There is no music without culture, so that the concept of cultural musicology might seem diffuse, but several of the Faculty’s researchers have a particular engagement with what might be termed music’s ‘cultural work’. Iain Fenlon‘s extensive studies of music in Renaissance Italy have focussed on music as a dimension of social history: he demonstrates the role of music within civic and aristocratic politics, and links it to broader cultural and technological developments (such as the invention of the printing press). Ben Walton‘s work on nineteenth-century music engages similar issues in very different contexts: his work on the Parisian reception of Rossini shows how music must be understood in the context of broader currents of life outside the opera house, while a further project engages with issues of cultural relocation in the context of the spread of Italian opera in South America. Marina Frolova-Walker works on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian music, again with a focus on the relationship between music and broader issues of cultural meaning: she has shown how the history of Russian music has been framed by the ideologies of nationalism, and the interaction of Soviet politics and music in Social Realism. Nicholas Cook has sought to understand the development of Schenker’s theory in the context of the political and ideological context of fin-de-siècle Vienna, and is now working on the role of music in intercultural negotiations of identity. That in turn links with Ruth Davis‘s research on North African and Middle Eastern music, which largely focusses round issues of cultural identity and the negotiation of difference, particularly in the context of the Jewish diaspora.
Postdoctoral and affiliated lecturers
Image: The Pyatnitsky Folk Choir c. 1910