Singing Jeremiah

Singing Jeremiah

Music and Meaning in Holy Week
Kendrick, Robert L.
Distribution: World
Publication date: 05/05/2014
Format: Hardback 45 music exx., 1 b&w illus
ISBN: 978-0-253-01156-5
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A defining moment in Catholic life in early modern Europe, Holy Week brought together the faithful to commemorate the passion, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this study of ritual and music, Robert L. Kendrick investigates the impact of the music used during the Paschal Triduum on European cultures during the mid-16th century, when devotional trends surrounding liturgical music were established; through the 17th century, which saw the diffusion of the repertory at the height of the Catholic Reformation; and finally into the early 18th century, when a change in aesthetics led to an eventual decline of its importance. By considering such issues as stylistic traditions, trends in scriptural exegesis, performance space, and customs of meditation and expression, Kendrick enables us to imagine the music in the places where it was performed.

Author Bio

Robert L. Kendrick is Professor of Music at the University of Chicago. He is author of Celestial Sirens: Nuns and Music in Early Modern Milan and The Sounds of Milan, 1585–1650.


This is a path-breaking study in the field of sacred music from the 16th-18th centuries. No one other than Kendrick has delved so deeply into the relationship between sacred music; its function within the larger spiritual sphere of religious art; its relationship to changing attitudes toward spiritual experience and expression; and the manner in which those attitudes differ from one monastic order to another, or among various kinds of ecclesiastical institutions.The great value of Kendrick’s contribution is not only his magisterial command of the Holy Week repertory itself, but also his interest in examining the rite as would an anthropologist: the darkened setting in court, cathedral, or monastery; the variations in local practice; and the meaning of the rite and its texts for both the performers and the faithful participating in the service.

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Table of Contents

Terminology, Abbreviations, Texts
1. Symbolic Meanings, Sonic Penance
2. Textual Understandings, Musical Expressions
3. Devotion, Models, Circulation, 1550-1600
4. Dynastic Tenebrae
5. Static Rites, Dramatic Music
6. European Tenebrae c. 1680
7. Ad honorem Passionis: Triduum Music and Rational Piety
8. Endings and Continuities
Appendix: Tables 1-4

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