The Sacred Works of Antonio Bertali (1605-1669). A Study in the Interplay of Music and Liturgy at the Viennese Court in the Seventeenth Century
02 / 2008 - 07 / 2011
Antonio Bertali was één van de belangrijkste componisten van de 17e eeuw. Dit project draagt bij tot de herontdekking van deze veronachtzaamde meester. Door een vernieuwende interdisciplinaire benaderingswijze wordt de invloed van theologie, liturgie, architectuur en politiek op zijn muziek belicht.
Antonio Bertali (1605-1669) was one of the foremost composers of the seventeenth century. Active at the Imperial Court in Vienna for more than forty years?the last twenty years as Hofkapellmeister?he was ranked amongst composers such as Giacomo Carissimi, Claudio Monteverdi, and Heinrich Schütz. Like them, he fell into oblivion shortly after 1700; unlike their works, however, his outstanding Svre has hitherto not been revived. On the one hand, the proposed research aims to produce major groundwork on Bertali, such as an authoritative biography, a catalogue of his works and their sources, and editions of his key compositions; on the other hand, it will focus specifically on his sacred works and their contexts. In the service of Emperors Ferdinand III. and Leopold I., both Catholic zealots, these works fulfilled an important role in religious life at court, flaunted the splendour of the Habsburg Empire, and reflected its policy of Counter reformation. Since the reign of Ferdinand II., it was customary for the Emperor to hear Mass and Vespers in churches in and around Vienna. This continuing practice of movable religious observance left its mark on the works composed for these specific occasions. Matching individual works with particular events will give insights into the interplay between liturgy, religious space, performance practice, and the compositional process. Not only Bertali's vocal works, but also his large output of instrumental music, often unjustly regarded as secular by default, will be considered under the these aspects. The novelty of the research lies not only in its subject, but also in its methodology: the interdisciplinary approach, which combines historical, musicological, theological, and philo-logical research methods, allows this project to go beyond the narrow boundaries of its subject and could be considered as a paradigm case for the study of sacred music in general.