Music and Power at the Court of Louis XIII
Sounding the Liturgy in Early Modern France
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of Pages: 350
Width: 25 cm
Height: 18 cm
What role did sacred music play in mediating Louis XIII's grip on power in the early seventeenth century? How can a study of music as 'sounding liturgy' contribute to the wider discourse on absolutism and 'the arts' in early modern France? Taking the scholarship of the so-called 'ceremonialists' as a point of departure, Peter Bennett engages with Weber's seminal formulation of power to consider the contexts in which liturgy, music and ceremonial legitimated the power of a king almost continuously engaged in religious conflict. Numerous musical settings show that David, the psalmist, musician, king and agent of the Holy Spirit, provided the most enduring model of kingship; but in the final decade of his life, as Louis dedicated the Kingdom to the Virgin Mary, the model of 'Christ the King' became even more potent – a model reflected in a flowering of musical publication and famous paintings by Vouet and Champaigne.
'How did music project the king's sovereignty in early modern France? Bennett's brilliant new study is the first sustained investigation of sacred music and royal liturgies at the time, one with important ramifications for our understanding of the reign of Louis XIV and the indebtedness of late seventeenth-century court ceremonial to earlier forms. Bennett is an expert liturgist who brings this unjustly neglected period and its music into earshot for scholars from across the disciplines. Impeccably researched and beautifully written, this elegantly illustrated volume makes a major contribution to studies of the ancien regime.' Kate van Orden, Harvard University