Music played an exceptionally important role in the late Middle Ages - articulating people's social, psychological and eschatological needs. The process began with the training of choirboys whose skill was key to institutional identity. That skill was closely cultivated and directly sought by kings and emperors, who intervened directly in recruitment of choirboys and older singers in order to build and articulate their self-image and perceived status. Using the documentation of an exceptionally well preserved archive, this book focuses on music's functioning in an important church in late Medieval Northern France. It explores a period when musicians from this region set the agenda across Europe, developing what is still some of the most sophisticated music in the Western musical tradition. The book allows a close focus not on the great achievements of those who cultivated this music, but on the personal motivations that shaped their life and work.
Dedication; Acknowledgements; List of plates; Note on editorial policy, currency and dates; Prologue: Saint-omer and the growth of urban power; 1. The maîtrise; 2. Identities and career patterns; 3. Masters and master singers; 4. The organs; 5. The bells; 6. Loose canons? Music and the craft of ecclesiastical power; Epilogue. A cloistered art: connoisseurship and private music-making; Appendix. Documents pertaining to the suppression of benefices for the upkeep of the master and choirboys; Bibliography.
Andrew Kirkman is the Peyton and Barber Professor of Music at the University of Birmingham. He has published widely on English and Continental Music of the fifteenth century, with Cambridge and Oxford University Presses and in the top journals in the field. He is also conductor of the award-winning Binchois Consort, with which he has recorded twelve CDs on the Hyperion label.
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