Evening lecture: Malleable Normativity: Town Design, Town Government and Musical Practice in the Jesuit Missions of South America

  • Date: Sep 15, 2014
  • Time: 06:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Leonardo J. Waisman
  • CONICET, Argentina
  • Host: Max Planck Institute for European Legal History

Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte
Lecture on Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, 18 h

A joint activity of the Max-Planck-Institut für empirische Ästhetik
and the Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte

Leonardo J. Waisman / CONICET, Argentina

Malleable Normativity: Town Design, Town Government and Musical Practice in the Jesuit Missions of South America

The Spanish Empire was marked by a profusion of norms and rules that tried to contain the variety of geographical, political and cultural situations and processes it encompassed. Hundreds of cédulas, decrees and laws of different levels of origin and application, with occasional contradictions, accumulated throughout its history of nearly four-hundred-years with sporadic attempts at systematization. But their very multiplicity attests to the difficulty of applying and enforcing any rule equally on such variegated populations and circumstances.

Thus, negotiation became a necessity. By mere unauthorized local adaptation, by lobbying for special permissions, and only rarely by obtaining changes in the general laws, the rules were bent and twisted so that, in a different shape, it could be said that they were applied and obeyed.

The present lecture focuses on such processes as they are manifest in what we now would call cultural aspects of the Jesuit reductions in the provinces of Paraguay and Peru: missions of the Guaraní, the Chiquito, and the Mojo. The modifications of the standard plan for town design and the raised prestige and political power of the office of chapelmaster are two signal aspects examined. A brief panorama of the reducciones and their musical practices (with recorded examples) serves as an introduction.

Leonardo J. Waisman studied composition and musicology at the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (Argentina) and the University of Chicago. He has published on the Italian madrigal, American colonial music, performance practice, popular music of Argentina, and the social significance of musical styles. He has devoted much work to the music of Jesuit missions in South America. He has edited three operas by Vicente Martín y Soler and written a comprehensive biography of the composer. He is a Research Fellow at the Argentine National Council for Science and Technology (CONICET). As a harpsichordist and conductor specializing in Baroque music, he has presented a number of concerts of previously unperformed music in America, Europe and the Far East, as well as recording two CDs for the Melopea label.

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