Holy Concord within Sacred Walls: Nuns and Music in Siena, by Colleen Reardon

By Colleen Reardon

This quantity examines musical tradition either in and out seventeenth-century Sienese convents. not like previous reviews of Italian convent track, this booklet attracts upon archival assets to reconstruct an ecclesiastical tradition that celebrated track internally and shared tune freely with the group outdoor convent partitions. Colleen Reardon argues that cloistered girls in Siena loved an important measure of freedom to have interaction in musical objectives. The nuns produced a amazing physique of labor together with motets, lamentations, theatrical performs or even an opera. for that reason, the convent turned a tremendous cultural heart in Siena that liked the help and encouragement of its clergy and lay community.

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26 The task of leading the ensembles of nuns, novices, and boarders in rehearsal and performance was often entrusted to a nun maestra. Only two convents, Le Trafisse and S. 27 At Le Trafisse, officers were elected every three years, and those with Gl’angeli mettano una corona alla monaca che canta 35 musical ability often served repeated terms in this capacity.

The appointment of Ascanio I as titular archbishop in 1588 may have emboldened him to take a stonger stance against such actions, for in August 1591 he placed the offending convents under interdiction. This was lifted in December of the same year but reimposed in 1592 when women from Paradiso and Vita Eterna once again left the city during harvest. 48 One result of these actions was that members of the Balı`a and well-connected male regulars wrote letters on their behalf to Rome. This kind of pressure probably helped the nuns win ground on three issues of utmost importance to their survival.

The instrumental ensemble at S. Petronilla can be partially 34 Holy Concord within Sacred Walls reconstructed only for the mid-1670s. In those years, documents show payments for cleaning and repairing a spinet (spinetta), a violone, and a theorbo. By the 1680s, S. 24 Nuns and novices were not the only performers in the cloister. The educande also had the opportunity to learn to sing and play from the convent’s musicians. This practice, when carried out too enthusiastically or thoughtlessly, could lead to friction between the teacher-performers and the women for whom music was not a top priority.

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