Catalogue


Divas in the convent [electronic resource] : nuns, music, and defiance in seventeenth-century Italy /
Craig A. Monson.
imprint
Chicago ; London : The University of Chicago Press, 2012.
description
xxiv, 272 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
ISBN
0226535193 (paperback : alkaline paper), 9780226535197 (paperback : alkaline paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Chicago ; London : The University of Chicago Press, 2012.
isbn
0226535193 (paperback : alkaline paper)
9780226535197 (paperback : alkaline paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
Praeludium: putting nun musicians in their place -- Donna Lucrezia Orsina Vizzana of Santa Cristina della Fondazza -- Lucrezia Vizzana's musical apprenticeship -- Musical and monastic disobedience in Vizzana's Componimenti musicali -- Hearing Lucrezia Vizzana's voice -- Troubles in an earthly paradise: "It began because of music" -- Voices of discord at Santa Cristina -- Losing battles with a bishop: "We cared for Babylon, and she is not healed" -- A gentler means to a bitter end -- "Pomp indecent for religious observance and modesty" -- Another bishop, another battle, a different outcome -- A last battle and an uneasy peace -- Coda.
general note
Revised edition of Disembodied voices.
catalogue key
11572090
 
Includes bibliographical references (pages 257-261) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Craig A. Monson is professor of music at Washington University in St. Louis and the author of Nuns Behaving Badly: Tales of Music, Magic, Art, and Arson in the Convents of Italy.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2013-01-01:
This is a revised version of the author's Disembodied Voices: Music and Culture in an Early Modern Italian Convent (CH, Jan'96, 33-2661). The present volume has had much of the scholarly apparatus of the former book excised, a move no doubt designed by the publisher to attract a nonscholarly readership. More annoying is the cover art, which is inspired by tabloid newspapers. As off-putting as these devices are, the updated book remains unscathed. This is a substantial work of scholarship that brings tremendous insights into the inner workings, politics, and musical culture of Bolognese convents of the early seicento. Monson (Washington Univ., St. Louis) concentrates on the musical accomplishments of the remarkable cloistered nun Lucrezia Vizzani (1590-1662), who, against the anti-musical tendencies of the Counter-Reformation and the restrictive dictates of her supervising bishops, managed to become an accomplished musician and composer, even publishing a highly acclaimed set of pieces, Componimenti musicali in 1623. The book's lively prose is enhanced by a good variety of illustrations and musical examples. Also included are a helpful glossary of terms and short biographical sketches of individuals mentioned in the text. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. W. E. Grim Strayer University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"[A] rich tapestry of cultural life, religious history, and gender politics that puts Whoopi Goldberg's shenanigans in Sister Act to shame. . . . Monson has rescued Vizzana and her colleagues from obscurity. Read Divas in the Convent as a reminder of music's power to uplift, to challenge, and to transform."
"Craig A. Monson's updated account of how the seventeenth-century Bolognese nun Lucrezia Vizzana was able to reflect the ecclesiastical, spiritual, and musical concerns of her day is bound to appeal to a wide audience both in and beyond academe. He delves into rivalry, betrayal, and madness in such lucid and elegant prose, so free from jargon, that it is almost a guilty pleasure to read. Especially satisfying is the 'codetta' to the book that allows it to come triumphantly full circle, with Vizzana's voice echoing from beyond the grave."
"Craig A. Monson's updated account of how the seventeenth-century Bolognese nun Lucrezia Vizzana was able to reflect the ecclesiastical, spiritual, and musical concerns of her day is bound to appeal to a wide audience both in and beyond academe. He delves into rivalry, betrayal, and madness in such lucid and elegant prose, so free from jargon, that it is almost a guilty pleasure to read. Especially satisfying is the 'codetta' to the book that allows it to come triumphantly full circle, with Vizzana's voice echoing from beyond the grave."-Colleen Reardon, University of California, Irvine
"Craig A. Monson's updated account of how the seventeenth-century Bolognese nun Lucrezia Vizzana was able to reflect the ecclesiastical, spiritual, and musical concerns of her day is bound to appeal to a wide audience both in and beyond academe. He delves into rivalry, betrayal, and madness in such lucid and elegant prose, so free from jargon, that it is almost a guilty pleasure to read. Especially satisfying is the 'codetta' to the book that allows it to come triumphantly full circle, with Vizzana's voice echoing from beyond the grave."Colleen Reardon, University of California, Irvine
"If the mark of a good book is that it opens up a new universe, then this book certainly qualifies. Monson kicks open the cloistered doors of Santa Cristina and tells a story of unparalleled talent among the inhabitants, who desire to create and sing music worthy of their high calling but pay a price in doing so. Meticulously researched, it is the story of nuns' love for music and the struggle against those who tell them to 'resign themselves with good cheer to God's ordering of things, as made manifest through their superiors.' The world of 17th-century convent life can seem foreign to modern-day church folks, and then again by simply changing the word 'music' to any one of the issues faced by similar religious communities today, perhaps it isn't so much different 300 years later. The maneuverings recorded in letters and documents now held in various Italian archives make this book a model to those who want to see history come alive."
"This is a substantial work of scholarship that brings tremendous insights into the inner workings, politics, and musical culture of Bolognese convents of the early seicento. . . . The book's lively prose is enhanced by a good variety of illustrations and musical examples. Also included are a helpful glossary of terms and short biographical sketches of individuals mentioned in the text. Recommended."
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, January 2013
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Monson retells the story of Vizzana and the nuns of Santa Cristina to elucidate the role that music played in the lives of these cloistered women. Monson explains how the sisters fought back with words and music, and when these proved futile, with bricks, roof tiles, and stones.
Main Description
When eight-year-old Lucrezia Orsina Vizzana (1590-1662) entered one of the preeminent convents in Bologna in 1598, she had no idea what cloistered life had in store for her. Thanks to clandestine instruction from a local maestro di cappella --and despite the church hierarchy's vehement opposition to all convent music--Vizzana became the star of the convent, composing works so thoroughly modern and expressive that a recent critic described them as "historical treasures." But at the very moment when Vizzana's works appeared in 1623--she would be the only Bolognese nun ever to publish her music--extraordinary troubles beset her and her fellow nuns, as episcopal authorities arrived to investigate anonymous allegations of sisterly improprieties with male members of their order. Craig A. Monson retells the story of Vizzana and the nuns of Santa Cristina to elucidate the role that music played in the lives of these cloistered women. Gifted singers, instrumentalists, and composers, these nuns used music not only to forge links with the community beyond convent walls, but also to challenge and circumvent ecclesiastical authority. Monson explains how the sisters of Santa Cristina--refusing to accept what the church hierarchy called God's will and what the nuns perceived as a besmirching of their honor--fought back with words and music, and when these proved futile, with bricks, roof tiles, and stones. These women defied one Bolognese archbishop after another, cardinals in Rome, and even the pope himself, until threats of excommunication and abandonment by their families brought them to their knees twenty-five years later. By then, Santa Cristina's imaginative but frail composer literally had been driven mad by the conflict. Monson's fascinating narrative relies heavily on the words of its various protagonists, on both sides of the cloister wall, who emerge vividly as imaginative, independent-minded, and not always sympathetic figures. In restoring the musically gifted Lucrezia Orsina Vizzana to history, Monson introduces readers to the full range of captivating characters who played their parts in seventeenth-century convent life.
Main Description
When eight-year-old Lucrezia Orsina Vizzana (15901662) entered one of the preeminent convents in Bologna in 1598, she had no idea what cloistered life had in store for her. Thanks to clandestine instruction from a local maestro di cappella -and despite the church hierarchy's vehement opposition to all convent music-Vizzana became the star of the convent, composing works so thoroughly modern and expressive that a recent critic described them as "historical treasures." But at the very moment when Vizzana's works appeared in 1623-she would be the only Bolognese nun ever to publish her music-extraordinary troubles beset her and her fellow nuns, as episcopal authorities arrived to investigate anonymous allegations of sisterly improprieties with male members of their order. Craig A. Monson retells the story of Vizzana and the nuns of Santa Cristina to elucidate the role that music played in the lives of these cloistered women. Gifted singers, instrumentalists, and composers, these nuns used music not only to forge links with the community beyond convent walls, but also to challenge and circumvent ecclesiastical authority. Monson explains how the sisters of Santa Cristina-refusing to accept what the church hierarchy called God's will and what the nuns perceived as a besmirching of their honor-fought back with words and music, and when these proved futile, with bricks, roof tiles, and stones. These women defied one Bolognese archbishop after another, cardinals in Rome, and even the pope himself, until threats of excommunication and abandonment by their families brought them to their knees twenty-five years later. By then, Santa Cristina's imaginative but frail composer literally had been driven mad by the conflict. Monson's fascinating narrative relies heavily on the words of its various protagonists, on both sides of the cloister wall, who emerge vividly as imaginative, independent-minded, and not always sympathetic figures. In restoring the musically gifted Lucrezia Orsina Vizzana to history, Monson introduces readers to the full range of captivating characters who played their parts in seventeenth-century convent life.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Preface to the New Editionp. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Dramatis Personaep. xix
List of Abbreviationsp. xxiii
Praeludium: Putting Nun Musicians in Their Placep. 1
Donna Lucrezia Orsina Vizzana of Santa Cristina della Fondazzap. 13
Lucrezia Vizzana's Musical Apprenticeshipp. 41
Musical and Monastic Disobedience in Vizzana's Componimenti muskalip. 60
Hearing Lucrezia Vizzana's Voicep. 71
Troubles in an Earthly Paradise: "It Began because of Music"p. 96
Voices of Discord at Santa Cristinap. 111
Losing Battles with a Bishop: "We Cared for Babylon, and She Is Not Healed"p. 132
A Gentler Means to a Bitter Endp. 149
"Pomp Indecent for Religious Observance and Modesty"p. 162
Another Bishop, Another Battle, a Different Outcomep. 172
A Last Battle and an Uneasy Peacep. 195
Codap. 209
Notesp. 225
Glossaryp. 251
Further Reading and Listeningp. 257
Indexp. 263
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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