Session 38 (Free + Themed Papers): Late Renaissance publishing

Thursday, 8 July 2021, 11.00-13.00, Room 217 | Chair: Barbara Eichner (Oxford Brookes University)

Plantin’s polyphonic music publications – Reputation, prestige and measures of success | L. Hunter-Bradley (Royal Holloway, University of London)

The extant correspondence and archival records of the Officina Plantiniana provide us with our most important clues in reconstructing the history of Christopher Plantin’s printing business, and the dissemination of his publications not only in the Low Countries but more broadly within Europe.

This paper seeks to address the reasons behind Plantin’s publishing of polyphonic music, whether they be commercial or symbolic. The business relationships between Plantin and his published composers are analysed with aid of contracts, privileges and correspondence, and his choice of composer, repertoire and book format is examined in light of how Plantin managed to differentiate himself from his peers, and create a greater reputation and authority for his business. New discoveries concerning dating of contracts (De la Hèle) and the success or other of Royal Privileges (Henri III to both Plantin and Le Jeune) are examined in light of the purpose of Plantin’s music publishing, to create value whether as commercial capital or symbolic prestige.

Publishing music in the late sixteenth century (Themed Session)

Session Abstract

Printing and the printing industry are universally considered as driving forces for fundamental social and political change in the early modern period. For the musical life of the sixteenth century, the invention and the success of music printing meant a paradigm shift. It created entirely new professions (e.g. printers and publishers), changed the career paths of musicians, and, last but not least, dynamised the dissemination of music in different social spheres. Focussing on musicians who were active in German-speaking lands, this session explores various aspects of music publishing in the late sixteenth century. The three papers will examine different aspects of music publishing ‒ from commercial strategies to printing techniques and new audiences.

Publication Strategies in the Imperial Court Chapel of Rudolf II | Moritz Kelber (University of Bern)

In the second half of the sixteenth century, the European market for printed music had largely consolidated. Printing music had become a business with calculable risks, and in cities like Venice, Antwerp, Paris, or Nuremberg, printers produced music books for regional and international markets alike. For composers, publishing their works in print was not only a matter of prestige but also a source of additional income. A direct consequence of the success of music printing was the control of music publishing by the political authorities, for example through printing privileges or by restricting the publication of certain works (musica reservata).

The musicians at Rudolf II’s imperial court participated extensively in the European music business despite the geographical remoteness of the imperial residence in Prague. The director of the court chapel Philipp de Monte and other court musicians were included in numerous printed collections and published many individual prints. However, the musicians pursued different publication strategies. While de Monte printed his works almost exclusively in Italy, composers like Jakob Regnart published their compositions only in German-speaking countries. This paper explores the background and motives behind the publication of compositions from the ranks of the chapel of Rudolf II. The starting point of this investigation will be the individual prints of the composers employed at the Prague court. Which actors were involved in the publication process besides the printers and musicians? In which markets did the court musicians position themselves? What role did political considerations play and was there any political agenda behind imperial music publications?

Showcasing Lasso in Paris: Le Roy & Ballard’s Lasso series (1570–1577) | Elisabeth Hösl (University of Munich)

In the 1560s Orlando di Lasso was already considered a shooting star by French aristocratic society. When the composer traveled to Paris in 1571, he managed to secure his status by acquiring a royal privilege for the publication of his music in France. This peak of Lasso’s French career is marked by a series of prints (1570– 1577), primarily motet books, printed by the royal music printers Le Roy & Ballard. These volumes are remarkably beautiful and thus point to a carefully considered programme: It seems that the parties involved – the composer, the printers, and perhaps members of the royal court – tried to enshrine Lasso’s impact in Paris within the music books. Despite King Charles IX trying to poach him from his post in Munich, Lasso never left Bavaria for Paris, and his 1571 journey is the only documented personal encounter of the composer with the French court. Nevertheless, the Le Roy & Ballard Lasso prints of the 1570s tell the story of a composer well established as a part of Parisian cultural life. In my paper, I am going to explore this showcasing of Lasso in France. The focus will be on the prints’ overall design ranging from the elaborate initials to small details like ornamentations of the clausula cantizans.

The Printed Tablature Books of Jacob Paix | Franz Körndle (University of Augsburg)

Printed tablatures for keyboard instruments were a rarity in the German-speaking lands in the late sixteenth century, while in handwritten form this notational practice enjoyed great popularity. However, the historical significance of the surviving printed tablatures should not be underestimated, despite their small number. In 1583, the Lauingen organist Jacob Paix published his Schön Nutz vnnd Gebreüchlich Orgel Tabulaturbuch, and in 1589 his Thesaurus Motetarum. These two printed collections are regularly cited in the context of other tablature books from around 1600 (Schmid, Rühling, or Woltz). In this paper, I will re- evaluate some key questions about the two collections published by Paix, discussing aspects like the structure of the anthologies, the arrangements of the pieces, tonalities, and transpositions. These questions include, for example, the selection of intavolated compositions and the designation of the Lasso motet Certa fortiter as a praeambulum, and lead to a general discussion about the use of printed tablatures in musical practice.