New essays about Isabella d’Este and Lucretia Borgia

IDEA is pleased to announce the publication of three new essays about Isabella d’Este and Lucretia Borgia by Laura Jeppesen, Anne MacNeil, and Elizabeth Randell Upton in Uncovering Music of Early European Women (1250-1750), edited by Claire Fontijn (New York: Routledge, 2020).

From the Introduction by Claire Fontijn:

Part II: Interlude
“Aesthetics of Performance in the Renaissance: Lessons from Noblewomen” by Laura Jeppesen

In the Interlude, Laura Jeppesen brings her skill as a professional performing musician to trace the origins of the viola da gamba. She sets about to solve the problem of nomenclature that has been problematic in the English translations of Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier: the catch-all phrase of “viola” that has often been translated as “lute.” By focusing on the commissions made by Isabella d’Este at the turn of the sixteenth century, she shows that the marchesa actually aided the evolution of the viola da gamba with frequent requests for the latest instruments.

Part III: Music for Royal Rivals
“Songs for Isabella d’Este” by Anne MacNeil

In her chapter “Songs for Isabella d’Este,” Anne MacNeil provides a complement to the magnificent film that she produced, Ad Tempo Taci: Songs for Isabella d’Este [available in IDEA’s Video Archive]. She probes the instrumentarium of Isabella d’Este to recreate her intimate soundscape, … [paying] close attention to art and architectural history on one hand and to literary analysis on the other.

“Lucrezia Borgia’s Voice” by Elizabeth Randell Upton

Elizabeth Randell Upton, like Jeppesen, takes her lead from Peter de Roo and G.J. Meyer and seeks to further repair the reputation of Lucrezia Borgia that has suffered centuries of misinformation. Upton looks at an aspect of Borgia’s musical legacy—as a woman who may have taken part in the singing of “Virgo salutiferi,” a Josquin motet composed during the year that he spent in Ferrara. Upton’s chapter invites us to consider the possibility of one woman’s participation in musical culture alongside the somewhat monolithic mass of male singers associated with court and chapel in the Renaissance; again, some women did have a Renaissance.

Download the ebook from Taylor & Francis or purchase a hard copy of Uncovering Music of Early European Women here