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Paper Session
Nov 11, 2021 05:00 PM - 05:50 PM(America/Chicago)
20211111T1700 20211111T1750 America/Chicago Dramatic Expression in Office and Play

Study of medieval musical dramatic compositions – whether they be embedded within ritual or stand as more independent plays – has been set out in narratives from the tenth-century _Quem queritis_ tropes to various late medieval compositions, some simple, some elaborate, some partly in the vernacular. That dramatic expression was a technique already much indulged in by those who shaped Western Roman rite has never been ignored: studies of the mass itself, and of specific rituals such as the special ceremonies of Holy Week, have been the focus of much study (Young, 1933; Hardison, 1965; Kobialka, 1999; Peterson, 2004). Yet music and musical composition as primary vehicles of dramatic expression have remained too often absent from these broad approaches, often ignored because too little was known of the music and its dramatic power. 

The centrality of dramatic expression in music preserved in sources of the eleventh to thirteenth centuries provides focus for the papers in this session. It was in the divine office, unencumbered by the celebration of the eucharist and its special restrictions, that liturgical composers found significant space for new composition – as exemplified in the creation of new saint's offices (_historiae_). Above all, the long night office of matins generated an intensity in the experience of liturgy which could be brought to bear on understanding of the Christian world, its beliefs, behaviours and moralities. 

The first paper in this session uses miracle stories as markers of the exploitation of dramatic possibilities in office responsories and melismatic _neumae_, events which drew worshippers into liminal, revelatory encounters. A second paper considers the different potentials of office and play ...

AMS 2021 ams@amsmusicology.org

Study of medieval musical dramatic compositions – whether they be embedded within ritual or stand as more independent plays – has been set out in narratives from the tenth-century _Quem queritis_ tropes to various late medieval compositions, some simple, some elaborate, some partly in the vernacular. That dramatic expression was a technique already much indulged in by those who shaped Western Roman rite has never been ignored: studies of the mass itself, and of specific rituals such as the special ceremonies of Holy Week, have been the focus of much study (Young, 1933; Hardison, 1965; Kobialka, 1999; Peterson, 2004). Yet music and musical composition as primary vehicles of dramatic expression have remained too often absent from these broad approaches, often ignored because too little was known of the music and its dramatic power. 


The centrality of dramatic expression in music preserved in sources of the eleventh to thirteenth centuries provides focus for the papers in this session. It was in the divine office, unencumbered by the celebration of the eucharist and its special restrictions, that liturgical composers found significant space for new composition – as exemplified in the creation of new saint's offices (_historiae_). Above all, the long night office of matins generated an intensity in the experience of liturgy which could be brought to bear on understanding of the Christian world, its beliefs, behaviours and moralities. 


The first paper in this session uses miracle stories as markers of the exploitation of dramatic possibilities in office responsories and melismatic _neumae_, events which drew worshippers into liminal, revelatory encounters. A second paper considers the different potentials of office and play, demonstrating how new dramatic composition could offer space for the voicing of sentiments sidelined in the office – in this case grief expressed in lament. With Mary Magdalene as its main thread, a third paper considers interactions between offices and plays, one context more fixed, the other more pliable. All three presentations re-imagine the inherently dramatic nature of the divine office, now enhanced by new musical creativity, and providing an essential background for those phenomena commonly known as "plays".

Melodic miracles and the dramatic thresholds of matins
Session 05:00 PM - 05:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/11 23:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/11 23:50:00 UTC

Medieval literature is full of tales in which miraculous goings-on coincide with the audition or performance of song. Precedents go back to antiquity and the Bible, yet from the moment that Romano-Frankish chant was established as the musical _lingua franca_ of Western Christendom, in the ninth century, many authors began to weave their tales around named or otherwise readily identifiable compositions. Very often the text of the chant can explain (away) the allusion. Equally, as Christopher Page has pointed out, music that was liturgically positioned had a unique propensity to serve as a "coordinate" in the collective memory of an event (2010, 2016).


However, closer examination of these stories reveals that some musical scenarios were more highly favoured than others, suggesting that that there is more to these citations than meets the eye. Liturgically-inclined scholars have already observed as much, albeit obliquely. Writing about the visionary Elisabeth of Schönau, Felix Heinzer noted the potential for vision narratives to be aligned with "dramatically accentuated moments" of the liturgy, in which category he included the dramatic unfolding of the responsory chant (2013). Meanwhile, Éric Palazzo has noted how liturgically-induced visions tended to cluster at night, during the musically-intense night office of matins (2010).


In this paper I draw these strands together by exploring a significant, yet hitherto unnoticed, concentration of miracle stories that coincide with matins responsories, specifically the extended responsory performances that marked the ends of nocturns. Whilst many of these narratives appear to reference wordless _neuma_ melodies, famously allegorised by Amalarius of Metz as marking a threshold between human and divine, this is not the common theme. Rather, the unifying strand is the concept of the threshold. Experienced ritually yet understood eschatologically, the notion of "crossing over" was articulated simultaneously by the ritual action, by the musical content, and by the layered narratives of chant texts, liturgical texts, and hagiography. Amongst the implications of these observations are fresh insights into the design of chants in saints' _historiae_, as well as a reconsideration of _neumatizing_ and _polyphonizing_ as performance practices within the medieval Divine Office.

Presenters
HP
Henry Parkes
University Of Nottingham
“Lamentation and weeping, and great mourning”: a late twelfth-century Innocents’ play
Session 05:00 PM - 05:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/11 23:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/11 23:50:00 UTC

When set beside the office liturgy for the feast of the Holy Innocents, the Innocents' play in Orléans Bibliothèque municipale 201 is striking: while it takes over much from the standard liturgy in direct or indirect form, its design apportions space for the expression of diverse voices in a completely different way. In the responsories for the night office it is the exegetical understanding of the children massacred by Herod's order which dominates: taken, with only one exception, from Revelation chapters 6 and 14, their texts tell of the fate of these martyred souls, and call for vengeance. It is just that one exception, the responsory _Vox in Rama_ (Matt. 2.18) which links the night office to the moment in the life of Christ when he escaped Herod's massacre. In contrast, the Innocents' play gives almost a half of its span to Rachel's lament and attempts by others to console her. This lament is set within other frames – exegetical (the martyrs of Revelation, see Boynton 1998) and narrative (the journey of Joseph and family) – but it is Rachel's suffering which is emphasized, through narrative design, and textual and musical techniques. Even the closing _Te deum laudamus_ could hardly wash away the pathos of Rachel's anguish, heard in new sounds which could catch the ear in a way that the familiar, rejoicing _Te deum_ might not.


The expression of voices, single or in dialogue, was not absent from Gregorian chant: 

responsories of the office included many such historical "voicing" chants, both for single voices, and in two or more in dialogue. Such chants could bring intensity to the moment of their delivery, using melody to articulate their texts in specific ways: in this sense, dramatic expression has very deep liturgical roots. But new dramatic composition was at once freer than the established liturgy, less tied to tradition, more flexible, and thus able to provide a space for local expression and creativity. Unlike the office liturgy for the Innocents' feast, the play preserved in Orléans 201 draws attention to the grief of parents who have lost their children, sometimes through appalling massacre.

Presenters
SR
Susan Rankin
University Of Cambridge
Seer and sinner: Mary Magdalene in offices and plays from the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries
Session 05:00 PM - 05:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/11 23:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/11 23:50:00 UTC

The medieval Mary Magdalene was a complex amalgamation created from various passages of scripture. In the course of the eleventh century this character grew beyond the sermons of Gregory the Great and early _vitae_ through the development of full-blown proper offices for the celebration of her major feast on July 22. Regional differences between these various liturgical materials were first laid out by Victor Saxer in his classic study _Le Culte de Marie Madeleine en Occident_ (1959). David Hiley (2004) identified the major families of chants in the varied Magdalene offices, mostly works composed before the middle of the twelfth century. 


My study first outlines two strains of the Magdalene office, one found in a twelfth-century breviary from the Benedictine monastery of Fontevraud, and the other from the thirteenth century at Klosterneuberg. Using these very different Magdalene offices for context, I then turn to Magdalene's character as found in three plays. The earlier two are Lazarus plays, one attributed to Abelard's student Hilarius, and the other as found in Orléans Bibliothèque municipale 201, the so-called Fleury playbook. The third is as found in the early thirteenth-century compilation Munich Bayerische Staatsbibliothek clm 4660 (_Carmina Burana_). When themes and topics represented in the offices and their arrangements are compared with those of the plays, vast differences emerge in the ways the distinct genres manipulate the unfolding of time to create character. But the Magdalene of the offices does not evolve to a significant degree in the later Middle Ages. The situation is completely different in the plays. In the Hilarius play, a penitent emphasis is absent. In the play from Orléans 201, a new scene at the opening introduces Mary, the sinner. In the south German/Austrian play, Magdalene is a prostitute, with many details of her sinful life on display. The counterpoint between the Mary of the offices and the Mary of the plays creates a rich commerce of exchange, but it is the plays that represent a major turning point in the development of Magdalene's cult.

Presenters
MF
Margot Fassler
University Of Notre Dame
University of Nottingham
University of Cambridge
University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame
University of Chicago
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