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Gaspar van Weerbeke: Works and Contexts

29 June – 1 July, 2017

University of Salzburg, Department of Musicology and Dance Studies

The conference featured twenty papers on this long neglected Flemish composer by an international field of scholars, including keynote addresses from Klaus Pietschmann (Universität Mainz) and Fabrice Fitch (Royal Northern College of Music). The conference included sessions on Gaspar in Italy, Gaspar in France and Burgundy, Gaspar’s Missa O Venus bant, Gaspar’s songs, style and transmission, and composition and competition. It ended with a reconstruction workshop for two songs whose bass parts do not survive.

Conveners: Andrea Lindmayr-Brandl (University of Salzburg), Agnese Pavanello (Schola Cantorum Basiliensis), and Paul Kolb (University of Salzburg)

  • Conference Program [pdf]
  • Paper abstracts [pdf]

Thursday 29 June

10:00–10:20: Introduction

10:20–11:00: Keynote 1

Klaus Pietschmann (University of Mainz), “Seven reasons for Italy. Gaspar van Weerbeke’s career between Flanders, Milan and Rome”

11:30–12:30: Gaspar in Italy

Paul A. Merkley (University of Ottawa), “Weerbeke in Milan: Court and Colleagues”

Sean Gallagher (New England Conservatory), “Belle promesse e facti nulla: Ludovico Sforza, Lorenzo de’ Medici, and a Singer Caught in the Middle”

14:00–15:00: Gaspar in France and Burgundy

Grantley McDonald (University of Vienna), “Gaspar van Weerbeke as a member of the Burgundian chapel of Maximilian I”

Jeannette Jones (Boston University), “Gaspar in French Circles: The Poetic Witness of Guillaume Crétin”

15:30–16:30: Singing Gaspar from Facsimile

16:30–18:00: Gaspar’s Missa O Venus bant

Brett Kostrzewski (Boston University), “For the Love of Venus: Gaspar’s Mass O Venus bant and choirbooks of mass music in the late 15th century”

Clare Bokulich (Washington University in St. Louis), “The Missa O venus bant as Song Cycle”

Murray Steib (Ball State University), “Weerbeke versus Isaac: Differing Approaches to Polyphonic Quotations”

20:15–21:15: Conference concert

Friday 30 June

9:30–10:10: Keynote 2

Fabrice Fitch (Royal Northern College of Music), “‘Under the Radar’ or ‘Caught in the Crossfire’? Gaspar van Weerbeke’s Music and Its Reception-History”

10:30–11:30: Chansons I

Carlo Bosi (University of Salzburg), “Caught in the Web of Texts: The chanson Family Bon vin/Bon temps

Eric Jas (Utrecht University), “La stangetta—Weerbecke or Isaac?”

12:00–13:00: Chansons II

David Fallows (University of Manchester), “Gaspar and Japart: the secular works, with particular reference to Basevi 2442”

Philip Weller (University of Nottingham), “Saving Appearances? Sketching a profile for the secular Weerbeke”

14:0015:00: Joint Paper and Lecture Recital

Matthew Gouldstone (UK) and Jennifer Thomas (University of Florida), “Josquin, Gaspar and Franchinus: Style, Structure, and Performance of the Motet Cycles”

15:30–17:00: Style and Transmission

Paul Kolb (University of Salzburg), “A New Mass and Its Implications for Gaspar’s Late Mass Style”

Andrea Lindmayr-Brandl (University of Salzburg), “Petrucci’s Gaspar”

Agnese Pavanello (Schola Cantorum Basiliensis), “Weerbeke’s Styles: Motets, Texts, and Chronology”

17:20–18:30: Composition and Competition

Wolfgang Fuhrmann (University of Mainz), “Another ‘most laudable competition’? Gaspar, Josquin, and the Virgin in distress”

Peter Urquhart (University of New Hampshire), “Sequences and (dare I say it) tonality in Weerbeke”

19:3021:00: Conference Dinner

Saturday 1 July

9:30–12:30: Reconstruction Workshop

Richard Freedman (Haverford College), “Gaspar’s Lost Voice”

Reconstruction Workshop: A session at the conference Gaspar van Weerbeke: Works and Contexts

University of Salzburg, 29 June – 1 July 2017

Full workshop description with song transcriptions (pdf)

Of the fifty-five songs in the incomplete set of partbooks FlorC Basevi 2442, three were attributed to “Gaspart”. As fully half of the surviving song or instrumental repertory with a potential attribution to Gaspar van Weerbeke, these partbooks may help answer questions concerning the composer’s engagement with vernacular genres. Because the bass partbook is missing, however, their utility is impaired. Only one of the three songs has any concordances: the remaining two survive with only three of their original four voices.

As a session at the conference Gaspar van Weerbeke: Works and Contexts, this workshop confronted some of the problems that modern scholars face when trying to reconstruct songs from c. 1500. Bon temps, for example, opens with different song melodies in the three higher voices: the bass probably also began with a quotation of a pre-existing melody. Que fait le cocu appears to start with an imitative tenor/bass duet not unlike the superius/altus duet which follows, but, as often happens with Gaspar, the imitation may not last very long. Finally, the partbooks themselves are not without error, and one mistake in Bon temps has been corrected in the transcription.

Participants in the workshop were requested to submit reconstructions of one or both songs two weeks in advance of the conference (i.e. by 16 June 2017). Aspects of these reconstructions were discussed during the workshop, and the conference consort was available to musically demonstrate some of the potential solutions. Both of these songs were published with reconstructed bass voices in the fifth volume of the Collected Works (Corpus mensurabilis musicae 106). Those who submitted reconstructions are mentioned in the acknowledgements, with all due credit given to those whose ideas formed the basis of the published solutions.