Robert Rawson (Canterbury Christ Church University) ‘Melancholy Ditties about Dirt and Disorder’: the Roles of Rustic Music at Bohemian and Moravian Courts c.1600–1750’ Abstract: We often encounter the concept in musical literature that composers of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries ‘quoted folk melodies’ in courtly or ecclesiastical works. In the context of the rehabilitating counterreformation culture of the Czech lands (Bohemia and Moravia) after the Thirty Years War any appearance of peasant culture in a courtly context was a carefully managed affair. This seminar examines the seemingly paradoxical demands of verisimilitude and decorum in courtly and monastic repertoires and questions some of the traditional interpretations of these scenarios as ‘folk music’. Instead, it is argued that such works usually tell us more about courtly attitudes and culture than about the rustic materials they seem to be evoking. Of course these are not laws of nature and a variety of contexts and musical examples will be discussed with the hope of further consideration of rustic or ‘barbaric’ musical evocations across Europe more widely. Robert Rawson, Senior Lecturer in Music at Canterbury Christ Church University, is a musicologist and performer with a special interest in music of Central and Eastern Europe. He has published widely on Czech and Austrian music before c.1800 and has just completed a monograph Bohemian Baroque: Czech Musical Culture and Style c.1600–1750 (Boydell and Brewer, 2013). He has also performed in concerts, recordings and radio broadcasts in Europe and the USA as a violist and double bassist.
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