Andrew Kirkman (b.1961)

The Cultural Life of the Early Polyphonic Mass

Reading sample

Medieval Context to Modern Revival

Book (Hardcover)

Item no.775348
Author/ComposerAndrew Kirkman
Scope398 pages; 17.8 × 25.4 cm
Release year2010
Publisher/ProducerCambridge University Press
Producer No.9780521114127
107.20 €
Delivery time approx. 1–2 weeks.
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The 'cyclic' polyphonic Mass has long been seen as the pre-eminent musical genre of the late Middle Ages, spawning some of the most impressive and engrossing musical edifices of the period. Modern study of these compositions has greatly enhanced our appreciation of their construction and aesthetic appeal. Yet close consideration of their meaning – cultural, social, spiritual, personal – for their composers and original users has begun only much more recently. This book considers the genre both as an expression of the needs of the society in which it arose and as a fulfilment of aesthetic priorities that arose in the wake of the Enlightenment. From this dual perspective, it aims to enhance both our appreciation of the genre for today's world, and our awareness of what it is that makes any cultural artefact endure: its susceptibility to fulfil the different evaluative criteria, and social needs, of different times.

  • Examines the role of polyphonic music in late-medieval liturgy, opening up new views of late-medieval religious practice to liturgists and chant scholars
  • Fosters a historical awareness of the role of sound in enhancing key rituals and symbolism of the late Middle Ages
  • Enhances appreciation of the genre for listeners today by demonstrating its enduring legacy