This is a virtual seminar only. You can join the Zoom meeting here.
Critical editions as outgrowths of higher degree research study in musicology
Both presenters for this week’s seminar have published critical editions as outgrowths of their higher degree research work in musicology. Kate Gerrard’s edition of Pierre Gillier’s Livre d’airs et de simphonies mélez de quelques fragmens d’opéra (originally published in 1697)—comprising sixty-four small-scale vocal and instrumental works with basse continue accompaniment––was published in 2018 by A-R Editions. It provides for contemporary performers and scholars an insight into the variety of genres that were popular with amateur chamber musicians of the time. Larry Mays’s edition of Niccolò Piccinni’s three-act comic opera Il regno della Luna (1770)––a dramma giocoso for soloists, chorus and orchestra––was published in 2019 by A-R Editions. Its libretto engages strongly with eighteenth-century Italian discourse regarding the social and political position of women, the non-European Other, and the societal costs and benefits of militarism and commerce. Involving actual travel to the Moon, the work exemplifies early science fiction. Both publications address the historiographical aspects of contextual study of music works.
A-R Editions is considered a world leader in publishing critical editions of music heretofore found only on the shelves of libraries in manuscripts and prints that are decades or hundreds of years old. As an index of the company’s prestige, Kate’s edition is currently held by over 200 libraries while Larry’s is held by over 130. According to the publisher, a critical edition is first and foremost reliable, and its reliability is underscored by careful internal documentation of how the edition has been prepared, with the goal of preserving the basic content of the original work even as it is presented in a way that will be easily approachable for modern scholars and performers. The presenters will detail the process of preparing critical editions, noting the range of skills required with reference to the kinds of source material available. Both will give examples of issues that arise and editorial interventions required, as well as providing insight into the long and somewhat complex publication process. The benefits for the music community of publishing critical editions include revivification of significant works that may lead to performance and study, and personal career advancement for the editors as a result of the wide ‘reach’ of the publications. Kate is currently undertaking doctoral study involving preparation of an edition of a large-scale, substantial spectacle in the traditional Lullian and post-Lullian Tragédie en musique form, while Larry is collaborating with an Italian musicologist on an edition of Piccinni’s 1792 opera buffa La serva onorata.
In 2018 Larry graduated with a PhD in musicology at the Australian National University, the title of his thesis being: ‘A Scholarly Edition with Exegesis of Niccolò Piccinni’s Dramma Giocoso: ‘Il Regno della Luna’ (1770).’ In September 2019 he published a critical edition of the opera through A-R Editions Inc. He is now working on editions of other operas by Piccinni. In 2015 he won first prize in the Musicological Society of Australia Student Delegate Conference Paper Award. His musical education includes a Bachelor of Music majoring in voice performance and a Master of Philosophy. The latter degree involved a performance of Pergolesi's 'La serva padrona' as well as a written thesis. He is currently studies classical mandolin with a teacher in southern Italy and enjoys being a chorus member in the National Opera Company. Prior to studying music he practised medicine for many years in various capacities, and has published in the field of health services research. View Larry's ORCID page.
Kathleen (Kate) Gerrard grew up in New Zealand in a very musical environment. Her mother is (still) a concert pianist; her father was a brass bandsman; an aunt by marriage, Anthea Moller, is of great standing in the opera world. Kate started playing the violin at aged five, progressed to playing in the Wellington Youth Orchestra and attained Grade VIII. In her late teens Kate gave up music completely, pursued a life in the business world, and brought up a family. 18 years later she started playing and taking lessons again. Fast forward a few years of hard graft, sat ATCL and then completed a Bachelor of Music in Classical Performance at the New Zealand School of Music (NZSM), Victoria University of Wellington. Then she discovered the joys of musicology, specifically French Baroque music editing. This led to an Honours year, then a Master’s degree and the subsequent preparation and publication of her first critical edition by A-R Editions — Pierre Gillier’s 1697 Livre d’airs et de simphonies mélez de quelques fragmens d’opéra. Kate has just commenced a PhD editing a previously unnoticed and very beautiful French opera for eventual publication and performance. Kate also teaches violin privately, taught a business class for musicians and tutored for a number of music courses at the NZSM.