Hard Songs conference
Conference/Symposium | May 31 | 250 Morrison Hall
Artifice and complexity is the phrase commonly used to characterize the aesthetic world cultivated by fifteenth-century composers. Their music employs dense contrapuntal structures, extensive intertextuality, and elaborate transformations like retrograde and mensuration canons. Viewed from the vantage point of the sixteenth century (following the advent of music printing and the religious reformations), the fifteenth century would seem to represent the last flowering of artifice for artifices sake.
What makes something difficult in this period? Is complex music difficult to compose, perform, or understand? Where should we set the bar for calling something hard? What cultural or intellectual work did the category of difficulty perform in this repertoire? And is difficulty the right concept at all? Surely what we find difficult is not the same as what late-medieval musicians did; and surely the values and judgments surrounding difficulty are not universal.
Through scholarly presentations, a workshop with professional singers of early music, and a roundtable discussion, this symposium addresses an issue fundamental to understanding the musical cultures of the fifteenth century.
2:003:00 - Coffee and Introductions
3:005:00 - Session I: Composition and Canons
David Burn, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Jason Stoessel, University of New England
Julie Cumming, McGill University
Fabrice Fitch, Royal Northern College of Music
8:00 - Cut Circle Concert in Hertz hall (tickets required)
Note: The conference continues on 6/1
This symposium is hosted by Assistant Professor Emily Zazulia with generous support from the Hellman Fellows Fund.