The Reputation of Francesco da Milano (1497-1543) and the Ricercars in the Cavalcanti Lute Book

How was a reputation formed during the Renaissance, and what were the modes by which it was sustained, enhanced, re-invented, or dissolved after a composer’s death? Which works of a composer were known by later generations, and which pieces were thought to be most representative, or relevant to their age? Having identified this repertory, how accurately were these works transmitted, and by what means – print, treatise, personal manuscript, or retrospective anthology? For each of these formats projects a different cultural aesthetic onto the composer and reveals how his repertory was used. Finally, what kinds of revisionism can take place during the evolution of a reputation, and how does one arbitrate discrepancies between the authenticated facts of a composer’s life as we know them today, and the mythical reputation of a composer that was constructed by writers just after his death, for both our and their ‘histories’ are equally valid.

Source: Revue belge de Musicologie / Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Muziekwetenschap, Vol. 50,
Manuscrits de musique polyphonique originaires des anciens Pays-Bas. Manuscrits de
musique polyphonique conservés en Belgique (1996), pp. 49-72
Published by: Societe Belge de Musicologie
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