Manchester, 14th-18th July 2004


Samantha Owens (The University of Queensland, Australia)

Censorship of the goût moderne in 1730s Ludwigsburg and the music of Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello

The year 1730 saw the Württemberg court (based in Ludwigsburg) promote Kammerjunker Christian Adolf von Ziegesar to the newly-created position of aristocratic Obermusicdirector. Charged with improving discipline amongst the court musicians, Ziegesar’s employment contract also demonstrates that the censorship of music was central to his role. Rather remarkably, he was specifically required to ensure the exclusion of the ‘goût moderne’ from performances at the court ‘at all times’, a situation which raises a number of issues relating to the artistic priorities of the duke and those of the members of his Hofkapelle.

This paper will examine the relationship between the Württemberg ‘goût moderne’ and the Neapolitan-orientated style galant, as well as the extent to which this authoritarian edict was put into practice and the impact it had upon music written for the court. Not surprisingly, Ziegesar’s appointment produced a great deal of tension within the Hofkapelle, particularly in terms of conflict with the Oberkapellmeister Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello (c.1690-1758), for which palpable evidence exists in the form of letters and reports written by both men. Brescianello is a key figure in this investigation—not least because Ziegesar’s appointment significantly undermined his authority—and his extant music for the court will be analysed in light of these questions. His compositional output, some of which can be dated, includes both vocal and instrumental music, primarily in manuscript form but also a published set of XII Concerti et Sinphonie dedicated to his employer, Duke Eberhard Ludwig of Württemberg (1676-1733).

Last updated on 09 May 2004