Allo stile dei musici di questa nazione: Balancing the Old and New in Portuguese Church Music from the 1720s and 1730s

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Abstract

This essay provides an overview of the changes occurred in Lisbon in the late 1710s specifically in the field of church music, its compositional and performing practices. These changes were the result of a complex political and diplomatic programme designed to bring the kingdom to modernity and, at the same time, legitimize the absolutist power of the Portuguese crown. Owing to the fact that one of the main objectives of such a programme was to achieve the endorsement of Rome – since Rome was a centre of international prestige and global influence – this amounted to a process of ‚Romanization‘, that is, a process of assimilation and adaptation of Roman models by Portuguese culture. This process was not a simple transplantation of cultural products and practices from the centre to the periphery but was rather a dynamic process of acculturation, adaptation and negotiation visibly rooted in emerging forms of historical awareness and in cultural emulation. Focusing particularly on some of the exemplary works by João Rodrigues Esteves and Francisco António de Almeida, the musical context for such a process is traced through the examination of how local composers working in the 1720s and 1730s understood old repertories, processed and rendered older styles into new compositions and distinguished them from their own ‚modern‘, Italianate idiom.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-53
Number of pages20
JournalBasler Jahrbuch für Historische Musikpraxis
Volume38
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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