Peter Bennett publishes book, “Music and Power at the Court of Louis XIII”

Peter Bennett

Peter Bennett, Professor of Musicology and Head of Historical Performance Practice, has just published a book with Cambridge University Press.

Music and Power at the Court of Louis XIII
Sounding the Liturgy in Early Modern France
Peter Bennett book cover, Music and Power at the Court of Louis XIII

Growing out of a 2015-16 research fellowship at the Centre d’Etudes Supérieures de la Renaissance, France, the book considers how a study of music as “sounding liturgy” might contribute to the wider discourse on absolutism and “the arts” in early modern France. Taking the scholarship of the so-called “ceremonialists” as a point of departure, Bennett engages with Weber’s seminal formulation of power to consider the different contexts in which liturgy, music, and ceremonial acted to legitimate the power of a king almost continuously mired in religious conflict. Numerous musical settings show that David, the psalmist, musician, king and agent of the Holy Spirit, provided the most enduring model of kingship; but in the final decade of his life, as Louis dedicated the Kingdom to the Virgin Mary, the model of “Christ the King” became even more potent – a model reflected in a flowering of musical publication and famous paintings by Vouet and Champaigne.

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