This essay considers the contrasting circumstances and perspectives on music making in New Spain (colonial Mexico) from the time of Charles V into the seventeenth century, highlighting the fragmentary nature of the evidence, its inextricable connection to the ritual of the Catholic Church, and the role of the religious orders. It questions the commonplace narrative of the magical power of European music among indigenous populations, an assertion made by period missionaries themselves, and looks into musical practices related to those in the European Low Countries. It also underscores the agency of individual musicians in a colonial musical environment and suggests that the surviving music repertoires primarily underscore the Tridentine Catholicism associated with King Philip II and his successors.
Instrumental music fulfilled significant roles throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in both the courts and cities of Central Europe, where it formed the sonic foundation for many musical functions and entertainments, especially the church services, balls, concerts, and table music that refreshed both body and spirit. This essay offers a survey of the genres and functions of instrumental music at the Central European Habsburg courts, including such topics as the varieties of dance music, instrumental music as recreation for Habsburg family members, changing musical styles, and the various contexts in which instrumental music was heard, including church services, weddings, banquets, academies, bathhouses, carnival celebrations, and the theatre.
The practice of music at the imperial Habsburg courts of the sixteenth century has been a subject of musicological scholarship since the second half of the nineteenth century. This chapter provides an overview of different areas of musical practice in the households of Emperors Ferdinand I, Maximilian II, Rudolph II, and Matthias. An outline of the development of the institution and its organizational structure is provided, using the court chapel of Ferdinand I as a case study, before discussing the changes and continuities in the musical personnel as a consequence of changes in government. Leading composers and performers are also discussed, including the compositional output by such Habsburg court musicians as Arnold von Bruck, Pieter Maessins, Jacobus Vaet, Philippe de Monte, Jacob Regnart, Carl Luython, and Lambert de Sayve. In addition to discussions of the institutional musical practice within the court chapel, a brief overview of the practice of instrumental and chamber music is also provided.
The patrimonial rupture that occurred in the line of Habsburg emperors upon the death of childless Emperor Matthias had significant consequences for the musical life at the imperial court. Matthias’s successor, his cousin Ferdinand II, had been raised at his father Archduke Charles II’s Inner Austrian court at Graz, a bastion of both the Counter-Reformation and of Italian music and culture. It was with this line that the Baroque came to the Habsburg courts, with an influx of Italian musicians (including Giovanni Priuli, Giovanni Valentini, Antonio Bertali, Giovanni Felice Sances, and Antonio Draghi) and the cultivation of cutting-edge musical styles and genres. Helping to nourish the growth of Italian Baroque culture were the Italian brides of Ferdinand II and Ferdinand III, both named Eleonora Gonzaga. This Italian music was put to use as a political weapon in the Habsburgs’ fervent attempts to re-Catholicize their realms, even in the face of the Thirty Years’ War. Unlike the previous line of Austrian emperors, for whom it was customary to dismiss their predecessor’s musicians, this line saw a continuity of chapel membership across the Emperors’ reigns, from Ferdinand II to Ferdinand III to Leopold I.
The marriage of Maximilian of Austria to Mary of Burgundy brought the famed Burgundian chapel into the Habsburg orbit and set the pattern for later Habsburg court chapels, including those of Maximilian’s son Philip the Fair and grandson Charles V. The chapel was of fluctuating membership, but its numbers typically increased in preparation for significant events, such as Philip’s two journeys to Spain. Aside from an organist, instrumentalists were not formally part of the chapel but were used at least occasionally with the singers – initially all adult males, but by the time of Charles V, incorporating boys as well. At irregular intervals, from 1469 into the reign of Philip II, ordinances governing the duties and behavior of the chapel were drawn up by successive rulers. These document a heavy round of liturgical duties for the chapel that typically included the performance of polyphony. Not surprisingly, the chapels of each ruler included various composers. Among these were Heinrich Isaac (designated specifically as a composer), Ludwig Senfl, and Paul Hofhaimer (for Maximilian); Pierre de La Rue, Alexander Agricola, Marbriano de Orto, and Gaspar van Weerbeke (for Philip); and Nicolas Gombert, Thomas Crecquillon, and Cornelius Canis (for Charles). Each chapel was thereby supplied with compositions in the latest style by leading contemporaries for use both in the liturgy and for ceremonial occasions. The chapel thus served as an extension and glorification of the ruler’s power and majesty.