Music in the Service of Counter-Reformation Politics: The Immaculate Conception at the Habsburg Court of Ferdinand III (1637-1657)

Weaver, A.H. (2006). Music & Letters. 87(3): 361-378.

During the tumultuous final decade of the Thirty Years War, the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III used music as an important tool to further his religious and political agendas. Using the political ramifications of the emperor's public devotion to the Immaculate Conception as a frame of reference, this article presents two case studies in which meaning is teased out of Marian motets written by the imperial court composer Giovanni Felice Sances and by Ferdinand III himself. In the first study, a motet by Sances with a seemingly generic text is shown to present important Habsburg messages through the composer's powerful music; the second study examines the incorporation of music within the Emperor's most important religious-political ceremony in the face of a Swedish siege in 1645. In both cases not only does the imperial court context provide insights into the music, but the music also sheds light onto how Ferdinand III was able to steer successfully through the war despite military defeat.


(Something interesting I found)Posted:Jan 01 2006, 12:00 AM by admin
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