Events Calendar

Music Graduate Colloquium: Susan Lewis, Western University

Friday, January 27, 2023
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Music Building (MB)
Room: Studio 242
Susan Lewis

Presented by Graduate Studies in Music, the Don Wright Faculty of Music Graduate Colloquium series includes lectures by distinguished guests, Western faculty members, and senior graduate students on all fields of research and creative activity in music.

Susan Lewis (Western University)
"Gardens of Madrigals in Early Modern Italy"

Admission is free, and all are welcome to join.


Gardens and madrigals shared a close sensory relationship in Renaissance Italy. The influence of Renaissance garden culture on the Italian madrigal can be seen in the layout of madrigal books, the choice of textual themes and imagery, and the patronage and performance of madrigals. This paper adopts an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on cultural history, musicology, and garden history, and proposes that a common aesthetic language governed the creation of gardens and the cultivation of madrigals in late sixteenth-century Italy. The Italian madrigal and its sub-genres of canzonettas and canzoni alla napolitana formed the backbone of Italian secular song and became the most successful musical export of the sixteenth century. The key components of garden design and aesthetics―variety, rarity, arrangement, novelty, and the interplay of nature and artifice―can be seen across madrigal books in the decades around 1600. The intersections of garden and madrigal design are strongest in madrigal books produced in the orbits of dynastic and cardinal patronage, where music and gardens featured prominently in efforts of self-aggrandizement and display. By the end of the sixteenth century, garden culture had become a prized marketing tool used by Venetian publishers to promote madrigals across Europe.


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Audrey Yardley-Jones - Graduate Program Assistant
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