Abstracts for the MC session at the MED-REN 2015

paper 1: Daniele V. Filippi: “Audire Missam non est verba missae intelligere…”, or: What Did the Duke Do During the Mass?

abstract: The precept of “hearing the Mass” was central to the life of early modern Christians: but in how many ways could the faithful fulfil it? how many forms of attention and participation were deemed acceptable? what role did sonic elements play in all this? and conversely, how did these conceptions influence musical choices? Studying treatises, methods, and other documents, I will explore the theory and practice of attending Mass and discuss fundamental problems such as that of the synchronization between ritual actions, individual devotion, and collective experiences. This will provide a basis for reassessing the question of the so-called motetti missales and of their interaction with liturgy in Sforza Milan.

paper 2: Marie Verstraete: A Textual Phenomenology of Motet Cycles

abstract: Some individual motet cycles, especially among the motetti missales, have hitherto received much scholarly attention. Yet due to their limited transmission, numerous questions related to the general use and function of motet cycles remain unanswered. In order to improve our understanding of this phenomenon, I will approach the repertoire primarily from the point of view of the texts. The mapping and analysis of textual characteristics (including liturgical association and contemporary usage) will shed new light on the diversity, function, and significance of motet cycles and will open a discussion for a renewed overall assessment of the extant repertoire.

paper 3: Agnese Pavanello: Elevation as Liturgical Climax in Gesture and Sound: Milanese Elevation Motets in Context

abstract: In this paper I will focus on fifteenth-century century Elevation motets in order to contextualize the Milanese motet cycles in a wider liturgical and musical practice. After discussing the liturgical significance and function of the Elevation, with its rich gestural symbolism, I will explore the extant repertoire with particular regard to the texts and their circulation. The presence of settings of the same texts in different environments will raise the question about the possible existence of narrower ties between the Milanese corpus and other local traditions.

paper 4: Felix Diergarten: What Happens When “Nothing” Happens? An Analytical Look at Late Fifteenth-Century Elevation Motets

abstract: The “homophonic” passages usually found in motets to be sung at the culmination of the Holy Mass, the elevation, play a paradoxical role in modern scholarship. On the one hand, these passages serve as an anchor for the identification of the liturgical function of single motets and the cycles surrounding them; on the other hand, they are hardly ever analyzed in detail, because their “homophonic” austerity seems to be of little attraction — but also because they defy usual analytical procedures. So, what happens actually, when “nothing” happens? This is the question I will try to tackle in this presentation.