Polyphone Herrschermessen (1500–1650): Kontext und Symbolizität
to be published June 2013
Abhandlungen zur Musikgeschichte -
Integrating texts of homage for secular rulers in sacral mass settings may at first sight seem to be a contradiction. In actual fact, however, the mass – the most liturgical of all genres – was particularly attractive to Renaissance composers as a form of paying homage to a ruler. This study is the first to present a systematic examination of masses for secular rulers from their beginning in around 1500 (Josquin Desprez’ “Missa Hercules Dux Ferraria”) to the mid-17th century. It analyses and correlates the historical contexts, compositorial style and symbolism of masses from Italy, Spain, Portugal and the House of Habsburg. The outstanding feature of masses for secular rulers is their instrumentalisation as demonstrations of political power using the liturgical mass as a medium. In masses for secular rulers the sacral aspect of the renaissance ruler are brought to a culmination, sonorously symbolising, as it were, the divine legitimation of their rule.