1986), Musical Exoticism: Images and Reflections (Cambridge, 2009) and the co-edited Cultivating Music in America: Women Patrons since 1860 (1997). He has published numerous articles and book chapters and contributed to major reference works, including Grove Dictionary of Music and American National Biography. His study of conceptions of the exotic Other in Verdi's opera Aida (Cambridge Opera Journal) won the H. Colin Slim Award from the American Musicological Society.

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